Beyond Neutral Blog Tour Stop and Giveaway

John Adams, aka Quilt Dad, is one smart cookie and here he has gone and written another very smart book called Beyond Neutral: Quilts Inspired by Nature’s Elements.
beyond neutral book
In it, he encourages us to look beyond white and cream and black as options for background colors in quilts. I believe John has met me before. In 20+ years of quilting, I believe I have used a cream background once. Recently. It was a small quilt. And it needed to look just like the pattern I was following. I often see quilts with cream backgrounds and say to myself, “I should do that sometime.” I don’t know, when push comes to shove and I’m actually making a fabric choice for a real-life project, the acid green always, always seems more appealing (please note the searing blog background…).
mustard acid
I was folding these fat quarters at work just the other day and my heart went pitter-pat. Seriously, my pulse quickens when I see a really good color. AND, I will go one step further to say that I do indeed see these lovely colors as “neutrals.” They are the zing that can surround and showcase a collection of like-minded prints. To me, that’s when things get exciting — when you can find a background and print combo that makes you gasp and then squeal. It’s a regular thing for me when it comes to playing with fabric. Isn’t it for you?
That’s why I think John’s book is so brilliant. I think it helps a quilter see other options and to find that inspiration right in the nature that (hopefully) surrounds us.
Here are some of my favorites from the book:
I love John’s Canyonlands quilt with its warm, rich tan background (sorry that it’s reading a little orange-y in my photo). It really makes the lighter prints sing. John’s inspiration was a video of a flock of starlings.
Triton Cove uses a light aqua shot cotton as a background. I find shot cottons very thrilling because the warp and weft are two different colors. This adds so much interest and sparkle and depth. In this quilt, John cut into some of his most precious fabrics. I love his encouragement to cut into our favorite fabrics and USE them. I came face to face with my problem with fabric collecting when my basement flooded this summer. I looked at it this way, I got to visit all of the fabrics I’ve been collecting all these years. Let’s just say, I have too many favorites. My worry always is to, as Oprah might say, let the fabric live its best life. To select a design and background that seems to me to be the best possible use of a most loved fabric collection. And then I get stuck. For perhaps years on that choice and selection. So, I’ll use Triton Cove as my inspiration and John’s words of wisdom as encouragement. Also, I think this quilt design does indeed showcase these gorgeous prints.
Glacier Bay is another favorite — because, hello, x and o in a single quilt. I love the cool mix of fabrics. I love the fabric placement. I think, in fact, this is one of my favorite ways to use fabric: select a group of prints you like and use them in all of the parts of the blocks — frames, centers, what have you. All of the prints are speaking to each other from each location in the quilt. Bliss! The pale aqua background is a real winner here. It sparkles as cornerstones, if you will, beside the darkest prints and makes the lighter prints recede to lovely effect.
 pacific crest q
But, I think Pacific Crest is my absolute favorite! I can just see the waves. I’m also having a navy moment at the moment. My navy/indigo moment started two years ago when I bought a car that was almost black, but no, upon closer inspection, such a terrific shade of dark blue. I can’t get enough of it now. Before that car, navy and very little other blue was a part of my fabric stash. Now I think it enhances just about everything in a mysterious kind of way as it does in the Pacific Crest quilt. I mean, look how fabulous it looks by even the darkest prints in the quilt! Smashing!
To be quite honest, when I was selecting some favorites to put in this post, every time I turned the page, I saw a favorite. As I said, John has written a very smart book with fantastic designs throughout. His insights and encouragement from natural inspiration are well worth adding to your book stack. I have kept the book in sight since I got it and have been flipping through and and dreaming and planning for a while. When time allows, fabric will be cut!
Bravo, John!!! And thank you for including me in the celebration of your new book!!
   Reading matter
John’s publisher, Martingale, are generously providing an ebook of Beyond Neutral to one of my readers. Leave a comment, making sure there is a way to contact you, by the end of the day on September 26 and we’ll do ye olde random selection to choose a winner. Good luck!
Other stops on this lovely tour include:
Lynne Goldsworthy




  1. wendy said

    this looks like such a fab book, I love the ethos behind it

  2. I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks colors like aqua and green can be “neutrals”! My mom looks at me like I’ve lost my mind when I pick out some funky color and start smiling and nodding to myself. (She’s a definite white/cream background sort of person.) I saw a beautiful low-volume quilt the other day and thought I should make one, only to discover that I’d have to buy almost all the fabric for the quilt! Guess I’m just a bright high-volume kind of person, but I am opening to the idea of “Quiet” colors. 🙂

  3. bee said

    the more i see of this book the more i want to make the quilts in it!

  4. Julie De Pauw said

    I’m a color girl too. Have not yet used white as background. Light gray but not white. Would love a copy of the book

  5. pennyguglie said

    I love the concept of neutrals that are different, but I need help with the practice.

  6. Rosalind Gutierrez said

    Love the Nature inspired quilts and love the color backgrounds.

  7. Kathie L said

    I think Pacific Crest is a winner also.

  8. Emily said

    Those FQs are super saturated! I think you have the hang of beyond neutrals 🙂 Thanks for the chance to win!

  9. Mom C said

    I am a background color girl too so this book is so validating. Love the quilts. Thanks.

  10. Sally said

    Pacific Crest is my favorite quilt too, and in my mind’s eye it would have very different colors.

  11. Sarah J. said

    Love the projects I’ve seen from this book! Color is tricky for me, so I would love to get a close look at this book and learn some new techniques! Thanks for the chance to win!

  12. Vicki H said

    I love the Canyonlands quilt. Thanks for the chance.

  13. Sandy K said

    The book looks great, lots of eye candy to look at.

  14. Bekki said

    This looks like a great book. I love colour so would love to have a read of it.

  15. Susannah said

    I’ve only made one white quilt so agree with you and John in every way. Love your greens which are neutrals in the natural world:) Thanks for the chance to win…

  16. barbara woods said

    i would love to have that book, thanks for the chance. beautiful quilt patterns

  17. Trudy Keller said

    Great book! I would love to have it!

  18. Lyn said

    I like several of the patterns you’ve shown, especially Triton’s Cove.

  19. Tamie said

    This book would make a great addition to my library. Thanks for sharing.

  20. ohangelina said

    love this book !!!

  21. Juanita said

    I find myself drawn to the modern quilts that are using gray as the neutral. I’m looking for the perfect gray to use in my quilt.

  22. Ann said

    I NEED that book! Looks like a real winner.

  23. Julie McKay said

    I love Canyonlands + Pacific Crest. I would love to see inside the book. Thanks for the chance.

  24. The book looks great. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

  25. Lori Morton said

    Looove this book already! Is on my Wish list for sure! 🙂

    My favorite is between Pacific Crest & Triton Cove.

  26. ERIN DENNIS said

    If you look at antique quilts many use other colors as the background too. My favorite background is red, or lime green, blue too, and a soft pink. Oh how about grey? or purple? Sigh! There are sooo many beautiful colors why use white/cream?

  27. Laura R said

    I would love this book! I don’t have very many books on quilting as I’m quite new but I think this one would get a lot of use 🙂

  28. Linda Fleming said

    I love the quilts and John’s use of color. I think my favorite Is Canyon Lands!

  29. Jackie said

    I really like Triton Cove!

  30. Paula K. said

    Would love to win a book! Ideas come from great books. Thanks for the chance. Sincerely, Paula K.

  31. Debbie said

    I love this idea of using a color in the background. I am definitely going to do it.

  32. Veronika said

    I am loving navy right now too!! And I love everything I’ve seen of this book so far!

  33. Miriam said

    I need to get brave and try something other than plain white or cream as a background. Pacific Crest is my favourite of the quilts you showed. Thank you for the chance to win.

  34. Garm said

    I’m new to quilting and soooo happy to learn neutrals don’t have to be white or cream!

  35. duchick said

    I love the ideas and designs in this book! I am just beginning my venture into quilting and want to make everything! duchick at gmail dot com

  36. skalabara said

    Thanks for sharing this book, my favorite is Canyonlands, Barbora

  37. Janie said

    I need this book. I have the white/cream background addiction, and I need to get over it! Thanks for the chance.

  38. Nesta said

    Pacific Crest is my favourite too! Would love to make it. I’m very interested in learning how to improve my use of background colour.

  39. Shot Cottons are primo! The warp and weft with the two shade just adds that sparkle. Canyonlands and Triton Cove are the two quilts high on my list. For the first time ever, I’m making a background in aqua w/Kona solids which totally adds a serene look and feel>

  40. Helen said

    I need this book to get me out of that old mindset. I don’t know how to envision a new neutral with me fabrics.

  41. Lee said

    This book is on my wish list! thank you for the chance to win a copy.

  42. Barb B said

    It seems like I use other colours as background too but it didn’t seem strange to me. Using white or cream does. Thanks for this giveaway. I would like to add it to my library.

  43. Book looks really interesting. Thanks for the chance!

  44. Sue said

    Everytime I read an article about this book I fall in love with a different quilt! I think my overall favorite is Pacific Crest, I love how John has used dark blue as background.

  45. Karen Thurn said

    I’ve never had an ebook yet. I’ve seen several blogs about this book and it looks great. Thanks for hosting a giveaway.

  46. farmquilter said

    I love using unconventional neutrals!! I love the patterns in this book – totally awesome!! I keep finding a new favorite!!

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