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Help! How do I decide which fabrics go where?

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You’ve found the perfect fabric for your quilt, have all of your tools at the ready and want to get to work! You start to sort through t

he fabric and...wait. What is this going to look like? How will it look best? What if I use this light color and this accent color? Will it change the way my block looks?

Welcome. You have now entered the Quilter’s Twilight Zone.

In this first installment of the Color Choice Series, here are some handy-dandy tips that can help you begin to take the guesswork out of color placement.

How colors work together (or don’t):
Remember back to school art class when you learned about the color wheel?
(Trivia bit - Sir Isaac Newton invented the color wheel. I had no idea! Must’ve
seen all the colors when the apple bonked him on the head and been inspired...)

Quick refresher:

Primary colors - red, blue, yellow
Secondary colors - green, purple, orange
Tertiary colors - secondary colors blended together

Adding white to the colors will change the tint, adding gray will change the tone and adding black will change the shade of the color.

Colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel are Complementary colors. They create contrast and visual interest - they make each other “pop” for lack of a better term. Examples are red - green, blue - orange, purple - green.

Three colors that live next to each other on the color wheel are Analogous colors. They are harmonious and work together nicely.

How does this matter when making quilt blocks?

Here is an example of the same block using complementary colors vs. analogous colors:



The difference is noticeable, but becomes REALLY dramatic when you put the blocks together into a quilt. It can change the overall "feel" of your quilt - from bright and energetic to more soothing and calm.

This is a pattern design that I am currently working on in EQ8. Just look at how different the quilt appears with the color changes:

Complementary colors

A little red, white, and blue action

Blue Analogous colors

Gold colors and an analogous brown background

Same quilt layout, but the different colors give each quilt their own personality.

Which is your favorite? Do you gravitate more toward the bright, energetic color or the monochromatic harmony of analogous color? Comment and let me know!

Next week we will look at some different ways that you can create and preview your quilts before choosing or cutting your fabric. Until then,

Joy and 'Piece',


Before then, if you'd like to find out more about designing quilts in EQ8 and BlockBase+, here are some links for video demonstrations:

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