Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Color Intensive, Fabric Pulls and Emotions

I don't know about you, but I've always really loved Rachel's (of Stitched in Color) sense of color. I've been recently contemplating the fact that I seem to work with "obvious" colors - colors that are very saturated, close to the pure hues found on the color wheel.

Flocks of HSTs
{aquas, blues, bright greens, and blacks}
Some of the quilts that I'm drawn to the most color-wise are Rachel's and my friend Lisa's quilts - and I noticed that both of these women tend to use less "obvious" colors. They use grayed down, or muddied, or odd colors.

Let me describe it in another way - My color choices are simple and easy to name: red, aqua, pink, etc. Their colors? They're much harder to name. Things like: gray with a purple overcast, teal but darker and muddier, undersaturated dusty rose... To me, having troubles naming or describing a color is a good indicator that they aren't "obvious" colors. After studying their quilts, I noticed that these colors are absent in my projects.

So I thought I would try to stretch outside my comfort zone and learn how to use these other colors better. I chatted with Lisa about this the last time I saw her and I always try to really look at how she pulls fabrics and colors together (maybe I'll start taking some photos of her work on the sly to have as a reference!). I bought a fat 1/4 stack of Anna Maria Horner prints and participated in an AMH charm swap (a go-to designer for Rachel and definitely out of my usual fabric choices!). And I signed up for Rachel's class, Color Intensive.

Anna Maria Horner prints

Her assignment on Friday was to 1) think of a few different emotions, 2) create a Kona color story to reflect said emotions, and then 3) to pull fabric to bring this color story to life.

Well, I didn't do that - but I did do something similar!

I have a few fabric bundles I've been loving lately and thought I would identify the emotion I see in these bundles. Backwards, but oh well :)

My first bundle reflects the emotion Joy. Actually, the greenish wall color is part of this color story and why I really love the bundle so much. It's a bit greener and more intense looking than in the picture, but it's really hard to photograph. We painted the wall with our fireplace this beautiful jade color at Thanksgiving. I absolutely love it and love to just sit and look at it (I know, I'm a weirdo!). When I popped this fabric stack up on top of the mantle to keep it away from tiny fingers, I simply adored the way the fabrics looked with the wall color. I think I need to invest in a bolt of fabric that color!

Fabrics, Colors, and Emotions

If I started with the word "joy" and had to come up with a color story to match it, I definitely would not have come up with whites, grays, and jade. But I feel full of joy when I look at this scene, so there you have it!

Next is a bundle that reflects Tranquility. I look at this bundle and it just says calm to me. I used three Kaffe Fassett shot cottons and think they exude a softness that regular solids could not.

Fabrics, Colors, and Emotions

Lastly, a bundle that reflects Exuberance. I saw these two orange-y solids in my sewing room and immediately thought of a pair of baby quilts, a boy version (with the brighter orange solid) and a girl version (with the cheddar-y yellow solid) with cute little babies rolling around on them and giggling. I'm not sure what word captures that perfectly, but "exuberance" seemed the most fitting.

Fabrics, Colors, and Emotions

Well, now that I've talked way too long about fabric and color, I hope you take some time to photograph a few of your favorite fabric bundles. It's not quite as fulfilling as having a finished project made out of them, but it sure is faster!!


  1. Loving your tranquility bundle! I find myself leaning towards the brights and true colors as well - time for me to branch out too! :)

  2. I love the wall color too! What is it?

    1. Thanks! It's called Tropical Hideaway by Valspar (5007-10C). There's an online swatch, but it doesn't look like the wall either (at least, not on my screen). Once I dig out my Kona color card, I'm planning on looking up it's Kona match as well :)

  3. I'm so glad you linked us to this post. I love that you did the "assignment" backwards. I can totally see how that is useful and fun! All three are beautiful and so, SO different.