Make it Complementary!
There are no hard and fast rules to follow when working with color, but there are some concepts to know and which might help you make your color decisions. Complementary colors are those that fall directly across from each other on the colorwheel like blue/orange or red/green. By their nature complementary colors are a dynamic combination. Sometimes a bit of a color’s complement goes a long way to spice up a quilt. If true complements are too bold for you, they can be toned down a bit by using less saturated version of the colors.
Today’s featured quilt is Karen Anderson Abraham’s ‘What’s for Breakfast’. Though there isn’t a lot of color in Karen’s quilt, the complements of blue and orange stand out in the surrounding neutrals while adding a bit of sparkle to her quilt. Karen’s quilt is a wonderful example of how a little color goes a long way.
Karen’s thoughts on her quilt:
“It started with a vision of neutrals that I had been thinking about for quite a while. I mostly used scraps and leftovers of whites, off whites, light browns, muslin, etc. that I had laying around the sewing room. Some even picked up off the floor.
I think my biggest challenge with this quilt was finding a way to make a very quiet, monotone color palette have some interest and draw the viewer in in some way while remaining true to my wish for a mostly neutral quilt. My constant inclination was to add more color to create visual interest but kept reminding myself of my mostly neutral, mostly solids vision; “color restraint” became my mantra. In order to make the quilt interesting without much color, I tried to really vary the neutrals and piece together interesting sections with the whites, off whites, creams and my favorite stone colored linen. I think very subtle variations in tone with these “colors” can create lovely shading and an interesting yet very calming overall effect.
I don’t know much about color theory beyond your basic color wheel stuff so my thoughts on that are pretty limited. I just used the colors I was drawn to and that were visually pleasing to me. The blue had a cool calmness to it, while the yellow and orange added warmth to the overall piece. I put a couple of shots of brown in there because I just love the grounding effect that brown can have, and it’s one of my favorite colors- yes, I said brown is one of my favorite colors, is that weird? :-)
More about Karen:
Karen has been quilting about 5 years and even with a couple of babies and little time has figured it out on her own. Karen says, “I’m still learning a lot and have only completed a handful of quilts. I work slowly and my process is very intuitive.” She is a founding member of the Santa Barbara Modern Quilt Guild and blogs at Bloomingpoppies. We appreciate that she has taken what time she has to become a quilter! You can see more of Karen’s work in her Flickr photostream.