Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Focus Colours

Often a fabric can inspire a colour scheme. Some companies have colour bars along a selvage edge that shows the colours used in a fabric. These are not an indication of the amount or percentage of colour. But they are a place to start. If you want something very similar you must identify the amounts of colour used for the background, the main colours, and the accent.

Viewing the fabric without colour will help identify the values, light, medium and dark. I put the fabric in my printer/scanner and printed out a black and white photocopy. I also cut off the coloured dots printed on the fabric selvage. This fabric has 15 colours in total.

The fabric I chose for my example is an old fabric I got in a sale bin some years ago. It is Regal by Spiegal. It appealed to me but I have never quite figured out what to do with it.

I like to shop in my own closet first. The background was a bit of a challenge to find. Then I decided to add some browns, blues, oranges and yellows with a wee bit of green and one purple as an accent.

I spread out my choices to see if anything sticks out and doesn't work.

I also arrange the colour groups to show proportion.

Often this is as far as I go before I start cutting fabric.

But if you want a more permanent reference, especially if you need to purchase additional fabrics you can make up a visual reference.

I used a sheet of white paper and glued a 4 inch square of the focus fabric in the centre. Then I cut 1 inch squares of my chosen fabric and tried to keep a colour family on each side. Not showing up very well are letters identifying my Light, my Bright, my Dark. I need to remember not to forget the percentage I will use of these fabrics.

In this case the fabric has come first. I hadn't any pattern in mind. I was wondering what I could do as I was picking, choosing and making up my visual. I like the Bird's in the Air block. The large triangle is a nice size to feature my theme fabric. I could use the colours for all the different 'birds'. I made up a quick block, about 9 inches. hmm, I'm not liking my background. I think it is too pink so I shall be taking my colour chart off to the fabric store to see if I can find a better background.

Picking fabric and choosing colour schemes is my favorite quilt activity. It isn't something to angst about. It is very personal and we all see colour differently. What appeals to one will not necessarily appeal to another and it is not surprising that a general consensus is hard to come by when you ask a few people for their opinions. It often helps to sleep on it and then please yourself!

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