Modern Neutrals Author Amy Ellis Visits See How We Sew–Giveaway Today!

Book-J:  Modern Neutrals by Amy Ellis

Buy book . . . succumb to new neutral prints at the quilt shop–the leftmost pair are fresh from the store.


Ooh, have I got a scoop for you dear See How We Sew readers. Amy Ellis, an up-and-coming quilt designer, has published her third and best title to date, Modern Neutrals:  A Fresh Look at Neutral Quilt Patterns from Martingale & Company. I was hooked when I spotted the book’s promotional images in the Martingale catalog last month; imagine my delight when I leafed through Modern Neutrals at my local quilt shop.  Genius! Her first two books, Modern Basics and Modern Basics II, delivered terrific quilt patterns, but this book is even better.

Why my raptures? I’ve been pondering my obsessive attachment to this book because it’s been ages since I’ve been so dazzled. I’ve come to the conclusion that pared-down modernist geometry looks incredibly elegant and timeless when matched with the simplicity of neutral colors and I don’t think I could ever tire of the pairing. Adroitly placed neutrals also deliver lovely shadows and depth, as you’ll see here in Amy’s Prism quilt. It’s so sculptural. The quilt block calls to mind Old World architectural motifs that you’d find in cathedrals and palaces (my milieu, of course).

Quilt-J:  Amy Ellis's Prism

“Prism” from Amy Ellis’s “Modern Neutrals”

Here’s Martingale’s promo for Amy’s book:

Best-selling author Amy Ellis has outdone herself with this amazing collection of new blocks and quilts. With her spot-on design sense, she shows how to use neutrals–including large-scale prints, solids, and tonal fabrics–in stunning quilts.

  • Choose from 15 extraordinary quilt patterns that range from simple to intricate
  • Discover Amy’s secrets for using graphic quilt designs stitched in neutral tones to add sophistication and texture to living spaces
  • Find an assortment of great gift ideas, even for guys (Gotta agree, male-friendly designs here)

Without further ado, let me introduce you to Amy Ellis who, today, is going to give us the inside scoop about her newest book. Make sure you scroll to the end where you’ll find the details of the Modern Neutrals e-Book giveaway sponsored by Martingale & Company.

Quilt-J:  Amy Ellis's Whispered Lace

The cover quilt “Whispered Lace” from “Modern Neutrals” by Amy Ellis

Amy, you are on a roll, three books in how many months?  Do you actually find time to sleep?

He-he :) Two books in the last six months, and my first was two years ago. I do sleep, occasionally, and I have found ways to be super productive, including asking for help!

 Tell us about your latest (and fabulous) title Modern Neutrals.

Modern Neutrals was initially a challenge issued by my husband, who always supports me and is always full of great ideas! But as I started working on the neutral patterns, I became more and more excited about them. The subtleties in the fabric and patterns are very exciting to sew up!

You mentioned that your husband inspired you to delve into neutral prints and solids. What did you learn about these fabrics that surprised you? Also, any quick guidelines or shopping tips to pass on to readers who might be interested in experimenting with neutral fabrics?

I really love the subtle changes in the fabrics and how they work together, which surprised me! Having used lots of prints or bold solids mostly in the past, I thought the quilts might be boring—that’s not the case at all!

When shopping, look for neutrals with the same undertones.  Some are truly neutral, but there are lots of green or blue undertones in the taupes and grays. For best results, group your fabrics and look for the oddball, then find a replacement if necessary.  In many cases, I used multiple prints of the same depth in my quilts, which adds an extra layer of interest, and sometimes movement.

Quilt-J:  Amy Ellis's Waves

“Waves” from “Modern Neutrals” by Amy Ellis

 I’ve got some faves from the book (Placid Curves, Whispered Lace, and Prism) that are absolute must-dos for me. Do you have particular favorites?

I can’t wait to see your versions of those quilts! Along with those you mentioned, I love Circuit Board, In Motion, Waves, and . . . it’s hard not to love them all!

Quilt-J:  Amy Ellis's Placid Curves

Nary a curve in the construction but wavy in result–”Placid Curves” from “Modern Neutrals”

Please tell our readers a little about yourself, your quilting interests, and your blog.

I blog at where I love encouraging and teaching quilters. I host an online Quilt Festival twice yearly, complete with sponsors and prizes—the best part is the friendships made, and inspiration found!  I’m also a mom to four kids (6 to 13) and work at the kitchen table so I can be there for all their important moments.

What’s up next?

I’m working on my next book with Martingale, and having a fun summer with my family!

Quilt-J:  Amy Ellis's Circuit Board

“Circuit Board” from “Modern Neutrals” by Amy Ellis

Giveaway Details Here

So you think you might like to enter the drawing for the Modern Neutrals eBook? I’m all for immediate gratification giveaways:  leave me a comment by Thursday, June 13 and I’ll announce the winner in my Friday post, June 14. Here’s your question:  In honor of my mother, who my husband describes as “The Queen of Beige,” what’s your favorite neutral tone?  I’m fond of silvery gray and a range of khakis–green and mocha varieties.

Coincidentally, today’s post is not the first time we’ve taken a look at neutral color palettes. Our blogging sister emeritus, Christie Batterman, posted images of her neutral quilts last yearthose images have been pinned and re-pinned at Pinterest (click the link to visit our blog boards).

Till next time, happy stitches!


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127 Responses to Modern Neutrals Author Amy Ellis Visits See How We Sew–Giveaway Today!

  1. Pingback: Marking the Year with Quilts (and a Giveaway!) |

  2. Heather J says:

    I love the greys at the moment but I have lots of browns. I love some of the quilts displayed in the book. Thanks for the chance to win.

    • Jennifer says:

      Thanks for all the comments everyone. The giveaway is closed now, but do check The Fat Quarter Shop this month for Modern Neutrals at a sale price.

  3. nita says:

    Beige and brown, unless light blues count…

  4. Blanca Rico says:

    I like grey scale and sands, but to be honest with you… I love every color that exists!

    Blanca Rico (from Uruguay)

  5. Alli says:

    I love dark grey! Ooh, also natural color with little specks. :) Thanks for the chance to win! (If I’m not too late :D )

  6. Paula says:

    I like silvery grey too, and charcoal almost as much!c

  7. monkeyneedle says:

    My favorite neutral colors would be anything in the grey family or black. I am not fond of beige.

  8. Karen says:

    I’m particularly fond of grays right now, I love all the Kona Cotton grays! I am also totally in love with Aqua right now as well. I am playing with other colors but these bliss me out!

  9. sheila says:

    Great post, think this book will be a sure winner.
    I like creamy beiges but am becoming fond of greys these days.

  10. Sarah says:

    I like all shades of gray.

  11. Carla G says:

    I’m loving greys right now – especially the medium shades. Thanks for a chance to win this fabulous book! :)

  12. robin says:

    I like white. :)

  13. My favorite neutral right now is gray. I particularly love lighter shades. It seems more airy to me than khaki.

  14. CARAMEL! I love the sweet tones of caramel!

  15. Denise in PA says:

    I am loving gray right now! Thanks so much for the chance to win this awesome book!

  16. de baker says:

    I like biege… without any pinkish, grayish, peachey undertones, brownish biege all the way, thanks

  17. KatieQ says:

    I find myself increasingly drawn to work with neutrals, especially grey. About 8 years ago, I chose a light dove grey paint for my foyer. My husband whined about how it was drab and would be depressing as you entered the house. The hall still looks great and now my whole family claims they always loved it.

  18. Lori Smanski says:

    my favorite neutral is eggshell. It has just enough tan to give it a sheen, but not enough to actually make it tan. Thanks for a chance. I love books. This book looks to be fantastic.

  19. Jacque (aka Snoodles) says:

    I’m loving gray lately! Thanks for the chance to win!

  20. Lisa Marie says:

    I have a lot of beige in my house — walls, carpet, etc. — because I have long liked that. But lately I’m really drawn to grey for quilt fabric.

  21. Lorna says:

    I love the grays and Placid Curves is an awesome pattern. I can’t wait to make that one!

  22. Lis Harwood says:

    What a fantastic quilt on the front of Amy’s book, it is an inspiration to work in neutrals. Apart from a few Japanese taupes I haven’t used neutrals but I am going to now. I think I’d lean towards warm creams but you never know until you try!

  23. Paula says:

    I love teals, the lightest of shades, almost gray.

  24. My favorite neutral is definitely a pale dove gray. It works so beautifully with almost any other color, but especially blue and red – YUM!!!

  25. knitnkwilt says:

    I’m not one to know the names of colors, but I like warmer neutrals–I suppose they have a bit of yellow in them, but not enough to look yellowy.

  26. Megan says:

    Looks like a great book! My absolute favorite neutral is gray, in any shade from almost white to deep charcoal.

  27. Lucie says:

    I have always been a fan of beiges for sure and also dark khakis and now the wonderful greys are catching my eye. The quilts in this book are stunning. Love your blog even if I am fairly traditional still. Thank you.

  28. Cathie says:

    I’m starting to really like grey and taupe!

  29. I love all the ecru through tan colors. I’m a scrap quilter, so i rarely use a single neutral. Thanks for the giveaway. I’d really love to win this book!

  30. carol says:

    I love various shades of grey and also light turquoise. Your book looks exciting to me.

  31. Christal says:

    I painted my room a color called “Barley Beige” that is a light gray with a hint of weathered wood. It is very soothing. It would be a beautiful quilt color.

  32. I love charcoal…..and the mcha shades too

  33. Desley says:

    I love anything creamy brown.

  34. Ali M says:

    I’m fond of very pale turquoise, and I’m going to have to make that Prism quilt, so onto my Amazon list the book goes, inc ase its not my lucky day!

  35. goonyburd says:

    I’d say light gray, or beige, or purple! It’s not a neutral, but it should be!

  36. Diana says:

    My favorite would have to be a soft dove gray. It really makes other colors pop!

  37. Gill says:

    My favourite neutral colour is a light grey!

  38. Jitka says:

    My favorit neutral color is light pink.

  39. I’m fascinated with the various shades of cream. Especially after seeing one of the quilts entered into Amy’s Blogger Festival this year that was called a Dollop of Cream – amazing!

  40. Robynn says:

    My favorite neutrals would be in the beige family. This book look wonderful.

  41. Dolores says:

    I have her first book and would love to have this one. It looks wonderful.

  42. I like a nice warm tan color, but I’m starting to really dig grey. I see it used so much lately I’ve been thinking about starting a quilt with grey in it! Thanks for the chance.

  43. Meylonie Schatz says:

    I love the new “dirty” lime green, not quite so clear as is the past. Love, love the graphic nature of the examples in the post. If I don’t win I’ll for sure put it on my “must have” list.

  44. Suzanne Cross says:

    Love neutrals, my favorite is a green grey. Great looking book.

  45. France's Quigley says:

    I have come to like the aquas and green/grats. Can hardly wait to see this book. Hope I win.

  46. Suzi says:

    Oh, if we’re counting soft grey, then I love neutrals. I have a million light greys in my stash, but otherwise bright colors. I’m immediately drawn to Amy’s quilts shown here tho. I would love to win a copy and try something new!

  47. neena simmons says:

    warm beige

  48. Deborah says:

    My favorite neutral is “nut brown” – I have always been drawn to this color!

  49. Pat Merten says:

    I love to use all the shades of gray, and through in some light greens. Can’t wait to get this book and try most of the patterns/

  50. Debbie M says:

    I sometimes like to use black and white as a background.

  51. Carol Barringer says:

    I am on the library committee for my quilt guild, and recommended this book. We pre-ordered it, and were totally wowed when it arrived. I still can’t pick a favorite. I’ve been collecting grays, especially silvery ones, but have yet to make a neutral quilt or to settle on an initial pattern to try.

  52. Jean says:

    I love buttercream and ivory – the shades a bride with light skin might wear if she’s afraid she’ll wash out in white. I used these in designing and creating wedding ring pillows.

  53. Deb says:

    My favorite neutral is a soft, foggy gray. Thanks for the opportunity to win this wonderful book.

  54. SusanM says:

    My favorite neutral is shades of beige, almost white, with a touch of warm gold. I made a table topper for a bathroom counter in this palette. On my list is to make a quilt in these tones. Thanks!

  55. Norma Bauman says:

    Hands down, shades of green, the color of nature. Love the patterns you’ve shown today. Thanks for the offer to win this fabulous book!

  56. Sandy A in St. Louis says:

    My favorite neutral is soft gray. I found one called goose down that is almost white and I LOVE it!

  57. Patricia Hersl says:

    Really into the taupes, all colors of taupe.

  58. Kathie says:

    I like the different shades of grey with steel blue and beige. Thank you for the opportunity to own this wonderful book!

  59. Pip says:

    All the way with gray, from dark to light and all shades in between. Thanks for the chance to win.

  60. Cecilia says:

    I love ivory and cream tones. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of this book.

  61. Brenda Cornell says:

    I love the gold toned neutrals. I am a traditional quilter just dipping my toes into the modern quilt movement and this book review is a great stimulus to jump right in.

  62. Vicki H says:

    My neutral color is usually a cream or beige.

  63. Debbie H says:

    Mine is black. I like to combine it with bright colors to make them pop!

  64. Jean says:

    I am very drawn to various greys right now. Thanks for the chance!

  65. Molly says:

    The vintage looking tea-stained tan is my staple neutral. And her patterns are intriguing to me because they have such an optical illusion quality.

  66. Kathie L says:

    I love a light grey. wonderful book.

  67. Barb S. says:

    My favorite neutrals area taupe and black. I use black a lot with brights, but now that I write this I think a black and taupe quilt would be gorgeous.

  68. Diane Clark says:

    My most used neutral is white but i also love a creamy soft yellow as a neutral. I use alot of blues, greens, teals and yellow and soft golds are great colors to make the others pop. I would love to make the Waves quilt from this book.

  69. barbnstephen says:

    Amazing how the pattern really stands out with the neutrals. I’m wanting to find out more about the Whispered Lace pattern, How did that little box get juxtaposed in between the blocks?……

  70. Queenie says:

    My favorite neutral is fawn grey… a soft slightly warm grey.
    Have a great day.
    Always, Queenie

  71. Jan says:

    I love a creamy beige when picking neutral fabrics. I started collecting them after doing a class with Alex Anderson and have an almost complete top on my design wall right now in creamy/brown neutrals. But don’t forget a hint of white – it introduces a wonderful light to the quilt.

  72. Judy W says:

    Love this new book! I have several guys I’d like to do quilts for and this would be a great resource for the masculine type…Steely gray to blues would be my first choice to start!

  73. Annette R says:

    I am drawn more and more to the light grays – and I love the grayed aquas too.

  74. brenda morton says:

    I love all neutrals but my favourite is a greeny taupe, hard to describe but I love that one.
    I would love to win this book , thanks for the chance

  75. RJ says:

    I find myself drawn to the neutrals this year where in the past it was blues and purples. Not sure why but I find the neutrals calming and never boring. Thank you for the opportunity to perhaps win the e-book.

  76. Shauna Trueblood says:

    Thanks for the chance. I love cream/tan, I want to do a low volume quilt that is mainly cream and tan with just a touch pink.

  77. barb price says:

    i love a neutral palette, love taupes,and mud. i am planning an all “beigie/tan wall quilt, really want to try my hand at no color ’cause color is what i love most.

  78. Diana says:

    My fav neutral is gray – all shades from silver to charcoal. Right now I’m pulling colors for a black, white and gray quilt but need the perfect pattern. I am loving what I see in Midern Neutrals!

  79. Elin Thomas says:

    I prefer the white-based colors, soft grays and blues, rather than the creamier tones of beiges. I think it often goes to personal colors: what looks good or is flattering to your own skin tone/coloring. When the author talks about pulling out one fabric that doesn’t fit, it’s often ’cause we’ve gravitated to our preference for the majority and then find what we picked for variety is the opposite base color.

  80. Priscilla says:

    I’ve never worked with neutrals. This has inspired me to do so. I have Amy’s first book, Modern Basics.

  81. Belinda K-N says:

    My favorite quilting neutral is black! It pairs well with any color and gives a ton of depth and movement to the design. My stash is overflowing with all sorts of neutrals, as I adore working with them – the perfect foundation for every project! Thank you for the opportunity to win this stellar looking publication…I can already tell it will be on my “must have” list…

  82. I love shimmer, so silver/gray it is for me!

  83. Judy says:

    Beige is my neutral. Once in a class with Feddy Moran I used a jelly roll of Batik neutrals. When I asked her advice on the placement of colors she said,”You don’t have any color. Beige is not a color!”

  84. donna keating says:

    I like beige pairs with black. So sophisticated..

  85. planetcyndy says:

    Placid Curves is my favorite! Maybe this is the quilt I’ve been saving creams and beiges for. Thanks for the inspiration Amy and Jennifer!

  86. Debbie Sedberry says:

    My favorite neutral is gray, in all of its shades. I’m getting ready to start on a soft gray and yellow quilt as a wedding gift for my oldest daughter’s best friend.

  87. Mar says:

    Perhaps I am a sister to your mother! It’s queen of biege for me.

  88. Karen says:

    I like a warm golden type of tan, not quite sure what you would call it. I am drawn to bright colors but my daughter loves neutrals. I’ve been pondering a quilt for her and her new husband, but am having a hard time with those colors. Your book has a lot of wonderful inspiration in it.

  89. mellonquilts says:

    I’m a beige girl. But throw in a splash of sage green for variety.

  90. Duane Wiley says:

    My favorite is the grays with hits of yellow. Thanks for the opportunity to win!

  91. Ann Dunn says:

    When I was young my mother would often say that beige goes with everything. Of course, I rebelled at that and refused to consider it in any piece of clothing I bought. Now though, my eyes are drawn to the light browns…I can’t call them beiges. In fact, a few years ago my bathroom was painted in a light brown with white trim.

  92. barbara woods says:

    Red, I love bright colord

  93. sorchagirl says:

    Taupe would be a good neutral for me and I truly am attracted to Circuit Board. My grandson is a bicycle racer and aspires to be an engineer. The design in this quilt reminds me of bicycle chain and the title would reflect his goal. Thanks for the interview, Amy and Jennifer. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of the book.

  94. Mary Nyberg says:

    Don’t we all love to win something, and I would love to have this book–always need more books with fresh ideas. I love toned down mud colors, and I have a cupboard full of them waiting to be made into one of Amy’s quilts. I would love to have it posted when I finish one of her patterns. Thanks for the opportunity to win.

  95. mjkasz says:

    I tend to cherish bright colors but my youngest daughter loves neutrals and I need to make a quilt for her. I am learning to use neutrals more and love grays and ecru.

  96. Great interview with Amy on her new book. My favorite neutral is black, but it is usually hard to find one with some depth to it. Amy used the black from the Grunge range in her Triangle Fury and I think that is what I’ll use for black in my next quilt.

  97. Hilda says:

    Love the quilts to my surprise. I love brightly colored quilts, but these took my breath away. Curcuit board curves is my favorite, it would be perfect for my son…….

  98. Misty gray, the color of early morning fog on the ocean, and pale aqua, the color of the sea as the mist desolves. Thanks for the chance to win your book!

  99. I’m sorry I have to say blue is my favorite, if it is almost gray. Thanks for the chance to win.

  100. cynthia says:

    Gorgeous designs! My favorite neutral would be a pale grey.

  101. Toya Charles says:

    My favorite neutral to wear is white!! My favorite neutral to quilt with is black!!

  102. Connie says:

    Thanks for the giveaway! I love all shades of gray and I love, love, love modern quilt designs.

  103. Love the book with all those beautiful quilts to make!!! My favorite is always the off whites to greys.

  104. lcarolyn says:

    Good morning Jennifer! T my delight I saw your blog! And the interesting part to me was that I had seen the promo for this book and have been considering getting it! Thank you for the give away…now, I consider green a neutral! And I mean an emerald, prime, green. A simply gorgeous color. Paring with it I might consider red, of course my fav color, or an electric blue with black or white as a third color…

  105. My current fav is gray — any shade or tone.

  106. C.J. says:

    I can’t wait to try some neutral quilts after years of working the boldest colors I could find. I love them all but Placid Curves and Waves are ones I have to try.

  107. Sally MB says:

    My neutral preference has changed over the past few years. Beige was my dominant neutral but gray has replaced it. Having just moved, I am picking out paints and find that the issue of undertones that was discussed is so true. I am finding that these are now helping me keep some sense of continuity as I choose. Now I need to unpack my fabric and hope my undertones there match!

  108. sue wakefield says:

    I took a class from Alex Anderson some years ago on Neutrals. I remember her saying “when you go to a quilt shop and can’t find anything else, you can always buy a neutral.” (paraphrasing here) But that has stuck in my mind and I have found some wonderful beiges, ecrus, grays, pale greens, etc. This book looks very interesting. I especially like Placid Curves and would love to make it.

  109. Sharon Kisel says:

    I think the book looks very interesting. I love the geometrics in the examples you included in your post. I really love the range of possibilities in using creamy beige through to mocha. Black is my most used background or sashing to bring the other colors I use to the forefront. Thanks for the opportunity to win.

  110. Rosemary says:

    Wow! Those quilts are reminiscent of the Pop Art of the 60′s. I still have piece of black/white fabric from that era! I find myself using charcoal gray lately as a neutral. I made the Craftsy BOM last year with batiks/black and have been toying with the idea of using gray to sash it. I have also been adding blocks to it so that it is larger. I recently completed a T-shirt quilt that had many dark school colors in it that I used both a light and dark gray to sash it. I see more and more gray used in quilts particularly modern designs.

  111. Jackie Bailey says:

    A soft gray has triumphed over my long time cream fav.

  112. lattegirl40 says:

    I haven’t been quilting long enough to have a favourite neutral! I use white a lot, and have used cream!
    This book looks amazing! And the one pattern, I thought had curves when I first looked and than studied the block and realized it is straight is fantastic!! Win our lose this draw, I’m thinking I’ll end up with this book :)

  113. Peggy O'Connor says:

    I love taupe and all grays! Thanks for the chance to win!

  114. sue says:

    I also prefer the silver grey neutrals. This looks like a fabulous book!

  115. plantersewer says:

    I like the light blues, especially the aqua. I think the book is very timely to go with the MODERN improvisonal themes. I would like to have a copy. Thank you Julie

  116. Jane says:

    I used to favour beige but now I find a soft Gray, like a wispy fog, more to my liking.
    I would love this book I love the wonderful clean lines of the quilts.

  117. Jane says:

    I’ve always liked rooms done in creams, taupes & beige. They’re relaxing, calming colors.

  118. Mary in Mid-Michigan says:

    Oldsmobile used to have a car color called Frosted Mink. It was a very lush grayed-down beige.

  119. Evelyn O'Brien says:

    Grey and cream, my favs at the moment.

  120. Audrey says:

    Light grey has become my new favorite neutral. Looks like an awesome book! Thanks for the chance to win1

  121. Sally Dixon says:

    I love light creams and grays. Thanks for the giveaway!

  122. Linda Vanderbaan says:

    I’m one for bright colors, but I’m really enjoying these neutral quilt – as I love green so much, I tend to lean toward a green/gray neutral.

  123. Pat T. says:

    Love this!!
    Although my eye is drawn to quiet, whispery shades of blues, blue-greens, and greens (have those collected/set aside and waiting for me, for “someday”!)… I’m currently looking for silvery grays (quilt for son), and soft greens and creams (quilt for aunt)!
    Thank you!!… This is SO timely!… Just what I need NOW!!
    Pat T.
    in Michigan

  124. Brita says:

    Kaffe Fassett himself told me in a critique that maybe my choices of red prints in a layout were “too much.” Tells you about my color preferences! But I made a modern quilt from the book “City quilts” using neutrals, pale, grayed aqua, steel gray, taupe, through chocolate, and I just love it! I couldn’t possibly choose one. I’d love to mske “Whispered Lace” as my second neutral quilt.

  125. Marty Askins says:

    My favorite neutral color is also beige.I also like blues, reds and greens. Thank you for the chance to win.

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