Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Learning colour bravery

I have a pretty good eye for colour, but I still have plenty to learn. I was inspired to make a rainbow strip quilt after seeing a beautifully bright one at The Sewing Attic blog. Go have a look at it. I’ll wait.

Isn’t it beautiful? Such rich, glowing colours. I got stuck into my fabric stash (and, it has to be admitted, into the local quilting shop, to fill in the gaps in my colour collection – any excuse to go fabric shopping!). I started with orange, and carefully chose orange fabrics that all went well together, put them together …

… and then sat back and thought, man, that’s bland. All blendy and matchy, not at all the vibrant riot of colour I recalled from Catherine’s blog. So I went back and had another look. A better one this time – and realised what an assortment of different shades and patterns she’d used to get that wonderful effect. She didn’t just have one shade of orange, but mustard-orange, gold-orange, brown-orange, red-orange, all mixed up together, plus different scale patterns, and it was that mixture that brought the quilt alive.

So I got a bit braver with my turquoise blocks. Some darks, some lights, some different shades of turquoise. Big prints and small scale prints. Even – gasp! – turquoise fabrics with other colours in them, like hot pink.

Still not quite there, but much better! I love the way the different colours pop out at you.

The quilt is nearly finished now, just have to put on a border. I never did get quite as brave as Catherine, but it was a great learning experience. Not to mention a lot of fun, playing with all those lovely fabrics!

Colour choices in quilting are not as simple as in most other artistic pursuits. Apart from the colour of the fabric you have to consider the scale of the print and also its “style”. Country doesn’t go with Japanese which doesn’t go with modern – even though all three may be the same colour.

Unless of course you’re one of those brave souls who combine everything willy nilly and manage to make it look good, like the inspirational Kathy from Material Obsession. I don’t think I’ll ever be that brave, but it’s fun trying!


  1. I think we need to see a picture of the whole quilt!

  2. Marina it's looking lovely!! I'm so glad to have inspired you with my quilt! I'm ashamed to say my string quilt top is still in the 'to be quilted pile' but I'm on a mission to get that pile quilted! Looking forward to seeing you finished quilt top. I think you've done really well with your fabric choices.

  3. Thank you, Catherine! And good luck with the "to be quilted" pile. Mine's getting so big I'm thinking of asking Santa to pay for some professional quilting for my Christmas present this year!

    Jenn, I'm working on it, I promise! As soon as I get those borders on there'll be a big "ta-da!" moment here.