Saturday, July 2, 2011

Playing with colors

For some new to the quilting world, choosing colors is one of the hardest parts of creating. Does this blue go well with that pink? Is this red too bright or too dull? Does purple look good next to green?

It’s not only about one color with another, because there are so many different shades and values of each color. That you can make almost any color look good next to another.

The color wheel is a great place to learn about colors and their values. There are primary colors, secondary colors, contrasting ones too. Here are a few different styles that you can choose from, when selecting a color wheel.

There are also nice color cards out there, like for paint, but for fabric. Here’s one from Moda.

These are great tools for  learning about color values, and is a good first step. You can play around with this just by looking in a big box of crayons! You know, those large ones that hold a billion colors ;)

Playing with fabric might be more fun though! Go to your local quilt store and look at their fat quarter bundles. This is a great way to see different values and contrasting colors. Most fabric lines have at least 10 different prints, showcasing the various colors to match the focal fabric.

The most important thing though, is too think about what colors YOU like. Or what colors the person you are making something for, likes.

So lets start with your focal fabric (I’m going to pretend shop online with you, while I talk with you about colors).

I’m going to buy some of this darling monkey print, from the Urban Zoologie line, for a baby quilt.

Looking at this fabric you will see four different colors. All in two or three different shades. So those colors are good ones to choose to go with these monkeys.

These lines are part of the Urban zoologie line, as are the dots. So you know the shades of blue/orange/green will all go well with monkeys.

But I like to add some solids or some tone on tone prints too. Or things get too busy. You want a spot or two to rest your eyes.

If you look at solid fabrics, you will see they are usually arranged by the shades of color.  You have pastels,  dusty’s, bright’s and darks. It a good idea to keep with the same shade throughout your quilt or project.  Although mixing  lighter colors with the darker ones,  will give you a great contrasting pattern. So you have to think about your pattern too. As many have secondary patterns within them, and they show well with contrasting colors.

Although there isn’t no tried and true color rules. You want your project to flow nicely together. So sticking to the same shades, or highly contrasting ones, are a good bet.

For my project, I think the dusty shades will go well. They aren’t too bright nor too dark. Here are some colors I’ve chosen to go with the monkey’s.

You’ll  notice that the green is a bit darker than the green in the monkey print, but it’s still in the dusty family. It’s not a bright nor a pastel.  The blue is almost the same exact as the light blue on the monkey. And the orange is very close too.

Here's how they look all next to each other.

Summary: Stick with colors in the same category. Contrasting fabrics go well together. Keep in mind the pattern and what you want it to say. Pick a focal fabric, and pull colors from it for your other fabrics. Using shades that are lighter or darker are fine, as long as they are in the same category.

I hope I haven’t confused all you new quilters with my rambling.

These are MY thoughts on colors, and there are thousands of thoughts out there.  So please don’t feel my way is the only way. This is just how I do things.

Hope you’re enjoying your Summer.


Carol said...

Very good instructional, Dorian! And I know my dsd will adore this quilt! ;-) Thanks!


scraphappydenise said...

Don't forget about the color dots on the selvage of your focal prints. Those are all the color test dots... Anything along the border will definitely play nicely.