About colorwash……..

Top 2: batik fabrics, bottom row, first, regular quilting cottons, next 2 regular and batik mixed, 4th one softer prints, regular cottons.

First one regular quilting cottons with batik applique.

Bottom row, first one is African fabrics, the second one is all Liberty of London Tana Lawn.

I scanned these photos from the early 1990s.  The color isn’t true on most of them but they are before digital cameras.  The applique on all of these is raw edge, no fusible with free motion stitching and slightly fraying edges.  The appliques are all made with Cherrywood hand dyed fabrics.

I have had several comments (from no reply visitors) and several emails about how to get started with colorwash.

I always encourage quilters to start cutting the squares (or rectangles) as you are working on other projects.  Also cut up your scraps whenever you have some time.  It would be a monumental task to go through your whole stash and cut a few squares off each fabric all at one time.  Yes, that means pressing each fabric if there is a wrinkle or fold mark before you cut.  You don’t need a lot of any one fabric, just a few pieces of each so you can choose the one that works best.  And….you need hundreds of fabrics to work from.  Most of my pieces have 200 or more different fabrics in them, some as many as 400.

Busy prints work best, multicolor prints work well.  You need a big variety of colors.  Only the very lightest and very darkest can be plainer prints, similar to tone on tone but with action or texture to the print.  Too plain and they look like a flat spot in the colorwash.  Here is the newest photo again so you can click and enlarge and look at the fabrics.

What size to cut?  My favorite is 2.5″ squares and 2.5″ x 4.5″ rectangles.  I don’t use the fusible grid to build my colorwash on.  I prefer just sewing the pieces together like in any other quilt.  I have used 2″, 1.5″ and even 1″ squares also.

I will be offering some starter packs of both rectangles and squares soon.  I need to get them sorted and organized first.


11 thoughts on “About colorwash……..

  1. I like the idea of rectangles (2.5 x 4.5) where you don't have to worry about lining up seams or pressing in either direction. I always tend to press some seams up that should be down! The rectangles also give the overall quilt even more movement. I also like the applique on top of the color wash background – your quilts are just beautiful. I look forward to your packaged fabric cuts!

  2. Thanks so much for giving us guidance on how to start. I didn't have a clue but now it's not so daunting because I already have lots of squares cut for other quilting projects. So I suppose I just need to sort through these and put colours together. Exciting! Thank you! X

  3. There you go again….giving me the bug/inspiration/itch/desire to do another watercolor. LOL. Actually, I had plans for a couple of small ones anyway. Thanks for posting the grouped photos as they are wonderful inspiration. I never tire of viewing them. Looking forward to what comes next! Thanks and inspire on!

  4. Thank you for today's beautiful blog. Been thinking about how to start. Especially like the appliqué.
    Will definitely want a started pack. Alice. Alvgore. At. Nycap dot rr dot com

  5. I just started my “bucket” for one of these quilts. I think if I do it a little at a time I won't get so overwhelmed with all the little pieces. I'm not sure mine will be as swoon worthy as yours though.

  6. I have used Bonnie Hunter's Scrap Users system for the last two years and have many piles of 2.5″ color sorted squares-I am ready! Thaks for the inspiration!

  7. Dear Wanda,
    i really love your quilts! If you would send a parcel also to Austria (i pay all !) it would be great. Can you reserve one for me ?

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