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Wednesday
Mar042015

Color-Your-Day Creative

With textile artist Paula Scaffidi fiberella.com

Greens merge beautifully into other greens and invite contrasting colors too.  Let’s stitch and discover the wonder of Natural Color Bridges. Often unnoticed, these connector colors are key ingredients for beautiful overall project color. Learn to create and identify essential color ingredients in a mini Fiberella landscape. Happy Spring!

Greens comfort, energize and foreshadow each season

Lush and interesting all on their own
Greens may arrive in neutral silvery sage, shadowy blue-green tones, vibrant sunlit moss
Lime colored grasses and tree buds turning emerald, olive or evergreen
One green gradually transforming into another

Green, a companion to all seasons and to contrasting colors too
Take a moment out from your busy day
Invite the quiet beauty of green into your eyes and replenish your creative spirit

A Fiberella Simple Project www.fiberellastudio.com 

Mini Landscapes – with Natural Color Bridges

 

For me it’s all about the color. While stitching, I aim to love the overall coloration by the time I’m done. Once I arrive “there” …wherever that ends up… I’m happy. Sound vague? Really it’s not. My requirement is simple: overall coloration should suit my mood and feel rich and balanced. I know it when I see it and you will too. A color yearning combines with a few thoughtful things to make any color pairings and palettes work. Reliable, clear steps to color contentment, Natural Color Bridges really work!

Solving color puzzles wasn’t always so easy for me. Along the way I learned there’s no amount of great stitching, perfect fit, precise piecing, enticing designs, etc. that can remedy a sagging, nagging feeling when color disappoints. We’ve all been there. And we all see color differently! First and foremost, know you can put ANY colors together you wish and make them work beautifully. Let’s reveal and utilize Natural Color Bridges.

Design Tips: Quick Studies, Small Scale, Big Benefits

  • Work small to view the parts and the whole. 
  • Work quickly to be direct and not overthink it. 
  • Aim for two things: overall coloration you love and to suggest a landscape. 
  • A big view in a small window relies on keeping shapes and lines simple. Leave details out!
  • Use natural color bridge techniques to blend, merge, intertwine and relate colors. Repetition adds unity to the overall coloration.
  • Vary the ratio when mixing colors, to create even more Natural Bridge Colors, adding an exciting richness to your color presence.
  • Use one color family in total, over more square inches than any other.
  • Concentrate larger areas of a color and scatter it too. 
  • Remember abstract shapes are interpreted in the imagination of the viewer. Bits and scraps, funny little color shapes and varied lines trigger memories. Viewers likely will see more than you actually put in there! 
  • A horizon line, the edge where land meets sky, helps greatly to suggest a landscape

Create overall coloration YOU love. Abstract shapes/lines evoke a landscape. Center is 6” square.

Greens lend a special comfort, but any variations within a color family are already related and help create unity. You don’t have to make a landscape. Substitute a design if you like. Contrasting color(s) will add interest. No matter what you do, Natural Color Bridges connect any and all colors. Let’s sew!

MATERIALS 

  • Fabric – Quilter’s Basic Cotton in solid colors ¼ yd. each = plenty for experimenting
    • two related colors (I’m using greens) one lighter, one darker
    • contrasting color(s) for some pop
    • sky color for landscapes
    • Optional: assorted batik scraps
  •  Thread – 
    • matching (or quite close) to your fabrics: Isacord for sheen; Mettler, Aurifil or Presencia 50 wt. cotton thread for matte
    • neutral gray 50 wt. cotton thread for piecing
    •  Optional: Superior Bottom Line in #612 Green, or a middle value neutral, handy for bobbin 
  •  Linear Embellishment
    • Oliver Twist One Offs
    • Tentakulum Flower Painters Threads
    • Recycled yarn segments of any kind
    • Silk Ribbon
    • Etc.
  • Stabilizer - OESD Ultra Clean & Tear (or OESD Lightweight, two layers)
  • Needles - Groz-Beckert 
    • Embroidery needles 75/11 (with Isacord)
    • Microtex needles 80/12 (for cotton thread)
  • Small snips
  • Clover Tailor’s Awl
  • Clear tape
  •  Your sewing machine with a basic foot will get you started. 
    • Various other feet offer ease and more creative possibilities.
      I used these BERNINA accessories:
    • quarter inch foot (37, 57 or 97, 97D) - handy for piecing
    • clear foot 34 or 34C - great visibility for decorative stitch 
    • 40C sideways motion – super wide decorative stitching
    • to fasten embellishment
      • 12 for eyelash yarn, 21 to guide other yarns, 23 (yes… the applique foot! Great visibility fastening yarns too large for 21’s eye)

Add these or any contrasting color(s) to create interest.

Create Natural Color Bridges

Have fun overlaying threads colors and swirling your fabrics together so-to-speak! Be thinking about what other techniques you already know that also effectively mix textile colors.

Color-Glaze – Technique #1

What happened here? Squint. Lower right, lime green open stitching “glazes” the darker green fabric beneath, lightening up the corner. Paler-than-fabric blue thread used for the net-like line, gleams in my studio lighting, appearing even lighter. What a perfect intro to add a lighter blue fabric into the mix. When I squint, I already see lighter blue in the sky in the net areas. The “net” line waves like a gentle breeze, softening the horizon line between lime and blue patchwork.

Satin type stitches appear more solid, less glaze-like and airy. Lime treetops poke into the blue sky. Delicate emerald stitching on the lime patch darkens the lime slightly in that general area, allowing lime behind the “ferns” to appear more vibrant. I notice even a small amount of delicate stitching creates a color glaze.

 

Create Your Own Experiments!

Click on the link to the Fiberella Free-view at the end of this post. There’s a short video with sewing tips and a PDF download, Natural Color Bridge Experiment Guide from Fiberella.

Photo Detail: Denim blue thread abstractly suggests tree trunks atop a recycled denim patch posing as a distant hill. Extending the denim color into the beige tree line softens or blurs the edge between colors. Blurring is typical of scenery in the distance.

 

Identify Companion Fabrics for Larger Projects Too!

Use any net-like decorative stitch to help you source companion fabrics for future projects. In the photo below, I’ve used the very same fabric and thread in two stitch outs. Squint or take a few steps back from your experiment or this image. Now notice the appearance of the background fabric in the lower stitch out. The base fabric appears closer to the fabric in the middle because of the overlay of thread. Voila. You have mixed colors.

If you’re planning a palette for a quilt, use this or any of the techniques presented to help you identify natural color bridges that support and enhance the initial main fabric colors desired. Purchase yardage in the natural bridge colors for a more cohesive and rich fabric palette!

Will this work with prints too? Check out the Fiberella free-view video link at the end of this post.

Fray and Peek – Technique #2

Peering between grass blades softens the edge, transitioning fabric colors a bit more gradually. A field of tall fray could join a distant meadow. Shorter fray atop the meadow could softly overlay sky. Etc.

Tiny Piecing – Technique #3

Even something as simple as sewn stripes will merge where two colors meet.  At the very least, it will connect them less abruptly. 

Color transitions are more gradual with multiple stripes.

Just stitch some tiny piecing and then imaginatively figure out what to use it for!  :-)

Imagination Prompt: With green at my feet and a distant purple band of mountains, this could be used for a mountain; transitioning the green field into the distant purple mountain range. 

See the tiny piecing here? Squint. The little green and orange patches are so small they actually dull each other out a bit. Great! When colors and objects are farther away in nature, they appear smaller and often dulled by atmosphere. My husband read “farm” upon seeing this image, probably because this tiny piecing, with its flat line on top, reminded him of distant plowed fields. A flat, nearly horizontal edge/seam = field or meadow. Note the even smaller color mix created with confetti at the horizon.

Confetti – Technique #4

Chop confetti to see what color “mush” you get. Squint your eyes and the confetti example below seems to visually melt a little into this background fabric. Just pat confetti onto a piece of clear tape and audition for natural bridge fabrics. Take ten steps back. If the confetti visually disappears readily into fabric on a bolt or cut yardage, you likely have identified a great companion fabric for your project. 

I like to stir confetti around when in a hurry, and just sew over it (stabilizer below the base fabric) when I like the color mix that turns up. For a more washable application, prep any fabrics with fusible web before cutting into confetti. Get your tweezers out and arrange shiny side down, then press. 

The natural bridge colors on the right and left make the original two colors look especially rich.

Couch and Twirl – Technique #5

Thread selection affects what color a yarn or linear embellishment actually ends up! Twirl together more than one linear embellishment color for a blended effect. The tighter the twist, the smaller the color bits, the more the eye mixes it… so the more blended the result. The looser the twist, the larger the bits of individual color, the brighter the results.

Visit the link at the end of this post to view a tutorial about why different accessory feet are ideal for certain couching tasks.

 

Did I Mention Chenille? :-)

 

A free-view video is available at the Fiberella Studio!  Paula Scaffidi shows how to make a quick chenille swatch and use it to help source great fabric prints for your quilt projects. Sewing tips and a Natural Color Bridge Experiment Guide is also included. enJOY

It’s simple: http://www.fiberellastudio.com/quilt.html

Join Paula Scaffidi for LIVE eLearning workshops at www.fiberellaStudio.com

Shops and Guild Program Chairs can contact Paula@fiberella.com to host or co-host a special Fiberella eLearning Group Event for shop customers or guild members.

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