Friday, April 17, 2015

Color Inspiration--Part 1

I think one reason I love quilting so much is that it allows us to challenge ourselves on different levels.  You can be as complex or as simple in the thought process as you like.  You can take the time to design a pattern, figure out all the math behind it, choose your fabric and colors, cut it and piece it and then quilt your own unique creation.  Or you might find yourself walking around your local quilt shop and spy the most amazing quilt kit (maybe even with pre-cut pieces), piece it together and then send it off to be quilted.  From a California King all the way down to itty bitty, I love it all.

When I first started out one of the things that I found most difficult was to pick out fabric for my projects.  Similar to painting and drawing (disclaimer: I'm not claiming to be an expert on this) you must consider color and value but with quilting print and scale are thrown in.  Even just saying, "Oh, what colors shall I use?" makes things sound much more simpler than they are.  Things to consider with color is shade, saturation of the color throughout the fabric, and temperature (hot/cold) of the color.  We can use a monochromatic (based on one color), analogous (blue/green/yellow or red/purple/blue), or complementary color scheme for our quilts.  You can add interest to your quilt by adding different values (light, medium, dark) of fabric.  Then toss in fabric pattern or lack there of and scale of the pattern and things get crazy and your head really starts to hurt!  

Leni Levenson Wiener has a great book called 3-Fabric Quilts that covers the topics of color, value and print scale.
 The book has several patterns that will allow you to play with these topics using only three fabrics...testing the waters without going too crazy.  Sometimes we must learn to craw before we run.

Thankfully the fabric Gods love us and gave us tools that make things much easier, like pre-cuts.  I cannot say how much I love my fat quarter bundles, jellyrolls, charm packs and layer cakes.  These beauties allow me to create using fabrics that are proven to go together or are from a fabric line.  With the addition of white fabric, part of this fat quarter bundle
became this

I just had to figure out how to fit the pieces together to get the look I wanted.  I didn't have to spend hours in the store pulling bolts off the shelf, looking for the correct lighting and scratching my head.

Fat quarter bundles can also just be a great place to start.  Some stores will put coordinating fabrics together that may not be from the same fabric line, but are from bolts of fabric within the store.  If your quilt requires more yardage, find a bundle that speaks to you and ask for help locating the bolts.  I'm not aware of any fabric stores that would not love to sell you lots and lots of yardage for your stash...I mean project.

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