All About Color
Nothing has more impact in your quilt than color. No color
stands alone. The play of colors next to each other is
what makes quilts dramatic and bold, or soft and subtle.
Color is a very important design
element of a quilt. Every quilt should have a "personality" , and color is
a big part of it. Most people are familiar with the color wheel, and know
that you get the biggest contrast by using colors that are opposite each
other like green and red, orange and blue or purple and yellow.
A more subtle look is achieved
using soft values ( pastels) of colors that are next to each other on the
color wheel (monochromatic) like blue and green.
One classic favorite is to use
just two colors in your quilt, red and white. Children tend to prefer
bright, primary colors, called "brights" .
Every color evokes emotion.
See "Color and
Economy" for some of the ways different colors affect us emotionally.
Color is a little different in
quilting in that VALUE is considered more important than the actual color - white
being the lightest value, black the darkest. Many quilting designs do
not work unless you have a lot of contrast between blocks.
There is a school of thought that
all quilts should have at least a little bit of pure white or the quilt will
As stated earlier, a large
percentage of the quilts made today are scrappy quilts, composed of many fabrics
and prints. You still need to be somewhat careful with your colors when
starting out. Autumn, muted tones may not look good next to brights.
When you become more experienced working with color, you will be
able to take more risks, but it is better to be a bit more conservative when
One of the easiest ways to
choose the colors for your quilt is start with an "inspiration piece".
Pick a favorite multi-colored fabric, and then pull the colors out of
that piece for the rest of your quilt, as in the picture below.
Or you can pick all your
fabric out of a fabric collection where the fabrics are designed to work together.
There are several ways to test your
colors and how your quilt will look. If you are following a pattern, this
is not a problem. If you are creating your own quilt, you need to group
your fabrics, stand back and then squint to get the effect. It is always
wise to make a sample block before you begin quilting to test your color scheme
if your colors are limited.
Most quilter have a design board.
Mine is portable - just a piece of plywood that I covered with batting and then
a white denim fabric. When I begin making blocks, I just place them on the
board (they hold on by themselves), and I can look at them from the distance to
be sure I like them. Serious quilter have boards on their walls large enough to
hold very large quilts so that they can lay out intricate patterns.
Take the time to choose your