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Every year at the Merrimack Valley Quilt Guild, we have a program that consists of 3 different members talking about their journey in quilting. I was honored when asked to talk about my journey.
I have been quilting since the mid-90’s. So, if I brought all my quilts for a trunk show, it would take a lot longer than the time allotted. I had to narrow down the scope of my talk.
I thought you, my readers, might like to hear/learn about how I got started in quilting. Over the next few weeks, I will show you some of my earlier quilts and how color affected the resulting quilt.
One of the reasons I got into quilting was because of a woman I worked with. She was creating some interesting quilts. She and I got to be great friends. Shauna’s work can be found on her site The Crafty Monkey.
One project we worked on together was a book, “Color from the Heart” by Gai Perry This book looks at color theory from the quilter’s perspective. This is where I started my talk.
“Color From The Heart” by Gai Perry has chapters discussing the color wheel as well as the texture and scale of prints. But what I liked best were the 7 exercises/patterns which bring you through different ways of thinking about color, pattern, and scale of the print and how those choices affect the resulting quilt.
Spontaneity – The first exercise works through how colors, textures, and patterns work together. You put squares in a bag and blindly pick from the bag as you arrange your squares.
This exercise works best if you are working with another quilter. Especially if that quilter has a different fabric taste than yours.
When I worked through this exercise with Shauna, we had very different tastes in fabrics. I lean more toward traditional, Shauna toward modern. Our quilts came out quite different even though we shared fabrics.
Color Enrichment – This exercise uses 2 colors to create broken dish block. Using two colors with varying prints, textures, tones and scale of prints, you create a small quilt with broken dish blocks. I chose burgundy and green. Shauna chose teal and brown. How different they look.
Value Recognition – This exercise guides you through finding dark medium and light of nine different colors. This is to demonstrate that even though a yellow fabric may be lighter than say a red or blue fabric, it may actually be considered a dark in the yellow family.
I wasn’t sure what to do with this quilt once done. But I kept adding to it. It ended up almost twin size. It became a gift to a nephew for his 2nd or 3rd birthday. I called my niece to get a picture. They still use the quilt, even after 15 years. It was great to see it again. I had forgotten all that I added to that quilt.
Contrast – This exercise we skipped. It was using primary colors, yellow, blue and red, to make Cake Stand blocks. At the time, I thought it was ugly. Looking at it now. I think I might give it a go.
Inspiration – This exercise required you to find something, anything, to use as inspiration for color choices to make a trip around the world quilt. I chose my drapery fabric. Shauna chose an album cover. The only piece of inspiration fabric I had left was made into a shoulder wrap. The drapes themselves have faded.
Visualization – This exercise delves more into the art quilt arena. You were to choose a moment, person, place etc. With that choice in mind, you are instructed to choose fabrics that remind you of that moment, person, or place. I choose my trip to Jackson Hole. My husband and I took a snowmobile vacation to Yellowstone and Togwotee Pass. The close up is of the snow fabric. There are clocks for the time change, buffalo, cowboys, mountains, deer, and wood for the boardwalks in Jackson. I took the upper corners off because I didn’t like the direction of the wood grain. I have yet to fix this. Now I have to find where I put them.
The Artist Eye – Based on a border fabric of your choosing, you create various nine patch blocks that are placed on point with one patch blocks. I love the way this quilt looks. But I have become an impatient quilter. If I can’t chain piece a bunch of blocks all at once, I’m less likely to start, never mind completing, the quilt. For this quilt, you audition different fabrics to make many different nine patch blocks, which is a bit more tedious than the strip piecing method of making them.
There are many books on color theory for quilters. I found “Color From The Heart” a book for those who want to understand color choices within a quilt without all the technical color wheel theories. While color theory is important, it is not the only way to choose fabrics and colors for a quilt.
If you find it difficult to choose fabrics, or even if you don’t, I challenge you to get this book and work through the exercises. Work through it with a friend or two. I found I got more out of it seeing Shauna’s choices and how they varied from mine.
Do you have this book? Have you done any of the exercises? How has it affected your color choices since?
E-mail me some of your work from the exercises. I would love to see them.