Greetings to you today. In this post I have included a group of quilts from the 2012 IQA Show in Houston. You will notice that they differ in style, technique, subject matter, and coloring. Look at how each uses the tone color scale. Each quilt artist used this scale differently and the results are fascinating.
First, just in case your brain is overly stressed and you need a little review on color scales, especially tones, here’s a summary:
- Pure Color Scale Pure colors are primary colors and colors made from primary colors. They are the most brilliant colors in the world. They are pure—-they have not been diluted in any way. They have no white, black, or gray in their makeup. They are eye-catching, spirited, and very exciting (especially the warmest colors).
- Tint Scale Tints are colors made from the blending of a pure color and white. A tint is always lighter than the pure color. It is clear, refreshing, and has no gray or black in its makeup. Tints include colors like apricot, light blue, light green, mint green, pink, lavender, peach, soft yellow, and robin’s egg blue.
- Shade Scale Shades are colors made from the blending of a pure color with black. Shades are always darker than the pure color. No white or gray is in their makeup. Shades include deep purple, dark violet, ink navy, dark green, teal, emerald green, rust, brown, maroon, olive, and avocado.
- Tone Scale Tones are colors that have been grayed—-it doesn’t matter how it’s done or how much gray is in the color. A pure color, a tint, or a shade becomes a tone as soon as a drop of gray is in its makeup. Consequently, there are more tones in the world (and in our fabric stashes) than color in any other scale. Tones include beige, rose, heather, salmon, taupe, mauve, dusty teal, and tan.
Reflection Lake in early morning—-an example of all tones.
Playing with Tones
Just some thoughts about tones: You can create wonderful effects with tones in your designs. Tones are instrumental in creating dimensionality. A tone that appears almost as clear as a pure color is going to attract attention similarly to a pure color. A toned color that is so grayed that only a hint of a color can be seen will not attract our attention. It will recede. A quilt using fabrics that are fairly toned will exude a feeling of calmness or quietness.
These four quilts are made almost entirely with tones, but done very differently:
Guitar Blues by Julie Poirier-Mathur and the Beaconsfield Quilters’ Guild,
Beaconsfield, Quebec, Canada.
Guitar Blues exudes tranquility in its toned coloring. The colors do not shout out, demanding our attention. Black appears to be the only color that is not toned. When using dark fabrics that have a lot of grayness in them, be sure you include good value contrast in the design. Guitar Blues has great value contrast. Without it, the design could get lost.
I really love Guitar Blues, which is a puzzle quilt. The design was divided into pieces (blocks). Each quilter constructed her quilt block independently, using blues. Once assembled, the design is created. The guitar strings were added after the quilt was assembled. Guitar Blues was created using hand and machine piecing, fusible appliqué, machine quilting, and couching.