Monday, August 25, 2014

The Beyond Neutral Book Tour

I am happy to kick off the blog tour for Beyond Neutral: Quilts Inspired by Nature's Elements today! Over the next four weeks, several of my best bloggy friends have agreed to share their thoughts on the book and the quilts featured within. Naturally there will be prizes and giveaways throughout (more on that later.) And some have even agreed to take my Beyond Neutral Challenge.

"What is the Beyond Neutral Challenge?", you may ask. It's drawn from the premise of my book, which is that we can draw color palettes for our quilts from the beauty of nature. So the challenge is this: find a photograph from nature that has particular appeal for you, and build a color, print, and fabric palette from that image for a quilt.

Here's mine. I simply Googled "nature photography" and looked at the image results. Right there on the front page was this beautiful image:

With that as my inspiration, I began to think about what I could pull from this image that would translate to fabric. Clearly, the colors are gorgeous: oranges and yellow, browns and greens. There's the literal interpretation, namely imagery of deer, trees, leaves, grass, and other foliage. Finally, there's the overall vibe of the photo -- calm, serene, tranquil, a bit muted. I can almost hear the sounds and smell the scents. And, because it's a quilt, I always try to strike a balance between large and small scale prints, include both focus fabrics and blenders, and ensure I've got some dots and stripes (or dot and stripe equivalents.)

Here's what I came up with after a quite enjoyable virtual shopping trip to the Fat Quarter Shop:

What do you think? If you like the collection, the Fat Quarter Shop is currently offering it as a special bundle to help celebrate my book tour! It would be a great starter pack for any of the quilts in Beyond Neutral.

I did this once before when the book was first released and created another fun fat quarter bundle. The Fat Quarter Shop also offers this bundle, called the Nature's Elements bundle, and for the duration of the book tour this bundle is being offered for 20% off. I happen to think that the two bundles could be combined for a pretty epic woodland quilt, or a fabulous stash builder.

I encourage you to take the Beyond Neutral Challenge, and I've got some giveaway prizes for anyone who accepts! One winner will win both an e-copy of Beyond Neutral and a Nature's Elements bundle as inspiration to make one of the book quilts, and another winner will receive a Nature's Elements fat quarter bundle.

All you have to do is complete the challenge and leave a comment below telling me where I can see your photo and virtual bundle. It can be on your blog, Flickr, Facebook, Instagram, etc. If you post to social media, be sure to use the hashtag #beyondneutralchallenge so that we can all view your creations. Participation is not mandatory for a chance to win. Winners will be chosen from the comments as well as from the hashtag on FB & IG.

Most of all, have fun! And be sure to visit all the other stops on the tour for more chances to win copies of Beyond Neutral: Quilts Inspired by Nature's Elements.


August 25 -- Kick-off -- YOU ARE HERE!
August 27 -- The Stitch This! blog at Martingale Books
August 29 -- Sara Lawson at Sew Sweetness

September 2 -- Molli Sparkles
September 4 -- Angela Pingel at Cut to Pieces

September 10 -- Lynne Goldsworthy at Lily's Quilts

September 15 -- The Fat Quarter Shop's Jolly Jabber
September 16 -- Julie Herman at Jaybird Quilts
September 17 -- Nick Ball at Quilts from the Attic
September 19 -- Amy Lobsiger at Mrs. Schmenkman Quilts

September 22 -- Emily Herrick at Crazy Old Ladies Quilts
September 23 -- Sarah Fielke at The Last Piece
September 24 -- Monica Solorio-Snow at the Happy Zombie
September 25 -- Scott Hansen at Blue Nickel Studios
September 26 -- Katy Jones at I'm a Ginger Monkey


  1. I love the whole idea of a nature quilt, and I think you did a great job picking those fabrics! i'd love to be included in the giveaway and look forward to the blog hop!

  2. #beyondneutralchallenge My favorite nature scene is the sea with all of its blue colors.

  3. Love the to try to put it into practice is another thing

  4. I love the idea but am not to good with colors. I'll have to give this a try. Don't know how long it will take me to get something posted though.

  5. Great book and great quilts too! Thank you for making color choices so much easier for folks. I think we over think our selections all too often when all we have to do is look out our back door to realize that just about anything goes. I have yet to hear someone say, "Oh, that flower shouldn't be in that border. It's the wrong color." Or, "The leaves on that tree should be..." If it's good enough for nature, it should be good enough for our quilts. At least that's my humble opinion on the subject.

  6. Your photo is beautiful. Nature has such beautiful colors and combination of colors!

  7. I love it :) I just look in my backyard for inspiration. Also saw a lot of beauty today riding around on my motorcycle. It was a great day for a ride in the country, which is where I live :) Love the book!!

  8. What a new concept! I would love to win! Thank you. Joyce F.

  9. is fun to find a photo and pull colors...hmmm....let me check my stash!:)
    btw...your book is in the quilt shop where I work!:)

  10. My photo inspiration would be of the tropics and photos I took in costa rica and Mexico. The color palette includes teals, turquoise, blues, greens, brown, tans, wheat, white, silver. Such relaxing colors for me.


  11. I love the idea of using a photo to get inspiration for colors. My photo would be springtime in a Paris garden; pinks, whites, violets, greens, blues, yellows and gray. I do not have anything to post and I wouldn't know how to do it if I did but I appreciate that you are including me in the giveaway. I enjoy reading your posts.

  12. I love your perspective on color an shapes in quilting. It is clean,crisp and inspiring.
    It doesn't seem to matter the fabric so much as how you bring out the best in them.
    Thankyou for your refreshing approach. I like earthy colors from nature and have really enjoyed your interpretation of nature. G

  13. I'll play along... I selected a photo from our recent Yellowstone trip, and came up with the fabric selections here.

  14. Thank you for sharing this simply fabulous option of choosing a color palette!

  15. Love your explanation. I have a neighbor who sees color like that. When I can't choose, I'll take my choices to her and she can explain why one goes and the other doesn't. I love the color options she gives me. So many times they are unexpected but always add depth and more to my quilts. Thanks.

  16. Great challenge - have a look at my humble attempt:
    Took one picture from your blog of your Cape Lookout quilt - hope that's ok!
    Thanks so much!

  17. It's so true that we often use just white or beige for the backgrounds but, now that I think about it, one of my favorite quilts that I made used gray as the background. Time to think more about this... Thanks John for the inspiration and best wishes for your book and fabric!!

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  19. I just made a small display quilt using your Half Moon Bay pattern. It is a Star Wars quilt and Glows in the Dark. I tried to hashtag it, if that worked and it's under my FB page-Marty Tamblyn

  20. Your new book is beyond amazing!!! I love every pattern in it and want to make them all!!!

  21. Your fabric is a lot diff from what I would normally choose. But I like it! Especially the deer fabric. And your book looks like a lot of fun and inspiration!

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