Wednesday, February 1, 2012

It's all about HEART and Color with Jennifer and her Color me this.. 2 guests today

Hello!  For those who don't know me, my name is Jennifer and I blog over at That Girl... That Quilt.  I work in a very black and white profession by day so it's always exciting to get to talk color! 

I love color.  The geometry and math of quilting are what initially attracted me but what drew me in and has kept me is the color.

The process of quilting is fascinating and I talk a lot about it on my blog.  I obsess over the color selection more than any other part of making the quilt.  The fabric, the print, the design... they are all secondary. 

image credit

A lot of color theory is based on the color wheel... primary colors... secondary colors... etc.  That's all well and good but it gets a little boring trying to find inspiration on a wheel.  I hear a lot of quilters talk about having trouble with color selection and I did too when I was trying to get inspired by a colorful yet one dimensional circle.

So how do we apply basic color theory to quilting?  Here's how I do it...

I draw my color inspiration from what's around me.  If something is pleasing to my eye then I bet it will be beautiful in a quilt.  If something in nature stops me in my tracks, a quilt could probably do the same.  I started taking pictures with my iPhone when I found something inspirational and I have never looked at my surroundings the same.

Purple & yellow.  Not quite the traditional color combination. 

But one look at my purple & yellow iris that bloom every spring...

and I knew that they had to become a quilt.

image credit

This also goes for beautiful photographs.

I was so inspired by the photo that I translated both the colors and the rooftops design into a quilt.  It's one of my very favorites.

And then there's Design Seeds.  I talk a lot about this site on my blog because it's an absolute genius idea.  They take ordinary objects, landscapes, still life, etc and pull the colors out for you.  It goes right along with my thought of finding something pleasing to your eye and transforming it into a quilt.

I've used Design Seeds here...

... to get these colors

and here...

... to pick these fabrics

Your choice of color can also help with your quilt design.  I designed this quilt backwards thinking about the negative space I wanted to create using a dark background with lighter colors.  This flip of color can make a quilt look completely different.

And last but not least, pick a favorite fabric and build your colors around that one.  The center fabric of this quilt is what I based the rest of the color choices on. 

Don't feel like you have to stick with the same line either.  Just be brave, find your favorite, and build around that one! 

pattern by Kate Conklin
The first time I did this, it was a little nerve wracking.  But then I started thinking about fabric designers and the fact that they probably have a pretty good idea of what colors look good together... they are designers after all. ;)

can you spot the mistake??
My one last tip for today... when in doubt, take a picture.  Doing so allows you to visually step back and look just at the photo instead of the distractions of background in the room.  My iPhone is full of photos of random quilts in progress.  This is my favorite way of making sure my colors and design are on track.

Thanks for having me today!  I always enjoy visiting here.  If you are looking for a pattern that will take you out of your color comfort zone and let you play with the concept of negative space and color values, I have a free step by step quilt along called Chasing Chevrons.  It's a 6 part series and I talk a lot more about color, how to choose your actual fabrics i.e. prints & solids, as well as step by step instructions for making a quilt if you are new to quilting. :)

I hope you will visit me soon... have a wonderful day!

Editors note...

I had asked Jennifer to talk about Color as FEBRUARY is all about lot's of color.
And nobody could do it better. Thanks Jennifer, this is one of these posts
we will be referring to often. 


  1. Excellent showing of how to use and find color. I rely on nature as my inspiration - and as you said, if it is pleasing to the eye - it so works in a quilt!

  2. great post Jennifer with fabulous tips about colour - thanks

  3. Great post from Jennifer! thanks for asking her to be your guest!

  4. what an excellent lesson on color, you are such a pro . Thank you for this, it is my area that I have difficulty with.

  5. Wow thanks so much Jennifer I will be back to this info many times I can assure you. I will stop by your blog...Thanks allot.

  6. Thanks for a wonderful tut. I am new to quilting and color combinations have not been the easiest thing. I appreciate the insight.

  7. Wonderful post - I am kinda color challenged, so I really appreciate this tutorial!

  8. Thank you Jennifer. I am so colour challenged, I take a fellow quilter with me when I shop for fabric.

  9. Lovely quilts, I always have trouble choosing colors! Thanks!

  10. This is such great advice. Thanks for pointing out design seeds, too. I was wondering where everyone was getting those color palates ;-)

  11. Wonderful!! Such great tips! Good-by color wheel hello i-phone!

  12. Awesome post Jennifer! Color is where I am always second guessing, thank you.

  13. This was a great lesson on color - one I needed to hear. Thanks so much. blessings, marlene

  14. Purple and gold were my children's school colors. A Natural combo to me. Great info here. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Good Morninf Jenifer....odd, I did write here yesterday and it disappeared ...lol well I love your sense of color. You always seem to come up with the best combo

  16. Good morning. Hard to work off iPad this morn lol

  17. Your color suggestions are spot on! I also use nature and my surroundings for color inspirations. You have done a marvelous job sharing your knowledge.
    Blessings & Hugs
    Gmama Jane

  18. oh thank you! Color is an area that seems so mystical! I appreciate the design seeds link--I have seen that on other blogs but mistakenly thought it was a place to choose colors; I didnt' realize it chose colors for you. AI'm definitely going to go check that out.


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