Friday, October 18, 2013

Penny Patch: Color Scheme Ideas

This post is part of a series {Penny Patch} a Beginner’s Quilt-Along.  You can join in anytime, even if you’re not a beginner!  Please see this page for links to all posts, and join us on Flickr to share your questions and work-in-progress!

Hi again!  When I asked about interest in doing this quilt-along, lots of you said you wanted to make a quilt with a similar color scheme to Vintage Tangerine.  Since then my wheels have been turning, thinking of ways to help make that color scheme (or its mood) easily transferable to new quilters.  Here goes...

a happy place!

Big Picture

Low Volume.  More than half of my Vintage Tangerine fabrics are low volume prints.  Low volume is the same as low-value.  It refers to fabrics that are "light colored" overall.  A few low volume prints are truly white or cream all over, with subtle hard-to-see textures.  Many other low volume prints actually have tiny black or colored patterns on them, but when you step back those prints kind of take a back seat so that the fabric reads mostly white or light colored (yes, this is subjective).   The use of many low volume prints creates a soft or glowing effect.  I think that my use of low value prints is one of the key factors that sets the mood in Vintage Tangerine.

Vivid Colors.  The two main colors in my quilt are aqua/teal with soft tangerine orange.  These colors are opposite on the color wheel, which makes this a strong, complimentary color scheme.  That means that these colors, when combined, enhance each other and feel dynamic to the observer.  The combination of low volume (soft) with complimentary colors (vivid) is delightful!  My color scheme also had a POP of coral red, which is near tangerine orange on the color wheel, to keep things interesting.

Vintage-y prints.  Remember, my quilt was first inspired by this one, with an incredible vintage charm.  Although I wasn't a purist about it, I did try to use small scale prints, often simple geometrics (dots) or florals.  I did not use solids.  These small scale prints create a kind of dappled effect with less contrast than solids.

Choosing Fabrics

Not so sharp on color theory?  No problem!  How about I share a few complimentary color scheme ideas right here.


To start off I pulled a pile of low volume prints, which included white, cream, tan and pale gray.   You'll see the same low volume print pile used with each color scheme!  Is your stash short on low volume?  I've found low volume bundles at Marmalade (pictured), at Lark Cottons (here and here), and in Canada at Mad About Patchwork!

purple + yellow

Purple and yellow are also opposites on the color wheel, so they combine in a complimentary scheme.  You can see I pulled a variety of purples from dark plum to more of a pastel purple.  No need to keep the hue exactly the same.  As long as the colors look good together to you, it works! 

I pulled a fiery orange fabric for my contrast "pop" color.  At bottom right are two low volume fabrics I'd add to this color scheme, since they have purple in them.

green + pink

Red and green are another complimentary color scheme, but most people save that for Christmas.  We can get the same dynamic effect combining pink and green!  Again notice that different shades of green totally work here.

My unexpected "pop" color is yellow.  Plus, I'm showing a low volume print (bottom right) that has green and yellow in it, making it a great low volume addition for this scheme.

blue + yellow

Here's another classic scheme - true blue and yellow.  Now, these are not actually complimentary colors, but close.  I happened to have that yellow/blue plaid print on top, which inspired the whole thing.

This color scheme looks great with a pop of orange, which is the true opposite of blue.  But, I ended up going with a pop of teal for a softer look. My add-in low volume print is white with blue ruled lines.


And then, of course, there's the same color scheme I used!  I worked with Sew Modern to create this Vintage Tangerine 2 bundle, available now in limited quantities.  It's orange and teal with a pop of coral and some low volume prints to get you started.  Enjoy!

the Nitty Gritty

Want more info?  Let's get specific.  If you want to create the same mix of low volume and color, with 2 main colors and 1 pop color, I've got a list for you:

for a Baby Penny Patch quilt top
  • 2 Fat Quarters in color A
  • 2 Fat Quarters in color B
  • 1 Fat Quarter in POP color C
  • 7 Fat Quarters low volume

for a Throw Penny Patch quilt top
  • 4 Fat Quarters in color A
  • 4 Fat Quarters in color B
  • 1 Fat Quarter in POP color C
  • 1 Fat Quarter in mid-value neutral (gray or brown)
  • 10 Fat Quarters low volume

for a Twin Penny Patch quilt top
  • 6 Fat Quarters in color A
  • 6 Fat Quarters in color B
  • 2 Fat Quarters in POP color C
  • 2 Fat Quarters in mid-value neutral (gray or brown) 
  • 14 Fat Quarters low volume (or 7 half yards)
Remember you can always use more prints than I've suggested to increase variety (such as 2 different color C prints).  Also, experienced quilters can feel free to convert fat quarters to half yards (ex. 6 Fat Quarters converted to 3 Half Yards), if they prefer to have less variety. 

I'll refer to colors A, B, C and such as we move forward in the quilt-along so as to help you cut and sew blocks to achieve this sort of color scheme.  Of course you are welcome to pursue a completely different color mood!  At the moment I'm thinking I might make two penny patch quilts... one in this color mood and one pretty different.  We'll see!

43 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for this post. I will have an easier time picking out my fabric choices now.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes! I love to see a quilt broken down like this. Though I feel slightly guilty, like you did the dirty work for me? Eh, that's what bloggers are for, right? ;)

    Anyway, yay for low volume bundles. I think I will pick one up from Lark Cottons and get my Hope Valley ready. Eep!

    Thanks for all of your work on this. I'm excited!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahahaha! You are cracking me up with, "Eh, that's what bloggers are for, right? ;)"!!! Actually, yes, that's exactly what I'm trying to do - make your life easier. And the beautiful thing is that when you buy a bundle (that you need anyways) from my sponsor you pay for that life-easier-service. So, win-win-win! Thanks, Jeni.

      Delete
  3. This breakdown is perfect. In all the quilts I've made I've used a solid as my low volume cause I'm always afraid of not having enough or mixing right but I feel like this is the right quilt to make 100% print to challenge myself. I'll be spending my weekend with my small stash scattered about the apartment!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I agree, thanks for breaking it down. I pick colors but i dont know why! lol its nice to have someone explain why i like certain things together... i start to "get it!"

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great info! Even if I don't get around to making the quilt I have learned something.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I agree with Jenni, this feels like cheating. But form the moment I saw your colour pull for your Vintage Tangerine, I was jealous. I don't want to copy, but it was so, so pretty. And now I have permission to copy!! Yay!! I've already bought the bundle (and some coordinating fabric...)
    Can't wait for delivery :-)
    Thanks, Rachel!
    E xx

    ReplyDelete
  7. So LOVE the purple and yellow fabric combo. I am thinking of going a bit scrappy so I may wait till the measurements are posted so I can see if I can use up some scraps. But I may just go ahead and get some low volume bundles. This is a real problem area for me in my stash - I guess I don't really work with them

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't tend to buy them often enough either, Mina. They're just not exciting. But, they can produce an exciting finish!

      Delete
    2. On the larger quilts, it calls for a mid-value neutral. Is that a solid?

      Delete
    3. It could be a solid, but I used a simple textured print. I'm thinking of a simple, tone-on-tone print such as a medium brown or medium gray. I used a sketch-style gray on cream print (Alexander Henry Heath). The idea is that using so many low volume prints can get a little repetitive. Mixing in a slightly darker tone neutral will give the quilt a bit more depth.

      Delete
  8. As a newbie (but not absolute beginner) quilter, these tips for colour choices are great. I must bookmark this post and refer to it often! I've had a look through my stash and have chosen an aqua and pink look. It's perhaps a little more modern in scheme rather than vintage - but I think it should still work well. I'll need some more low volume though. Of to purchase fabric I go ... what a shame!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love that your plaid in the bundle has just the tiniest pop of your coral-y color in it ~ perfection! :-)
    I'm wondering what the largest size cut pieces will be? you know, if I have smaller than FQs....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Our largest cuts will be 6.5" square. Good question!

      Delete
  10. sorry, i still need so help! i am getting the smaller low volume stack from lark. what colors would go good with that? i would like to do purple and yellow, but ....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It looks like that particular bundle would go well with blue and yellow or even the aqua and tangerine. You could still do purple and yellow, and probably don't use the low volume prints that have blue in them for this particular project.

      Delete
  11. one more question - does 1/4 linear yard work? or does it have to be a fat quarter?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It must be a fat quarter (18" x 22") for this quilt-along. The cutting directions will rely on that.

      Delete
    2. thanks so much - i think i will go with the blue and yellow!! i can't wait!

      Delete
  12. If I make the quilt using scraps like it seems in the inspiration quilt will it be difficult to follow instructions regarding A, B and C when putting the quilt together? Thank you for this, so excited to get started!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, you will want to disregard the instructions regarding colors A,B, and C and just make the required number of blocks for your size quilt (which I will specify). I'm glad you are making a scrappy version!!! Also, btw, you are a "no reply blogger" so I can only respond to you here =)

      Delete
  13. Great post, Rachel! I love your quilt top! All the colours and low volumes make so beautiful scene! Happy sewing weekend! x Teje

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wow! I loved this post (and really this whole QAL!) I've been quilting for about 10 years now and i went to art school (at least for a while) so I thought I didn't need help - but this is wonderful. I had a stack of about 15-20 fabrics I was going to narrow down and I love the breakdown you gave- it made it so easy. I didn't have to sit and try every combo 1000 times over - I just though "well, she said only two of color A so i better eliminate more!" it was fun and i think following the breakdown led me to a slightly different look than I would have otherwise recommended. I did have two 8x8 squares of a special fabric that I'm going to sub in for a few of my A squares and I was left with two fabrics that I really liked in the elimination pile - but well, BACKING AND BINDING! Yeah! This is already a wonderful experience - glad I joined! THANK YOU! (I'll get my fabric choices up on Flicker ASAP!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, I'm so glad it was helpful! You definitely have a lot of experience and expertise, so I'm sure it was just looking at things from a different perspective. Will look forward to seeing your fabrics at Flickr!

      Delete
  15. Although I've thought this quilt was so sweet and charming since it was first posted, I had no intention of joining this quilt along. I have so much going right now! But what have I spent the last hour doing? Going through my stash and making a fabric stack........ Sigh.......yes, I'll be making a pretty pretty little quilt.......

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thank you for the great post! I learned so much! I have loved your original quilt since you first posted it and hope to match my fabrics to it as best as I can - I already have several of the main fabrics in my small stash. Although "Life" has me pretty well covered up these days, I'm hoping to follow along as best I can. I so appreciate the time you're taking to do this QAL!!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Great post, Been quilting over twenty years, and loved the color concept broken down in quantities, Like going back to a math class versus an art class,
    Always did better in math., Found you through a post via mad about patchwork, looking forward to the quilt along and following your blog,

    ReplyDelete
  18. I have studied this post several times over the weekend and I have narrowed my fabric pull. I posted a picture on your flickr page under the new thread for Penny Patch QAL. If you have time would you look at it and give your opinion? THANK YOU!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I am hoping to play along. However, I was wondering about the low volume fabrics. I have participated in several layer cake and other size low volume swaps-will I be able to use those? I saw above that the cuts will be made based on fat quarters, but I should be able to divide them up to fit on what I have, right?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nevermind, I just reread the opening and saw that we should be able to use other size cuts, but that the directions will be based on fat quarters.

      Delete
  20. May just have to slice into my flea market fancy for this one.....

    ReplyDelete
  21. this is so inspiring! you have broken it down really well, making it obvious and understandable. i'm going to have a look at my stack I was considering for this now!

    ReplyDelete
  22. For the first vintage tangerine bundle what is the yellow polka dot print above the cosmo cricket , the pezzy print colorway and the blue and yellow print above the pezzy print?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. uh oh, I'm not sure which image you are talking about. is it an image in this post? Can you link me to the image url?

      Delete
    2. Ok, I think the dot is a Kaffe Fasset dot. Not sure though. The Pezzy colorway name I don't know, but it is the teal one, not the dusty blue or light blue. It looks turquoise or teal. The floral print you refer to is a Peacock Lane print. sorry I couldn't be more helpful!

      Delete
  23. http://www.flickr.com/photos/stitchedincolor/8381306646/
    It's the photo with the 15 fabrics stacked in rows. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  24. These comments and replies have been really helpful and I m officially sucked in. Love the penny patch block, and this combo looks really multi-layered and nice :)

    ReplyDelete
  25. I am confused on the color scheme....just make the blocks in colors that look good together?

    ReplyDelete
  26. I want to cut fabric but I am feeling clueless on what color A is compared to color B. I know what I want my pop colors to be. And I assume the neutral squares are just that, neutral colors.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like you have it, Marsha. As for color a verses b, is there one of that you like best? If so, use your favorite for color b, since it will be used more in the quilt if you follow my directions.

      Delete
  27. I've been trying to resist the urge to join in, but the will is weak. Think I'll do a scrappy version like the original... thanks for doing the math :)

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts with Thumbnails