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Thread: Are the color cards for solid fabrics worth it???

  1. #1
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Are the color cards for solid fabrics worth it???

    I want to start an elaborate machine appliqued quilt for my daughter, who wants two shades of blue for the background fabric (a navy and something lighter).

    I figure my choices are Kaufman Kona solids, Moda Bella solids, Moda Marbles, and Bali 1895 solids. None of the LQS carry all of these brands (I would have to call around to find out who carries what), and whatever brand they carry I'm sure they have only a small assortment of possible colors.

    Checked out the price of fabric cards at Hancock's of Paducah, and they are expensive! $20 each for Kona and Bella, $35 for Moda Marbles, and $30 for Bali. $105 plus shipping just to see one-inch square samples of each color!

    I'm just *so* afraid I will order 8 yards of two fabrics that won't really go together (plus I need a sashing fabric that coordinates).

    Is there an easier way to do this, or should I just bite the bullet and order all of the swatch cards? I wonder how long the swatch cards will be good for. If they will last 10 years, then okay. It's just that I don't often need solid colors. Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Super Member valleyquiltermo's Avatar
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    WOW I think the swatchs should be free, since they are not I'd just wing it and go to LQS and choose the fabrics.
    Foe me I almost always order on line as I hate shopping in real time., LOL
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  3. #3
    Super Member auntpiggylpn's Avatar
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    Some on line shops will send swatches, usually 1" - 2" squares, free. Some have a very nominal charge for swatches. I'm really considering buying the color card for the Moda Bella Solids as they seem to be my "go to" solids right now.
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  4. #4
    Super Member LyndaOH's Avatar
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    Have you considered Shadowplay from Maywood as well? They are similar to Moda Marbles but I think the fabric has a nice feel. I love working with them.

    If you do order a color card, I would think you could order just one. If Kona is what you like working with, just order that one.

  5. #5
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I didn't know about Maywood. Just saw that Michael Miller has a color card for his cotton couture solids (another $20 at Hancocks!).

    Really, I see now that I need to narrow it down to a fabric line first, then order just one color card. I should rule out Kaufman Kona. I bought half a yard at the LQS. The color is perfect, but the hand seems heavy to me. All of the solids seem to be broadcloth, but I was hoping for a finer hand.

    If anyone who has worked with two different lines can describe the difference, that would be very helpful!

  6. #6
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    I recently bought the Moda Bella card and have used it several times already, including to answer a post here on the board. The squares are actually a little larger than 1", by the way.

    In my experience the color names remain the same over time, but new may be added and some poor sellers may be dropped from the line. So, yes, they are still usable for years.

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  7. #7
    Super Member burchquilts's Avatar
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    I have a color card (it's more like a folder) of batiks (Bali maybe... I forget & I'm too sleepy to go in & dig it out of te PILE in my sewing room... LOL!). It cost les than $10 & was a wonderful purchase. I refer to it so often! So I say yes! Pictures just don't always read true... IMHO.
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  8. #8
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    I love Kona solids. I purchased the Kona solids 5" charm packs to solve the same questions you have. There are 217 different colors, divided into 5 different groups. Easily match them up to my fabric stash and then pull out the color swatch I am looking for (they are bundled together) and head to the LQS. Perfect size to place against fabrics and make decisions. Sewing Machines Plus sells them for @ $34 for all 217, equilter has them for 10.50 per bundle of 42 or 43. I know several other sites sell them as well. I personally think $34 was a great investment. I even use them to match up colors in other fabrics. I take the swatch to the store and it helps me get an exact or very close fabric tomatch besides the Kona solids.

  9. #9
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    Maybe narrow your choices online and order a FQ of the finalists?
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  10. #10
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    Also Michael Miller's solids are a much finer cotton then Kona's ie. not as heavy. My LQS has the color cards for Kona and Miller - have you asked you LQS if they have color cards avaiable for you to look at? I agree with Jan in VA - if you use solids alot then it might be worth it to get the color cards - I know money is tight for most of us but it might be worth it.

  11. #11
    Super Member mhansen6's Avatar
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    I have the Moda Marbles color card and I love it. Well worth the money. But I didn't pay $35. Mine was less than $20 from Hancocks of Paduch.
    Marie

  12. #12
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    I have a color card for the Hoffman water color "batiks" best investment ! So if you really want to be sure of a color, and you can not get swatches. If you plan on doing lots of work with that fabric line .. get a color card !

  13. #13
    Super Member franc36's Avatar
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    I bought a Konacolor card many years ago and have really used it. I do notice that colors have been dropped and new colors added; but the basic colors remain the same. Perhaps it is time for me to order a new Kona color card.

  14. #14
    Senior Member BeverlyH's Avatar
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    Know your fabric makers and stay with them. I order from www.fabricshack.com but I purchase Windham or Northcott etc. I know they make quality fabrics so when they come to my mailbox, I know I have good value. So far, the photo of the fabric has been exactly like what comes in the shipment, plus shipping with them is cheap! Good luck!
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  15. #15
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    Note that if you order a charm pack or even a fQ pack that most of the solids do not have any info on the selvage edge so you still might not know the exact color name/number to order

  16. #16
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    Sorry you don't live closer. My LQS owner will order Moda bellas or marbles for a customer. They usually arrive within a few days. Check with your LQS -- can't imagine why they would not let you look at their cards, whatever they carry.

  17. #17
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    The Kona card is actually the next item on my to-buy list. They are my preferred solids and I recently spent a ridiculous amount of time agonizing over which colors would be just right for a project with nothing to look at except pictures online.

  18. #18
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Some notes gathered over a long period of using solids from many sources...

    Color cards are good IF you are sharp enough to judge from a 1" square that is half pasted to cardboard...it's not easy and I have a very keen eye for color. Also be aware that the dye lot of the actual fabric received will not match the dye lot used to make the color card so it can be a c**p shoot anyway. I have a Kona card and have been disappointed more frequently than not. I stopped using it a couple years ago.

    Not all solids are broadcloth and not all broadcloth has the same hand as Kona solids. Moda Bella is a broadcloth, but with a softer hand and a slight glow to the surface. Kona also has a softer hand after it is washed, btw.

    Two solid lines with a hand very similar to regular quilting fabric by the same manufacturer are RJR's Supreme Solids (my current favorite) http://www.rjrfabrics.com/fabrics/co...packageID=1007 and P&B Color Spectrum http://www.pbtex.com/html/colorspectrum.html (I believe this is what borntohandquilt prefers for her wholecloth quilts, but I could be wrong).

    Despite the differences in monitors, I have found much more often than not, if two colors from a manufacturer's website "go", odds are great that they will coordinate in person as well. They may be slightly different from what you see online, but relative to each other, they will most likely be fine. It's much trickier when using multiple manufacturers or even multiple lines. Safest way is to buy in person, of course.

    Hope at least some of that helps you.
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  19. #19
    Super Member Favorite Fabrics's Avatar
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    Color cards make a wonderful "quilters toy". I just LOVE my color cards, and wouldn't be without them.

    I have all four of the color cards you mentioned, plus Maywood's Shadow Play and RJR's Cotton Supreme. If you can send me something in the colors you are looking for (such as a paint swatch) I can look over the color cards and tell you what goes best.

    We may not carry the colors you need, but at least you will know the pattern/color numbers of the ones that are right, and then you can hunt them down online. Bear in mind that the batiks are hard, though, because on the color card the swatches are tiny and may not represent what color would be a few inches away on the actual fabric.

    And... by the way... it's the kind of customer service that we provide all the time! We spend a lot of time on the phone with customers, helping them to match fabrics.

  20. #20
    Super Member Favorite Fabrics's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghostrider View Post
    ...Despite the differences in monitors, I have found much more often than not, if two colors from a manufacturer's website "go", odds are great that they will coordinate in person as well. They may be slightly different from what you see online, but relative to each other, they will most likely be fine...

    Well... I have to disagree. I've had to "tweak" the pictures of many Moda Marbles to make them look right with respect to each other. Some of their pictures are just plain wrong!

    I do agree that trying to coordinate between manufacturers based on their online images is risky business.

  21. #21
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    If I order on line, I tend to stay with fabric from a collection. In the collections they always match nicely. Some sites also have a spot you can view your selections together. I figure if they all look good on the screen together, they should look good together off screen. They may not be the exact colour to your eye when they arrive but at least they all go together. Good luck.

  22. #22
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Wow, I have learned so much about solids!

    Thanks for the heads-up on RJR, ghostrider. I was able to print out their color card and plan to cut out the squares to see if my daughter and I can find something that fits our requirements. She has a good eye for color.

    What I may end up doing is deciding on a line first, based on the color selection I find online, and then order that line's color card. Or, if we are pretty sure of our choice, I will order 1/2-yard of each of the 3 colors first to make sure they really do go together.

    I was over-thinking the process originally. This discussion has really helped me sort out what I actually need.

  23. #23
    Senior Member QuiltNama's Avatar
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    Contact the shops you are planning to buy your fabrics from and ask if they sell a sample set. Explain what you are trying to make and sometimes they will send you samples of the fabric colors you are interested in making the quilt from. I work in a shop and the color cards are a great tool, but...only for a limited time. Some of the colors will stay the same but many of them do change.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prism99 View Post
    I didn't know about Maywood. Just saw that Michael Miller has a color card for his cotton couture solids (another $20 at Hancocks!).

    Really, I see now that I need to narrow it down to a fabric line first, then order just one color card. I should rule out Kaufman Kona. I bought half a yard at the LQS. The color is perfect, but the hand seems heavy to me. All of the solids seem to be broadcloth, but I was hoping for a finer hand.

    If anyone who has worked with two different lines can describe the difference, that would be very helpful!
    if you are going to be machine embroidering the blocks, then what you really need to know how each fabric will do with the embroidery! For example, the hoffman batiks, might not do as well as say the Kona solids! Also the embroidery might not look as nice on a marble as a solid! you need to order some 1/2 cuts and play first then make the big purchase!

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