by Christine Barnes
My title is a bit tongue in cheek, but until the Modern Quilt Movement took hold, gray was a bit of a color outcast, considered drab and unimaginative. No more! I thought it would be fun to show several quilts from QuiltCon that used gray effectively.
The first, “Twisted Tulips” by Jacquie Gering, is a wonderful example of colors looking more intense in the company of grays and black. There’s a suggestion of transparency, too, especially in the lower left. Fabulous quilt!What looks like a gray fabric in the quilt below, “Modern Fans” by Suzy Williams is a narrow black-and-white stripe. From a distance, your eye mixes the two neutrals to make gray. The directions for making this quilt are in Modern Patchwork’s special issue on QuiltCon. I got my copy at JoAnn.Jennifer Sampou made this delightful wedge quilt, using her fabrics. The different values and random placement of the grays make this classic design dance.Changing gears, unless you are new to our blog, you know how much I love ombrés, and one of my favorites is the gray Gelato #714. It’s subtle and sophisticated, and as a “neutral” (not considered a color) gray makes colors seem richer and more intense. Following are four blocks I’ve made for a new quilt, “Urban Sunsets.” (I’ll be teaching this quilt at Sugar Pine Quilt Shop on May 29. Email me for details because the info isn’t on the shop website yet.)
You’ll see right away that the value shifts in this gray ombré have a bearing on the colors/patterns you choose for the center units. The left fabric in the center must separate visually from the gray border it touches, and the right fabric must separate from the gray border it touches. The patterns in these fabrics help to sharpen the outline of the center square.
The block below is my favorite so far. Doesn’t the Elin Noble hand-paintd fabric on the left look like a sunset???The block below isn’t as ethereal as the others because the middle fabric is darker in value. But I wanted violet in the quilt, and I think it will do that job nicely.This block has two Kaffe fabrics and a batik by Alison Glass. Without a luminous fabric, the block seems denser. I like the look—it’s just different.Note: If you subscribe to my newsletter, “Christine’s Color Connection,” you’ve seen my tutorial on adding the super-skinny strips that separate the three center fabrics. If you don’t get my newsletter, email me and I’ll send you a link to that issue.
That’s it for today. Oh, one more thing. April 30-May 1 is the Pine Tree Quilt guild show at the fairgrounds in Grass Valley. Artistic Alchemy will have a booth this year, so come to the show and meet us (and our work) in person. You can also see this year’s Opportunity Quilt, based on one of my patterns and beautifully quilted by Sandra. See you there!