Picking Colors for Quilts

Mary Ellen Cummings

In the Fall ‘98 issue of Quilt magazine, Jean Ann Eitels stresses the importance of color in your quilts. She says, "A good quilt, one that is pleasing to look at, is often judged...by the effective use of each color chosen."

Each individual has favorite colors, and usually chooses these colors to make quilts. Substituting your favorite color(s) for those used in designing the original pattern can be disastrous, especially if the "value" or intensity of the colors is changed. A block pattern designed for high contrast will become less distinct, or even "blah" when all colors chosen are of the same intensity. Choose your colors from light, medium, and/or dark, depending on the effect you desire.

Quilters generally use their own favorite colors when selecting fabric for a quilt—and these choices are usually based on eye appeal. However, colorologists fine tune their work to agree with their birth colors.

The use of color to convey specific meanings is evident in everyday life. For example, a red traffic light for STOP - dangerous intersection. Red also means aggressiveness. But it also means love (hearts, roses.) Red is the color of vitality; it is life’s blood; the color of energy. Red is not a good color for a bedroom (unless cooled with blue or white) because it is energetic and stimulating.

Next month I’ll give you the formula for finding your birth color and explore the meaning of other colors.

Read other Quilting articles by Mary Ellen Cummings