We Love Color and The Solids Revolution

design, fabric, inspiration, quilting

Many of the quilts we made when we started our company in 1999 were made with solids.

Outside the Box 1999

Raindrops 1999

Solids were hard to find then and we had to drive around to lots of shops to find them. We continued to make quilt after quilt with solids but it was a hard sell. In 2007 I pitched an idea to American Patchwork & Quilting Magazine about writing an article on how to use solids. The editors, being open-minded and forward-thinking, agreed to publish it.  I wrote the article and signed off the email with “Let the Solids Revolution begin!”

That quilt, Windy By The Lake, is the quilt you see if you’re on the AllPeopleQuilt.com website and get a pop-up to subscribe. We loved the quilt but some readers still weren’t sure.

We also went on Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims’ The Quilt Show extolling the virtues of solids. There we were inviting everyone to the revolution but many remained skeptical.

So two years ago when Susanne Woods, our awesome former editor at C&T, invited us to submit a quilt for a book on solids, we thought, “Finally!” We looked at the list of other contributors and knew that most others would be using solids to design graphic quilts. We thought that the beauty of working with a huge palette was showing off the range of colors. We brainstormed about palettes with complex color work that would not be the typical bright and bold palettes that people often associate with modern quilts. “It has to be an unexpected palette. The quilt needs to be about the colors, not the form,” we thought. “Something weathered.”

We thought about the palette of the ocean and the beach. The colors of seaweed and shells on the sand. The pinks and corals of the inside of a conch shell and those subtle hues one sees on the tiny shells during low tide. We wanted to see that palette at a larger scale, almost pixelated. We decided the form of the quilt should be abstract suggesting the movement of the sea and the washing up of the colors. We titled the quilt Sanibel because we both had separate trips there and remembered the beauty of the beach’s palette. It’s a quiet quilt but we thought it would compliment the other quilts in the book.

I think the Solids Revolution that I hoped for is almost here. We have the quilters. We have a book. Now we just need a few local shops to jump on board so we don’t have to always sit in front of our computers fumbling with our color cards.

So I asked on our Facebook page but I’ll ask here too. What is your favorite solid? Please include the maker as well as the color.

20 thoughts on “We Love Color and The Solids Revolution

  1. I’m going to have to get this book! I have a plastic tub full of Kona solids that I bought a long time ago because I wanted to make something Amish. But I don’t know what to do with what’s left over. It would be fun to have an excuse to look at those fabrics with fresh ideas.

    Congrats on having a quilt included!

  2. I love solids and have been building up a rainbow of Konas! My local fabric shop, Spool of Thread Sewing Lounge, here in Vancouver, BC carries the entire range of Kona solids. I recently got to check out some of the new Michael Miller cotton couture solids and they had a lovely, soft hand. Looking forward to the book!

  3. The one commercial solid that I have purchased multiple times is Michael Miller Jet Black. I’ve tried several commercial blacks, and this is the darkest/deepest. Works well with every other color there is! Yes, it would be great if more fabric stores would stock a large range of solids. Not having ready access to a wide range commercial solids (in a lighter fabric than Kona) is what drove me to learn how to dye my own fabric.

  4. I just ordered some solids from Pink Chalk Fabrics online because I can never find a good selection at quilt shops. I’m hoping they’ll arrive today. I am most excited to try a quilt with a color background, but until I see some of the actual fabrics, I’m not ready to just guess. I’d actually like to try a blue or an old-timey-green background. I’ve asked my quilt shop several times if they’d consider carrying more solids, but they seem skittish about it. Not sure why. Maybe because quilters aren’t “there” yet. I did notice a selection of blaring brights last time I was shopping. I guess that’s a step in the right direction, but I think those work best with certain lines of playful fabric. So, this didn’t answer your question, but I’ll let you know if I find a particular color I love. I sure see solids in magazines these days. Keep on!

  5. Here in Australia it’s almost impossible to find any decent solids, so I have been buying Kona on line. Picking favourites is almost impossible for me as it really depends on my mood and the project. I guess I’m always drawn to subtle hues, recently I’ve made a quilt inspired by the colours in Gum tree bark. I went and photographed the trees then chose solids accordingly-over 60 of them, but only 24 ended up in that quilt, which I hope to get photographed and posted on my blog this weekend
    There’s a hint here

  6. Konas are my favorite solid “brand” and I especially love Ash and Charcoal. I was told last year at a LQS that quilters don’t use solids, so I mostly buy online at fabric.com and thousandsofbolts.com, or I dye my own when I have the time!

  7. I love solids, though I do sometimes find it frustrating looking for just the right one, with a giant flip out colour chart and tiny little squares where nothing quite looks like it really does in the real world. (I think I’ve bought 7 or 8 browns looking for just the right one for something I was planning but never got around to. I never did find the right one, either.)

    Anyway, I probably change my mind every other time I use one, but I really love Kona Ice Frappe.

  8. Actually, Kona Charcoal is my favorite-it just goes with everything without the complete starkness of black (as a plus it is easier to sew with than black too-black is very hard to sew with cause it is so hard to see anything).

  9. Robert Kaufman’s Pure Organic Orange is my favorite solid. The other solids in the collection are beautiful also, but I particularly like the color orange. Organic fabric movement seems to be growing; there are many more available than formerly.

  10. I love the soft colors of your quilt. That gives me some ideas. I need this book. My LQS doesn’t have any solids.

  11. I’ve heard about this book and can’t wait to see it. I like Free Spirit Designer Solids -I think the color I’m working with right now is called Sky. So soft! Of course, I use Kona a ton too because it seems more readily available. My favorite Kona is Grass Green, but I love Sage, Glacier, and Eggplant too. Please don’t make me just pick one! I wish the color cards were set up differently-more like color chips on a ring so they’d be removable and you could try out different colors right next to each other. Even with the card-I am often surprised when it comes in the mail and have to try again. That, and I wish the companies would give out the color cards if you committed to purchase, say, 10 yards over a year.

  12. I have been anxiously awaiting the release of this book. I was turned on to the “Solids Revoution” by the book City Quilts by Cherri House. I have since bought both “Quilts Made Modern” and “Transparency Quilts” as well as patterns by carolina Patchworks. Now I need the time to make all these fabulous quilts. and I need to get my local (very rural) area on board!! Love Kona cotton Espresso!!! and ALL essex Linens!!

  13. I’ve loved solids since first starting to quilt about 10 years ago. Don’t have a favorite color, as it changes with each new idea or picture inspiration that comes along. The Weeks and Ringle team, Gwen Marston, and Denyse Schimdt have had the most influence on my use of solids. I love the newer books that are coming out, but the above are still my favorite inspirations. I mostly use Kona, because that is most available in my area, though it is slowly changing for the better, with more brands coming in. None of the retail outlets carry enough colors or brands for a fabric/color lover like me. I hesitate to order online, because I am so picky about getting the right shade for my projects.

  14. Although I don’t have a favorite color, I like to keep a bolt of cream, and white Kona on hand at all times, because they go with just about any fabric, and as I love to use up “scraps” in “kitchen sink” type quilting these two colors get used a lot! I’m currently working on a reproduction of an antique churndash, which has natural color super muslin as the background, with the dash being a print in rich, dark chocolate brown, with a floral motif in green, peach, and cream. The 10″ blocks will be surrounded by 3″ sashing in Kona Tarragon (green) and cornerstones in Kona Melon (peachy pink). The only print in the antique pictured quilt is the actual churndash itself. I also really, really like the graphic appeal of the “Modern” quilts. OK, enough gabbing.

  15. Oh, and I also forgot to say that I have my white Kona bolt on standby for the sweet pink quilt in your Transparency book. I already have all the pink fabrics cut. Have all your books, the first magazine, and all my AP&Q magazines that have your patterns in them. Going back to bed now!

  16. My favorite solids to date are Cherrywood fabrics…beautiful suede look, rich color, fabulous drape, and wonderful customer service. Pricey since they are hand dyed in 2 yard pieces, but worth it.

    1. I love the Cherrywood fabrics too. Thanks for the introduction to them Weeks and Bill, they are superb. I’ve done three projects in them and they just look so good and feel soothing. FAT is not what you get sitting at your sewing machine, it is Fabric As Therapy!

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