Do you use gray?

We’re discussing the use of gray as a background and in our quilts on HeartStrings. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t use a lot of white in my quilting because my quilts are meant to be used and many of them are donated and I expect them to get hard use!

I want to love the idea of using gray and I’ve collected a ton of it but I’m still a little on the fence about how much I like it.

We discussed gray as a center strip in our HeartStrings quilts and I’ll admit this is one of my favorites!


I was also happy with how these three turned out.


I love this pattern and I want to like this one more than I do … maybe there’s just too much gray? I could have reversed the placement and maybe it would have read less gray and more bright?


I know it’s used more in modern versus traditional quilting and I definitely consider myself more of a traditional quilter but you’ll be seeing more gray in the future because I’ve collected a bunch of it!

Are you using gray in your quilting?


  1. I don’t use/ much if any white in my quilts–off-white. light gray and beiges… I like a softer contrast look unless i am just using all prints in a scrappy style…hugs, julierose

  2. I like gray and use it regularly. Sometimes I want a cool gray and sometimes a warm one. It looks like yours are mostly cool. You might prefer warmer ones.

  3. I like your quilts made with gray. Especially the lighter shades of gray. I have gray layer cake pack I’m using to put some crumb blocks together, but you know, now that I look at it, I wish I had used white. White just adds a sparkle to quilt blocks I feel, that no other color does.

  4. I have used gray as a background fabric and didn’t care for it because I’m not a fan of using solid fabrics. I’d like to find some good tone on tone gray fabrics to try.

  5. Mary, I love your use of grey in these quilts….there’s something about the tone, although cool, that allows the complimentary colours to ‘shine’, without the starkness that can sometimes comes with the use of white. It’s a great alternative, even to creams & light brown. Having said that, have you looked at Moda Grunge for an alternative…that’s a solid value that gives movement to a background fabric!! 😍😍Love your work!

  6. I think these quilts are beautiful but I don’t care for the color gray. I prefer using any color but gray in my quilts. I did make two for family who requested grays and they did turn out great but I like white best. I don’t care if they get dingy, I’ll still use white. A big part of my quilting is enjoying the journey and if I had to sew with gray all the time, I would be miserable. Same for all these houses they paint and decorate in gray!!

  7. I am using more gray then I ever did. I don’t really like to use white as I want my quilts to be used. I am not often a fan of beige either so I am liking this more as a neutral.

  8. I am loving grey background. My current favorite is grunge dot. i don’t like white or cream because I too intend quilts to be heavily used and to me they just say “get dirty”. the more grey you use, the more you’ll like it 🙂

  9. I did buy a grey to use as background on a new project that isn’t started yet. But I pulled that project box out just this morning as something I want to work on soon. I love how the grey looks in all of your pictures.

  10. I love the gray in your quilts but I don’t use it myself. I might try it now though. I have always gone with a warm off white color but won an entire bolt of Robert Kauffman white so I will be using that in a few quilts.

  11. I had never thought to use gray. I will have to look at that option. I normally use a light cream/warm beige fabric. I love the contrast of white, but the water in my area turns white to an ugly dingy color, so no white. Interesting comments on warm and cool gray. Will be doing some looking when I next visit the quilt shop. Thank you to all for some new ideas to think about.

  12. I do like using a light silvery Gray, especially with brights. I sure like the gray in the string quilt.

  13. I completed a lap quilt with several shades of gray. First time for me, and I like how the shades blended with the orange, blue, yellow and prints that were in a fabric bundle. I even used a dark gray Moda Swirl for the binding.

  14. Your quilts are lovely. I use gray but I try to stick to the lighter shades. I’ve also gotten some soft color on white to soften the white that I feel works with kids, hard use quilts.

  15. I like color so I guess that is why I haven’t joined the grey band wagon. I like the quilts I’ve seen that use it and I like the quilts made with all solids. When I start a quilt my eyes go to the color saturated blenders and prints and I put the solids back in the stash.

  16. I am not into gray that much. I tend to think of it as another color and will use it in my scrap quilts, etc, but to use a solid gray as a background, probably wouldn’t. But then, I have a similar view of white. Has nothing to do with practicality of soil, but rather that I don’t care for the high contrast. Having said all that, I like your pretty quilts and I like the appearance of white background quilts. They just don’t sing to me when I make them.

  17. No way to much gray, if you don’t want bright white go with creams and pales in the color wheel it works a lot better. Gray is saying a don’t trust you to ktake care of my work. A little dim goes a long way.

  18. I mainly do scrap quilts. For year I would always use white. Buying a bolt at a time. Then I saw some quilts with more black. I tried that as “my” neutral for a while but I have a houseful of pets so no more black. I too have started using grays and love them! Their is definitely a difference in cool and warm grays. So many options!

  19. I’ve bought some grey yardage to use for backgrounds, but haven’t tried it yet. I do like the way your quilts look, especially the string blocks.

  20. I did one lap size charity quilt using a gray fabric with a little polka dot print for the background. It turned out so fun. Now, I now use gray occasionally when I rarely did before. Sometimes gray can add a masculine touch to a quilt. That helps in our group as we can use a few more masculine quilts.

  21. I haven’t used gray, but now I think I should try some! My usual background choice is a nice beige. White sometimes, but that’s not very practical.

Leave a Reply