Sunday, February 15, 2009

Quilt Design - Cheerful Child, Fabric Values

Off my list, I've accomplished everything but The Pampered Chef work, which REALLY needs to be done... tomorrow!

[Truth be told... Tom took care of dinner and the dishes, so, I just had to stop to eat. I'm very lucky that way... Tom helps me A LOT in the Kitchen (and around the house in general!)]

I did make it upstairs to start cutting fabric, but first, I wanted to sort by value (you know - light - medium - dark - like that.)

I quickly pulled fabrics into groups of 10, approximately by shade/value, and re-stacked them. Then, I'd snap a picture, look at the image on my digital (small) camera screen and rearrange a few. I did this twice, first rearranging the bottom (lightest) row, and the second time rearranging the middle row.

I wanted to make this little collage to show you what I did, then I thought "I can switch this to black and white so we can really see the value".

After switching the pictures to black and white, I realized I SHOULD have done that with my camera in the first place... used the B&W setting. Because on looking at this, I see AT LEAST seven fabrics that should be moved about.

Color is tricky that way. You see the color and forget about the VALUE... even when you're trying. So, here are ways to find the real VALUE of your fabrics...
  1. Turn off / down the lights in the room (I use to do this all the time, but forgot about it today). If you have just a little light from another room, you see the value more than the color.
  2. Look through a piece of colored plastic (red or green work well - unless you are looking at that color of fabric, then use the other color - so, for a red and green quilt, this would be tough to do).
  3. Photocopy the fabrics and look at the printed pages. (This is an older method that will work if you can't do any of the others.)
  4. Switch your camera to B&W, take a shot, and then look at the picture (this would work for film or digital cameras).
  5. Take a digital picture, upload to the computer, convert to B&W, evaluate.
Many people underestimate the power of VALUE in art (and quilts ARE Art, if you were wondering!) In order to really SEE the different areas, you need to have light, medium, and dark shades... they all work together to create contrast, which keeps the eye moving AND helps you to see different areas/shapes.

Yesterday I showed a neighbor my fabrics, and she didn't think I should have the (one) pink or the beiges... I had to explain about value. Try removing the bottom row from the fabrics above... you loose so much of the contrast in the fabrics. The blocks I'm working on need contrast to really show off the design.

So. Today's lesson for you is about looking for different shades, even if they are all in the same color family, using lights, mediums, and darks is critical!

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