Quilt colour temperature is another thing worth at least being aware of when choosing fabrics.  Colours in quilt fabric – or any fabric for that matter – are deemed to have temperature.  This can affect the colours and relative placements of the fabrics within a quilt.

Black brings out the colour in fabric

Black brings out the colour in fabric

Colours from yellow/green through to red are classed as warm colours and green through to red/violet are classed as cool colours.  The neutrals are black, white and grey, although a colour on a black background looks more vibrant than the same colour on a white background.

Quilt colour temperature matters

Quilt colour temperature matters

Why does quilt colour temperature matter?

The warm colours tend to stand out amongst cool colours, so combining both is a good way of getting the feeling of motion in your quilt.  See how the warm colours stand out in this quilt even though I had intended the hourglass pattern (in cream) to the focus of the quilt.


Warm colours with plenty of yellow

Warm colours with plenty of yellow

When I first began quilting I was surprised that yellow counted as warm.  I would instinctively have called it a cool colour and yet I have to admit that yellow definitely does stand out ina quilt.  Interestingly, my father (who is registered blind due to glaucoma but has a little sight) can see yellow more easily than any other colour.

I find that my eye is drawn to the yellow in this patchwork cushion more than I would have expected.

Placement within a quilt

In a quilt, it is best to use the warmer colours for small areas and the cooler colours for the larger areas so as to avoid the warm colour dominating the quilt completely.

I was fascinated to read the other day how some colour therapists classify the colours for their affect on us:

Red to stimulate the body, make you feel warm.

Orange to stimulate the emotions, cheer you up.

Yellow to stimulate the emotions, cheer you up.

Green to relax you – think of all the green around you in nature.

Blue to calm you – help you sleep.

Indigo/violet calms the mind but helps creativity.  So that’s why my daughter Samantha has her room painted purple!

I felt that these ideas tied in well with the quilting ideas of colour temperature.

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