Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Ten Tips on Colors

Admit it...you're in this for the colors. I certainly am!

Sure, at first we justified it by saying we wanted to make a baby gift, or maybe a couple pillows for the sofa. Then it was a wall hanging, but you really couldn't use it because it didn't match the colors in your house!

We didn't stop, though...did we? No, it was one quilt after another, not to mention the ever-growing stash.

We're just in this for the colors!

You can never know everything about color, but here are some good things to think about:

1. White: Remember when you wanted to touch-up paint that white wall or woodwork? Yes, there are more whites than you can believe! Here's a guiding thought: Cool whites are good with bright or clear colors, warm (creamy) whites are good for an "antique" look. OK, it's not a rule, so you can't break it!

2. Black: There is deep black, and then there is almost grey. Blacks are often dyed on top of another color (as all the wonderful bleach-discharge artists are demonstrating!). Although white and black are actually values (light & dark, not true colors) they are telling us the most important thing about color...it's all in the relationships. You just have to put the fabrics together and see if they work!

The next colors are from the Color Wheel, which will not tell you what to buy...but can suggest what sort of thing to look for. Remember, it's all in the relationships!

3. Red: Because every color changes as it gets closer to it's neighbors on the Color Wheel, red can be warmer when it moves toward yellow, and then feels a bit cooler as it moves toward blue. One of my favorite color quotes is from Mary Ellen Hopkins ("It's OK If You Sit On MY Quilt" series), "All reds clash well together".

4. Orange: Where red & yellow meet in harmony...and then changes according to how dark or light it gets (just as every other color does). This often shows up lists of "contemporary favorite colors!" but take a look at some antique quilts for the color known as "cheddar".

5. Yellow: The brightest color goes a long way in any scheme, so you don't need a lot. On the other hand, do not underestimate yellow as a great background color to really liven things up! It was great day in my understanding of color when it was pointed out that "dark yellow" (yellow + black) is really what we call olive green.

6. Green: There are more kinds of green than any other color we recognise. It's cooler and like teal as it moves toward blue, warmer and lime-like as it gets with yellow. Sometimes I like a deep dark green instead of black.

7. Blue: This is a favorite color for lots of people, and certainly for many men. If you are making a bed quilt to raffle or sell, blue & white is the most popular color scheme. All blues work well together.

8. Purple: Called the royal color, because the dye was so expensive to make in ancient times. Today, this is the Fun color! Get some samples of purple together and see how it changes toward blue (indigo) and then towards red. You'll like purple even better when you learn to see "which way it is going."

9. Pink: Add white (making a tint) of red and it gets it's own name! Well, OK, there are many tints & shades (add black) colors that have their own names, but pink goes on to turn so many other color-names, too.

10: Chameleon colors: These colors change according to what color they are next to...really change! Most notable is that gray/green combo, which does not look especially exciting at the fabric store, but often is the exact thing you need for a quilt.
The other one is a blue/purple (which I just love!). I first became aware of this color when a bolt of it was constantly in motion at a quilt shop. Each person who saw it would move it over to the other color section!

Keep enjoying and learning about colors...you are the only person who needs pleasing, don't worry about what others say!

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