How To Coordinate Colors For Quilting?

Can you give us some hints on how to choose the right fabric color for that added punch?

What if someone wanted to use a little bit different variation of the color combinations that you chose? Can you talk a little bit about that?

Arlene: We’re always thrilled when people want to use our patterns. Let’s say we’ve done our quilt in pink and green. You really don’t like pink and green. You want to do it in purple and green.

That’s terrific. Now you’ve adapted and changed it to make it your own. If you want to create the look of our quilt but use a different color palette, I think the most critical thing is to pay attention to what I call the “values” or how light or dark the fabrics are.

For instance, we used a dark roof on a house. We used a dark green roof. When you look for your fabrics, you don’t want to pick something that is lavender. That won’t read the same or add the contrast to the background as well as the dark would to a light background. Try to match the value or how dark and light the fabrics are the same way as we did in our quilt.

Penny: If you wanted a lavender-purple roof instead of the green one, then you would pick a darker purple instead of the light lavender.

Arlene: This is so you have enough contrast so everybody knows it’s a roof. It will blend into the background if it’s too close in value to the background.

Melissa: We’re pretty particular. We pay a lot of attention to pattern as well as colors. It depends on how particular you are in making your quilt look like ours.

We do really struggle with pattern in addition to color. We look at how big the scale is in relationship to a house or the appropriateness of checks and stripes. We like to play off of pattern as well as color.

That’s important to keep in mind when you’re trying to design your own block or rearrange it in your own color scheme. You don’t want to have all solids or too much pattern. Keep your pattern in mind as well.

Penny: For example, for one of the little birds you wouldn’t suggest they pick floral print.

Arlene: Probably not. It can be done. A lot of people use different things. Let’s say you’re making a little bird only two inches tall. If you use a big scale four-inch print, you’ll probably lose some definition along the edges of the bird shape. It may or may not look like a bird anymore once you use that fabric.

A more solid-looking print would define that shape more clearly. Play around with it. When we design we test out many different fabrics. We try them all, and cut them out and put them up on the board. We look at it. Sometimes we even take a camera and look through the camera to make sure that you can see it’s a bird. Sometimes it fades away and you can’t tell it’s a bird.

We want our quilts to have what I call “graphic appeal,” which means you can distinctly see that they’re birds, flowers and houses. Some quilters don’t want that. They want to achieve a more blended look. Ours are a little more graphic. We like to make sure that things stand out

By Arlene Stamper, Melissa Harris, Penny Halgren of

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