BLOCK Friday: Rainbow Quilts

An exciting way to explore variety in quilts is through color. Quilts using color to create visual appeal is not a new concept, but unique and enticing color arrangements can be what makes a quilt an original. Think of your favorite quilts and how they use color. Some may focus on a single tone — purple quilts, orange quilts, or perhaps a grey quilt — while others may incorporate all the colors of the rainbow, like the quilts we’re discussing today.

Remarkably charming and always stunning, there’s a unique challenge to rainbow quilts in using the perfect balance of warm and cool colors in symbiotic gradations. Rainbow-colored items usually stand out when introduced into a home’s décor, which is great news for quilters! To create a quilt with massive interest, you can play with the style of your patchwork, in addition to the tones and values used in your quilts.

Spice Market Quilt
Spice Market by Carl Hentsch

Quilts, like Spice Market, can be created to reflect the sights and colors of a particular place and time. This quilt, by Carl Hentsch and using fabric from Tula Pink, was inspired by an Indian spice market. Can you picture it? It’s such a treat when a quilt tells a story. This quilt features squares set on-point and appliquéd circles creating dimension and a visual party for the eyes.

Bee's Rainbow Quilt
Bee’s Rainbow by Thomas Knauer

It can be overwhelming when working with a quilt that uses so many different colors. This seemingly challenging task is made easier with intentional color placement. In other words, using a design wall (or your kitchen floor!) to plan out color arrangement, is a great way to create a smooth transition in your quilts. That might mean adding a neutral color into your arrangement to break up the rainbow. Think white, beige, brown, navy, gray or black sashing. Thomas Knauer made Bee’s Rainbow for his daughter based on her favorite color, “purple, but really all of the colors.” Purple quilts are always a hit, but “all of the colors” really make it pop!

Rainbow Stripes Quilt
Rainbow Stripes by Heather Jones

If it’s a modern flair you’re looking for, you can easily create this look with simple strip piecing. A quilt like Rainbow Stripes would make a perfect addition to a little girl or boy’s room – the contemporary style of the rainbow-colored fabrics against a clean, white background is popular with a younger crowd.

Tekno Rainbow Quilt
Tekno Rainbow by Susan Emerson

Perhaps you’re looking for something on the easy side — a little less challenging, but just as colorful. Tekno Rainbow has the hues of a rainbow woven into a striking composition made up of just two easy quilt blocks. Above, we spoke of breaking up the bold colors by interspersing neutrals, which Susan Emerson did here. You can also see this technique used with the After the Storm quilt below.

After the Storm Quilt
After the Storm by Susan Emerson

After the Storm takes a cue from black and white quilts and adds bold pops of color. You can see the rainbow of colors shining through the gray blocks in this stunning quilt. Designer Susan Emerson makes this complex quilt simple by cleverly arranging squares and rectangles. We thought we’d offer this quilt as a free quilt pattern – it’s too good not to share! Looking for more free quilt patterns featuring bold colors? Color Bars is one of four amazing quilt patterns offered in our free strip quilts patterns eBook. Just one easy download. Yippee!

You may just find a pot of gold at the end of one of these rainbow quilts. What do you think of these colorful quilts? Leave a comment and share your thoughts!

Carrie Sisk, Online Editor, Fons & Porter


Happy Quilting!

Carrie Sisk, Fons & Porter, Online Editor

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Fons & Porter Blog
Carrie Sisk

About Carrie Sisk

Carrie's first sewing machine was a gift from her dad—a better gift was never given. A crafter, trained pianist and experienced paintballer, when the opportunity arises, she's hiking in Yosemite or Rocky Mountain National Park.

11 thoughts on “BLOCK Friday: Rainbow Quilts

  1. I just made a rainbow quilt for my 5 year old granddaughter. She requested it for her new (double size) bed. But she stated “no black, no white, no brown”. Pretty opinionated for one so young! Is there somewhere I could post a picture? I just made 9 patches out of my batik stash and I must admit, it’s pretty! And so fun to make. A very happy quilt, as are all the ones mentioned above. Bright colors are perfect for a snowy winter project to look forward to spring.

  2. I LOVE them all!!! A rainbow quilt with black background was actually what caught my eye and drew me into the quilting arena to begin with. I’ve been loving it ever since.

  3. I have been quiltung for iver 40 years and just LOVE rainbow quilts! Everyone in my family is sick of such colorful quilts, I’m sure; but too bad – I just love making them. I have not found a pattern that could not be adapted to bright colors but love ones PLANNED that way. Thanx for some new looks. 🙂

  4. They are stunning. I want to make one for each of my young cousins. And I will feel happy knowing they are sleeping under something made by someone who unconditionally loves each of them, and loves watching them grow up every day!!

  5. My most favorite ‘rainbow’ colored quilt is what I’ve called my ‘Rainbow After the Storm’. It’s a Storm-at-Sea, using all the colors of the rainbow and they cross each other. I have made several and one request was a commissioned quilt for a guy that was color-blind (his choice of patterns & color).

  6. I love Rainbow Quilts. In fact, I have a whole notebook of patterns that I would like to make into quilts….someday.
    Color should have been my middle name, I just love it!

  7. I used the “Stacks Digital Pattern as my inspiration for a rainbow quilt for my youngest daughter. She is quite passionate about human rights and it was a graduation gift when she received her BS in Women’s Studies and Religion from UGA.

  8. I am pretty new to quilting. I love trying new patterns. These quilts look so enticing. I love the bright colors. Am making quilts as gifts for Christmas, and also several weddings coming up.