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by Andrea Bishop

Welcome to the club! If you have EQ software and the Kaleidoscope Collection add-on installed, you’ll be able to follow along.

This is the seventh of twelve Kaleidoscope lessons.

Intro

Knowing some basic principles of Color Theory can help you create the perfect look in your next quilt. We’ll practice figuring out ‘what is important‘ in the design and ‘making it important‘ via color. Whether you use the Red-Yellow-Blue Color Wheel (what we learned in Elementary School) or Magenta-Yellow-Cyan Color Wheel (what graphic designers use)… the concepts are the same.

In this lesson, I’m going to have a project available for you to download so we can get right to the blocks and coloring after the basics. It has all the shades, tints and tones started for you.

Download the Project

  1. Download the project  and pen the file.
  2. Then from within EQ, choose FILE > Save As and save the file in your project folder: My Documents > My EQ7 > PJ7
¬†¬†If you want to know how I made the project…

You don’t need to follow these directions. These steps are just for the curious.

  1. I started a new project.
  2. View Sketchbook button and deleted out all the fabrics and colors (except black and white). I used the “focus” trick by deleting the first one and then holding down the ENTER key.
  3. Closed the Sketchbook.
  4. On the Quilt Worktable, clicked the Paintbrush tool to see the palette.
  5. In the palette, clicked the Solids/Colors tab.
  6. Right-clicked Black and chose Add Grades.
  7. In the top-right drop-down, chose white. This made all the shades of gray.
  8. Then added the first color to the palette.
  9. Add Grades with White, Black, and the 5th Gray using this new color
  10. Then added the next color to the palette.
  11. Add Grades with White, Black and the 5th Gray using the next new color.
  12. Then I repeated steps 10 and 11 for the colors I wanted in the palette: red, red-orange, orange, yellow-orange, yellow, yellow-green, green…

    For more information on Add Color**, Add Shades & Tints, Add Tones and Add Grades search in the EQ7 User Manual (available in under Help in your EQ7.)

**When using this technique make sure you¬†click the first empty white box in the top-left of¬†Custom Colors¬†before defining the RGB or HSL numbers, then click the¬†Add to Custom Colors¬†button. Click¬†OK¬†if you’re only adding one color. If you’re adding more colors, click the next box to the right in¬†Custom Colors… if you fill the first row, go down to the bottom-left white box. Each time a color is added, there will be a white swatch at the end. I went in to the Sketchbook and deleted the extra whites before adding grades of everything.

Understanding the Basics

Look at the next 4 sections before starting on the blocks. You’ll learn about tints, shades, and tones, and then the rules.

Lighter Values – Tints – Mixing with White

In EQ, you can use the Add Shades and Tints feature or Add Grades and mix your selected color with white. On a predominantly light block, you can make a color less important by lightening it. On a predominantly dark block, you can make a color more important by lightening it.

The colors in the left column are pretty pure.¬†Mixing them with white leads to¬†lighter, tinted versions, but still kind of pure.¬†The brown and the tan show that you can do lighter values of any color… not just the main colors of the color wheel.

Mixing with White

Keep in mind there are many values possible for each color… not just the one listed above.

Darker Values – Shades – Mixing with Black

In EQ, you can use the Add Shades and Tints feature or Add Grades and mix your selected color with black. On a predominantly light block, you can make a color more important by darkening it. On a predominantly dark block, you can make a color less important by darkening it.

The colors in the left column are pretty pure.¬†Mixing them with black leads to¬†darker, shaded versions, but still kind of pure.¬†The brown and the tan show that you can do darker values of any color… not just the main colors of the color wheel.

Mixing with Black

Keep in mind there are many values possible for each color… not just the one listed above.

Tones – Mixing with Gray

In EQ, you can use the Add Tones feature or Add Grades and mix your selected color with gray. You can make a color less important by graying it out.

The colors in the left column are pretty pure.¬†Mixing them with gray leads to¬†subdued, toned versions¬†that are not as pure.¬†The brown and the tan show that you can do tones of any color… not just the main colors of the color wheel.

Mixing with Gray

Keep in mind there are many tones possible for each color… not just the one listed above.

Understanding the Color Game

Everything leads to yellow. Yellow is the game-ender. It stands out the most out of all the colors. Anything close to yellow on the color wheel will have the same effect.

The color relationships are interwoven, so many times a color’s effectiveness is changed by these rules, the colors you pair it with, and how much of those colors are in the grouping.

Warm trumps lots of cool

Warm colors (yellow, orange, red) stand out on a cool background. 

The blue background is pure (not toned) and dark. In this image¬†yellow stands out the most because it’s yellow and because it is lighter than the blue background… so it has 2 things going for it.¬†Orange¬†stands out as well because it’s lighter than the blue, it’s blue’s complement (opposite on the color wheel), and it’s close to yellow.¬†Red¬†is warm and lighter than the blue, so it stands out as well. The¬†turquoise¬†is too close to blue and slightly toned so it hides. The¬†lime¬†color stands out a bit because it is part yellow, but not as much as the warm colors. The¬†purple¬†stands out a bit because of its red qualities, but it is still too dark and too close to blue to make a difference.

Cool trumps lots of warm

Cool colors (purple, green, blue) stand out on a warm background… but not efficiently.

The yellow background is pure (not toned) and light.¬†Purple¬†stands out a lot because it is cool, dark, and yellow’s complement.¬†Blue¬†stands out because it is cool and darker than the yellow. The¬†green¬†and¬†red¬†are kind of in a tie because although the green is cool and darker than the yellow, the red is much darker than the yellow and it is warm. (Warm colors can stand out on a warm background too.) The¬†gold¬†and¬†orange¬†are lost because they have yellow in them.

This type of color scheme is hard to use. You don’t necessarily need to avoid it, but just know the rules as you’re coloring.

Pure always beats toned

Pure (non-toned) colors stand out on a gray (toned) background. 

The background is a dark, grayed purple. The¬†light blue¬†at the bottom and theviolet¬†in the middle are lighter than the background and more pure… so they stand out. Next are the¬†red-violet¬†and¬†dark plum¬†colors, because they are also pure despite their darkness. The¬†two gray blues¬†are lost because they are toned and too close to the background.

Dark trumps lots of light

Dark colors stand out on a light background. 

The background is a light, toned pink. The dark red, dark plum, and dark turquoise stand out a lot because they are dark. The yellow and peach are lost because they are light and close to the background on the color wheel.

Light trumps lots of dark

Light colors stand out on a dark background. 

The background is a dark gray.¬†Orange¬†stands out a lot because it is warm, lighter than the gray and it is pure.¬†Lime¬†stands out because it is close to yellow, lighter than the gray, and it is pure. The¬†dark gold¬†color doesn’t stand out as much because it is dark, but it is mixed with yellow… so it is next. The dark red¬†and¬†dark plum¬†are somewhat pure and warm, but they are so dark they just kind of sit there on the gray. The¬†dark turquoise¬†is lost because it is dark, toned, and cool.

Blocks from the Library

  1. Click LIBRARIES > Block Library.
  2. Go to Kaleidoscope Collection > Square Corners > 02 Compasses.
  3. Click on the 8th block Spinnaker 2 and click Add to Sketchbook.
  4. Click on the 6th block Dignity 2 and click Add to Sketchbook.
  5. Go to Square Corners > 06 Pinwheels.
  6. Click on the 3rd block from the end Pointed Path 2 and click Add to Sketchbook.
  7. Go to Square Corners > 07 Snow.
  8. Click on the 12th block Catamaran 2 and click Add to Sketchbook.
  9. Click Close to put the library away.

Start a new Quilt

  1. Click WORKTABLE > Work on Quilt.
  2. Click QUILT > New Quilt > Horizontal.
  3. Click the Layout tab at the bottom-left corner of your screen.
  4. Set the number of blocks to be horizontal: 5 and vertical: 4.
  5. Set the finished size of blocks to be 9.
  6. Set the finished size of sashing to be 1.
  7. Click the Layer 1 tab.

Set the Blocks in the Quilt

  1. Click on the Set Block tool Set Block. The Sketchbook Blocks palette appears.
  2. Click the first block and click in all 5 spaces across the first row. (Leave the sashing empty.)
  3. Click the second block and fill the next row.
  4. Fill the third row with the third block and fill the fourth row with the fourth block.

Figuring Out What’s Important in the Design

  1. Click the Spraycan Spraycan tool, so the palette appears.
  2. Inside the palette, click the Solids or Colors tab.
  3. Find yellow and click to select it.
  4. Don’t touch the first column.
  5. For each block across, click on a different part of the block/different color.¬†(For the snowflake in the center of the last block, you can color the lavender and purple together as one.) Try to make yours match this picture, so that when we analyze it we’re talking about the same thing.

Analyzing What We’ve Done

If it looks stupid when it’s accented, then you know not to do that with your real colors.

Row #1¬†- for the¬†second block¬†where the turquoise star points and turquoise center pinwheel were switched to yellow, you can see that these are indeed important parts of the block and the block looks better when they are accented. Everything else is less important or distracting. A good runner-up is block is block #3… you could make that the second-most important color.

Row #2 - for the second block where the front turquoise star points were switched to yellow, you can see that these are important and look good accented. Everything else is less important or distracting. A good runner up is the outline in block #4.

Row #3 - for the second block where dark olive was switched to yellow, you can see there are 3 important sections to this block (the squares in the outer section, the outline, and the star points). Everything else is less important or distracting. A good runner up is block #3.

Row #4¬†- for this row, it’s more about your preference. The second block is great if you want to accent complexity of the outline. The third block is great if you want it to look kind of like a flower. The fourth block is great if you want to make it more like a snowflake or draw the eye to the center. The last block is distracting, so I wouldn’t choose that one.

Recoloring the Originals to Make the Important Parts Stand Out

Now we’re going to clean up the quilt and work our way across the quilt to our new emphasized colorings.

  1. Click on the Set Block tool Set Block. The Sketchbook Blocks palette  appears.
  2. Don’t touch column one or two. Click the original coloring of each block in columns 3, 4, and 5. It should look like this now:

  1. Click the Spraycan Spraycan tool, so the palette appears.
  2. Inside the palette, click the Solids or Colors tab.
  3. Find yellow and click to select it.
  4. Don’t touch column one or two. Make the blocks in columns 3, 4 and 5 match column two by clicking with the Spraycan on the same part that is colored yellow. It should look like this now:

Let’s work on Row 1

  1. Click the¬†Spraycan¬†Spraycan¬†tool, so the palette appears. Let’s change block #3 slightly.
  2. Click the Solids or Colors tab in the palette.
  1. The background is not important. To make it unimportant it needs to be darker and cooler than the points. Click on a dark purple in the palette.
  2. Click on the navy part behind the star points in blocks 3, 4, and 5.
  1. We decided the outline is the next most important. Yellow is pure, light, and warm. The second most important color needs to be pure, slightly darker, and not as warm as yellow.Click on a medium-light, pure, purple in the palette.
  2. Click on the turquoise part in blocks 4 and 5.
  1. Click on a medium pure purple in the palette.
  2. Click on the magenta part¬†in block 5.¬†Ooops. It’s kind of distracting from the pure yellow and pure light purple. To make it less important, let’s gray it out.
  3. Click on a toned/gray, purple in the palette.
  4. Click on the same part in block 5 to replace the medium pure purple with a more medium toned purple.
  1. The turquoise in the corners is still related to the previous coloring. Let’s change it.Click on a near-white, purple tint in the palette.
  2. Click on a turquoise corner in block 5.
  3. Click the Add to Sketchbook add to skb button to save this quilt so far.

Let’s work on Row 2

  1. Rather than have all our blocks be yellow, let’s change block #2 slightly. Click the¬†SpraycanSpraycan¬†tool.
  2. Click the Solids or Colors tab in the palette.
  3. Click on red in the palette.
  4. Click on top of the yellow parts in blocks 2, 3, 4, and 5.
  1. The background is not important. Since the red is medium and the back end of the star points will need to be darker to complete the illusion, it might be a good idea to go with a medium or light background this time. Neutrals make good backgrounds too. Click on a medium-light tan in the palette.
  2. Click in two places in blocks 3, 4, and 5 (1) on the navy-violet part behind the star points and (2) in a bright purple corner.
  1. To make the star points look like they are overlapping, the other half needs to be in shadow. Click on a darker, shaded red in the palette.
  2. Click on the blue parts in blocks 4 and 5.
  1. Click on the Paintbrush Paintbrush tool so you can color individual parts.
  2. To make the star points look like they are resting on something (not as important), the color for the outline needs to be darker and cooler. Click on a really dark, shaded magenta in the palette.
  3. Click in 16 places (inside the next ring from the pure reds) in block 5 to make the two outlines.
  1. Experiment more with block 5, if you like. You can make the center star more important by making it lighter and warmer (closer to yellow). You can also make the center-center, more important by making it even lighter than that.
  2. Click the Add to Sketchbook add to skb button to save this quilt so far.

Let’s work on Row 3

  1. Click the Spraycan Spraycan tool.
  2. Click on warm, yellowy-gold in the palette.
  3. Click on top of the yellow parts in blocks 2, 3, 4, and 5.
  1. Let’s create a gradated star, by doing values of the yellow out from the center.¬†Staying in the same color section, choose a darker yellowy-gold in the palette.
  2. Click on top of the gray-olive to replace it in blocks 3, 4, and 5.
  3. Staying in the same color section, choose an even darker yellowy-gold in the palette.
  4. Click on top of the dark rose to replace it in blocks 3, 4, and 5.
  1. The background is not important. It needs to be cool because the yellow is already so warm. Click on a very dark turquoise in the palette.
  2. Click on top of the light pink in the corner to replace it in blocks 4 and 5.
  1. Click on the Paintbrush Paintbrush tool so you can color individual parts.
  2. Let’s bring out¬†every-other star point.¬†Click on red in the palette.
  3. Click in 8 places in block 5 to bring out every other square in the border and every other center spike.
  1. Play with block 5 some more. Using the same technique, use a darker value of redand an even darker value of red after that to echo what you already did in gold.
  2. In the turquoise family, choose a super-dark, not-quite black, turquoise and replace the large dark gold sections in the outermost ring.
  3. Click the Add to Sketchbook add to skb button to save this quilt so far.

Last Row! – #4

  1. Click the Spraycan Spraycan tool.
  1. The petal parts are important, but not as important as the yellow. A darker, warm color would go well there. Click on a medium magenta in the palette.
  2. Click on top of the green to replace it in blocks 3, 4, and 5.
  1. Click on the Paintbrush Paintbrush tool so you can color individual parts.
  2. Click on a dark plum-purple in the palette.
  3. Click in all 8 spikes of the center snowflake in blocks 4 and 5.
  4. Using the same color, click in all 16 tiny triangles surrounded by the yellow in blocks 4 and 5.
  1. Click the Spraycan Spraycan tool.
  2. The background is not important, but let’s use a tint of one of the colors already in the block.¬†Click a not-quite-white, tint of magenta in the palette.
  3. Click to replace the olive corners and the toned-blue-violet center in block 5.
  1. Play around with block 5 more, if you like. Click on the Paintbrush Paintbrush tool so you can color individual parts.
  2. Click on a dark, navy-blue-violet-ish color in the palette.
  3. Going clockwise around the block, click on the second of every pair of dark plum-purple triangles you encounter in the outer ring. Then click on 4 spikes (every other one) of the center snowflake in block 5.
  4. You can even choose the next darker shade or tone of yellow and do the second of every pair of yellow V’s in the outer ring.
  5. Click the Add to Sketchbook add to skb button to save this quilt.

Review

Look at the original blocks in column 1. Compare them to column 5. Better? Worse?

You can put a lot of thought into color, sometimes the serendipitous color schemes are great too. Just remember the rules and how to tweak a color if it isn’t working for you in your block.

Homework – Build your own Fabric Version

Using the same project you have open, try building a fabric version of this palette. You can use the fabrics from EQ, Stash, the fabrics of the month, images from manufacturers websites, or even your own scans. For each color, find a super-dark, dark, pure, lighter, super-light, dark toned, and light toned fabric. That’s 7 fabrics for each one. Example: here’s what I found for red and purple:

OPTIONAL MYSTERY SIDE PROJECT – SEWING INVOLVED
MONTH 6 of Sewing Project

Remember, throughout this whole process there is to be NO PEEKING with the previous work! Hide the block out of sight until next month. I’m going to reveal the project next month, so you don’t have to wait much longer!

This month I want you to make 2 blocks (16 loose wedges). One set of 8 will be regular. The other set of 8 will be mirrored.

Pick any Star-Cornered Block that looks fun and that isn’t symmetrical within its own wedges.

Go to LIBRARIES > Block Library > Kaleidoscope Collection > Star Corners > any category.
Click your block and Add it to the Sketchbook.
Close the Library.

View the Sketchbook > Blocks section.
Edit your block

Print the first 8 wedges

Choose FILE > Print > Foundation Pattern.
Go to the Sections tab.
Click the Start Over button.

Click on all the pieces of one wedge EXCEPT FOR THE STAR CORNER.
Click the Group button.

Click the star corner and click Group.

Go to the Options tab.
Make your block size 15.00 by 15.00.
Set the number of copies to 8.
Make sure the options are as follows:
Print numbering CHECKED.
Print as many as fit unchecked.
Separate units CHECKED.
Make sure Mirror is unchecked.
Grayscale – personal preference I like it CHECKED.
Print block name CHECKED.

Click Preview.

Click the Delete button at the top of your screen.
Click on the corner you grouped and press your keyboard DELETE key.

What remains is the wedge minus the corner.

Click the Move button at the top of your screen.
Drag the section to fit cleanly on one page with no tiling onto the next page.

Click Print at the top of your screen.
8 copies of this wedge will come out.

Print the last 8 wedges

Choose FILE > Print > Foundation Pattern.
Go to the Options tab.
Make your block size 15.00 by 15.00.
Set the number of copies to 8.

Make sure the options are as follows:
Print numbering CHECKED.
Print as many as fit unchecked.
Separate units CHECKED.
Make sure Mirror is CHECKED.
Grayscale – personal preference I like it CHECKED.
Print block name CHECKED.

Click Preview.

Click the Delete button at the top of your screen.
Click on the corner you grouped and press your keyboard DELETE key.

What remains is the wedge minus the corner.

Click the Move button at the top of your screen.
Drag the section to fit cleanly on one page with no tiling onto the next page.

Click Print at the top of your screen.
8 copies of this wedge will come out.

Feel free to go to the Color tab and test out some color placement to see how to make the fabrics you’ve chosen really pop in the block. I recommend keeping the blocks the same color. Foundation Piece all 16 wedges, but¬†do notsew the wedges together. You’ll have something like what you see below.

Put¬†all 16 loose wedges¬†in a bag or a box and label it so you know what’s inside. Keep them with Months 1-5 somewhere you can find them all again, but not so you can look at them until next month when we reveal the project.

 

Remember

This quilt can get busy really fast. Use your background, black, or white to rest the eye and tie the blocks together color-wise.

I want a picture next month! I think it will be so fun to see everyone’s works-in-progress and then show the updated/finished quilts or quilt tops this fall.

Next month has a lot of cutting. I used¬†Freezer Paper¬†for those pieces and¬†you would not believe how much it helped. I used about 20 sheets that were pre-cut to 8.5″ x 11″ so I could feed them through my inkjet printer. (I actually used 22, because I goofed up the first 2 printouts.)