Monday, December 7, 2015

and then Orange ruined everything

Ok, people, I fought with this quilt for hours on Friday.  No exaggeration.  My inspiration was all about color, namely burgundy, purple and fawn brown.  But then I fell for that orange Candied Lollie fabric.  It's so pretty in and of itself!  The moment I cut, I sealed my fate.

Orange is so strong, so stand-out-ish.  It can easily take control.  And it doesn't help that I even set orange in the lead as the feature checkerboard tone.  Der!  When I first felt unease about my working color palette, I tried to console myself that the artificial lighting was misrepresenting orange.  Which was true.  But there's more to it then that...

orange ruined everything

My mom saw it right away.  She doesn't usually criticize my work, but she volunteered her opinion pretty much on first sight - take out the purple.  No, mom, this quilt is all about autumn, fireside tones:  burgundy, purple, brown... and orange.  Because there's orange at the fireside.  Get it?

Well, now orange is officially my least favorite color.  I apologize to everyone out there who loves orange, but this time orange ruined everything.  It totally took control of my color scheme!

orange ruined everything

You see, orange and purple are opposites, otherwise known as complementary colors.*  When opposite colors are mixed together the enhance or intensify each other.  The purple was making the orange brighter and the orange was making the purple stand out from all the other warm tones like a sore thumb.  I tried and tried adjusting other things - removing the dark brown, removing the medium brown, adding more light fabrics.  To test out "removing" a color from the work, since I'd already sewn and cut the patchwork strips, I simply covered up the color in question with floating patchwork squares.  Eventually I had to admit that what I wanted to remove was the ORANGE so as to preserve my original inspiration palette.  But I'd cut too much orange to shelve it.

orange ruined everything

So I removed the purple.  Painstakingly ripped. out. the. purple. square by square.  And I added a little dark blue Dewberry herringbone.  Because that print always helps.

orange ruined everything

Yeah, mom was right.  Go mom.

p.s.  If you struggle with color in your sewing, I hope you'll join us for an encore of Color Intensive in the new year.  We talk about color theory and get practical about application for quilters in an interactive online class format. More details about my class encores coming soon!

*Edited to add:  So this is me admitting I was completely wrong.  Purple and YELLOW are complementary colors.  Orange and BLUE are complementary colors.  I promise I got it right in the Color Intensive!  Yep, I can be a dolt sometimes! 

Also, in my defense, the boundary between yellow and orange is a fine line.  It's pretty hard to make a monochromatic yellow work without actually including orange, you know?  Anyhoo, I love yellow with everything and orange with few things.  Tis true that orange and blue is a combo I do like. 

...Ok now my poor addled brain is really spinning!

35 comments:

  1. I didn't think that it was the pruple as such but the value of the color. The purple you used is a 'cold' one while all the other colors and fabrics in your palette are 'warmer' tones. Perhaps you have a more plum fabric in your stash? There's a Denyse Schmidt print from her Hope Valley line that would be great. And if you just add a few squares it would perhaps help to down tune the orange-ish of your quilt (I'm also not a orange girl;-) Whatever you do I hope this quilt works out in the end for you!

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    1. You're so right! A warm, plummy purple would have been a great idea.

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  2. Oh, I love the colors! I am a strong advocate of brown, perhaps because I love brown clothes, but have always had a hard time putting brown in my quilts. But this one... Yummy! Thanks for the inspiration (as always!!!)

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  3. Loved the idea of the purple but love the new direction even more!

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  4. I actually liked the purple and orange in the picture, but maybe it's not right in reality!! Wish you could come and scrutinise my lapassacaglia, I think it could blow your mind, like it is me :D

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  5. Well now the Orange is perfect and I think the purple ruined everything ;) Totally agree that blue herringbone is the best print and works with everything!! I have a bit hoarded away for such emergencies!

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    1. Oh, that's funny! It does seem this post illustrates more that purple ruined everything.. ha!

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  6. I think you have improved the quilt with the navy. At least you could figure out how to correct it. I like orange, but in general keep away from violet.
    My suggestion would have been to finish the quilt, but over-dye it when it was done--I'm not sure what color though--just a thought.
    The first comment about warm and cool might have been the cause of your troubles--but I'd have to see the quilt in real light. I think that often that warm and cool colors can work well in a quilt. I would be interested in your comments on the warm/cool discussions.

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    1. Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Sandra. You often have great ideas! I've never overdyed before, but I see how that could be useful here =) Fortunately, I think I've come to a peace with it as it is.

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  7. I also think removing the purple was the right thing to do. Orange has never been a color I like, but since I started quilting I have gradually learned to like orange, And purple----a color I never liked! I really like what you have done and look forward to seeing the completed quilt.

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  8. I agree with Hildy, it wasn't the idea of purple it was just the wrong one. You needed a red-purple not a blue-purple. And not to split hairs but orange and purple are analogous, they both share red, Blue is the compliment of orange (which is why the navy works so well) and yellow is the opposite of purple. I know picky picky.

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  9. Orange and purple are not complementary colors. Complementary colors are on opposite sides of the color wheel - orange's complement is blue and purple's complement is yellow. When you removed the purple you created an analagous color scheme, where the colors are next to one another on the color wheel - orange blends into red/burgundy and reddish brown. The blue squares add a little pop of complementary color. I think it looks great and I love that you showed the before and after.

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    1. Thank you for mentioning that. I thought I'd missed some new art trend where orange and purple were complimentary colours. I love the colour combination of orange and blue. Pops of blue would be very good.

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    2. Yes, I was absolutely having a "duh" moment. Had to add an apology and clarification to the main post. Sorry!

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  10. Always so interesting to see how your projects unfold! I originally thought that plenty of navy would work well with the orange lolly print...so sorry about all that undoing...it really looks pretty darn great as you have it going now. I agree that maybe a plum might not have given you the fits, in hindsight :)

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    1. Yep, you had all the right instincts with that print, then! I think the problem was I started with another whole palette in mind. If I started with the Lollie print to begin with, I bet I would have gravitated towards navy and blue with it.

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  11. Your Mom hit the nail on the head. Purple and Orange is probably one of my favorite color combinations. This particular purple was just too soft a shade - it needed more intensity in order not to be overwhelmed by the orange. What you have now looks wonderful Rachel and I hope you grow to love it!

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  12. I like the feel it has, sort of has an Asian feel.....

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  13. I like the colors now. They are kind of happy. Orange can do that.
    Of course I love the cotton and steel "kitty puddins"
    I am looking forward to discussions about color theory.
    I took a few art classes in college, sneaked them in my nursing degree :-P just to keep my brains in the clinical zone.

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    1. The kitties really brought my heart back into the work =)

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  14. Honestly I like both, but I am a big fan of purple. This reminds me of another quilt I think you made (I'm pretty sure) it was a fall quilt with orange and black and white rectangles kind of strip improv pieced.

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  15. I really like the color scheme now that those purples are removed. If you still want some purples, you might want to try more intense, deep purples like plum. Purples with more red tones and less blue ones. Good luck! The struggle will be worth it in the end.

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  16. Good save. I was hoping you weren't going to abandon it all together.

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    1. Yes, it was a "save". I did honestly think about abandoning it... Not sure when that has ever happened before. Yikes!

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  17. I can't help it, but I love what you've done with it (not fond of orange in general either, but really love what you came up to ;) ) - go Rachel, go!

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  18. You could have sold it to a Clemson fan with the purple in it!

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  19. You could have sold it to a Clemson fan with the purple in it!

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  20. Rachel, are you going to hate this when it's done? Personally, I love it, but if you already despise it perhaps you should cut it up to use in an Improv quilt?

    I too think that purple can be added back if there are smaller amounts of the orange and a more deeply saturated, brighter purple is used- a purple that can stand up against the orange. The lilac you had started off with may have held it's own against a softer, peachier orange but isn't life too short to spend it working on something you can't stand?

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    1. No, I don't hate it. Honestly. It just "ruined everything" in the sense of what I had imagined I was going to create. I created something totally different, but I think it's a fine quilt. In fact, I'm pretty sure there are orange-lovers out there! This quilt was so quick (except for the purple-ripping part). I am already quilting it.

      Yes, so true about a different shade of purple being required for that orange.

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  21. I like orange but haven't considered it a favorite color. But I have to say I'm loving those blocks! I hate that you're not as happy with it. Nothing worse than sewing on something that you don't care for!

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  22. Interesting! I can see how the orange took over. But I did like it with the purple. It has me thinking - what color combinations are there that are not common but can be made to work and what makes them work? How does value play in? Does adding a color to help them hold hands make a difference? How to find the right pleasing balance? Do some colors not work together? Something to play with and I do love color play :)

    I look forward to seeing which classes you are encoring!

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  23. These are some of the things (among many!) that I love about your blog - you show not just what you are/have done, but you explain your thinking process, and you are also willing to explain what isn't working out as you'd hoped as well as all the brilliant success stories. This is so very helpful! I felt the first version was "ok", but the navy really works. With the navy it feels so much more peaceful while still being energetic because of the orange, if that makes any sense. Yay for both your mom's insight and you for your perseverance!

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  24. I love all the orangeybrownyness! And that navy is a great grounder. We are having the same problem in our house-- there's all this great pine wood trim and walls, but it's all so ORANGE. And adding a cool color actually intensifies the orange. More warm colors work so much better. I think when it comes to orange, more is less! Or does that mean more is more?

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  25. I love orange, but I understand why you'd be discouraged with what you've done here. I think it looks lovely tho ~

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