Monday 17 June 2013

Colour Theory 101: Colour Harmony

It's time for the second installment of the Colour Theory for Quilters series. Today's post is by my lovely friend Jess of Quilty Habit :o)

I'm Jess, a teacher and an avid quilter/modern fabric collector, and I've been blogging at Quilty Habit for almost three years now! When my bloggy friend Jess asked me to post as part of her series on Colour Theory, I was completely honored and got very excited. :)

I can't pretend to be an expert, but I have been practicing my colour skills lately with the Central Jersey Modern Quilt Guild. Without Jessica Levitt, our president and my good friend, I would know very few of these things - so, thanks Jess. :)  (Didn't realize until now how many Jess's were involved with this post!)

This is a picture of our May meeting "analogous complimentary" colour scheme challenge mini quilts, which I'll discuss more below:

May 2013 002 
Photo by Laura Bennett, our photographer

Last week, Molli (hilariously) taught you how the colour wheel works. I'm going to take you a step further on the wheel to show you how colour can come together and work beautifully - even if you have doubts. I had a lot of fun putting together bundles for this post, so I hope you enjoy them just as much as I do! Anyone can make colours harmonize together :). Promise!

A note - Color Scheme Designer 3 is my go-to tool online for quilty color schemes. All the pictures are screenshotted (screenshot?) from this fabulous website. You can actually click the buttons to show you the combinations I'll demonstrate, and then whirl the colour wheel around to your liking - how nifty is that? Okay, go play for a minute, then rejoin me here :)

Analogous Colour Scheme
On the colour wheel, this is when you choose three colours in a row. This is probably the most "harmonizing" of the bunch, since the colours are right next to each other. Here's one combination I love:

Now I'm definitely inspired! SO want to make a quilt with these.

Dark blue to blue to green - the right fabric is actually more turquoise than it looks (it doesn't have to be exact!). As you can see, analogous colour schemes are easy to put together and really make your quilt beautiful.

A complement is when you choose two colours directly opposite of each other on the colour wheel. Often, one of the colours may be off by one or two notches on the wheel, but it can still be considered complementary.

Purple and yellow - the colours with the most contrast. This combination can really intensify a quilt, but it also looks good balanced out with white. I also like balancing it out with orange, which is somewhat of a split complement colour scheme (see below).

A lot of people love the orange/tangerine and blue combination - also a complement. Red and green, the typical Christmas colours, are complements too - which is why they look so striking together!

P.S. In case you haven't noticed, I LOVE Lizzy House's Pearl Bracelet line! Ever since they came out in a gazillion colours, they work with everything! If I make a quilt without a piece of it, the whole thing feels empty. :( Anyway... moving on!

Analogous Complementary
This is one of my favorite combinations, and the one I've been experimenting with the most! I never would have picked the scheme I did without playing around with the colour wheel. This one is called "accented analogic" on Color Scheme Designer 3. Don't let the complex name scare you - it's awesome.

Here's my contribution to our May swap, Fruit Punch, which is inspired by the above colour wheel.

I started with this bundle of fabric and worked from there! I was pleased to find that I had so many fabrics in my stash that fit. You can click here and here to read my posts about this mini quilt!


Split Complementary
 As you can see on the colour wheel, this is when you choose a main colour and the two colours on either side of its complement. The split complement is not as harsh, if you will, as the direct complement described above, but it is very unique and will add variety to any quilt.

The possibilities really are endless. Try not to get bogged down in the names and technical aspects -  it's all abut having fun and making those colours really "go together." Like I mentioned, the colours don't have to be exactly in order for them to harmonize! It just takes practice and a bit of patience (and some extra fabric shopping ;) ).

Here are some links that will help you further with colour harmony and combining:
 June 12, 2013 post from Design Seeds - LOVE this soft, summery combination. Seriously, try this website out right now!
  •  At Colour Palette Generator, you can add the URL of a picture from the 'net, and it will give you the colour scheme. How cool (and useful) is that, especially with Pinterest at our fingertips?
  • Also, at the Big Huge Labs Color Palette Generator, you can do the same, but for a picture from your own computer. I took a picture from my 2011 trip to Prague and tried it out:

I tried to do a more "colourful" picture and, unfortunately, it didn't pick up the bright colours too well. But you get the idea - this tool can really help and inspire!

The rest of the Colour Series for Quilters:
Colour Context – Monday 24th June - Guest post by Jennifer of SecondhandDinosaur
Value, including low volume – Monday 1st July - Guest post by Rebecca of Making Rebecca Lynne

Thanks so much again, Jess, for allowing me to blab about colour :) Please feel free to ask me questions about this post and/or visit me over at Quilty Habit for a good time for a constant fabric bonanza, as well as some quilty WIPs and finishes :)


Susan said...

This is so fascinating! I tend to pick fabric and colour schemes on instinct, but there really is a lot more to it! I love this Color Scheme Designer! I can see I will be wasting more time there!

Janine @ Rainbow Hare said...

Another interesting colour post :)

Kelly said...

Brilliant post! I love the mini and am off to play with the colour wheel now.

Rosa said...

Thanks.When I choose fabrics I only look if I love them together and now I hope to use the wheel color to choose my fabrics.

Farm Quilter said...

Great post with a fab tool...and it's FREE!!! Thank you so much for sharing this lesson in color :)

Cori said...

Excellent, helpful lesson. I have a hard time putting colors together. This has helped me greatly, thank you.Just found your blog by blog hoppy.

Jessica said...

Thanks for the links, some great tools there

Unknown said...

Holy crap I had never heard of that awesome website before. Yay! I am so going to use that Jess, you rock, thanks for the info!

DeborahGun said...

such a great and informative post - thanks Jess and Jess :-)

Katy Cameron said...

I had fun with that colour wheel tool :o)

Jean said...

This is great, but am noticing in the fabric samples, the white seems to kill the colors - anyone else notice this?

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