Quilt on the banister

Working on the color class

Kona Summer Color Story
Quilt on the banister
What design is this?

The other day I posted about the color class I’m developing for QuiltCon and the world at large. In that post, I wrote:

This class will be all about seeing color a bit better and trying out new combinations. We’ll also be test-driving different patterns and comparing the designer’s color choices with our own selections.

Lisa – 3/19/21

Because my brain is pretty full of information about color, mostly useful, frequently geeky, I need a favor from you! Which of the two sentences above is more exciting to you – seeing color better or test-driving different patterns? I wouldn’t have trouble turning each into a three-hour class, so I’d better add that to the to-do list!

The “seeing colors and combinations better” part involves working with charm squares of Kona in 340 different colors. We’d be slicing and dicing, and pairing and paring! We’ll arrange fabrics into color wheels or scales or even colorpaloozas! I want to get into those pesky color terms like hue, value, and intensity because they do help as a framework for thinking about color.

The second half is about how anybody can learn to use their computer or tablet to audition different color and value choices for a design. Because there are so many great quilt designers out there, I reached out to find folks who were willing to let me use their designs in my class. The quilt at left is the first quilt I ever started (but not the first I finished — you understand.) Super traditional color and fabric choices. The problem is that I didn’t know anything! I took a design out of a book from the library, made cardboard templates (it was 1994), and started cutting and sewing. By the time I finished the second twin-size quilt, I had my first rotary cutter, mat, and ruler! Can you guess what design I chose, and how I changed it? Answer below!

First, here’s some eye candy (six pictures) showing what else I’ve been working on and looking at. Scroll down to see the block in traditional values and then in my final choices.

The traditional shoo-fly quilt block in two color variations.

Yep, for my first quilt, I chose the shoo-fly block. At left is the traditional way it is made, and at right is the way I chose. And I’m just showing it in black, white and grey. Test-driving a pattern just in terms of value first really helps limit confusion. And that is an itsy-bitsy preview of one of the class topics!

P.S. – QuiltCon is still picking the lineup of classes and hope to have it finalized in a month!

5 thoughts on “Working on the color class”

  1. I like the second sentence about trying out different patterns and comparing the designers color choices with our own. Love reworking designs in my own colors!
    Love your Helebore – just brilliant color!

  2. This class will be all about seeing color a bit better and trying out new combinations. We’ll also be test-driving different patterns and comparing the designer’s color choices with our own selections.

    The part I like best is “comparing the designer’s color choices with our own selections” because it sounds as if the student will be more involved than “trying out new combinations”. But in reading the descriptions of the two classes I prefer the first description. I know there is a technical side to choosing color, and maybe a role for computers in all that, but I don’t want to use my computer to choose colors for my quilts, and probably would not sign up for a class described like that: the technical aspect gets in the way of how I feel about the colors I choose. I must be doing something right, because I have earned a ribbon on almost every quilt I have ever submitted for judging.

    I remember helping quilter choose five colors for my stained glass ” ‘Scapes” when teaching at Frost Valley. When I finished working wit Ann Haskell she said something like “I think I got it! No-one ever explained that process to me. She proceeded to put together half a dozen combinations of five fabrics to make ‘Scapes of her own. I have to photograph the oe I just finished, and will send you what I can find. Feel free to use any or al of them.

  3. I like the first sentence-seeing color a bit better and trying out new combinations. My design group (about 30+ years ago did some work on studying color in available fabrics and it really made us look at choices differently.


    I work almost exclusively in Konas right now, so this could be a very useful class for me. I love the idea of slicing and dicing a charm pack. I have taken a number of color classes so I’m not really interested in going over the basics again but I’m intrigued by “trying out new combinations”

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