When print matters as much as color
Choosing the fabrics for a quilt top can be exciting or exhausting. Some quilters simply choose a collection they like. That way, all the work is done in color and print scale. Others will do some shopping to “pull” coordinating fabrics that bring attention to the focus fabric they have chosen and the design of the block.
While print scale is as important as color, we tend to start with color then we choose the scale we want as the center of attention. There are four ways to choose color that will inevitably influence your choice of print scale:
1 — Monochromatic: same color family but different shades (dark) and tints (light).
2 — Analogous: neighboring colors on the wheel.
3 — Complementary: two colors on opposite sides of the wheel.
4 — Triadic color: 3 colors that form a perfect triangle on the color wheel.
In any of the color choices you make, you need to keep consistent when it comes to selecting the print scale. If you are selecting a large scale print for the center, try to do the same on the other blocks’ centers. If you start with a mid-size print scale in the corners and then choose blender scale prints for the edges, be sure that all the corners and edges have similar print scales. They don’t have to be the same fabric but similar size print scales.
A monochromatic color design means staying in one color family with some variety in the color value.
To show off the midsize fabrics she liked the most, she surrounded the mid-sized blue with small print or blender blues and then used the white background fabric to bring even more attention to the block pattern.
There are also some beautiful large-scale or focus fabrics. Kaffee Fassett has made a career of combining bright and obvious analogous colors. He selects two colors from families next to each other on the wheel. He then designs very large-scale prints that can be used as focus, mid-size prints, or blenders. In an analogous combination you are looking to use the best parts of a large scale print or the extremes in shade or tint (dark or light).
Then to finish the block, there is the background fabric which needs to highlight the color and print scale. In the second block, the colors, print scales, and background are almost the same, melding the whole block together. Wasting the nice print and pretty star design.
You are now ready to pick a simple block and select your own colors and print scales. I would love to see what you come up with. You can e-mail me your name, block design, and a picture of your masterpiece to email@example.com. Until next week, hugs and stitches my friends.