Monday, June 11, 2012

Is using color in quilts....a Mystery to you?

            I remember "back "in the day"
well, maybe not THAT far back....

Back in the late 1970's, when I first start started    
     quilting,  there were sooo few instructional books about quilting.
I don't remember any quilt books IN COLOR.  Most were with
black and white illustrations.  Some had colored pictures on the front
of the book.  But, few, if any, had color pictures inside the book.  Books
about color specific for quilters really didn't exist until several years
later.  Quilt shows were few and small.  So, it was difficult to get ideas
and inspiration with regards to making a quilt. 

There was...however large merchandise catalogues
The thought came to mind that lots of money had been paid to get
these photos to be just right...especially with regards to color.  The
catalogs would have what colors where in fashion and the proportions
of each color to another that would be "perfectly pleasing" to many
people.  Well, they wanted to sell their product right?  The Sears
and Penny's catalogs usually had bed sheets and quilts for sale too.
With this idea in mind, I started a 3 ring binder.
 I would cut out pictures of color combinations I liked,
even if it was an outfit or flowered sheets.  I would glue them onto
card stock adding notes as to how I might use the colors.  I even cut
out things I didn't like...with notes as to why I didn't like them. 
The 8.5 x 11, picture-full would be slipped into a page protector.

Now, that I am a "granny" gal, I tend to be out of touch with
color combinations and current styles.  Colors have so many
variations, shades and hues.  I don't have any color education or
color expertise.  But,... I can sure look through a Nordstrom catalog
and see what color combinations look great =D.  And, I'm betting
that the current catalog is using all the current, popular colors
with very inviting combinations and proportions.  

Here is a current display of some color inspirations.
This is on a closet door in my sewing room.
I can take off pictures and add new ones easily
because the scotch tape is easily removed from
the door...doesn't leave a mark.  And, yes I was
off my rocker at the time I took the's
just a wee bit tilted!  =P
If you look at these shoes...
You could use each individual shoe as one
color combination.  But, all three shoes look good
together.  I'm thinkin' that all these colors could
look good in a quilt with one of the colors being
used in higher proportion, i.e. lots of white background.

This is a picture taken from a gardener's catalog.
Wouldn't these colors make a bright cheery quilt?

What about the colors in this scarf?
Can you see some black and white geometric fabrics
with some yellows and soft turquoise fabrics
mixed in here and there?

To enter MYSTERY MONDAY for this week,
with a chance to WIN
5 FAT Quarters in your choice of COLOR,

Please leave a comment
......about how YOU get inspired with
color for your quilts? 
Do you have a specific time (or two), that you used
an UN-quilt picture
and transformed those colors into a quilt?

~~entries close Saturday June 16th midnight MT~~
*must be a follower to win


Last Week's Mystery Monday...
the Winner of the awesome book by
who lives in Southern California

You can visit her in blogland HERE


Rebeckah Austin said...

Yay Thank you! I am supper excited!

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Congratulations Rebeckah - My inspiration almost always comes from nature - flowers, trees, the sky, weather and seasons.

tubilinha tiacarminha said...

Eu sou desse tempo preto e branco.E até hoje uso moldes de papelão e corto com tesoura.Minha inspiração sempre veio da natureza,um dia desses vi em uma roseira carregada de vermelho e verdes com um cerca jardim de um verde mais claro,joguei vários tons de vermelhos e verdes e fiz uma linda colcha de jardim da vovó.Meu Sou seguidora do Brasil.

Lisa England said...

I also sometimes find inspiration in magazines and catalogs. I keep a notebook of all the cut-outs. There are clothing pictures, home decorating pictures, even interesting graphics (like one from a real estate ad). I flip through the notebook to get ideas.

Karen M said...

My color inspiration comes from gardens and flowers. I never thought of taking pictures and posting them in my sewing room, but that is a great idea.

April said...

I see color possibilities everywhere. Magazines are usually my most popular location; however, I can see quilt color ideas in signs, commercials, famous paintings, any art, and even tissue boxes! tissue boxes have some of the best ideas! I don't really have any examples yet; I've just started quilting. I do have a notebook where I keep all my ideas. :)

✾Jamie Lee Cooley✾ said...

That's a good technique! I do rip out pages from magazines for home decor ideas and especially colors. Normally for quilting I use a lot of fabric from the same collection and then white. I can't really go wrong with that!

Linda said...

You are a gal after my own heart! I used to do the exact same thing!!! I wasn't quilting then, but I did work for an interior designer part time coordinating her fabrics, wallpapers, and paints. (I have a minor in art, so that came in handy.) I used to have a scrapbook just like yours, although I didn't have the page protectors. I actually started the idea scrapbook when I was about 10 years old. Now, just about anything inspires me - art, nature, clothing, etc.

Lisa Cox said...

I'm horrible about color combinations. I usually let 1 fabric grab me, and then I carry it around asking everyone "Do these look good together?" LOL

Gill said...

Congratulations to Rebeckah!
My colour inspiration comes from my garden and the countryside around me!

Jocelyn said...

I do mostly get my color inspiration from Quilting magazines, books and samples made up in Quilt shops. I am not very color savvy, so seeing them made up really helps me. There have been other times when I see a color combination that I really like and make a note to remember. Color is everywhere, but making the combination is a challenge for me.

B Greene said...

I get my inspiration from nature combos and modern art. Thanks for the chance to win!

Anonymous said...


renae said...

hi Annie! Oh super contest! Just learned a great method from you!!! thank you. My colors that are in my head now days are similar to the turq, yellow, b+w scarf. I am using a bunch of gray instead of b+w in my home lately. Watch next monday for my reveal of my new desk that was an old table... (hint, hint). No one knows the color combo yet. That's just a hint. love you! (pick me) lol

KatieQ said...

Most of my color inspiration comes from nature, but I do have a binder with pictures I have cut out from catalogs and magazines for inspiration. Unfortunately, I gather inspiration, but have difficulty translating it into a quilt. I have always struggled with picking out colors for quilts.

Kim said...

I love finding color/design ideas everywhere! Once I sketched out the design of one of my student's shirts. (though at the time I was thinking it would be great for a scrapbook page.) I have bought a towel because I liked the color combo for a quilt.

LimeRiot said...

What a great idea to look to catalogs for color inspiration!! I'm not confident about color/fabric pairings so I find myself just sticking with a pre defined fabric line. I want to experiment more though and I think I'll take inspiration from your catalog process! Love it.

Marcia W. said...

My color inspiration comes from nature, or the verification of the color combo comes from nature. I love to fold back inspiration pages in wish books (catalogs) -- lately it's been Company Store, JCP, BHG, and Lowe's.
The shoe photo prompted a chuckle. I saw all those shoes at Sports Authority and bought a turq pair like those in the middle. I already follow your blog.

Needled Mom said...

I HAVE used photos for inspiration. I am often amazed at colors put together and then the next thing I know they are the "hot" colors of the day!

Gwen said...

My color inspiration usually comes for a particular fabric-- usually a print with lots of color--- that just "grabs" me! :-) Then I choose my coordinating fabrics that will blend well with that initial fabric. I think that choosing the fabric is probably the most fun part of the process! :-)

Anonymous said...

It is an interesting idea, and a class I had suggested that we try something similar to that. I don't do it on a regular basis, though. Sometimes there is a photograph I take that has colors that appeal to me, though.

dezertsuz at gmail

Chatty Crone said...

I don't quilt - but I LOVE color. How are you? Just stopping by to say hello. sandie

Olga said...

I am a beginner, but color is an amportant element in my life. I love your inspiration sources--and really like the closet door swatches idea.

IHaveANotion ~ Kelly Jackson said...

Annie you are a genius! What a better way to see great color combinations than in catalogs.

I tend to choose colors for my home the same way I choose colors for my clothing. When I stay in my "zone" I"m typically relaxed and enjoy what I see around me.

I do however have a huge appreciation for excellent colors being combined....even if I won't make something for myself in those colors....I love, love, love looking at them.


~Kelie~ said...

At the current moment I just use what I have on hand that looks good together! I do have an "UN-quilt" pic that I would LOVE to make into a quilt though, it's got some purples and black and different shades of gray! I love it, hopefully ONE DAY I'll be able to make it!

doodlebugmom said...

Lord only knows where I will see something that inspires a color combo. I love color and surround myself with it. I have strange pull towards stacks of towels at JCPenneys or plastic dishes in Target, you can actually mix and match there are no one pays any attention to you ;)

MulticoloredPieces said...

Hi, Annie. Great post on color. I tend to look to nature for inspiration, or to my fabric stash. One of the best exercises I ever did was to take a color I hate and use it (salmon/apricot). I agree that magazine photos can suggest some surprising combinations, but I find I really don't like the colors that are "in style"...must be the nonconformist in me!
best, nadia