What Colors Should I Use In My Quilt?

wheel of color for quilts

One of the first questions a new client asks me is about colors. It is understandable based on this fact that in a laboratory test, people can see about 1000 levels of light-dark, 100 levels of red-green, and 100 levels of yellow-blue. This means that the total number of colors can be completely overwhelming considering: 1000 x 100 x 100 =10,000,000 (10 million). No wonder the subject of choosing a color can strike fear and trepidation in the hearts of the best of us.

At Timeless Thread Designs, I deal with colors, patterns, fabrics every single day. Understanding color relationships, pairing colors to best effect, working with fabric textures and patterns is a skill I have developed over years of working on quilts.

Primary colors are Red, Yellow and Blue. All ten million colors (and more) can be created by mixing these three colors. The Secondary colors  are made by an equal mix of two of the primaries. And the Tertiary colors are hues are made by mixing adjacent primary and secondary hues. The six tertiary or intermediate colors are yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet, red-violet, red-orange, and yellow-orange.

combining colors for quilts

Tie this in with a variety of fabric patterns and textures … and one can see how important it is to get your quilt right. Even with a large selection of fabrics of various colors, hues, and tints, placement of these fabrics becomes a work of art. Color balance, breaking up mismatched patterns, and clashing colors becomes the first step.

Then I work with you to find your taste in color blends.

Analogous: Colors next to one another on the color wheel like: red, orange, yellow.

Complimentary Colors: Cancel each other out on the color wheel.

Split-Complementary: Uses two base colors that are analogous and one complimentary color.

Tetradic Color: Simplistically defined is drawing an X through the color wheel.

Triadic Colors: Colors on the color wheel that make a triangle

use of colors for in a quilt

Ultimately we come to a place that makes the quilt beautiful by applying color rules and really getting a feel of the fabric. In all my years making quilts, I have enjoyed every unique quilt and have happily provided an heirloom quilt for families from fabrics they have provided.

Next time you get your hands on a bundle of colored fabrics, cherish the memories that they represent in all their different designs. Please send them to me at Timeless Thread Designs. It will be my pleasure to make them into a cohesive and beautiful quilt for you.

View a few of these handmade quilts looking for a new home, or call me for a custom quilt.