Volume and Value are of critical importance when designing a quilt. Let’s take a look and define what exactly these words mean in quilting.
Value is color. Think about going to the paint store and selecting your paint swatch. That swatch has about 5 or 6 values of that same color. They go from a tinted white all the way to dark, but these are all relatives and in the same family of that exact same color.
Here is a prime example of taking a photograph and seeking out the value of color within. Notice that most of this photo is just the value of green. It is very pleasing to the eye. This swatch was provided by https://design-seeds.com
Every few days or so the above website captures beauty in the value of color. I have bookmarked this site and go to it randomly. It fascinates me! The glorious photo. The wonderful color palette.
Lets say I was making a green quilt, I pick one fabric from my stash, I know the value of the fabric because I am touching it and I can see it before my eyes. The thing with quilt making when you incorporate many fabrics in your quilt, you are blind how it will turn out until you have it sewn. By keeping to the rule of value, you will be a better quilt maker for it.
Lets pretend I have all the greens in the swatches above. Would all these greens play well together in a quilt? Absolutely! Will all these greens play well with other colors? Maybe.
Will my greens play well with my neutrals? Maybe. If the above swatch was my neutrals in my fabrics, then the answer would be some, LOL! Some of the greens would marry nicely with some of the values of the neutrals. The lightest green next to brownish taupe 2nd from the top, the answer would be no.
Value gives contrast. If I used this whole palette of greens with this whole palette of neutrals it would be a fail. Why? Potential placement is the answer. If I took the lightest green and matched it with the lightest neutral there would be contrast. So how could this be a fail? Even though those two values work well together, if I used the remainder of the palettes it is possible that the lightest of green would get placed to a medium or darker neutral. This would then assign the value of that lightest green and make it a neutral. In your quilt pattern, the pattern will stand out if you contrast the values.
Now what about volume? If I were listening to the radio, no matter what I was listening to and turned it all the way up, it would be loud! Right? How does one turn up the volume on something that is color? The print.
Here is a prime example of green fabric. The background is the lightest of green. Some of the foreground robots are green. Is this a green? The answer is yes. But you could also assign it orange or blue since these are dominate in the print.
Notice the ruler at the bottom of the fabric. If I were making a green 4 patch with half the block being in green and half the block being neutral, this fabric may or may not work. If I were making a 4 patch that was 10 inches. This would be perfectly suited for that block. Why? Because you are cutting the pieces 5 inches you are capturing more of the value of the fabric. Because of the high volume of this fabric if I were making 4 patches and they were 4 inches, this would not work. The cut of the 4 patch may have too much orange captured in the 2 inch square therefore reassigning the value of the fabric because the volume was too large and loud.
Here is a neutral fabric swatch. This would work marvelously with the darker green value. Towards the lighter spectrum of greens this would dominate because the volume is too loud. The print is too large. This would work well for a border, but if you were cutting this up into smaller pieces there is black in this print. The value would potentially change for the color. So your neutral just went way too dark.
I encourage all of you to visit the hardware store and select some paint swatches. I have done this many times in the design of a quilt. I will pull my fabrics with the similar value of color. I will then take that paint swatch that matches to the fabric store and match exactly a shade lighter, darker, or spot on. A perfect match every time.
I would say for the most part if you were to define me as a quilter, it would include the word scrap. Working with scraps is a little less formal and the goal is to use up what you have.
When selecting the color on your swatch, it is advised to go up or down from the one color you really like. You can go lighter in value safely. You can go darker in value safely, but not too much.
So, in summary you can mix and match and it will still be a quilt, right? The mystery quilt below is a definition of value and volume. These two mistakes only affected one thing. You cannot see the pattern as intended, that is all. It is still a quilt. It will still cover you up. It is still green and neutral.
So taking advice from my own lesson, as you know if you have been reading my blog regularly, I am remaking the above quilt. I have nailed the contrast with the color selected. I am still using loud fabrics, but I am using those for the larger pieces. Notice the large pieces how instead of looking black it looks blue? That is the volume of the black.
Even though I have been working overtime, I have managed to get a tad farther along.
I am liking this! Who says you can’t manipulate your scraps and make them work for you?
The four outer corners are sewn and I have started sewing the next block to it. Perhaps this will end up a top by the weekend? Perhaps I will rest. Either way it will reveal itself eventually.
I wish I had more to show, but am too pooped. I see quilting in my future near the 4th of July. Until then it will probably be either, work or rest. Or both!
Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog!