I’ve recently done a few blog entries on color. I really don’t know how I ever got on this…I don’t feel like I know a lot about it. I just do what I do and I like how it turns out.
The main thing that I’ve been saying is that I like to sort my fabrics into two categories…Ones that work well with white backgrounds and ones that work well with cream backgrounds. In the string entry I said that even in string quilts, I like to do this. I gave an example with my Hunter’s Star quilt I’m working on. In the comments a reader, Roxanne asked:
“What about your the fabrics in the Pumpkin Patch quilt? We’re those all cream based? I ask because I gathered my orange scraps and they are definitely a mixture of white and cream base. It’s my first strip quilt!”
I’m glad you asked. This quilt is a good example….Here’s my version.
Here’s the pattern from the magazine.
It’s a Bonnie Hunter pattern and was published in Quiltmaker. It was later added to her latest book String Frenzy. You can see that Bonnie used grays as her backgrounds and I used whites.
This is such a perfect example of color selection. For my quilt, I should pick cream based colors because of the brown background. if I were using grays, I would choose white based because gray looks better with white than cream.
Many people who talk about color call this “cool” and “warm”. The white based colors and more “cool”. The cream based colors are more “warm”. I personally favor the warm or cream based colors when I’m making a quilt but often stray and make white based quilts too.
The best thing to note is that if making this quilt, there is not a “better” quilt. There are only personal preferences. I loved Bonnie’s quilt…but for me, I had VERY few grays at the time. I knew I’d want white based fabrics to go with the gray and being the farm girl I am, I just liked pumpkins in what looked like brown dirt…thus the brown backgrounds and the cream based fabrics.
I dug my quilt out and started snapping some pictures. Take a look at this picture….I had a bit of a problem…Notice the stems. I started losing some of them in the dark brown backgrounds.
I broke my color theory …and dug to find some greens that were brighter and likely more “white based” like the stem below.
I started to be a little more conscientious about the stems and picked backgrounds that would better suit the green color so they would stand out and not blend in too much against the brown background.
As for colors or the orange fabrics, I had VERY little orange strings. I had to go into my fabric and cut strings from my fat quarters. Still I didn’t have a lot. Also I could see with that dark brown background that I need a pop. The dark oranges I had originally pulled for the quilt weren’t always standing out. I started adding in some yellows.
Some of these were colors that were “on the fence” and could go either way…”white” or “cream”. I do think with a brown background the quilt looks best with those yellowish pops.
I took some close up pictures of the border. It is cream based. That green polka dot is an “on the fence” piece. You can see it stands out a little.
More border: For Bonnie’s she used only greens in the border. I used all fall colors instead. That was dictated much by my stash. I don’t have a lot of green scraps…notice the ratio of green to other colors is very low.
This was a great opportunity for me to use a lot of those colors that were “mediums”…not light…not dark yet still “cream” based.
One thing I do want to note is that I personally believe that this quilt needed a brown thread for the quilting. It’s the obvious choice for me. Other might have done orange…or a tan. By selecting a brown that was “cream” based, it goes over and fabrics that are “on the fence” and tones them down a bit….”warming” them up. It helps with the flow of the quilt.
That was true with this “on the fence” orange polka dot. The “white” is that terrible color that’s not white-white but not cream either. Those are sometimes “on the fence” fabrics. I threw it in as polka dots are my favorite and I was very short of orange. In retrospect, it didn’t hurt the quilt. If I did it again, I might leave it out….But one strip of fabric either way is not going to make or break a quilt.
But sometimes my love of polka dot trumps everything else. That’s the most important thing….do what you love. If what you love is throwing a happy polka dot in now and then even if it breaks the rules, DO IT!! If not sorting your fabric this way is your method…do it.
If your stash is a “beginner stash”, do what your stash allows. If you think this is all a bunch of horse hookey….that’s fine too. Make your quilts how you want to make them. The only important thing is that YOU love them. I do all this tedious scrap sorting because that’s the way I make quilts I love.
I hope that gives you some close up pictures to look through and some words to contemplate as you make your quilt Roxanne…I love that you asked you this question.
Feel free to send more questions my way….