Yellow – A Colour Blog Series


I find yellow one of the hardest prints to buy online, as it varies greatly. Is it bright yellow or mustard or ochre?? It’s also hard to find a good bright yellow print.

Yellow + Cool

One of my recent finishes, inspired by a Moors Palace in Portugal, allowed me to use a great mustard color with these great cool colors of navy blue and aqua.


Katarina Roccella’s Imprint line for Art Gallery Fabrics: mosaic66dd6f67f6c01b3e29004f5b173cc33cd9ebb1c2

Or how about a mix of blues and a little purple, and yellow’s as a feature/focus. 

1. Cotton + Steel; 2. Alison Glass; 3. Art Gallery House Design; 4. Lizzy House; 5. Karen Lewis; 6. Skinny LaMinx; 7. Jeni Baker; 8. Lizzy House; 9. Leah Duncan

Yellow + Warm

Last month, on the Orange post there was a great warm print palette that included yellow. So what about yellow in projects with solids??

This project, Peach Melba, is a tutorial I did for Sew Mama Sew, I loved the yellow with the mix of pinks and berries in this project. I used Kona Cotton Buttercup, Berry, Cerise, Baby Pink with Ash Grey and Bone.


One of my WiP’s is this quilt top, Rangers Station, using the amazing bright Oakshott cottons The middle block is made from their autumn bundle, which have those brilliant yellows, and then the border is Lipari (08)).Rangers Station Quilt Top

Yellow + Neutrals

Bright yellow and white solids is one of my favorite combinations, though I have not made a quilt with just these colors. I just love the crispness and brightness of these two colors together.

Yellow and Grey is a great combination. One of my first ever projects, when I started sewing, was a patchwork yellow, grey and white kiwi which I love.


Monthly Tip

Use design or retail magazines as inspiration for your color palettes. Here are some examples:

  1. Architecture/Design magazines feature great modern palettes. My favorite US based magazine is Dwell.


2. Retail Store Magazines, my favorites in the use are West Elm, Crate and Barrel (+ CB2).

Yellow + Neutral

Yellow + Blues

Monthly Resources

Book: Color Theory: A essential guide to Color by Patti Mollica

Website and Tool: Design Seeds  – A site that offers two color palettes each day, great resource.

Monthly Challenge

This month’s challenge is sponsored by two great companies.

The first is Robert Kaufman who is providing the winner 1 yard Highlight, the Kona Cotton Solids 2016 Color of the Year.
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Talk about some great yellow inspiration, check out their Lookbook here. Two of my favorite quilts, that they will be providing as kits in March, are:

Heather Jones’ Trip the Light, I love the use of highlight, pickle, wasabi, white, snow and oyster.

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and Carolyn Friedlander’s Blake Quilt, that mixes in some of her neutral low-volume fabrics from Architexture and Doe with Kona solids highlight and pickle.Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 5.14.46 PM

Also, the Fat Quarter Shop is providing a $20 gift card. ColorWidget
The Challenge this month,  is to make your own 3 x 3 mosaic palette of  (9) prints, that features yellow as the main color (I recommend at least 1/3 of the palette). Please post the mosaic, that is linked to either:

  • a blog post explaining your process/inspiration (feel free to grab the widget above to display on your blog),
  • or to an Instagram pic (using the url),
  • or a Flickr pic (using the url).

To give you time to explore your palette, the link-up will open around the 15th February (next color series blog post), and a winner will be announced by 8pm Monday 22nd February. I hope you all have fun.

(Note: I use Big Labs Mosaic Tool to create the mosaic. To get the image URL right click on the image and “Copy Image Location” and paste it into the tool).





Dark Circles – a quilt finish



I loved my “Phased Circles” quilt that I finished in 2014. I wanted to see if I can use the underlying blocks in another design. Could I make another design but make it different enough??

I came up with this monochromatic design which is one of my favorites. I love the the graduation of black to dark grey to light grey, the use of prints and solids and finally the mix of low volumes. The circles are much larger than the phased circles design, and a little simpler but a little more complexity and non-symmetrical with the outer blocks/areas.


I was lucky in two ways with this quilt.  One, the US post office didn’t loose my quilt (it was sent twice, returned once) and two, lucky enough that Love Patchwork and Quilting loved it too. It is one of the projects featured in this month’s issue (issue 31) . Can you believe this? ….. all of the fabrics in this quilt came from my existing stash.

patchwork projects shot in the studio

Photo Credit: Love Patchwork & Quilting

The binding is one of my favorite things about the quilt. I kept it solid “blocked” on the right side and then used Carolyn Friedlander’s Doe Sharp and a splash of Alison Glass’ Grove in Neon (Handcrafted).

The quilting for the circles were 1/2″ vertical lines while the rest of the quilt is quilted using 1″ horizontal lines.

Michelle Wilkie

Photo Credit: Love Patchwork & Quilting

I hope you check it out in the new issue.This makes my second finish for the year.


Name: Lunar Lines (aka Dark Circles)
Designed by me, Pattern in Issue 31 – Love Patchwork Quilting.
Fabric: Kona Cottons + Various black, dark and light grey prints
Dimensions: 60″ x 62″
Quilted: Straight Line quilting, Aurifil 50wt.

Linking up with Amanda Jean over @ Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday.

QDAD: Getting back into practicing

It has been a while since I spent time designing, so this month I decided to get back into it. Its been a little mixed to start which is normal – there are always designs I like and ones that I file away :-). Without giving it a go though, you never find the design you want to actually make.

January 15
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This design was influenced by the placement and direction I saw in the negative space of this photo. I used triangles as I find them best to represent movement.


January 17

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I loved the idea of representing the shutters in my design with the little roofs. As I was developing the shutters I liked the dark line of the hinges which I also incorporated.


I decided that my final design need to be a more dense representation of the shutters. So this landed up being my final design.

January 18

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 11.43.46 PM

I loved the colors in this palette and wanted to somehow represent the flowers without them being to definitive, slightly abstract. There are a couple of placement things I will change if I make this.


January 19

I took this photo on a trip to Florence a while back. Florence was not my favorite Italian city but this bridge was amazing.

The inspiration for this design is the roofs and the bridge form of Florence Ponte Vecchio.


January 21

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I loved the white concrete brick placement around the windows in the middle building. I used that placement to make this ombre dot design.


21 January

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I loved the stripey towel and the vertical lines of the deck. I used these lines in my design.


January 22

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I wanted to play with prints using this palette. I have this idea for a design using the Speed bumps road markings. Lets see how this develops as I have another palette in mind as well.


January 23

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I love this palette, as it would be great for transparency design. I wanted though something very minimalist being inspired by a book I am reading on Ralph Hotere (NZ artist).


Thanks for stopping by. You can check out my other designs on my QDAD page. If you want to join in check out our closed group on facebook (click join).

Please Note: If you would like to make or use one of my designs, please email me (ml_wilkie(at)hotmail(dot)com) or leave a comment below. I am happy to talk with you on options and provide the relevant measurements etc. or have you test out a pattern. Also, if you use one of my designs, please use the following text to credit me the design: “Designed by Michelle Wilkie @ Factotum of Arts”.

Bright Prints | a color study

Last year, I did a design that I thought would be perfect to play with prints. I like using solids and prints, but what I wanted to do is step outside my comfort zone and use a variety bright and loud prints. I was inspired by designers like Anna Maria Horner, Alison Glass, Tula Pink and Amy Butler, as their prints are so amazing.

I chose Alison Glass prints from Field Day, Ex Libris, Clover Sunshine and Lucky Penny to play with.

LPQ 30 - Square in Square
[Photo Credit: Love Patchwork & Quilting]

I love how it turned out. I stressed the whole time while this was in the making. I had to change my inner background fabrics as the print I wanted to use was out of print (OOP) and I could not find it anywhere. The Ex Libris prints I did go with were much “noisier” than I was wanting. I was not sure until it was finished that it was what I wanted.


The back was made from left over straps from the front of the quilt.ColorStudy_back

You too can make this pattern, if you like it. This project was ultimately done for Love Patchwork and Quilting. It is in this month’s magazine (Issue 30) and it actually made the cover. So, I am ecstatic that they loved it as much as I did.

LPQ 30 - Front Cover
[Photo Credit: Love Patchwork & Quilting]

Not to bad for my first finish of 2016. Looking forward to the rest of the year.

Orange – A Colour Blog Series


Orange is one of my favorite colours. I use it often in my quilts/ quilt blocks. It is so versatile and my favorite way of using it is as a pop to add visual interest.

Here are some examples on how I have used orange with a current fabric mosaic.


The trick with using all one color (ie. Monochromatic) is making sure you have variation, which can be achieved with different volumes (inside square high volume, outside low volume), or with various shades of the same color.

Tip for Monochromatic: Try using a camera and taking a black and white photo to see if you have enough variation in your fabric selections. You should see a gradation.

1. Lizzie House ; 2. Carolyn Friedlander; 3. Frances Newcombe; 4. Alison Glass; 5. Anna Maria Horner; 6. Denyse Schmidt; 7. Downton Abbey; 8. V & Co. ; 9. Leah Duncan

Orange + Warm

The other option to add depth and using orange, is to use other warmer colors (ie. An Analogous color palette). My current WiP was based on orange but I found I needed more depth so I added purples, magenta, yellow and coral/peach.

I find the Analogous color palette one of the easiest to do as the colors are in the same “family” or part of the color wheel so they always seem to work, no matter what print you use.


With this palette purple does stand out better than the orange due to its darkness, so you may choose to drop that. For my purposes it worked well.

1. Carolyn Friedlander; 2. Karen Lewis; 3. Tula Pink; 4. Lizzie House; 5. Rashida Coleman Hale; 6. Katrina Roccella; 7. Leah Duncan; 8. Lizzie House; 9. Sarah Jane

When using a warm palette, but very vibrant versions of pink and orange, what about thinking of adding balance with neutrals like white and grey.


Orange + Neutrals

I use orange and neutrals a lot together, as this gives orange the role as a focus color. You don’t have to use a lot of color with neutrals for this to be true. Play around with solid greys, whites and blacks; featured here are all Kona cottons (First print: Titanium, Torch, Pepper, Shadow; Second Print: White, Torch, Oyster, Putty, Shadow).


The main print in this next example is by Yoshiko Jinzenji for Yuwa Fabric. The grey, oyster and navy blue print (that appears black) are Karen Lewis hand printed fabrics. I love that pop of colour among the neutrals for visual interest and draws your eye into the quilt.


Orange + Blues

With this example,  I used mostly blues but wanted to add a pop on the edges. I tried Teal, aqua and blue but landed up deciding that the orange was a perfect complement  to the extreme blue palette.

This works as it is loosely based on a triadic (complementary) color palette but I dropped the green that would be included.

1. Carolyn Friedlander; 2. Cotton + Steel; 3. Jeni Baker; 4. Karen Lewis

Monthly Tip

If you are unsure about building a color palette and you don’t want to stick with using a fabric line….What about choosing a print you like and build a bundle based on the colors available in that print (check out the dots on the selvedges). Here are a couple of examples using Anna Maria Horner fabrics and the palette builder tool for the Kona cotton palette.

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Monthly Resources

Book:  Quilt Color Workshop – Creative Color Combinations for Quilters

Website: Canva Color Theory

Tool: Play Crafts Palette Builder

Give-away Winner

 Winner of the prize this month is Debbie from Sheltered Stitches. Debbie I will email you shortly with the details of your prize.

Next Month….Yellow


Note, that all the projects provided in this post are my own unless noted. If there is something you would like more information on or if you would like to provide feedback on what you want to see more of please leave a comment. This blog series is developing and I am happy to change it up to accommodate more information.

New Projects for 2016 – In Progress

Isn’t it amazing how traveling makes you so tired?? I have traveled for about 30 hours this past weekend to come from North Carolina (USA) to Napier (New Zealand).

I wish, I could say I was traveling back home to have fun visiting family, friends and vacation, but unfortunately that is not the full story. My mum (who is in her early 60’s) has been put through some rigorous and long periods of testing over the last year. She has finally been diagnosed with a large benign, inoperable brain tumor. She is in her last 3 weeks of radiation, in attempts to try to shrink it.

Playing with color placement of the expanded design

As she travels and stays in a different city for her treatment each week, I decided that I wanted to be there to support her. I also want to leave her with something that brings her comfort when I am not around.

Original design

A quilt would be perfect. I have been playing around with her favorite colors, purple and orange and one of my Quilt Design a Day patterns. I have added a few other colors to add depth….coral/peach, yellow and magenta. The background fabrics are a mix of 20 white on neutrals prints.

Close-up of the blocks in-progress

I had to expand the design and play with the color placement but I am really pleased with how it is looking all up on my design wall. I bought all the rows with me to try to finish it before I leave.

All the pieces up on my design wall

The other project I am working on is a “secret”. It took a lot of procrastination trying to work out how to make this design into reality. The color palette is also way outside of my comfort zone but I am loving how it is coming together.

And you can’t complain, when you get joins like these on your first go.

Anyway, that is what I am up to this week. I am getting plenty of design and sewing time which I am very happy about.

Linking up with Lee over @ Freshly Pieced for WiP Wednesday.



Sewing Studio: Final make-over

Every so often, I have posted here about my sewing room and how it has been transitioning over time into more of a studio. Except for the wood floors (that may never come), I think finally have the ultimate space for me.

Over the holiday, my husband moved his office out, to the third floor….woohoo. This opened up my room. I realized that I could use the same storage we have in our walk in closet (Ikea), along the stair case railings. A space that was not really usable, became usable.
I love having my Kona’s in one spot and have a hanging area for my backs. This space is also used for all my scraps and my WiPs.

I have also added a new chair from Ikea, which is the new home for a great cushion/pillow that I got for Christmas (from wonderful Nicole @ mamalovequilts).  I now have this amazing 8×7 foot design wall which has already been put to good use.


Of course, you can’t have a comfy chair without a footstool. I managed to finally finish one of my WiPs using Cloud9’s barkcloth. It was a total fluke that the columns lined up in the panels.

These are additions to my sitting area, where I can sit and blog or have coffee with friends.

This is an older picture of my sitting area, as I replaced that little design wall with an inspiration design board. Its made of cork tiles.

One final photo of my new-ish table, that I teach, host friends and quilt large projects on. It seats 4 people with machines ok. At the back is my project table and fabric storage which has been uncluttered of late with the new storage.

If I can work out periscope sometime, I will actually give you all a walk through. Anyway, I love this space and I hope you enjoyed my photo journal of my space :-).