I’m going to name the May block for Leah Day’s sew-along Jake From State Farm. It’s not Leah’s fault- this is my own doing. There are some basic rules about color. Primary colors are red, yellow and blue. Secondary colors are green, orange, and purple. Tertiary colors fall between primary and secondary – aqua, for instance, is a tertiary color as is peach.
Color is also relative to the other colors around it. The original colors that are being usedin Leah’s quilt are red, yellow and orange – in other words, analogous colors since those are next to each other on a color wheel. I like analogous color combinations but I was sure I didn’t want an entire quilt of those 3 colors.
I had a good mixture of primary and secondary colors in 10″ batik squares so my idea was to use all 6 colors. Since there will be 12 blocks and in each block there are corner squares plus 2 other colors, I’ve been working around the color wheel, using a different color each month for the corner block and then making sure I have an even distribution throughout the quilt of all 6 colors.
I did have one with orange corners that also included red and yellow. I had another with green corners that used blue and purple as well. So far so good on analagous colors. But then, I switched to what’s known as split complementary. A regular complementary match would be opposites – red and green, yellow and purple, blue and orange. A split complementary takes one color and instead of its opposite, it uses the 2 colors on either side of it. For instance, green would be matched with purple and orange – the 2 colors on each side of red. Blue would be matched with yellow and red.
Cue the music!
Blue, yellow, and red. Okay, that sounded like a plan. I pulled out the red and cut the squares. Each of these blocks also include a light fabric – not quite white, not quite cream. Blue and light fabric for the flying geese sounded good so I cut those and then sewed them. I pulled out the red and cut the squares for both the corners as well as the inner pinwheel. I had the 4 corners turned into half square triangles so all that was left was the pinwheel in the middle.
Even as I was cutting it out, I wasn’t getting that loving feeling of red and yellow pinwheels. I ignored that inner voice that was yelling out “Stop!” and sewed the pinwheel together. Now I was ready to sew the 3 rows so I laid out the 9 squares and then I heard that voice finally.
What are you wearing, Jake from State Farm? Uh khakis. Well she sounds hideous! If you’ve seen the commercial, this will make perfect sense and if you haven’t, then here’s a link to the video – https://youtu.be/47cAxRX3aDg .
Those khakis were my yellow. I had to call the quilt police on myself it was so bad! Bright red, bright blue, bright yellow, and nearly white. It was not attractive. I went back to my original scheme of analogous colors and switched the yellow out for purple.
Why didn’t it work when in theory it should have? Because the value of color is relative to those around it. The blue was a lighter blue in relationship to a darker red and darker yellow. And throwing in the not-quite-white just pushed it over the edge.
Even in the finished picture, the purple picks up a lot more of the blue than red, which it didn’t appear that way when I was picking it out after ditching the yellow.