Tuesday, June 21, 2011

With color, you can bend the rules

Vista Mahan shows a blue-green and
red-orange complimentary color example.
With all the wonderful fabrics available to quilters, choosing colors can sometimes get overwhelming. But, there are no quilt police and you won't get a ticket for bending... or breaking... the guidelines for choosing colors for your quilts. (whew!)

At the June guild meeting, the Choo Choo Quilters enjoyed a program on Color and working with the color wheel. The color wheel is an excellent tool for seeing and understanding color relationships and choosing color schemes. It can be helpful in determining what is lacking in a composition that is less successful.

While studying color relationships, several examples of color schemes were shown: achromatic, monochromatic, analogous, complementary and polychromatic. Guild members and guests experimented with color combinations by coloring quilt block diagrams with colored pencils.

Analogous color schemes—those using 3 - 4 adjacent colors on the color wheel—are generally harmonious as all the colors are related. Below are examples.
Analogous color schemes.
The example on the right also illustrates texture through the use fabrics other than cottons.
An analogous color palette in a sampler quilt.
Examples of a monochromatic color scheme.

As guild members showed examples of their work, it became apparent that color and value are intertwined.

Left: a polychromatic color scheme using colors in shades and tones.
Right: a polychromatic color schemes using more pure hues.

Polychromatic quilt with an emphasis on value.
Although many colors, prints and fabrics are used in this polychromatic example, the quilter referred to this as her black and white quilt. The addition of neutral fabrics and the careful placement of values shifts the focus from an emphasis on color to a focus on shape and pattern.

Show and Tell
A cuddle quilt made from a fabric panel.
A blouse made from Japanese kimono fabrics.
This is how the butterflies go...