Thursday, September 3, 2009

Let's Talk Color - Part 2

If you've done your homework, you now have a good idea of the colors in your quilting stash, and you have actually thought about how the colors make you feel -- why that is your very favorite yellow or green or blue!

Now we're going to put some colors together. If we start with a single color and we want to stick with that, we are creating a monochromatic piece ... By definition, all shades and tints of a monochromatic scheme are going to go together. A monochromatic scheme is easy to manage, and can be peaceful and soothing -- but it can also be boring without the right "sparks" of your color. If you want to make a monochromatic quilt, be sure to include a wide variety of reds to keep the interest going in the quilt. Here are my strips ready for a red and white quilt and a blue and yellow quilt. Note the variety of shades and how they span the red section of the color wheel.

Imagine what would happen if we added a bit of the complementary color to this quilt! The complementary colors are colors that are directly opposite each other on the color wheel. So for the red, green is it's complement. If you don't have a color wheel handy while you're shopping, take your primary color (red in this case) and stare hard at it. Now close your eyes really tight squeezing them shut and you will see a green spot -- the complement. Try this with a couple of other colors -- you will always see its complement using this little trick. Two of my favorite complementary color schemes are blue-green/red-orange (rust and teal) and yellow-green/red-violet (lime green and plum) ... talk about sparkling!

If I move out of the red zone even more I can turn this into an analogous color scheme by moving into the red-violets and the red-oranges. By doing this, I've also opened up a whole new arena for my complementary colors! But use some caution here that you don't end up with a quilt made up of six bright colors -- In addition to choosing the dominant color, be sure to vary the saturation levels and your values to obtain a pleasing combination.

For Shakespeare in the Park, I've heard many color combinations being tossed about, all of them striking! The particular set of blocks that make up this quilt lends itself beautifully to monochromatic, complementary as well as analogous color schemes. For my quilt with the lime green, I'll be using a wide variety of greens, a smaller amount of the red violets for punch and a cream background that is made up of, again, a wide variety of neutral creams. Think of this as a controlled scrap quilt! If you're using a batik or multicolored hand-dye, you might want to choose the complement to one color to add the punch. The batik or multicolored fabric will cut into a variety of hues and values so no need to add additional fabrics to make it variety.

Click here for a color scheme designer program where you can test your color choices -- or maybe make some new ones!


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