No matter what your skill level, exploring color is an important and ongoing learning process. Here are three simple exercises to get you playing with color in new ways.
In this first exercise, let’s take a closer look at three important colors, the primary colors.
Red, Blue, and Yellow – these three colors are the foundation for all color so it’s a good idea to understand each of them.
Take each primary color, one at a time, and explore its characteristics.
Answer the following questions:
- What is the color’s relationship to black? Create a quilt block with the primary color and black.
- What is the color’s relationship to white? Create a quilt block with the primary color and white.
- What is the color’s relationship to gray? Create a quilt block with the primary color and gray.
Next, search through your stash to find the following:
- Find a yellow fabric that is darker than a blue fabric.
- Find a blue fabric that is darker than a red fabric.
What did you learn? Record your discoveries.
Nine Patch Shuffle
For this exercise, you’ll need a few supplies:
- Flexible Adhesive Magnetic sheets, cut into 1″ squares.
- Eight 1″ squares from several fabrics, including black, white, gray, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.
Some assembly is required. Peel the paper covering off of the adhesive on the magnetic sheet and press a 1″ square of fabric onto the 1″ magnetic square. Repeat until all of our fabric squares have a magnetic back.
On a flat metal surface, or a 3″ square of the magnetic sheet, arrange the fabric square magnets.
Make two-color Nine Patches. Try several color combinations. How do the colors react with each other? Record your favorite combinations.
The Next Step – Take this exercise further by using the squares to create patterns other than a Nine Patch. Start with symmetrical patterns, then play with asymmetrical designs. Stick with two-color combinations.
For this exercise, you will need a red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple 2 1/2″ x 40″ strip of fabric.
- Sew the strips together in he order listed above.
- Sew a 9″ x 40″ black strip to the red end and a 9″ x 40″ black strip to the purple end.
- Press the seams, then cut into 2 1/2″ rainbow strips.
- Lay the rainbow strips beside each other, but adjust the strips so the colors are beside different colors (bargello style).
- Move the strips around and play with the different color combinations.
- Once you have a layout you like, sew the strips together.
- Trim off the extra black strip portions so you have a rectangle showing your rainbow design.
The Next Step – Take this exercise further by selecting each of the color fabrics in pastel or jewel tone. Try playing with a rainbow where all the colors have the same undertone.