More Thoughts on Color

"Olives" from Quilt Retro
Yesterday I talked about  pretty basic methods for choosing colors. Using your favorites as a starting point, then finding palettes that match your favorites to pick your fabrics is a tried and true method that works for almost any quilt project. But what if you find that too predictable or it just doesn't fully represent who you are in your quilt? What if you want to truly make your quilts reflect your personality, your style, well - you! That's when you have to start thinking about color a little bit more creatively.

I'll step you through my thought process on one of my quilts. You can see how I attack a quilt and possibly glean something to apply to your quilts.

The Color Wheel for Quilters
Say "The Color Wheel" and a lot of folks freeze up. It does seem a bit mysterious and serious, but it's really a helpful tool for quilters - and a basic understanding is all you really need.

This is the basic color wheel. I work primarily in complementary colors and warm/cool colors. Complementary colors are blue/orange, yellow/purple, green/red. Warm colors are red, orange and yellow and cool colors are purple, blue and green.

"Olives" shown at top is done exclusively in complementary colors. First I chose a bold blue/orange combo because I love it the best! Then I knew red/green would be next, but I didn't want to match the intensity of the blue/orange colors, so I chose lighter colors - an almost sage green and pink. Almost any shade of a color will go with almost any shade of its complement.

For the the olives, I chose red and green again, rather than the third complementary color option of purple/yellow. I also chose this because olives are red and green. But, rather than being so literal with the olives, I made the olive red and the pimento green. (Yes, it's a pale green, I know it looks more yellow in the photo!)
"Olives" detail
One thing I definitively know about myself as a quiltmaker is that I like bold, graphic, colorful quilts. This quilt represents me well. My kids would look at this and say "That looks like Mom!" What do you know about yourself as a quiltmaker? Would your version look like you?  Would your blue be as bold? Would you switch out one or two of the complementary combinations for the purple/yellow option. Would you use prints instead of solids? What would you do so your kids see you in this quilt?

When it gets right down to it, it's all personal preference. Finding your color style is just that - your style! You don't have to apologize or explain it - just create!

(If blue is your favorite color, click here!)


  1. Don't you love it when your quilts show your 'voice' (I used to teach writing, and 'voice' is like how when you read Dr. Seus, you know it's him because of the voice), and people know it's you? I have many quilting styles, but I must say, in home decoration, and we've moved a lot, my kids always walk in and say, yes, it looks just like you, just like home.


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