Friday, 22 January 2010

Colour Me Happy

Today it is grey, grey, English grey, too dark to take any pictures of what I've been up to this week. As I write this a lady has just walked past my window with a rainbow umbrella, one spot of colour in a grey day, it made me smile.
You know by now that I am on a one woman mission to persuade everyone I know or come across to make a quilt! One of the most common things that people say to me when they are worrying about taking the plunge (and one of the reasons I developed my Make Do & Mend Kits) is that they 'aren't any good at choosing colours'. It makes me sad, and cross(!)
I know that there are books and books of very well written advice on choosing colour, working with a colour wheel, accents and tones and lots of other things we should all apply in a rational way to our colour choices. But I must confess I just don't really 'get' any of it. I'm just not a fan of over complication.
For anyone reading this now who worries about colour choices I thought I would jot down my Golden Colour Rules.
1. You Know Best. The most underrated sense is your inbuilt 'do i like it?' mechanism. Start with a colour you know you like, then find it some fabric friends who show it off. You'll know if something 'doesn't go'. Its an inbuilt reflex like eating something you don't like the taste of, it makes you go 'eew'.
2. Copy. Take something in your life that you love already, a skirt print, a greetings card, a cushion, and use the colour combinations within them. If you like it in a skirt, you'll love it in a quilt!
3. The Selvage Cheat. If you have a main print that you want to use, cut off the selvage dots (along the side of the fabric). These dots will show each of the distinct colours within the pattern listed out. Now all you have to do is match the dots to fabrics that are that colour. It sounds too simple to work but it's so effective. Your eyes don't immediately 'see' all of the colours within a print as they look at the overall effect of it. You can train yourself to look at the constituent parts over time.
4. The Live With It Test. When you've chosen your fabrics just leave them laid out on the floor or in a pile and just live with them for a day. You'll find that just walking past and looking at your pile will often make it all so easy to see what goes and what doesn't. Try out lots of alternatives.
5. Add Pepper/Lime/Chilli Sauce to Taste. The biggest problem most of us have when choosing colours to begin is that we're too 'matchy matchy'. Every quilt needs a little seasoning, add in a darker/brighter/bigger scale pattern, something to 'lift' the other colours. It's the hardest thing to feel comfortable with, so don't worry if it leaves you anxious!
6. You're The Boss/It's Not a Test. If you like it, then it's right! Go with what you think looks good. It's your quilt, it's going to live in your house, it's up to you!
Happy Quilting!

1 comment:

  1. I am definitely going to use the selvedge cheat! What a great idea :)