Holiday Solstice! Let's talk and fabric color! New Tool!

Happy Friday!  Another busy week, it  makes me think about how retired people always say they are busier after they retire.  I feel that now that I've grown accustomed to being at home, I've rearranged my time and filled it in with extra projects.  Most of those projects have been a long time coming and it is feels good to accomplish something.  

Last weekend Stephen and I took on rearranging and organizing my Studio, Fabric Room, Office and the order processing area.  Wow, there were moments, I wasn't sure we were going to make it.  LOL!  I really do not need anymore fabric.  That said I received fabric from both Moda and Art Gallery this week.  Shhh!  Don't tell Steve...actually he is the one who brought the packages in, and now that we've straighten up, I actually have a place to put them.  It was a nice feeling.  

Having everything organized really helped this week, as I've pulled some examples of alternate color plans for Holiday Solstice, my next Medallion Mystery, which is kicking off on May 22nd.  We are going to talk color and fabric selection.  I'm going to take you through the what you want to be thinking about when selecting your fabrics and why.  

Before we get there, there is some other exciting news!

New Tool - Square Squared Half Inch
NEW TOOL! Studio 180 Design's new Square Squared tool for ½” finished units is now available! Finally, the perfect tool for projects that use ½” increment finished diamond square units. Think about "Tuckerizing" some of Jo Morton's pattern, etc.  This will come in handy when you are making Diamond Square units that finish from 1 ½” up to 8 ½ in 1" increments.  
So cool, I've ordered in a few in my shop, you can order them here: Michelle's Etsy Shop 

Speaking of Square Squared, did you catch this past's week's Tutorial Tuesday?  I provided some extra tips!

Tutorial Tuesday - Square Squared and Bloom

Did you catch this week's Tutorial Tuesday video?  I gave 
tips for keeping your orientation during the making of the Square Squared units in Bloom's Five Diamond Block.  Plus bonus tips on folding and storing your Quilts and Quilt Tops.

In case you missed this past Tuesday's Tutorial Tuesday Video, you can view it on my Facebook page.   Don't worry, if you don't Facebook, I've uploaded my video to YouTube. You can subscribe at: Michelle's You Tube Channel.

What is Tutorial Tuesday? 

It is a weekly Video that I will release each Tuesday, around 3:30pm, on my Facebook page (5:30 pm on Youtube).  For the first 8 weeks, I'm going to teach a free class on my Bloom pattern.   

You will need the Bloom pattern, S180 V Block and Square Squared Tools.


Next week; Tips on putting together your V Star Blocks, which includes great tips (if I do say so myself) on precision pinning.  

Upcoming weeks: 

Week 7; Constructing your Five Diamond Blocks
Week 8; Laying out and assembling your Quilt Center and Pieced Border
Week 9; Hmmm what could be next?

Make sure to share your Bloom fabric selection and progress in the Sew on the Go Quilting Circle.


Last week I provided you with the fabric requirements and an overview.  You can get the details in last week's post or download here: Michelle's website

Holiday Solstice - High-Level Overview

  • Quilt Size -Throw 66” x 66” or Large Throw 78” x 78” with optional Traditional Border
  • Required Tools: 
  • Fabric Requirements
    • Background:  4 ¾ Yard
    • Fat Quarters: 24-28 Fat Quarters
    • Binding: ½ Yard
    • Optional Border: 2 ½ yards (includes Binding)
  • Facebook Group: Holiday Solstice Medallion Mystery Quilt Series.  
    • Please answer the questions to be accepted.  If you are a member, in good standing, in another one of my groups, you will not need to answer the questions.
  • Clues and Dates:
    • May 22nd through September 11th 
    • There will be 1 Bye week and 18 Clues including the reveal. 

Let's talk Fabric and Color: 

In preparation for my Holiday Solstice Mystery Medallion Quilt Series, I want to give you a few tips on selecting your Fat Quarters.  

In order to do this, you need to know how to examine the fat bundle or understand what you need within your Fat Quarters, so that you can get the best results in your final quilt. 

Since this is a Mystery, you are going to need to trust me.  If you divert from my suggestions, I can't guarantee you will get the results you are expecting.  

Do you need to use Fat Quarters?

  • Ideally, yes.  This quilt is designed to use Fat Quarters.  It will be most appealing with many different fabrics.  You are welcome to use scraps, however please follow the guidance below.  
    • You could use yardage, larger pieces, but your quilt may be flat in comparison to those that used the suggested fabric. You may be able to get away with a little less than 6 yards, but I can't guarantee that. 
  • Note: Cutting instructions will be for Fat Quarters.

Do you need to use Holiday Fabric?

  • No, this quilt was designed to be a Holiday Quilt, but will work with other fabric.  However, it is suggested that you follow my guidance below.
  • Note: This year, my alternate example is not Holiday.  Below I will talk you through why it works. 


  • Need usable 24 Fat Quarters that have contrast with your background
    • There will be small pieces in this quilt, and if you do not have fabric that has a high contrast with your Background fabric, your pieces and the design may get lost. 
    • In deciding which Holiday fabric I was going to use, I looked at 25+ upcoming Holiday Fabric releases and most of the pre-packaged Fat Quarter bundles will work.  However, you just might need to augments some additional Fat Quarters. 
  • At minimum, you will need two colors plus Background
Two Color plus Background
    • If you are only using two colors, you will need value or print variation in your fabrics.  
    • You'll want Lights, Medium, Dark within those color ways, and Small prints, Medium prints, Large Prints.  I've given some examples below and you can check out last year's Blog article on categorizing your Fat Quarters into groups for more assistance on this topic. 
    • Plus, see my Holiday Bundle approach below.
  • You could also use three-four colors plus Background
Three Color plus Background

Four Color plus Background
Four Color plus Dark Background
    • You will still need variation in your fabric, but it can work.  
    • See my three-four approach below.
  • You can use all the same value, however it is key that you have 6 plus colors to keep the interest in the quilt.  
Six+ Color plus Dark Background
    • See my alternative selection approach below.
Let's review the groupings that I pulled and why they work. 

Holiday theme or Two-Color!

Open the Bundle, if you have a pre-packaged bundle.  Fold them just into a quarter and fan them out.   

  • The first thing I noticed was that 8 of the fabrics in my bundle, were very close to my selected background.  There will be some places I will be able to use them, so I will keep them in my mix.  However, I need 24 Fat Quarters so I need to find some fabrics to augment the Fat Quarter Bundle.  
  • Therefore, I asked Moda to send me the coordinating Bella Solids and I've added them to my mix.  If you are interested in those SKU numbers, I can provided them.  I've already supplied it to several Quilt Shops that are ordering in this Fig Christmas II line.  Which should be in Quilt Shops shortly.
  • Basically, for the 24 Fat Quarters, I want 12 Red and 12 Green.  The Beige prints, similar to my background can make up the extra FQs.

  • Since I'm only using two colors, I need interest in either value and print to add interest to my quilt.  I have a decent value selection, going from light, to light-medium, to medium, to medium-dark..

    • In my reds, I actually have a true dark, you can really see this by changing the photo to gray-scale.



    • My Extras - I will be able to use this, but I will need to be careful in placing.  Don't worry I will tell you when it is a good time to use them.  

  • Now, let me check the print scale.  I do this by breaking out the scale of fabric prints.   You want to make sure that at least a third of your fabric are smaller scale, tone-on-tone, or solid.  This is because of some of the smaller piecing.  You do not want to lose the small pieces, they are important for the design. 
    • A good way to check scale, is my using a cut out of smaller shapes. If you can see the full design of the fabric within the shapes, you know if is small enough.  Or, if from four feet away, it reads as a solid.

    • Reds - I have large scale, medium, small and solids.  Note:  There will be blocks that can use large scale prints too. 
Large Scale

Small to Medium Scale
    • Greens - 

Large Scale

Small to Medium Scale
  • I also have some directional fabric - It is okay to have a couple.  You wouldn't want a lot of them.

Next, Three color or more Traditional Fabrics!

  • You don't have to go Holiday, nor Bright.  You can use more traditional fabrics including Reproduction.
  • You will still want 24 usable Fat Quarters.  
  • Here I've featured 3 color, so about 8 of each color.
  • Making sure to get a range of:
    • Value
    • Print scale 

Example of a Reproduction selections

Large Scale Print in varying value

Medium  Scale Print - Medium Dark and Medium 

Smaller Scale Print Dark to Light-Medium
Next, Four color with light or dark background!
  • Let's talk background.  
    • Take your Fat Quarters to your local quilt shop or your stash.  
    • Pull your background options and lay out a few different prints on your background. 
    • There is a place for different backgrounds, it just has to work with your fabrics. 
      • You will want contrast to your fabric - most important.
    • Think about the style.  
      • I'm using a light beige solid with my Holiday selection, and a black-on-gray print for my Alison Glass Sun prints.  However, a white-on-white solid would work for either as well. 
      • I pulled a nice creaming tan for the Reproduction selection above, but a nice small print would work too.  I personally would not use a solid with Reproduction, but you may find you like it. 
      • Below, I've used a Dark solid with my Fall Four Color selections, I love the contrast.  And then I used a fun white-on-white for my Four Bright Selection.  
  • Fall Themed - Four Colors plus Dark Background
    • With Four colors, you will want about 6 of each color.
    • Remember to buy or pull various scale and value.
Fall Four - Against the Black Solid Background

Reds and Oranges of various print scale and value

Yellows and Greens of various print scale and value

  • Fun and Flirty - Four fabrics plus White-on-White Background
    • Again, four colors, and about 6 of each color
    • Within each colorway, an assortment of scale and value.

Four Colorways, assortment of Scale and Value within each one
Shoot, all these groupings make me want to make several more quilts!

Last, same Value with Six plus colors - My Alternate colorway
  • My Alison Glass Sun Print selection almost has the same value through out the grouping.  They are almost all tone-on-tone.  
  • So, I have little variation in my value print scale.  It can work, but I will need at least 6 colors to keep this quilt interesting.  
  • I may use the whites that came in the bundle, since I am using the Black-on-Charcoal background.  
  • I may be able to use those blacks, but similar to when I have cream prints and cream background, I'm going to need to be careful where I use those black fat quarters.   
  • Since these bundle represents most of the color wheel, I plan to use my color tools, when pulling these fabrics for blocks. Whenever possible I will be using a Complementary color plan.  

Sun Print Bundle on Dark Background

There are a couple that have another color in them but not many
I hope this has helped.  I want to provide you with several different examples in different styles and color.  

I couldn't sign off from a Medallion Quilt Color Lesson without sharing a photo of Jax, he is always interested in what I'm saying... LOL.

Jax in my new home office

Stay tuned over the next few weeks, as we continue to prepare for Holiday Solstice!  I might try and do a video this weekend, but it might be next weekend, I have to get some sewing done this weekend.

Stay safe and keep stitching,


  1. Great education in color selection. I really appreciate that you take the time to work through color selection with the mysteries

  2. Love the cutout tool, what a clever idea! Is it a purchased item or did you make it yourself?

    1. It use to be included in the Color 3 in 1 tool, but is no longer in the current version. You could make one easily with some heavy stock paper


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