Friday, February 14, 2014

My Formula

In case you missed yesterday's post, you might want to scroll down and check it out before going any further.

I mentioned that I've developed a "formula" for selecting fabrics that work well together. I play in EQ a lot, so I'll demonstrate using EQ images.  Here's the EQ image for Big Print Beauty in the fabrics I actually used.

As noted in yesterday's post, I used five large scale prints. Three were from the same collection and the rest were from other sources.

Fabrics used in BPB

Here are the elements in my formula:

1)  Focus fabric or fabrics. Mine are the upper three, from the collection In My Room by Janean Morrison for Free Spirit.
  • The focus fabric establishes the color palette for your quilt. The other colors you choose don't have to match, but they should harmonize.  If you need help, use the dots on the selvage for guidance.
  • The focus fabric also sets the style for your quilt. Is it Modern? Traditional? Themed? Batik? You'll want to keep the style of your fabrics consistent so they'll play nicely together.
  • The focus fabric or fabrics are probably the largest scale print(s) in your quilt and you'll want the rest of your fabrics to contrast in scale with them.
2) Background. I chose Bone in Kona Cotton, a light solid to complement the background color in my focus prints.
  • The background can be the same value (lightness) as the ground color in your focus print,  or
  • The background can contrast in value with your focus print.
  • Note that the greater the value contrast with your focus print, the bolder and more graphic your overall quilt will look. The less value contrast, the more subtle your overall effect will be.
  • Background can be solid, mottled, or a very subtle print that complements your focus print but doesn't fight with it. Again, keep the style of your focus print in mind.
  • The background provides the eye with a place to rest in the overall composition.
3) Geometric. I love geometrics, especially dots. You absolutely cannot go wrong with a dot!
  • Choose a geometric that's smaller in scale than your focus print but not so tiny and subtle that it can't hold its own.
  • The bolder your focus print, the bolder your geometric needs to be. As you can see, my focus print, while large in scale, is drawn with a delicate hand so I chose a small taupe dot.
  • Make sure the color of your geometric coordinates with the rest of your colors, and that its value provides the degree of contrast you want.  Too dark and it will jump out too much; too light and your quilt might not have enough overall contrast in value.
4) Accent color.  I chose an orange blender.
  • Keep in mind, the more your accent color contrasts in brightness and value with the rest of your fabrics, the more sparingly you should use it, in any pattern, not just my BPB pattern.
  • The accent color will help the eye move around the quilt, lending movement.
  • The accent color adds pop and interest and dimension to what otherwise might be a somewhat flat palette.
  • The accent color doesn't have to be bright.
Here is another EQ illustration and the corresponding fabric selections using my formula. This version uses one focus print instead of five large scale prints. The focus print is McKenzie by Dena Designs for Free Spirit. (This print is ginormous, and the EQ rendering captures only one motif and tiles it in the illustration. There's actually a lot more of the black background in the print than shows in this illustration.) This design has bold, dramatic value contrast due to the use of white for the background against the black focus print and black polka dot.
BPB featuring McKenzie by Free Spirit
I hope my "formula" gives you a place to start when you're thinking about fabrics to combine in your next quilt. Above all, trust your instinct and your judgment, and don't be afraid to combine fabrics from various sources.
Linking up today with Whoop Whoop Friday at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, and with Friday Finish at Crazy Mom Quilts.

1 comment:

  1. I used EQ too to do the same thing, it really helps me choose what I want to use where. The quilt always looks a little different because of the pattern changes, but overall I've never been unhappy with one I made using EQ as my guide.