Monday, December 5, 2011

on Color

Guess what I'm working on today???  I'm indulging in another quilt design using my favorite rainbow of Kona colors!  Seeing that Baby Bottled Rainbows has me wanting to play with solids again, so why not use some of my favorite shades in my new design for the Curves Class?  Today I updated the Bottled Rainbows color grid to more accurately reflect my Konas:

*Updated* Bottled Rainbows Color Grid

The color names shown correspond with the actual Kona cotton colors I used for the Baby Bottled Rainbows quilt.  And, should you find yourself smitten with this rainbow goodness, you can still buy fat quarter and half yard sets at Marmalade Fabrics!

Since I won't be showing you my Curves Class quilt yet (and it only exists at this point in my imagination), I'd like to share with you my interview with Quiltmaker magazine, which was published in the same issue as the baby version of Bottled Rainbows.  I've inserted photos some of my work to illustrate my thoughts.  Hope you enjoy!

"Modern Quilts: Use Color with Confidence"

Quiltmaker:  Can you share your thoughts on how color is used differently in a "modern" quilt than in a more traditional piece?

Me:  It seems to me that with many traditional quilts the focus is on the beautiful piecing more so than on the particular fabrics used.  With modern quilting, the artist might start with a color scheme or a particular stack of fabrics and then choose a simple quilt design to allow the focus to fall on the fabrics themselves.  As a result the colors may become the whole point of the quilt.  Those colors might be loud, or quite minimalistic - either way, they make themselves known.

At home
this Quilt Design developed to showcase a favorite Fabric Stack

Quiltmaker:  For yourself, what has been the key to using color with confidence?

Me:  Using color with confidence... I think that's something I've been doing since I was a child.  Maybe that's a result of being born in the 80's!  Colors make me feel good, so I use them and a lot of them at once.  What's actually more of a challenge for me is limiting myself to a narrow color scheme.  I love the look of a simple scheme, but the other colors try to wheedle their way in every time.  But to answer your question, I think it boils down to deciding to give yourself permission to experiment.  It's just fabric, afterall!

Bubble Quilt by do. Good Stitches
I started this design thinking Blue and Teal, but then just "had" to add Mossy Green.

Quiltmaker:  In your opinion, what's the most important thing a quiltmaker can learn about using color? 

Me:  There are no rules that can't be broken.  Color is one of the most personal choices we make.  From the very beginning we ask our little ones, "What is your favorite color?"  There is no wrong answer.... even "black" qualifies here!  In the same way, don't let whatever you learned in color theory hem in your creativity when quilting.  Put some fabric together and decide if YOU like it.  Then add some more, take others away and get lost in your fabric.

Summer Sampler complete!
here's an Unusual combination of colors that I ended up Loving!

Quiltmaker:  Since a quilt's color comes mostly from fabric, what do you see as the unique properties of fabric as a tool to create? 

Me:  I like to work with my fabrics in natural lighting when choosing a color scheme so that the colors show true.  I'm also fascinated by the way a fabric can read so differently depending on how it's combined with others.  If you have a print that you really love, take a close look at the colors, even the little ones, mixed in.  When working on your fabric stack for a quilt, you can play up the colors in that print that you most enjoy by adding tonal prints and solids in the same color. To add even more interest, add fabrics with colors just a bit darker and lighter than your focus color.  The variety of shades and tints will often bring more attention to your focus color while adding that all important value in your selections.

the improved mix
You helped me Make this Improved Mix of fabrics in our experiment Here.

Happy Designing, Friends!


  1. It's still so exciting, Rachel! Your statement about the eighties cracked me up. And it was fun to see you re-share some of your favorites. I'm still so enamored with your Summer Sampler color choices.

  2. Great interviewing, and I, too, was giggling at the 80's comment (whilst thinking of a bright orange and purple bear I made recently lol)

    Hmm, may need to investigate those bundles...

  3. LOL, well I know that many of us are children of the 80's so you all know exactly what I mean. My quilt layout today turned out a bit too "rainbow brite" for my tastes though, so I think I'm going to pursue some more subtle shades. Never said I wasn't fickle!

  4. Your interview sounds great--so fun to hear you talk about your love of color and how you love to just jump in and go. I love reading your blog--it's so colorful!

    Elizabeth E.

  5. Great interview! I always enjoy your blog.

  6. So fun! I agree with Jacey -- your Summer Sampler with the bits of black is one of my favorites. I even bought some black fabric this weekend to hopefully try it out in similar ways. Way to inspire me/us in our color selections!

  7. I really like your comments about how color is used differently in modern quilts. Many have difficulty explaining this, I think you nailed it!


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