Color and contrast are two of the most important aspects you should consider when you make a quilt. Color and contrasting fabrics, and the way they flow together to create a design might even be the look that inspired you to begin quilting. But now that you've begun, don't become discouraged if you're struggling with fabric choices because you are most definitely not alone. For most of us, working with color and contrast is an ongoing learning experience.
A basic color wheel is a helpful a reference that shows how colors work together. It can help guide you to color choices and it explains how colors work together, but shouldn't dictate your fabric choices.
Consider Contrast When You Choose Fabrics
Contrast refers to how light or dark a color appears when placed next to another color. If they contrast, you'll see a defined border between the two. Many quilting patterns and books about quilting refer to contrast as a color value, a term that is new to many people and makes the entire concept seem a bit confusing.
The contrast between quilting fabrics is every bit as important as the colors you choose because contrast allows quilters to arrange patches of fabric to make them either blend with each other or create a defined line (the contrast) so that the pattern's design can emerge.
Contrast works hand in hand with the color wheel because color dominance, how much a color pops out at us visually, affects how a fabric will appear in the finished quilt, too.
Becoming familiar with the intertwined characteristics of color and contrast will help you position fabrics to create any design you can envision. Learn to juggle color and contrast and you'll be happy with your quilts every time.
Different Ways to Choose Fabrics for Quilts
Even experienced quilters sometimes find that it's difficult to choose fabrics for a quilt. It's normal, and the choices can seem overwhelming, but the task is not something that should discourage beginning quilters.
Over time, everyone develops his or her own best methods for fabric selection.