My name is Charlotte, sometimes known as Ms Lottie, occasionally as The Slightly Mad Quilt Lady. This is my blog, where you'll find me writing a lot about my quilting and textile arts and a little about my family's life in a small seaside town in New Zealand. Haere mai!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Colour Palettes on Friday

One of my favourite activities is playing around with my hand-dyed fabrics, putting together colour palettes.  My fabrics are my paint box and tools and I can learn a lot just by playing around with them.  Any excuse for fabric fondling, right?

What I observe sometimes when other quilters are putting together colour palettes, is that they don't play around with proportions.  They stack a beautifully folded pile of fabrics together and look at it.  But rarely do you use equal amounts of fabric in a quilt.  So change the way you fold them and look at how the colours work together when there are different amounts of each.

Then I sometimes use this internet tool to check how the different proportions might look in actual pictures.  It's called TinEye Labs Multicolr Search Lab, and it searches Flikr creative commons images for photographs that match your chosen colours and proportions thereof.

Below is the search I did based on the proportions of colour in the above mix.  Whoa! Look at all that orange, and I can now see that the orange is about the same tonal value as the pink, so there is less tonal contrast than I might like. (Click on the image and that should biggify it if you need a closer look.)

The photo above and the search results based on proportions below.  This reminds me of sunsets and I like the large proportion of light - some nice contrasts.

Above is the photo, and below is the search with the roundabout proportions.  Lots of pinky purple coming through here.  More restful perhaps?  And once again, less tonal contrasts.

And below is the search I did with equal colour proportions.  I find it a bit messy, or perhaps busy is a better word, no focal colour that draws me in.  

So how do you play around with your colour palettes?  Do you rearrange your stacks to get an idea of how fabrics play with others in your chosen scheme?  And do you rearrange proportions to see what different looks you can get?


  1. Thanks for pointing me towards a great new fun color tool! I played with it a little bit on my iPad tonight and it worked well enough for me to see how much more fun it would be on my computer. (It was a little hitchy on my iPad.) I especially love the proportional element to it--very helpful!

  2. All goes back to the chicken/egg debate doesn't it. Do you start you project with the fabric, or do you start with a concept or pattern?

  3. I just found your blog recently. I am looking forward to spending a day catching up on your podcasts. I love this tool you have posted about. I shared it with my small group the Fabrigos and did a short post on my blog pointing people to you.
    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Great tool and as usual, wonderful advice from a master.


Hi, I love reading comments, so thanks for visiting my blog and leaving me a message :)
Due to a huge increase in spam, I've disabled anonymous comments. Apologies if this effects any real life readers!