The DeStash Diaries, Vol. 27—In Living Color

May 17, 2011, 12:18 pm  Posted by needlearts

We’re giddy about our stashes this month, in case you’ve forgotten, as we delight in the release of Stash Happy: Patchwork. We’ve had a free project (or two) and there’s a cool scavenger hunt underway now that results in a big fat prize package for the lucky winner. Today I wanted to share a couple of techniques to help you use the colors in your stash to best advantage.

If you’re working on a pieced project, I’ll bet that you often agonize over which fabrics to use in the patchwork; I know I do. I usually pull a pile of materials together and then mix and match until I’m happy; sometimes this process takes quite a while. Here are two tricks that quilters use to help them choose colors. Some believe that the value of the colors you use in a quilt—not the hue—actually determine the richness and vitality of your composition. (The value is the quality of lightness or darkness of a color; the hue is what we’d call blue, red, orange, and so on.) The first method you can use is the tried-and-true squint test: arrange the fabrics as you prefer, turn away, turn back, and squint at the assemblage—your very first impression is how the fabrics will blend or contrast in your project. This method also reduces the influence of the print of the fabric and lets you see the value only. Try it!

You can also judge value by reducing the colors of your fabrics to black and white; I copied the color wheel in B&W and scanned the images to use here. I’d never tried this experiment before, but I was surprised at how “dark” virtually all of these colors read. (You might recognize this color wheel from our stash color poll. Isn’t it fitting that I could repurpose it for this post? BTW, if you voted, blue is in the lead.) Do you use any of these tricks to help choose colors for your projects? Let us know your favorites.


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