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.

First Challenge: create an analogous colour scheme. Using a Sew Easy colour wheel to help, I picked out three more swatches to give a smooth transition from ‘Tiger’ through to ‘Pea’ green. I used the swatches to choose fabrics from my scrap boxes and proceeded to make a Bear Paw block.

The golden fabric has a lemon background with flecks of colour that I thought made the fabrics move from Tiger to Pea Green fairly well. But looking at the photo I can see the ‘Goldfish’ colour is not prominent enough so there’s too big-a-jump between the ‘Tiger’ orange fabric and the golden/yellow fabric. But hey! It’s all about learning….

Second Challenge: Find a complimentary colour to the anchor colour. I just assumed blue to be the opposite of orange but when I looked closely I could see the opposite of ‘Tiger’ orange is more purple than blue.

I’d never have thought of choosing these two colours for a quilt but actually I quite like the dramatic effect of purple and orange. I can’t think what I’m reminded of when I look at these colours together… Maybe there is a well known product logo or a sports team strip in these colours?

Third Challenge: I chose to find a Triadic colour scheme using ‘Tiger’ as the anchor. This brought turquoise and magenta into play…. Hum! It’s certainly vibrant!

And the resulting Bear Paw block is no wallflower either!

I am really enjoying the challenges presented through the Quilter’s Color Quest. Making the blocks also gave me another opportunity to work with my new sewing machine, Julie the Juki. This time we managed to produce near perfect ¼” seams with each block measuring an unfinished 6½” 🙂

Do you consciously apply Colour Theory when you are selecting fabrics for a project?

Linking with Susan at Quilt Fabrication for Midweek Makers.


PS. In case you thought to ask…Erm! No progress on the curtain hems!


4 thoughts on “Quilter’s Color Quest: 4. Colour Wheel

  1. I love playing with color! Before the day job enslaved me, I explored color through fabric dyeing and painting. It was loads of fun, and I learned along the way. 🙂

    • I guess colour theory can only take us so far? We have to mix theory with experience to really gain an understanding don’t we?. I hope it’s not too long before you can play with techniques and colour again. In the meantime what you learned must be benefiting the creative projects you are working on.

    • Thank you Susan! All these varied Color Quest blocks will make for an interesting quilt I think! I’ll be interested to see if the completed set of blocks reveal something new about my colour preferences.


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