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Creating with the Experts

Color Mastery with Maria Peagler

Color coordination can be a tricky area for quilters of any skill level, so we asked color expert Maria Peagler for some pointers. Check out these easy tips, then visit Maria's website for more details.

How would you like to have a quilter's source of stunning color combinations at your fingertips? You'll need one tool to master the unlimited possibilities for gorgeous color: the color wheel. Even if you've tried using it before without success, you won't want to miss my easy and playful method. Selecting colors is the fun part of quilting, and I want to enjoy it, not make it an academic process.

Color Harmonies are the Secret to Stunning Color Palettes

How do you know which colors on the color wheel play well together? The answer is in a color harmony, a prescription for color relationships that work well together, but each in their unique way. Every color harmony gives you a different level of contrast, and you can use color harmonies with your favorite color, a color you need for a challenge quilt, or even your least favorite color!

Complementary harmony is two colors opposite each other on the color wheel. A high-contrast harmony that provides great definition for design elements such as quilt piecing, appliqué, and separating foreground and background. Provence uses a high-contrast complementary palette of yellow and violet.

Watch this short video to see how I put together fat quarter bundles based on color harmonies. You can do the same with your stunning fabrics. Download your own color wheel chart here from Color Mastery's website. Enjoy!

Here's the secret to using color harmonies: start with the color you just can't live without (my favorite is red), and see how it plays out in each of six harmonies. You'll get six completely different palettes that all began with the same color; tweak the colors' value and intensity, and you get even more options.

Each color harmony suggests how many colors to use and their location around the wheel. However, remember these are guidelines, and you can use as many or as few colors as you wish; simply apply these harmonies to the main colors in your quilt.

Want to try coordinating your own color palettes using color harmonies. Here are two of the easiest harmonies to start with. Grab scraps from your stash and see how the harmonies look using your fabrics. This is instant gratification, and a real eye-opener.

Analogous harmony is two to five colors close to each other on the color wheel. Renaissance uses a low-contrast analogous palette of blue, green and violet.