More about colour wheels
So by now I hope you have a colour wheel - or at least gone to the fabric shop - and searched the shelves for some pure hues. The cleanest, brightest examples of each colour you can find.
Here is my pure (ish!) hued colour wheel
(Remember: hue is the arty name for what everyday people refer to as colour. You know, 'red' 'blue' green' and so on)
So - if you aren't going to use just pure hues what other options are there?
This is where we come to some other familiar, but not always correctly used terms:
tint tone shade
These 3 words are well used and regularly misused when it comes to talking about colour. Understand what these 3 terms really refer to and you will be well on your way to understanding why certain colours and fabrics 'go' together and why others don't work so well.
What I suggest is that you now try to make yourself another two colour wheels with real fabrics, this time one made from fabric tints and one from fabric tones.
Don't bother with shades. To get a good selection of true shades (that is ONLY black added) in fabric is fairly difficult.
Usually finding tints is easy - just try to be sure they are clean and bright - only white has been used to make the fabric lighter.
The shades are a little more difficult, and it is important to realise why. True shades are gloomy and in general it is more appealing to the eye to have a little white in the mix - so turning them into TINTS. The only way to really get a grip of this is to compare lots of fabrics and really analyse them to see if you think they have just black added - or grey.
TIP: Go and stand in front of the yellow or green fabrics in a quilt shop display. (I don't know why, but for me it is easiest to see with green or yellow) Look really carefully - I mean really carefully at the colours. Try and see if you can detect if the colours are clean or muddy. Has white, grey or black been added to the original pure yellow or green?
Why am I making such a big deal of this?
Well, have you ever wondered why certain fabric combinations just don't look quite right together, even though you think they should? Depending on whether white, grey or black has been added to a colour will have a big impact on whether it 'goes' nicely with other colours or not.
Take a look at these:
Obviously this is all very subjective, and some people like certain combinations whilst others don't. What is important to understand is why.
If you look at a selection of fabrics and it doesn't quite look 'right' think about whether you have shades, tints or tones in your collection. Sometimes just changing the 'odd one out' can turn a so-so selection into a beautiful one.
I hope you do manage to make some colour wheels - but even if you don't, do start looking at colours more critically and decide whether it is a pure colour, a tint, a tone or a shade. It will help you tremendously with your growing understanding of colour.
Next time: Making colour runs and blending one colour into another.
Thanks for reading.
see my quilts in these magazines
Festival Of Quilts
Sew On The Go