Quilt Design 4: Choosing your color scheme

Of all the things people think they need help with, color is mentioned most often. Indeed, color can be complicated if you want to make it that way, but my preference is to make it simple. So here goes…

quilt design

Example 1: Purple Quilt

A good starting place is your favorite color. You don’t have to think too much about what that is. So start with your favorite color and then add colors that you like to see with it. Never mind that stuff about analogous color schemes being restful and complementary color schemes being lively. Yes, they are true, but if you do it that way you’re likely over-thinking it. If YOU like the color scheme, then go for it!  I love purple, so that’s what I chose for this first example.  I like gold with it, and the thought process was “I like gold with it so I’ll use it” rather than, “Gold is complementary to purple so I’ll use it.”  However, if knowing it’s complementary helps you, by all means use that framework.  I chose a grey background fabric because grey is “good this year”, as my Mother would have put it.

But let’s assume you want a color scheme kind of worked out in advance.  A common piece of advice is to pick a print as your feature fabric and then choose your coordinates from the colors in the feature print. That works fine, but it assumes you want a multi-color print as the focal point of your quilt.

One of thousands of color schemes all ready to use at Design-Seeds.com

One of thousands of color schemes all ready to use at Design-Seeds.com

There are lots of other ways that work at least as well. Color schemes are everywhere you look, and they’ve already been worked out by many design experts, from Mother Nature to New York City advertising specialists. Flip through a favorite magazine and choose an ad with colors that appeal to you. Take a snapshot of something pretty and use the colors you see there. Go to design-seeds.com to view thousands of color combinations.  You can subscribe to a free daily e-mail featuring some of them. Start a Pinterest board where you save color combinations that appeal to you. Above all, have confidence in your own judgment: If YOU like it, that’s good enough!

modern quilt

Color scheme is from a visit to southern New Mexico

Now, go practice by finding some color schemes you like and designing quilts with them. As always, designing on paper counts!  And if this wasn’t enough information about color to suit you, don’t worry–I’ll be saying lots more later!

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2 thoughts on “Quilt Design 4: Choosing your color scheme

  1. Pingback: Your Inner Designer 5: A Program to Make Your Own Palette! | Zippy Quilts

  2. Pingback: Your Inner Designer 6: Copy Somebody Good! | Zippy Quilts

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