Category Archives: Uncategorized

It’s how you color it . . .

I was writing a quilt pattern of my design, “Do-Si-Do” when I discovered something interesting.

The design contained more than one pattern.

Variations abound depending on how you color the basic patch used throughout the quilt.

I decided to take a different design at random, and try the same experiment. I’ll use 1-1-1-2 as an example.

1-1-1-2
1-1-1-2

This is a 4-shape tessellation. Each of the shapes produce their own unique design.

1-1-1-2a
1-1-1-2a
1-1-1-2b
1-1-1-2b
1-1-1-2c
1-1-1-2c
1-1-1-2d1
1-1-1-2d1
1-1-1-2d2
1-1-1-2d2

Taking the shapes two-at-a-time

Next, I wanted to see what patterns took shape if I took two shapes at a time.

1-1-1-2ab
1-1-1-2ab
1-1-1-2ac1
1-1-1-2ac1

These two shapes combine to create a new shape when colored the same. If they are colored differently, you need to add a third color as background for the two.

1-1-1-2ac2
1-1-1-2ac2
1-1-1-2ad1
1-1-1-2ad1

These two shapes combine to create a background when colored the same. If they are colored differently, you need to add a third color as background for the two.

1-1-1-2ad2
1-1-1-2ad2

Taking the shapes three-at-a-time

This was already done when looking at the individual shapes.  Whatever shape you look at, the other three shapes form the background.

Eleven unique designs for the price of one

Not bad, eh??

Have you ever made a crappy quilt??

I have . . .

Sure, it sounded like a good idea at the time, and it looked good on paper, but the end result was less-than-stellar.

What do you do with a crappy quilt??

Aside from donating it to a local homeless shelter, hiding it in a closet, or burning it (to destroy ALL evidence), there’s one thing you should do with a crappy quilt (and even a not-so-crappy quilt).

Learn from it . . .

Take a good, hard look at that piece of crap, and ask yourself what’s wrong with it.

Was it poor construction technique??  Poor color choices??  Wrong size??

No matter . . . Each quilt holds a lesson to be learned and a goal to aspire to!!

(What??  You gonna let a crappy quilt ruin your day and make you quit?? What sort of quilter ARE you??)

Personally, I’m pleased as punch to make a crappy quilt!! ‘Cause just wait until you see the NEXT one!!

Color Theory 101: Harmonious Color Schemes

You may sometimes look at a quilt and wonder, “Why did the quilter use THOSE colors?”

Granted, some color choices are personal preference, but with color wheel in hand, you are equipped to tackle harmonious color schemes. (You DO want your colors “pleasing to the eye,” don’t you?)

There are three basic color schemes: Achromatic, Monochromatic, and Polychromatic.

Achromatic Color Schemes

This is a color scheme without a color. Achromatic color schemes use only Black, White, and shades of Gray:

White, Black, and 3 shades of Gray
White, Black, and 3 shades of Gray

Monochromatic Color Schemes

A monochromatic color scheme uses a single color and its Tints, Tones, and Shades:

Blue, with Tints, Tones, and Shades
Blue, with Tints, Tones, and Shades

Polychromatic Color Schemes

Polychromatic  color schemes use multiple colors. They can be broken down as follows.

Complementary Color Schemes:

A Complementary color scheme uses two colors directly opposite each other on the color wheel:

Complementary Color Scheme
Complementary Color Scheme

There are six pairs of complementary colors on the color wheel (proceeding clockwise):

  1. Yellow/Violet
  2. Yellow-Orange/Blue-Violet
  3. Orange/Blue
  4. Red-Orange/Blue-Green
  5. Red/Green
  6. Red-Violet/Yellow-Green

Analogous Color Schemes:

An Analogous color scheme uses two or three colors that lie next to each other on the color wheel:

Analogous Color Scheme
Analogous Color Scheme

There are twelve three-color analogous schemes on the color wheel (proceeding clockwise):

  1. Yellow/Yellow-Orange/Orange
  2. Yellow-Orange/Orange/Red-Orange
  3. Orange/Red-Orange/Red
  4. Red-Orange/Red/Red-Violet
  5. Red/Red-Violet/Violet
  6. Red-Violet/Violet/Blue-Violet
  7. Violet/Blue-Violet/Blue
  8. Blue-Violet/Blue/Blue-Green
  9. Blue/Blue-Green/Green
  10. Blue-Green/Green/Yellow-Green
  11. Green/Yellow-Green/Yellow
  12. Yellow-Green/Yellow/Yellow-Orange

Triangular Color Schemes:

A Triangular color scheme uses three colors spaced equidistant from each other on the color wheel:

Triangular Color Scheme
Triangular Color Scheme

There are four triangular color schemes on the color wheel (proceeding clockwise):

  1. Yellow/Red/Blue
  2. Yellow-Orange/Red-Violet/Blue-Green
  3. Orange/Violet/Green
  4. Red-Orange/Blue-Violet/Yellow-Green

Split Complementary Color Schemes:

A Split Complementary color scheme combines the Complementary and Triangular color schemes. Instead of using the color directly opposite, it uses the two colors to either side of the complementary color:

Split Complementary Color Scheme
Split Complementary Color Scheme

There are twelve split complementary color schemes on the color wheel (proceeding clockwise):

  1. Yellow/Red-Violet/Blue-Violet
  2. Yellow-Orange/Violet/Blue
  3. Orange/Blue-Violet/Blue-Green
  4. Red-Orange/Blue/Green
  5. Red/Blue-Green/Yellow-Green
  6. Red-Violet/Green/Yellow
  7. Violet/Yellow-Green/Yellow-Orange
  8. Blue-Violet/Yellow/Orange
  9. Blue/Yellow-Orange/Red-Orange
  10. Blue-Green/Orange/Red
  11. Green/Red-Orange/Red-Violet
  12. Yellow-Green/Red/Violet

Analogous Complementary Color Schemes:

An Analogous Complementary color scheme combines the Analogous and Complementary color schemes. Think of it as adding the missing complementary color to the Split Complementary color scheme.

Analogous Complementary Color Scheme
Analogous Complementary Color Scheme

There are twelve analogous complementary color schemes on the color wheel (proceeding clockwise):

  1. Yellow/Red-Violet/Violet/Blue-Violet
  2. Yellow-Orange/Violet/Blue-Violet/Blue
  3. Orange/Blue-Violet/Blue/Blue-Green
  4. Red-Orange/Blue/Blue-Green/Green
  5. Red/Blue-Green/Green/Yellow-Green
  6. Red-Violet/Green/Yellow-Green/Yellow
  7. Violet/Yellow-Green/Yellow/Yellow-Orange
  8. Blue-Violet/Yellow/Yellow-Orange/Orange
  9. Blue/Yellow-Orange/Orange/Red-Orange
  10. Blue-Green/Orange/Red-Orange/Red
  11. Green/Red-Orange/Red/Red-Violet
  12. Yellow-Green/Red/Red-Violet/Violet

Square Color Schemes:

A Square color scheme uses four colors spaced equidistant from each other on the color wheel:

Square Color Scheme
Square Color Scheme

There are three square color schemes on the color wheel (proceeding clockwise):

  1. Yellow/Red-Orange/Violet/Blue-Green
  2. Yellow-Orange/Red/Blue-Violet/Green
  3. Orange/Red-Violet/Blue/Yellow-Green

Rectangular Color Schemes:

A Rectangular color scheme is similar to a Square color scheme, though the four colors are not spaced equidistant from each other on the color wheel:

Rectangular Color Scheme
Rectangular Color Scheme

There are six rectangular color schemes on the color wheel (proceeding clockwise):

  1. Yellow/Orange/Violet/Blue
  2. Yellow-Orange/Red-Orange/Blue-Violet/Blue-Green
  3. Orange/Red/Blue/Green
  4. Red-Orange/Red-Violet/Blue-Green/Yellow-Green
  5. Red/Violet/Green/Yellow
  6. Red-Violet/Blue-Violet/Yellow-Green/Yellow-Orange

Now it’s time to turn Color Theory into Color Practice. Choosing harmonious color schemes gets easier the more you do it.

Next up: a few more pointers.

Color Theory 101: Color Wheels

I’m often asked, “How do you pick the colors for your quilts?”

I hope this explains the process.

The Color Wheel

Primary Colors:

Any discussion of color begins with the three primary colors: Yellow, Red, and Blue. These three colors cannot be made by mixing any other colors together. They lie equidistant from each other on the color wheel.

Color wheel-primary colors
Color wheel-primary colors

Secondary Colors:

There are three secondary colors: Orange, Violet, and Green. They are made by mixing two primary colors together: Yellow and Red make Orange; Red and Blue make Violet; and, Blue and Yellow make Green. They lie equidistant from each other on the color wheel, between the two primary colors that make them.

Color wheel-secondary colors
Color wheel-secondary colors

Tertiary Colors:

There are six tertiary colors: Yellow-Orange, Red-Orange, Red-Violet, Blue-Violet, Blue-Green, and Yellow-Green. They are made by mixing one primary and one secondary color together: Yellow and Orange make Yellow-Orange; Red and Orange make Red-Orange; Red and Violet make Red-Violet; Blue and Violet make Blue-Violet; Blue and Green make Blue-Green; and, Yellow and Green make Yellow-Green. They lie equidistant from each other on the color wheel, between the primary and secondary colors that make them.

These twelve colors constitute a basic color wheel.

Color wheel
Color wheel

Additional Colors

There are three more colors to attend to. Though they exhibit no color at all, they do affect the other colors on the wheel. They are White, Black, and shades of Gray.

White, Black, and 3 shades of Gray
White, Black, and 3 shades of Gray

Tints, Tones, and Shades

Tints:

Adding varying amounts of White to colors make Tints.

I’ve added a lot of White to the colors below:

Color wheel-tints
Color wheel-tints

Tones:

Adding varying amounts of Gray to colors make Tones.

I’ve added a small amount of Gray to the colors below:

Color wheel-tones
Color wheel-tones

Shades:

Adding varying amounts of Black to colors make Shades.

I’ve added a moderate amount of Black to the colors below:

Color wheel-shades
Color wheel-shades

Now that you have a world of color at your fingertips, what will you do with them?

Next up:  Harmonious Color Combinations.

A methodical approach to quilt design . . .

(Originally published May 4, 2010)

Our story so far . . .

  • There are four operations of symmetry (translation, rotation, reflection, and glide reflection);
  • There are seven linear symmetry groups and seventeen planar symmetry groups as codified by crystallographers and chemists;
  • Crystallographers and chemists are not necessarily quilters;
  • The symmetry groups do not allow for “sideways” tiles (but for one exception);
  • I have a tile, a square with lines drawn through it, whose lines always connect with lines in adjacent tiles to outline shapes unique to each arrangement of tiles.

The tile rotates in 90-degree increments, creating four distinct tiles with four different orientations.

Tile Rotations 1 through 4
Tile Rotations 1 through 4

The tile reflects, creating a mirror-image tile. The mirror-image tile rotates in 90-degree increments, creating four distinct mirror-image tiles with four different orientations.

Mirror-Image Tile Rotations 1M through 4M
Mirror-Image Tile Rotations 1M through 4M

I actually have eight tiles, not just one.

I group four tiles to create a block. There’s no reason the four tiles cannot rotate or reflect independently of the others (regardless of what the crystallographers and chemists say).

With eight possible tiles in four possible positions, there are 4,096  (8 x 8 x 8 x 8 = 4,096) possible 4-tile blocks.

I propose a systematic exploration of the possible 4-tile blocks, patterns, and tessellations, just by rotating and reflecting each tile of the block, one at a time.

Would you care to join me?