Today I want to share an easy color trick with you. I think you’ll find it useful. I figured this out by accident along with some trial and error.
It started with this pattern. I didn’t think I’d ever make a chicken quilt, but I loved the colors! The pinks and reds combined with blacks and grays and accented with a few yellowy neutrals was heavenly—so I plunked my money down without a second thought. I bought the pattern just to have a record of that color combination. (This was before the internet.)
With this purchase I realized that the design and the color recipe could be two separate things. Each one could be its own little world.
About that same time, I was developing a class on string piecing. I accidentally printed some of my handouts in black-and-white instead of in color. They printed as shown above, but they were supposed to look like this:
I was stunned at the difference. I realized that I liked most of the examples because of their colors, not their patterns.
I also had a light bulb moment: Looking at a quilt in black and white could help me visualize it in any colors I wanted! I was suddenly free from liking or disliking a design based on its colors. What a revelation!
Years later, I frequently copy a quilt image in black and white just for this purpose: to free myself from the prejudice that certain colors impose, and to see if I like the piecing, design or pattern of it once it has no color. Let me give you a few more examples.
Alex Anderson’s Blue Baskets appeared in QM’s March/April 2005 issue. It’s a beautiful quilt in blue and yellow and it was very popular. But what if you wanted the quilt in a different color?
Imagine the quilt with a blue background, or even with something lighter such as yellow. Isn’t this fun?!
Let’s go back to Pecking Order. I’m pleasantly surprised at how much I love this even without its gorgeous pinks and reds. It’s just a great quilt design—and now I can imagine it in golds and greens, or blues and reds, or whatever.
Give it a try with some of your old quilt magazines, patterns or pictures. Take a photo of the quilt and then you can edit the photo to black and white right on your smartphone.
You can also use a copy machine to make a black and white version. If you have Photoshop or PS Elements or other photo editing software, you can remove the color using those.
Let me know if you try this and what results you have. I can be reached using firstname.lastname@example.org.
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