My approach to color

Several people questioned my color cards shown in a previous post so I thought in addition to providing information about them, I’d share my approach to color in quilts.

My quilts usually fall in one of several categories.

Completely scrappy — everything goes — and as long as you use enough different fabrics it all works.

Monochromatic scrappy — I love taking a single color family such as green or red and using a bunch of different different fabrics.

Two color scrappy with a scrappy background

Two color scrappy with no added neutral

Autumn inspired – when I started quilting I lived in Florida and really missed Autumn and I’ve used the colors of Autumn in many of my quilts.

And a more coordinated scrappy color scheme, I will take a border fabric I love and pull just those colors for the quilt.

When it comes time to decide on a color scheme I basically use three tools.

One, I’m always looking at quilts and saving ideas for colors schemes that have nothing to do with the actual pattern of the quilt – I just look and save combinations that I love.

Two, when I see a gorgeous multicolor print – I buy it with the intention of using those colors in a quilt.

And three, I go to my color cards. As I was working on all those bindings — I kept looking at my shelf of blue fabrics and decided that it was time to do something with the aqua blues/greens. The back of the color cards have information about possible combinations and depending on what I have in my stash I can decide which combination to go with. (photo taken from the C & T website)

I did a quick search and it looks like the original cards that I have are no longer available BUT an updated version is coming out in February and available through the C&T website linked above or from Amazon.

10 thoughts on “My approach to color

  1. Debbie

    Mary, thanks for answering the question about the cards. I looked up the links and think this would be a worthwhile investment.

    Stay warm! We are now getting the dipping below zero weather here.
    Oh Joy! 🙂

  2. Shelly Kamp

    Mary,
    Amazing!!!! If know one has told you today, YOU are doing an excellent job!
    Color is hard and your professional explanation was wonderful. I LUV LUV LUV your blog… and enjoy you!!
    Keep up the great work, but if you have a spare minute could you tell about your long arm and what you like and dislike etc. I am doing research to purchase one.Thank you so much for all you do. Snowed in in NY. Shelly

  3. ImperaMagna

    I’ve gotten seriously hooked by the monochromatic thing… Your green double 4-patch was the quilt responsibile. I’m working on a pink & white double four patch right now… all the different pinks are incredible… like a celebration or something.

  4. Susan Rizzi

    Thank you so much for posting the links to the color cards. I am defintely ordering a set. Also, your explanation about how you pick colors was very enlightening. One of my favorites of your quilts is your red and tan one you show above. That is not a color scheme I would ever have thought of using but is very effective not to mention pretty!

    Susan R.

  5. Tanya

    I’m afraid I’ve only ever paid attention to the colors in a large print, many colors fabric. I don’t have any idea what those color cards are and I’ve never tried a two color scrappy quilt! I need to put one of those on my agenda. Love the purple and orange quilt!

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