Tuesday, June 30, 2015

52 Weeks of Color for Quilters :: Neutrals Group 1

So the past two weeks we looked at Complementary Colors - pairs of colors that are directly across from each other on the color wheel. Today we're going to start talking about Neutral Colors, which don't really show up on the color wheel but are vital to mixing new colors which we'll get into more in coming weeks. Neutral colors have no color temperature (in theory) and are made by mixing two complementary colors together. 

Today I'm using orange and blue to illustrate this concept. You can do this with any two complements but I wanted to talk about brown and beige neutrals today and this pair makes the best browns. You can see the difference between the example with more orange on the left and more blue on the right. The truth is that most neutrals really will have a slight color temperature, meaning they'll read warm or cool (even if only slightly) because they're made from a mixture of warm and cool colors. This is true for fabrics as well as paint ;-)

In quilting we often see neutrals used as the background colors or to make other colors really pop - remember that color is relative meaning it will always react to and look different depending on what it is placed next to.

My block this week is the string variation 1 on page 237 of 500 Quilt Blocks - I did modify this block to use 6 colors instead of 5. This first arrangement places the darkest brown on the inside.

The second version places the darkest brown on the outside corners - funny how different they look isn't it?

Third arrangement and I placed the small strings in the middle to make an X type block (which would change again with more blocks repeated).

Fourth and final arrangement is this one which rotates the lightest and darkest corners. I haven't sewn these together yet because I've been trying to decide which arrangement I like best - I'd love to hear which one is your favorite in the comments.

The Kona colors I used for this block are (lightest to darkest):
- Eggshell
- Khaki
- Biscuit
- Mocha
- Chocolate
- Espresso

Stash Modern Fabrics is now carrying all 303 colors of Kona IN STOCK! I'm biased because they're a home town favorite for me but it really is so convenient to be able to shop for any color Kona in just one place.

And now I feel like I need a coffee and a brownie - teehee. Next week we'll look at the other group of Neutral Colors and I'll show you how I created this modified string block - hope to see you then!


  1. What a helpful post! Your showing the orange and blue in the first photo was a lightbulb moment for me. I,m so glad I found your site . thanks!

  2. i'm getting a 70's vibe with those brown stripes!

  3. This is really helpful - thanks! I like #2 and #3 best btw.....

  4. I like the last one the best!


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