Quilter’s Color Quest: 5. All Colors In

All Colors In! Rachel Hauser’s latest Quilter’s Color Quest challenge is all about creating fabric rainbows. Using the My Word for 2020 icon by Allison Reidswatches provided with her book, The Quilter’s Field Guide to Color, the challenge is in three parts. First organise colours of the rainbow into four ‘families’: classic pure hues; pastel tints; dusty tones; and jewel shades. Hum! Hues, tints, tones and shades? I had to flick through the book to find an explanation of what these words actually mean…

    • Hue = a pure colour
    • Shade = hue + black
    • Tone = hue + grey
    • Tint = hue + white

Here are my swatch rainbows:

The second part of the challenge: choose one of the rainbows and expand it to twelve swatches in order to practice creating smooth transitions between colours. I decided to stay in my comfort zone and worked with ‘dusty tones’.

I’ve always been drawn to ‘dusty tones’ when choosing clothes or home decor. After ten years of patchwork quilting I realise I do enjoy playing with jewel shades too. Autumn is definitely my colour season though, so I guess that explains my ‘dusty tones’ preference. However, there are some deep ‘jewel’ colours associated with Autumn: I’m thinking berries, dramatic leaves and intense sunsets.

The final part of this challenge: to translate the swatches into fabrics and make the next batch of Bear Paw blocks.

Not surprisingly, I found a good supply of dusty tones in my scrap and stash bins! Although I couldn’t find a dark blue/purple fabric to match the ‘Midnight’ swatch card I’d chosen (bottom left of photo). Again, not surprisingly it was the purple scrap bin that provided me with the least choice of suitable fabrics (purple rarely features in my colour schemes!).

My ‘All Colors In’ Bear Paw blocks.

I’m learning so much through these challenges. As Rachel writes, ‘Color is about self-discovery. There is no ‘wrong’ – there’s just your personal preference’. I think being able to understand and articulate our color preferences using hands on experience along with accurate use of the language of colour has got to be an advantage when it comes to selecting fabrics and creating quilts that rest easy with ourselves or the recipient.


Quilter’s Color Quest: 4. Colour Wheel

Challenge 4 of the Quilter’s Color Quest is an introduction to colour theory and the colour wheel. Reading the section in Rachel Hauser’s book, The Quilter’s Field Guide to Color, and her corresponding blog post has helped me get my head round some of the language of colour theory and gain a better understanding of how to use a colour wheel.

My Word for 2020 icon by Allison ReidI now know that ‘analogous colours’ are those in close proximity to each other on the colour wheel. Divide the wheel into quarters – it doesn’t matter where the dividing lines fall – and see analogous colours as those sharing the same quarter. ‘Complimentary colours’ on the other hand are those that fall on opposite sides of the wheel. Colours can be ‘tridactic’ – three colours equidistant apart on the wheel. There are other ways of dividing the wheel to help with choosing a colour scheme but for this challenge I was more than content to stick with exploring just these three.

From the collection of swatches I picked ‘Tiger’ orange as my anchor colour.

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Quilter’s Color Quest: 3. Emotion

Challenge three of the Quilter’s Color Quest looks at using emotion to guide fabric choice. The Quest is organised by Rachel Hauser over at Stitched in Color, using her book The Quilter’s Field Guide to Color and the 150 colour swatches to build an understanding of colour in relation to the fabrics we choose and use.

These blocks are my fabric interpretations of three emotions. Can you figure out what they are? Explanations below 🙂

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Quilter’s Color Quest: 2. Seasons

Quilter's color quest.pngHum! Seasonal colours… Should be pretty obvs, right? Not to me, partly through trying this exercise right after lock-down was announced when my mind was distracted by the conflicts between ‘old normal’ and ‘new reality’ and partly ‘cos I do find playing with colour just plain hard! Which is, of course, why I am working through these Quilter’s Color Quest challenges.

As I started shuffling through the swatches from Rachel Hauser’s book, ‘Quilter’s Field Guide to Color’, I found myself going all indecisive: a season may have a color palette but that surely varies with the weather conditions and time of day? For instance my initial picks for Spring were very much coloured (ha!ha!) by the bright sunny weather we enjoyed most of last week: Bright blue sky, bright yellow daffodils, deep purple crocus, lush green grass… Not the softer pastel colours I’ve learned to associate with Spring. And that’s another thing! What about our learned expectations of seasonal colour? Deep greens and berry reds initially came to my mind when thinking, ‘Winter = Christmas’ but then my thoughts went to the beautiful, subtle colours of a Winter dawn: pale peachy-pink skies, frosty landscapes, a bit of mist…

Anyway! Above is my pick of color swatches for each season: the challenge was to pick a blue, a pink, a green, a neutral, a yellow, a purple, a red and an orange for each of the seasons. You can probably tell I was in a bit of trouble!

I felt happier using a few of my swatches from each season to chose fabrics for the Bear Paw blocks. Some of the fabrics are not perfect matches but I think they are fair representations of the colours I had in mind.

Still not sure anyone would instantly be able to differentiate between my Spring and Summer Bear Paws but hopefully the Autumn and Winter blocks speak for themselves 🙂 The Winter Bear Paw is my favourite.

My Word for 2020 icon by Allison ReidThe next Quilter’s Color Quest challenge involves colour and emotion. I’m already feeling tense :-O I am definitely exercising my word of the year, GROW, with this project!

Linking with Susan and friends for Midweek Makers and I’ll post photos of my seasonal Bear Paw blocks on Instagram @allisonreid.neweverymorning using the hashtags #quilterscolorquest and #stitchedincolor and #quiltersfieldguidetocolor 🙂