Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Puzzling over colour

This post is late. I was planning to share some thoughts about picking colours for the Mod Pop QAL and post them on Tuesday. Now it is almost Thursday. This is not a coincidence - it seems that, in the end, it is hard for me to write about colour.

Mod Pop

I am going to start with my original plan which was to share some ideas for the Mod Pop quilt. The quilt is a wonderful example of a pattern just begging for two different colour stories - one for the background and one for the focus pattern. There are several ideas to consider:
  • use just two colours/fabrics - solids or prints for a very bold and fresh lines. This would make a very mod 70's style look. 
  • use a blend of colours to make a colour story for either the background or the focus fabric or both. 
  • use high contrast between the background and the focus fabric, using low volume and saturated colours, or go with similar values and contrasting colours.
  • use only solids, only prints or prints for one part and solids for the other. 
  • use a mix of a few fabrics or of a great number of different fabrics, whether solids or prints.
As I started thinking about what colour to use for my next Mod Pop, I realized there were many other ideas too, including:
  • Make one of the background or the focus fabric a rainbow with solids or prints.
  • Make one or both of the background and the focus fabric a gradation of one colour from dark to light - something I have learned to understand is what the word ombre means. This could also be done with both prints or solids.
  • Mix solids and prints in either the background or the focus fabric.
  • Use black/grey and white/tan/cream in either solids or prints - a black and white or sepia quilt.
  • Mix fabric types - for example use linen, flannel, corduroy, or denim for one part and cotton for the other.
  • Add the odd unexpected pop of contrasting colour into whatever colour story that is otherwise being used.
  • Use a single colour story for each vertical pattern but have a rainbow or ombre effect moving across the quilt.
  • I am sure that there are many other possibilities too. Don't you just want to make a whole lot of these to see how they would turn out? I sure do.
I am not a colour expert, although I love playing with it. A few of my hints are:
  • If you pick colours that you like to work with the quilt will be easy to work on, finish and love.
  • Using 10 or 15 blues - whether prints or solids - is generally better than a small number of shades. The use of similar shades together creates depth, movement, and interest. And the grouping can be of a fairly large range of colours and still read as one colour. This works especially well with solids.
  • Take advantage of the colouring sheet included in the pattern if you are in doubt about your choices. Or make just a small section of the quilt as a test before cutting all the fabrics. You can also use palette generators - there are several available on the internet.
  • Look to nature, a favourite painting/photograph, fabric or wallpaper for inspiration regarding colour choices. Think about memories - the colours in your grandmother's kitchen, your mom's favourite flowers, your dad's bookshelf, your favourite bike or car.
  • Be bold and don't be reluctant to put unexpected colours together.
As part of the Mod Pop series, I wanted to share some other resources on the internet where each topic is considered by others. But for colour, I am not going to do that. Every blogger I follow regularly shares their thoughts on colour - we all love colour and we all puzzle over it. All the time. 

So this leads to my last thought on colour for tonight: Colour is perplexing - it is the best, it is the hard, it is fun and it is complicated. It permeates our daydreams and our sleeping dreams too. I think that the approach of quilters to colour is often amazing and inspiring. I hope exploring colour is a part of the quilting journey that never ends. I can't wait to see what colours are used in the QAL, and by others making other quilts, every day.

What are your thoughts on colour?

Modern Shopping Bag

By the way, I finished my tutorial today for the Fluffy Sheep Quilting newsletter and Cindy has given it the green light to be included. She told me she plans to send the newsletter out on Saturday so hurry over and sign up before then. This bag is another exercise in exploring colour it seems.

Modern Shopping Bag