Rebirth of Solids??

The other day I was looking around the web to see if some company made solid charm packs. My mom is making a food quilt and wants to use the Corner Store design from Pretty Little Mini Quilts. I think that design must have another name, because I wasn’t able to find any photos of it by that name. I knew that one of my contacts had a photo so I have used that to show you the design. I have a lot of pattern names to look up!


Anyway, I feel like I have a long history with solids. In my first quilt class, the teacher sent us out to buy fabric. She told us to purchase a light, medium and dark from the same color (I chose blue) and a few other colors to go with it (see the pink, green, purple and muslin above?).

I was pretty overwhelmed when I arrived at the quilt store. Even back in the dark ages, there was a lot of fabric to choose from. The shop I visited had a room, yes an entire ROOM, full of solids. I chose solids for my first project to kind of keep the noise level low. You might notice one print. I went back later and got that print when I felt more confident and decided I kind of liked this quilting thing.

I have used solids on and off since I made the above sampler, but have never done a whole project with solids again. TFQ and I did an exchange where we would send each other a block. I made blocks in solids and she made blocks in tone on tones. This exchange was a good learning experience for me, because I learned how to use tone-on-tones and could compare the interest level in a block made with tone-on-tones versus one made with solids.

The fresh modern quilts seem to rely on, at least, some solids.

City Quilts Book
City Quilts Book

Cherri House (don’t you love that name?) has also come out with a book on using solids and their blog is filled with glowing quilts using solids. The Stash blog reviews it here. I need to reserve that book at the library and take a look. Pat Sloan interviewed Cherri House on one of her Toginet Radio shows

In my search, I found that Kona, which came out with a zillion solids a few years ago does have charm packs of their solids. They actually say on their website that they have 221 solid colors. I recently heard about Bella Solids from Moda (love the aqua, green and jade, BTW). P.S. I quilt mentions the Bella Solids, so they are definitely out there.

I think visiting the Amish Exhibit really put solids back on my mind. They had been rattling around in the back because of the Fresh Modern quilts, but now they are firmly ensconced. As I mentioned, those quilts glow. I haven’t decided whether I want to make a whole quilt with solids, but I think I would like to get them back into my repertoire. I did use one solid in one of the teacher pillows as a border. That is a start. I need to practice so I can make solid quilts that glow. I have a large piece of Kona Snow and, perhaps, that is a good place to start.

I am thrilled that solids are out there again; that people are paying attention to solids again. I like having a wide variety of colors, and the subtle variations, to choose from. I’d love to have 5 yard cuts of each of the Bella and Kona solids. Wouldn’t it be great to have that many colors to choose from? Of course, I would need a fabric HOUSE to deal with all of those cuts.

What is going on? What is it with solids all of sudden? Everything old is new again? I am interested to see where this is all going and what people will do with the solids.

Welcome Back, Solids!

Author: Jaye

Quiltmaker who enjoys writing and frozen chocolate covered bananas.

10 thoughts on “Rebirth of Solids??”

  1. Hello! Thank you so much for the mention of my book, I hope your library will get a copy, and you will have a chance to look it over.

    Your idea of a 5 yd cut of from each solid is a wonderful idea!

    Thanks again,


  2. The Fat Quarter Shop has both the Moda Bella and Kaufman Kona charm packs. Angie has some of the Moda Bella packs at the QL, as well; I was looking at them this weekend and almost gave in to the temptation to buy them.

    Yes, I know it will shock you, but even I have developed an interest in solids. This is partly in response to Cherri’s fabulous quilts that she has been posting in the Fresh Modern Quilts pool (I just ordered her book), and partly in response to having my interest in Amish quilts re-sparked by the Amish Abstractions exhibit. But also — when I’m working with the contemporary fabrics that have come along in the last few years — often large scale and graphic — I find that they just don’t play nicely with tone-on-tones — they need to be off-set by the calmness of solids or fancy muslin. So I think the resurgence of solids has been triggered in part by what’s happening in the world of printed fabric. And frankly, it’s easier to find a reliable solid than a reliable tone-on-tone these days. I didn’t buy the charm packs at Angie’s, but I’ve been eyeing some Kona fat quarter bundles every time I go to Fabric Crush…

    Now – will I make a major change in my quiltmaking approach and make a quilt entirely out of solids? We’ll see. A year ago I would have said, Never! But a year ago I wouldn’t have expected to be stitching 1800 hexagons together by hand, either!

    1. TQF…hexagons got you too? I have my 100″+x100″+ hand done hexagon quilt on the frame to be hand quilted now! I have been afraid to count how many hexagons there are! lol

    2. I have just picked myself up off the floor! I am shocked, but we all evolve in our quiltmaking and I think the City Lights book has made me (and others, perhaps??) look at solids in a new, fresh way. Perhaps working off of the Modern Quilt Movement?

      I think that your comment about the bold graphic prints and pairing them with solids is both insightful and brilliant. It is a good solution to those bold print.

      Good to know that the Fat Quarter Shop has some solid charm packs.

  3. Solids have captured my mind ever since I saw the first exhibition of Amish quilts in NYC in the 70’s. Then, of course, the best that we could really get was slick poly-cottons that did not really come in a very wide range of colors. The spectacular quality of the Amish quilts was that the spectacular colors were wools. I am so pleased that the range and depth of solids is really coming along in cottons now. Yeah !!!

    1. Excellent points,Marie! The first exhibit of Amish quilts I saw was in the late 80s or early 1990s – the Esprit exhibit in SF. I haven’t used many of them since my first quilt, but they do creep into my work. Perhaps it is time to revisit an old friend?

  4. I, too, always thought the depth of color in the Amish quilts came from the fact that the fabric were wools. So I was surprised to find that many of the quilts in the Amish Abstractions exhibit were made from cotton! I think that is one reason why the idea of using solid cottons started to seem more interesting…

  5. Interesting! I never thought about what the colors were made from. The current crop of solids is very vibrant. I am thinking that solid accents for bags might be a great way to start.

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