September 2019: Color Theory

Jackie Russell presents

Our guest speaker tonight was artist, Jackie Russell who shared wisdom about color choices that make for successful quilts. Jackie shared a bit of her background working in various capacities as an artist, taking quilting classes, and eventually teaching classes herself. She designs quilts and does commissions. She says her aim is to make everyone a better quilter, and to that end, she encouraged us to reach out to her for advice via email at

Color wheel for choosing colors

Jackie reminded us of color wheel basics and how different colors on the wheel work together.

color wheel and speaker                   color wheel

Primary colors

The primary colors of  red, yellow, and blue work together to create a bright and bold quilt as in the examples below, but using a smaller block size as in the third quilt can yield a softer watercolor effect.

Secondary colors

Purple, orange and green are classified as secondary colors – created by combining two primary colors. These too can create a bold quilt, and adding a neutral color makes the other colors pop.

Complementary colors

Complementary colors are ones that are opposite each other on the color wheel – so red and green or orange and blue or purple and yellow.

Analogous colors

Analogous color combinations pull colors from the same side of the color wheel. Red-orange-yellow or blue-purple-green are examples of analogous color combinations.

Tertiary combinations

These result from mixing all colors – as in a scrappy quilt. Adding white, cream, or black in the background can make these work.

Monochromatic quilts

Jackie shared a couple of photos of monochromatic quilts as well as a black and white feathered star that she described as a very difficult block to construct.

Jackie recommends when choosing borders and backgrounds to look for a common denominator. In this quilt she and her sister put together, she chose a border with the most prominent colors in the quilt.


Color value scale

Value is the amount of light or dark in a color hue, so value is represented as a scale. Gray scales go from black to white with shades (usually ten) of gray in between. A successful quilt uses a combination of light, medium, and dark, the three tones providing movement in the quilt. Similarly pattern size should consist of small, medium, and large. The following photos show 3 lights, 3 mediums, and 3 darks combined – all producing a boring result. The final photo results from choosing one each of light, medium, and dark.

To wrap up, Jackie recommended thinking about the mood we want the quilt to convey, and she reminded us to use the best quality we can afford of both fabric and thread.

Taking care of business

  • Lisa R reported that Frances is in the hospital and is discouraged. She welcomes visitors
  • Sylvia reported as chair the 2020 nominating committee that includes Lisa J, Maxine, and Helen J. The committee met and has come up with a slate of officers and committee chairs which together make up our board of directors. Watch for the slate in the October and November newsletters with elections at the November meeting. Committee chairs will need committee members, so be thinking about in what ways you would like to volunteer next year.
  • Miranda is looking for a quilt to give to a coworker who has breast cancer. The woman likes red and purple. Contact Miranda if you have a quilt you could share.
  • Amy reported for the charity committee
    • Gail has donated two rulers that will stay in our storage room for use on sew days.
    • For cat pillows, please don’t put polyester batting in them. 80-20 (20% polyester) is okay, but nothing beyond that.
    • Fleece and flannel were available on a table for members to take for free; anything left will be donated. There was other free stuff from Catherine and Enola.
    • Children’s Home Society contacted Amy looking for someone to assemble blocks for a quilt that will hang in their office. If you are interested in helping out, contact Amy.
  • Lynn shared login information (available now in the members-only section) so that members can enter recipes for soups/stews/chilis or breads.
  • Debbie reminded members of the following:
    • Sign up to help with fall events
    • Make something from charm pack you took home in July and bring it back in December to be eligible for a prize.
    • Bring mystery quilts to December meeting – finished or not. Owners of completed (quilted, bound, labeled) mystery quilts will be eligible for a prize.
    • Mark your calendars for September 14 and October 12 sew days at the church.
  • MJ and Ann won the name tag drawing and Barbara T won a bag with tissue paper.

Adoption quilt with kids’ art

Quilt from kids' artBarbara T shared that over the past two years, 12 guild members have made a total of 28 “Welcome Home” mini quilts for children adopted through Carolina Adoption Services. At a Welcome Home event in June attended by several of our members, children created paintings, and we were asked to create a quilt using their artwork. Ann L, MJ, and Barbara B volunteered to help with assembly, and Gail volunteered to quilt it. The quilt will be auctioned at the agency’s annual Blue Jeans and Pearls Masquerade Gala fundraiser on October 26.

Show and Tell

Barbara T shared a Christmas wall hanging she made from a kit from MidState – thanks to Sheila for appliqué instruction! It will be donated to boutique. Debbie shared two embroidered and quilted pot holders with pockets she is donating to the boutique.

Debbie also shared three adorable quilts she is donating to CrossRoads.

Finally busy Debbie shared two car seat/stroller quilts made for two sisters-in-law of her daughter’s who are due in November. They have ties to attach to the car seat, so they can’t be kicked off.

Helen shared knitted scrubbies for boutique and a quilt for CrossRoads completed by her and her students, and Leslie shared a fall wall hanging that will hang in her new home when she moves there this fall.

At our Christmas in July party Ilona won her table’s 5″ charm squares following the left-center-right game. She returned tonight with two table runners using some of those charm squares.

MJ shared a fabric bowl, one of several she has made with fall and Christmas fabric to sell at our boutique. She also shared the beautiful quilt she recently finished after being away from quilting for seven years – Gail did the quilting.


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