Thursday, September 10, 2009

Make Your Quilts Sing--Color Study

Crystal Star Quilt, 18" x 18"
Jinny Beyer pattern
© 2007 Fannie Narte

This quilt hangs in my studio. It's my color wheel, and I often refer to it when I need help with colors.

How do you make your quilt sing?

Jinny Beyer says that a successful color scheme for a quilt of any design requires three color ingredients: shading, deep dark and accent. In her book "Color Confidence for Quilters," she explains her color theory.

The above color study was made using my paper pieced pattern and Jinny Beyer's fabrics. It shows how she shades any two colors by choosing transition fabrics and organizing them into values.

In her book, Jinny shares her secrets of how she creates her master palette and teaches how to create your own palette from the fabrics in your stash. She conveniently includes paper fabric swatches that can be cut and used in the exercises in the book. Also included are sample master palettes.

I was ready to create my palette, but I didn't want to play with paper fabric! No way!

I immediately set to work to create my own master palette and began with my favorite fabric colors: blues, purples and greens. The first thing I did was to separate my fabrics into color families, and then organize each color group into values from light to dark. This is an excellent exercise, and I quickly discovered my "value flaws." I often made the mistake of placing an intense or bright colored fabric into the dark pile.

Values are easier to detect when viewed in gray scale. Tip: For difficult fabrics, try scanning them or photocopying them in black and white.

I also learned that the majority of my fabric stash consisted of dark and medium fabrics. In order to create my master palette the Jinny Beyer way, I "had" to go to my local fabric store and find some light fabrics.

After combining my newly purchased light fabrics with those in my stash, I created the above paper pieced color palette, which will be used in an art quilt I'm working on. I love to see the play with dark and light and to see the colors pop. What do you think?

Jinny's color theory can be used in other art forms besides quilts.

Make your quilts or art sing!


Jacq said...

Your "Crystal Star Quilt" is beautiful. I'll bet it gets your creative juices going every time you go into your studio.

Scrappy Cat said...

Another area where you and I have a lot in common Fannie. My favorite colors are also blues, purples and greens, and I buy more dark and medium fabrics. You did a beautiful job with your color palette - I can't wait to see the art quilt make with it.

Rosie said...

How very interesting Fanni... thanks for sharing and educating me! =)

Regina said...

Really great post, Fannie!
Once upon a time I worked p/t in a quilt shop & was introduced to Jinny Beyer's book & fabrics. Thanks for sharing your experiece & for giving me a great reminder. I also love Joen Wolfrom's color theory books which are targetted to quilters, but like Beyer, the lessons cross all media.