A three color quilt is the simplest quilt that can use a light, medium, and dark as well as other triads of contrast. Three color quilts also lend themselves well to incorporating team colors which is fun for gift and theme quilts.
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Welcome back to our How to Choose Fabrics Series! Three color quilts are exciting! They’re still simple enough not to feel overwhelming, but there are some exciting contrast opportunities! Let’s continue to play with the three types of contrast I taught you: Value, Color, and Scale.
If you missed the All about Contrast post at the beginning, be sure to check it out here!
Black, gray, and white (or any other progression from light to dark) may seem an “obvious” choice for a three color quilt, but it looks SO GOOD! You can do gradients with other quilts, but it’s a lot tricker to get right and to make it shine. Don’t miss this opportunity to let value really run the show, especially if your chosen pattern lends itself well to this, too. Note that here I also played with scale (textured linen then bold gorgeous print, then simple print). It just adds that extra something!
I know I’ve kind of already talked your ear off about color triads, but Y’ALL THEY’RE SO PRETTY! Of course the best known triads are the primary (red, yellow, blue) and secondary (purple, orange, green) colors. I decided to put some twists on these with my fabric choices above because it’s easy to forget that “primary colors” don’t have to look like “primary school.” Again, incorporate scale (and value) for added POP.
The best way to learn more about color theory (which means things like color triads) is in my Intro to Color Theory Class!
Prints, prints, and more prints! And just like with value, this is a great place to show of a gradation: small, medium, large. Embrace it, celebrate it, and let those textures shine!
Also, notice the choices I made with color here: I picked two complementary colors from this big print so that I get that color contrast pop, too. Other obvious colors you could pull from this print include pink and green or wine and yellow. If you wanted a softer touch you could pull two lighter colors, two warm colors, or two cool colors.
Three color quilts pack a punch! They are dynamic, but even a “color novice” (aka a quilter who isn’t quite sure of her or his color sense yet) can feel confident choosing three color combinations. Use these quilts as a jumping off place to find the color confidence I know you can have!