Saturday, August 11, 2012

On...What color is your Palette?

The other day I was preparing kits for an upcoming class (Rocky Mountain Quilt Festival) with Tamey who noted that I should wear what I was wearing that day on the day of the class I would be teaching, "because the outfit matches the project".   I was wearing a red and yellow top - two colors I love.  I was attracted to the top at a vendor booth at a local festival.  And not surprisingly therefore to the fabrics for this project.  This made sense to me because I have been noticing when I teach classes how often the quilter's outfit coordinates with the fabrics picked out by the quilter. Of course, this won't happen when a fabric kit is provided...but if it does, then I instantly know that the quilter will like the kit!  

Picking out fabrics for a quilt has historically been a bit of a source of anxiety for me.  I just couldn't do it.  Too many choices!  Until a friend suggested that I use a palette.  I loved that idea!  I started out in the art field and felt comfortable there, but no matter the reason or if you are in the art field, the concept of the palette works.  I have now come to realize that if I like the colors on the palette, I will like the quilt made from those colors.  Ahhh....anxiety begone!

So, what colors on my palette?  I started by choosing literal palettes - the paint strips and color combinations suggested by the paint companies.  The strips are even free at the hardware stores.  Take them to the quilt shop and match....easy!   I personally love tone on tones and they work great with the paint strip method.
What about prints?  Mix in some prints of different scales, too...or - yes, start with a print, and that becomes your palette.  Pick a print with colors you love and pull the colors from that.

Other palette ideas?  Look in your closet at your favorite outfits.  Take a picture of the outfit (or wear it or bring it) to the quilt shop and match fabrics to the outfit - again, if you like the colors on your palette, you'll like your quilt.  Allison was wearing a teal madras plaid shirt with purples, pinks and golds when I told her this idea.  She looked at her shirt and said, "these colors would make an awesome quilt!"  Later, I realized that we had picked out these same colors for a quilt just a few weeks back - but without the shirt!  It would have made our job easier with the shirt!

Someone told me once that colors  in nature will always go together.  So, theoretically the blues from the sky and the ocean will match with the creams of the dunes and the greens of the palm trees.  So, snap a picture - with modern technology it is so easy to do with a phone or tablet - and take it with you to the quilt shop.  If the palm trees only hop on to your palette on vacation (as would be my case), then take a pic there, or get a postcard while on vacation and then go to the quilt shop and pull the colors from the photo.  Or, take a virtual vacation online and print off a pic of the resort you would love to stay at....and make a quilt from those colors (a "quiltcation"!)

Once you start looking for palettes, you will settle into the colors you love and your palette will become clearer.  In some ways, this mirrors life I suppose.  I wonder if our lives were a palette....what "colors" would be on our palette.  Would there be kindness, laughter, sensitivity....what would we choose?  If we could see what we wanted on a paint strip of choices and pull from that, how much clearer would our palette be?  Hmmm...will have to think about that while pulling colors for my next quilt!

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