Sunday, July 31, 2011

You Aren't Just Choosing Colors

You Are Choosing Values

Choosing fabric for a quilt isn't just about picking colors you like. Color value is even more important than color in determining how well your quilt works. You need to select for both color and value.

Here are values for a brown starting at dark and going to light.

When a Friendship Star is made using values of the brown that are close together, the design is hard to see.

When there is more contrast in the values, the design is better defined and has more life.

This time a range of dark colors is used to make the Friendship Star. These colors are pleasant together but don't have enough contrast to make the design work.

The same thing happens when the color values are in the mid-range.

And again when the color values are light, resulting in pastels.

It's not that the colors in these three color pallets don't look good together. They do.

The problem is that there is not enough contrast in value to make the design work.

When you are choosing fabric for a quilt you need to be just as aware of the values of the fabrics you pick as you are of the colors.


  1. Thanks !! Your so right !I had to learn this when I made my Bargello quilt!!

  2. Great color lesson! I think almost every beginning quilter looks only at color, and does not realize that the design will be lost if there is not a contrast in value. (I know I did! My first "mystery quilt" was a disaster!) Your examples illustrated that perfectly!

    LeAnn aka pasqueflower

  3. Thanks Wayne! This really got me thinking about value in my quilts.

  4. Good advice. I learned this the hard way with one of my quilts, which still remains the least favorite of the quilts that I have made. Hope it stays that way! I don't like not liking my quilts!

  5. "Colour gets all the credit, but contrast does all the work"

    Don't know who said it, but they got it right!

    Love your illustrations!

    Judy B