Tuesday, May 17, 2016


I'm sort of between projects this week. I just finished two quilts, but I'm not quite ready to share them. I did venture out beyond the confines of my own yard to take pictures of them, and I'll have a post up on the weekend. My next big project will be some secret sewing that I can't share for quite awhile. I do have a wall quilt that I'll work on in the meantime, and I hope to also have some other little projects that I'll be able to blog about for the next month or so. 

At loose ends today, I tackled a little project that I've wanted to do for some time. Homemade swatches. I have a Kona color card, which I love, but I wish that I could move the fabrics around. I know there are nifty ways to cut up the card and mount the little swatches, but I just wanted to do something quick. I also wanted bigger swatches. So today I went through my Kona bin (there are also a few other solids in there) and cut squares of about 4 1/2 inches. Then I pinked the edges and labeled each square with the brand, color name, and color number (if it was Kona) using a permanent marker on light fabrics and a white colored pencil on the darkest ones.

I probably should have pressed my fabrics, but I was in the making zone and couldn't be bothered. I tried using a paper puncher to make holes in each square, but it jammed, so I traced the circles and then just cut the holes with sharp embroidery scissors. So far they are pretty crisp. If they start fraying, I'll put some Fray Check on them.

I cut front and back covers from scrap template plastic (only one shown here) and two card stock flyleaves (only one here) for my little swatch book. 

Then I loaded up my swatches onto a jump ring I found in a junk box. (Kind of wish I had pressed those fabrics.)

Here's how the book looks with the swatches fanned out:

And here it is closed:

I suppose I could decorate the front, but this works for me. The flyleaves give it a clean look, but they are also useful to place behind light fabrics when they're fanned out to ensure that the colors are true. 

This will be an easy swatch book to slip in my purse when I'm shopping or for general planning at home. I only have about 30 solid swatches right now so the 1-inch jump ring worked out fine. If I add a lot to the book in the future, I'll need a bigger one. But hey, this one was free and now my junk box is a tiny bit less stuffed. 

I'm linking up today with Freemotion by the River for Linky Tuesday and tomorrow with Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Bee Social. (Click links here or the buttons on the right.) I'll be back on the weekend to share my finishes. (If you want a sneak peek, click on my Instagram link on the right.)

Have a great week with your quilt related projects--big or small. 


Mari said...

Genius idea!

Bernie Kringel said...

This is a cool idea - I don't have enough of a solids stash to use this - I think so far I have bought solids as I need them and that means I used them right away. Probably a much wiser way to purchase fabric. ;-)
Also, how did you know what each color was? Do you somehow keep that info with your stash?

Sandra Walker said...

Wow, you went to a lot of work to make this, and it looks like it will sure be a handy item to toss into your purse when shopping. I don't have a Kona card, don't have a lot of Kona yardage, and just one 10" square stack. However, I seem to quietly be working to rectify that situation, lol. Your big secret sewing project intrigues me, as do your two finished quilts!

JanineMarie said...
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Kaja said...

Great idea. I usually have a scrap of something I'm trying to match with a picture on my laptop - sometimes it works, others not so much. Your little swatches would be a much better idea, and they're kind of pleasing to look at too.

Lorna McMahon said...

This is super! I did not want to purchase the colour card. And always had intentions of just using a scrap of the fat quarters I purchased to make up swatches. It's always handy to have them labeled and ready for auditioning and your swatch book looks fabulous!

Lara B. said...

Janine this is going to be an invaluable tool! What a great idea! As you buy more Kona colors you can add to it too. So much better for mixing and matching in this nice larger size swatch!

Sharon - IN said...

Nice idea. The LQS here sells Moda Solids, wish there was a shop close by that carried Kona.