Color Play

This week I decided to do some experimenting with color samples. As most of you know, I prefer bright colors, so I decided to see what happens with subdued colors.

From my stack of 10-inch squares I chose a couple of dull hues, a dark olive and an insipid faded rose.  I rough-cut four strips of each and paired them up on my portable design board, the backside of an old painting.

The addition of varied color scraps was a simple way to compare results.

The more I study this arrangement, the less I like it. What did I learn? Exactly what I expected, that dull colors and bright ones don’t really go well together.

1. The aqua, teal scraps don’t work at all because they are all too bright.

2. The warm orange and yellow samples blend better with the dull green, but not really with the rose color.

3. The purple and. the lime green don’t blend in at all, but seem too bright.

4. Neither the bright blue nor the soft blue fit in anywhere.

What is the answer for the subdued colors?. Several months ago I had divided most of my scraps into bright colors and dull ones. Then I randomly pieced together the soft colored scraps and bordered them in brown. I was very happy with it and have it hanging in my bedroom.

 My conclusion? For the most part the bright colors and the subdued ones prefer to play separately. This is quite evident in comparing Civil War repro fabrics to bright modern colors, with the exception of cheddar, a popular bright 19th century dye, as well as the familiar red, white and blue.

Each of us as quilters have our favorite color combinations and this endless variety is what makes quilts so special, each one unique to its maker.

I’m linking up with Angela at Cynthia at

14 thoughts on “Color Play

  1. I’m also a Bright Colours person. Civil War prints do not appeal to me at all. As I’m British I only discovered the genre of Civil War prints after I discovered quilting and have never bought or used any. Continue to enjoy your Brights, Paula.


    1. Glad you liked it, Joy. I think it depends on the actual colors that are chosen. colors can be made by adding the complement to a color, like adding red into green. Those of the ones that really end up being brown or not interesting. Adding white or black just makes the color darker or lighter. I love learning about color.


  2. Hi, Paula! Your color experiment is very interesting. I love both brights and Civil War repros, but I store the scraps separately, because you are right, they do not play well together as a general rule.


  3. smilesfromkate

    I’m another bright girl Paula, it’s interesting the way you relate it to personality traits, I hadn’t thought of it before. However, I have to agree with Joy, I personally like the way the brights play on the duller background, except a couple maybe which blend in more. Generally though I agree with you.


    1. Thanks, Kate. After the trials you’ve been through in the last year, I know you have never given in to let it take over your life. It has made you really strong. I think all quilters must look on the bright side because our quilts are usually made to be given away. This way we have something of ourselves that we can give..


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