Nonnie’s Quilting Dreams

Quilting, rants and raves and I am sure I will talk to my grandson.

Linking to QUILTS for the REST of US

Posted on June 1st, 2012

COLOR LINKY: Analysis of Greens

http://blog.jwd publishing.com .... JOEN WOLFROM

PLAYING WITH COLOR

First post in the series on color

I left this comment on Sandy’s QUILTING FOR THE REST OF US PODCAST blog post about working with color. She is leading a linky color--design class. I am trying to play along.

I find GREEN is one color that does not play well within the family. Kind of like siblings they are in the family but they fight with each other. I know some quilt instructors tell you not to be MATCHY MATCHY but putting yellow greens and blue greens together and close to each other in a quilt is asking for trouble. They just do not play nice together. Looking at your pictures I think that is why you had difficulty you have yellow greens to the left side of the picture but blue greens on the right side. IF you were to divide the greens into yellow greens and blue greens with the value changes from light/ light medium/ medium/ med dark and dark... I think you will have less problems.

Green for me has always been the PROBLEM child... less so since I now divide them into yellow greens and blue greens. It just be me and my sensibility but if I look at pictures of flowers / plants I have not seen yellow green and blue green on the same plants. Come to think of it most greens tend to be yellow green on plants... the only plant I can think of with the blue green hues are pine trees.

I think that secondary colors ( not pure but the mixture of primary colors) have this problem. The same problems pop up with the red purples and the blue purple. The oranges have this same problem but to a lesser extent.

Today as I drove to work I was looking and analyzing the colors of the trees and bushes as I have been contemplating the nature of green. I have been playing with the idea of colors and how they work together for the past couple of months but not in a formalized or structured manner. I have been reading several books on color and design as I played along with Sandy and Jaye’s design series. I started this analysis after working on a series of quilts that I judged (to and for myself as unsuccessful.) I have been spending a lot of time analyzing why I think these quilts failed.

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Driving to work

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Across the road

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My backyard, we have 8 acres.

This search for color and design knowledge has led me to read multiple books and blogs, one of which is Joen Wolfrom blog as she did a series of color studies last year. (I have provided a group of links for you to explore.) Joen works more from photographs of nature and things that she likes, then from the color wheel. She does feel a good grounding in color theory / color wheel is beneficial but she has based her project more from her photographs and the colors from nature then from the color wheel. For the most part I agree with Joen and have learned a lot but I also come to some of my own conclusions.

I have been taking pictures of trees in a series and examining them and this is what I think:

Because fabrics do not reflect the light the same way as nature or in photographs; what works or is acceptable in nature does not always translate to working in fabrics and quilts. Fabrics do not reflect / absorb light the same way plants/ trees nature does out-doors. Nature is a good guide but you have to work with the fabric and see if it works in your quilt.

Yellow green and blue green can play together in a total landscape picture but they do not live on the same plant. You do not see a plant with blue green and yellow leaves at the same time. I like blue greens and yellow greens, but not in the same quilt block, and I also prefer not in close proximity of each other.

In fabric the blue greens for the most part are BRIGHTS / VIBRANT more true colors. (Kelly green, forest green, pine green. And yes there are always exceptions.)

The yellow greens / olives tend to muted and greyed of a flatter toned down coloration.   (Olive , avocado green, puce, chartreuse, sage are some of the greens I am talking about. )

Caribbean colors follow rules of their own….. Lime green / tropical / bright.

Although I love the greens individually I have found I am very picky on how I put them together in a quilt. Mostly, because they clash my sensibilities and I find I get irritated if the colors are wrong. I will be making a series of blocks for my husband’s quilt and I will be posting more about my thoughts on colors and fabrics as I make these blocks. For me the color series Sandy is posting cannot come a better time.

Evaluation of my GREEN STASH OF FABRICS:

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I dumped all the fabric from my 18 gallon bin of green fabric on to a white sheet so that I could better evaluate what I had. I then divided them into to BLUE GREEN and YELLOW GREEN collections. Some fabric were set aside because they had other colors in the pattern. I wanted fabrics that read green.

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This is my BLUE - GREEN collection of fabric. I tried to sort into light, medium and dark, but I had the assistance of a 4 year old who should have been in bed, so it might not be right.  I find I can work on laying them out, walk away then come back and do it again and still not get it right.

Using a scanner or camera and making black and white photos help you evaluate the VALUES of the fabric.

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This is my YELLOW-GREEN collection of fabric, again sorted into light, medium and dark fabrics.

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I alternated the blue green-fabrics and the yellow-green fabrics to see what they looked like. Even though some might say they do not look bad together, but I still do not like them mixed together.

What do you think? Leave a comment and let me know.

Nonnie

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Update June 3, 2012:  I updated my blog look.... not fond of the color but I love the photo display.  I will be looking for a new free theme that has all the features I like and a clean simple look..  Photo display is what is important to me.  So stay tuned  NONNIE QUILTING DREAMS WILL BE GETTING A NEW LOOK.

  • Jackie

    Wow,you have a lot of greens. I am not into “matchy matchy” but I do think you need to choose wisely to coordinate well. I think making a monochromatic would be challenging to create enough interest and contrast and still be pleasing.

    Jun 1, 2012 at 9:27 pm
  • Sandy

    Nonnie, this is a great response to my original post! I love that you started out evaluating the colors of nature and then took what you’d observed into your fabric stash. I just started reading a Joen Wolfrom book on design this evening and like that she starts out in nature; I’m looking forward to seeing how she plays that out. As you saw in my post and now you’re taking even further in yours, greens are very tricky! I like your approach here–separating them into blue-greens and yellow-greens. And you’d noted that one of my greens looked gray to you–and in a certain way, it is. It’s a light sage green, or a green-grey (grey-green?). I don’t recall what next week’s color scheme is or I’d give you a hint… :-)

    Jun 1, 2012 at 10:48 pm
  • nonniesquiltingdreams

    Jackie… I think all colors can go in the same quilt but VALUE is what makes or break the color scheme. If everything reads medium then the colors mush together. I take my glasses off whenever I want to check the values as well as take a black and white picture/ scan of the block or quilt. It helps a lot. I also think working with fabrics over time your color sense improves.

    I also came to realize that colors have LIFE spans. Which really impacts the way you can use your fabrics in a quilt. By this I mean the fabric manufactures have changed colors, styles, finish to the fabric so fabric you purchased even five years ago you have a hard time matching up to to other fabrics. Results you have to buy more fabrics. It is a BIG CONSPIRACY. ;) HEE HEE.

    SANDY, I love reading color and design books, they have become my bed time reading since you and Jaye started your design series. I think they work themselves into my dreams.

    Yes sage is grey-green and yes that is a color… green is modified by silver or grey. The middle picture of the silver green bushes in life look sage/ silvery in color looks great against the darker green (blue) leaves.

    But the best advice you and Jaye gave out is MAKE VISUAL DESIGN DECISIONS, VISUALLY. That works for me all the time.

    Nonnie

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    Jun 3, 2012 at 5:51 am