August 20, 2014

WIP Wednesday; Color Choices

My primary WIP of the week is to get everything ready for a workshop I'm taking this Saturday taught by Latifah Saafir. It's called Perfect Puddles and is a lovely sampler quilt based on inset circles. Inset circles is something I've wanted to learn for awhile now so this is the perfect opportunity.

Photo from Latifah's Pinterest Board.

She gave us a great handout with instructions on several different patchwork designs to choose from for the circle centers. Each circle uses a different patchwork method and the finished quilt becomes a patchwork sampler. In my usual way, I wanted to do something a bit different and Latifah was very ok with my plan. Rather than a patchwork sampler, I decided to use a single fabric for each circle and turn the project into a free-motion sampler. I can use all the practice I can get with my free-motion skills and the simplicity of the design seemed like the perfect place for some practice. Here's my plan.

Selecting fabrics is usually the fun part, but of course can also be the challenging part, of designing any quilt. I first considered using an assortment of dotted/striped fabrics from my stash. I thought it would be a fun play on the circle theme. But instead, I decided to stick with solids so I would better see the free-motion quilting I hope to try in each circle and background area. Pulling a good mix of greens was a challenge though. I love green and have several green solids but once I starting pulling colors it became obvious I needed more. Can you believe I found an excuse to buy more fabric?

Here are the colors I plan to take to the workshop. Something to keep in mind when making color choices, especially solids, is that your perception of each color is relative to the other colors surrounding it. There was a point in my selection process when I felt like I didn't have a single green that was green. Of course that wasn't really the case but when you put several greens together they take on all degrees of green interpretation. Some will seem blue, some yellow, some not green at all. I'm taking more colors than I think I'll need and will create pairs of circle/background colors once the circle/rings are done.

Another problem when choosing colors is not pushing the values enough. It's easy to settle into the middle value range but the end result can be flat and mushy. This is totally fine if it's the effect you're after but quite often a quilt will be improved when the values are pushed more. We're comfortable in the middle range and don't notice the lack of contrast until the quilt is done and then feels flat or dull.

For my concept, I plan to keep the rings all the same blue color and I'm quite tempted to use the first blue shown above simply because I like the underlying slight green color. But I don't think it's as dark as it should be to really give the final blocks some punch and contrast. Here's another option that would probably be better. Again I'm going to take both and decide when I start. What do you think?

This will be the first workshop sponsored by our Boulder Modern Quilt Guild and should be a fun time. Latfah will be doing a show and tell and talk afterwards that is open to anyone for a small fee. Check out the guild Facebook page for more info.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.


  1. Oh wow. A class with HER? Amazing

  2. Your observations about colour hues and values are excellent. The first blue blends more but I like the second blue better as it lets the greens contrast more, giving more depth to both the greens and your blue. Testing them out in daylight and letting the two sit for a bit will help you decide when the time comes. Enjoy the workshop!

  3. I meant to say what a great idea to use this as an opportunity to develop your FMQ skills and ideas.

  4. These will be beautiful. Inset circles kind of makes my head hurt. Can't wait to hear what kind of tips you will have to share!

  5. I actually like the second option better for contrast, and I think it makes the greens greener. But that's just me!

  6. I also like the second one better. Seems to make the accompanying colors brighter.

  7. What a fun workshop you get to attend! And I really like your solid color diagram. Gosh, I wish I knew how to create a design like that! Have you told me the name of the software you use? Will the darker, accent color be a bias tape? Can you tell I'd like to hang out with you for a while?

  8. Great post, Anne! I agree with Linda about the hanging out part!! Oh..and I like Blue #2 for the contrast for the same reason that you mentioned. What a fun workshop!!

  9. I vote for the darker, just like you thought I would! I love your riff on how colors smashed up against each other shift our perceptions of them. You are the Color Mistress and have a way of describing the process so succinctly!


  10. love the fabric colors you have chosen. Can't wait to see the finished quilt.


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