Are you ready to choose some fabric for a new quilt, but are you one of the many people who are at a loss as where to start. In spite of the volumes written on color theory and the many color wheels floating around you may still be unsure of what to choose. Take heart, there is hope. Here are some tips. I call them the cheating method. In the quilt shop, look around and pick one multi colored bolt of fabric that really appeals to you. You don’t have to like the overall design. You may not even include this fabric in your final choice. Just look at the color combination and decide if that is something you absolutely love. Only decide whether the colors are appropriate for the type of quilt you are about to make, such as Spring, Fall, a kid’s quilt or some other type. Then look at the color dots on the selvage and choose fabric that matches those dots. Whoever designed this fabric put a lot of thought into the whole process, so why not take advantage of that
Who would have thought that purple, pink, and aqua could be used together. This little color swath proves not only that it can, but gives the fabric some extra pizzazz. However, note that the aqua is only used in small amounts and repeated over the whole area. Larger pieces of such a contrasting color might not have been that effective as they would stand out too much.
There are a couple of other things to consider. One is the scale of the fabric design. Large designs can be very striking, but are best suited for large segments or to be fussy cut. That lovely large design will be completely lost when cut into small pieces and moreover may give unplanned color results.
And then there is value, that is how light or dark a specific color is. For most quilts you will want good contrast between your patches. After all, why cut fabric up in little pieces, sew them back together again and then hardly see the design because all the pieces are of the same color value. In the first block in the example below the color of the leaf and background, although different, are too close in value and the leaf design is lost. The second and third blocks are much better choices.
Did I give you something to think about? For quite a number of years I used to piece samples for Cozy Quilt shop. One new quilt top a month, usually a twin size. I don’t any longer, but at that time I got to play with a lot of fabric and even so, once in a while, I still buy the wrong fabric. It happens. The solution? Another trip to the quilt store and an extra piece for my stash. However, when you match your fabric to those little color dots there is a good chance that you will be pleased with the result. And if there are no dots on the selvage you can always pick out the colors from the fabric.
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Until next time,