“While color is the first thing we see, it may also be the most important aspect of our quilts.”

color wheel

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When we look at a quilt, color is the first thing that we tend to notice. Color is the basis of our first impression as well as a basis for our like or dislike.

An interesting aspect of color is that it is quite changeable particularly in different lights. Natural light can look different than incandescent light, while fluorescent light can make the color change again.

While color is the first thing we see, it may also be the most important aspect of our quilts. For that reason it is important to have an idea about how color works.

The Standard Primary Colors

The three primary colors that all other colors are made from are cyan (blue), magenta (hot pink), and yellow. These are the colors of the Ives color wheel. Some believe the 3 primary colors are blue, red, and yellow. In effect these colors mixed together will create the other colors on the wheel but they will not be the pure colors that are standard.

The Color Wheel

The pure colors on the color wheel breakdown into 3 categories. These are primary, secondary, and tertiary. Primary colors are the 3 colors all other colors are made from, cyan, magenta, and yellow. Secondary colors are made by combining equal parts of 2 primary colors. These colors are orange, green, and violet. Tertiary colors are made by mixing a primary color with its adjacent secondary color. Yellow–green, and orange–yellow are examples.

When speaking about color there are a few terms that are generally used.The first term is hue. Hue is just another word for color. The next term is value. Value describes a color’s lightness or darkness. Intensity describes a color’s pureness or dullness. The next term is temperature, as in warm or cool colors. Warm colors are from the yellows around through red and ending just before pure violet. Cool colors range from violet up through green and end just before yellow.

amish star quilt

pure color scheme

autumn quilt

using shades to portray a feel of autumn

light and dark contrast

contrast of light and dark

cool colors

cool color scheme