This week I made a mini-quilt (or mug rug) for a friend, and I thought it would be a fun chance to discuss color value. Harnessing the power of color value can make key elements in your quilts really pop! It can make your quilts go from ok to amazing.
I'll share the Pinwheel Mini Quilt Pattern too, and I hope to see what you make with it... come share with us in our SewCanShe Sewcialites Facebook group.
Color value deals not with the hue of the fabric, but rather with the intensity. Some quilters use a red or green tinted lens (or piece of plastic) to help them look at fabrics and ignore hue, seeing only intensity.
For most fabrics, color value is a relative term. Many fabrics can be considered high value or low value depending on the other fabrics that they are used with. The exceptions are white (always low value) and black (always high value). For example, the middle fabric above (the one with the birdcages) would be considered high value when paired with the fabrics to the left of it. But if you paired the same birdcage fabric with the fabrics to the right of it, it would be considered low value.
For this pinwheel mini-quilt, I used contrasting high and low value fabrics in the center to really make the pinwheel pop. Then I used a bunch of medium value fabrics (by comparison) to provide an interesting border to my pinwheel that creates interest, but doesn't steal the show.
Pinwheel Mini Quilt Pattern
To make the Pinwheel Mini Quilt, first make 16 half square triangles (HST's):
- 4 HST's using a black/low value combination
- 12 HST's using medium value solids or near-solids
Sew your HST's using any method you like, I shared a shortcut method for sewing HST's in this tutorial. My half square triangles are 2'' (finished) for a mini quilt that is approximately 8'' square. Yours can be any size you like. :)
Arrange your HST's using the diagram above. Pay close attention to the direction of the HST angles. I arranged my medium value fabrics randomly, except for the 4 yellow triangles.
Piece the HST's together and sandwich them on top of a piece of quilt batting and a backing. I quilted this mini using my walking foot and echoing the black pinwheel.
Trim away the extra batting and square up your mini-quilt. Cut a 2 1/2'' strip of your high value fabric for the binding. I shared a great tutorial for mini quilt bindings here.
Now come share your mini with us in the Facebook group!