It’s never a bad time to talk about color. Choosing the fabric for a quilt project is often a sticking point for many quilters, beginners and experienced. I hope some of these tips and information can help ease a bit of that stress!
Decide in advance how many different colors you want to use in your quilt. This will save you time in the quilt shop. The time to decide is before you get there. When you are in the store, pull out the chosen bolts and stack them on a counter or table, view how they look together.
If you’re considering pre-cut fabrics at the store or at home, this is what it looks like:
By doing this you can see how the fabrics work together and pull out the ones that “stick out like a sore thumb”.
Have you ever chosen a focus fabric but were stumped on what fabrics you wanted to pair it with? Simply check the selvedge! You will find a series of “dots” with the colors that were used in printing the fabric.
Use these as suggestions on fabric colors that will match!
Learn the difference between shade, tone and tint and how that effects the contrast between your fabrics.
- Shade is taking the pure color, for instance blue, and adding black to it to make it darker, for a dark blue.
- Tint is taking the pure blue and adding white to make it lighter, making a light blue.
- Tone is adding grey to a pure color to make it less intense. Most colors around us in the world are tones of pure color.
This comes in handy when planning contrast of your fabrics you choose for a quilt or block. If you choose colors all very close in shade or tint, there will not be much contrast:
The block made from this stack of fabric will be really pretty, but the design will be subtle because they are so close in shade. But, look what happens when I replace a few fabrics:
I replaced the dark green with a lighter green (a tint) and I replaced the dark blue with a lighter blue (also a tint). Now, the design of the block will be more noticeable.
Don’t be afraid to use a color wheel when choosing colors! The wheel helps you determine which are cool colors and which are warm colors. It also helps you to see how colors you choose will contrast with each other.
If you want high contrast, choose colors on opposite sides of the wheel. If you want less contrast, choose colors close to each other on the wheel. Red, yellow and orange are the “warm” colors and blue, green and violet are the “cool” colors.
Here are two blocks I have in the same quilt, one is cool and one is warm:
You can make a quilt all cool colors or all warm. Or you can alternate between cool blocks and warm blocks for high contrast!
Mix warm and cool colors in a block for some real fun!
In the above block, I’ve mixed a warm color, red, with two cool colors, purple and green.
So, are you ready to tackle picking out the fabric for your next quilt? I hope my blog post has helped to make you more confident in the quilt shop!
Leave a comment below about your color fears or triumphs and you will be entered into a drawing for the issue of American Patchwork and Quilting with my latest design, A Common Thread. This project could give you some practice in picking fabrics and colors!
Also included in the give-away is my pattern, Scrappy North Stars!
Now that one will really give you the opportunity for choosing colors! Drawing will be held on Tuesday, November 12th.
Happy Fabric Shopping!