Color for QUILTERS by Amy Davidson, Quilt Designer

Evening Star Quilters Guild’s Blog
Amy Davidson, Humble Bee Quilt Works
Contact Amy Davidson for her patterns.


Last night, I attended a lecture by Amy Davidson, at the Evening Star Quilt Guild. Amy is a talented quilt designer from here in southeast MI. The subject….. COLOR for QUILTERS. I must say it was one of the better quilt based color lectures I have attended. I enjoyed it and I learned a lot. I will be posting pictures from the lecture and a podcast in the future.


Quick BIO:


Amy Davidson worked in various Flint area quilt shops while her kids were growing up. I have met her several times in passing because I bought fabric at the shops where she works. Amy started her pattern design business in 2004, using patterns she designed for her workshops and classes. Her design while frequently based upon traditional patterns, they are not the same old blocks. Her patterns go beyond the traditional style and by her use of color seem to shine and look distinctive. I think I own over 75% of the patterns she sells.


I met Amy again when she lectured at the Evening Star Quilt Guild a couple of years ago. She currently is a college student planning to work with computers in the future. As part of her lecture, she discussed the use of ELECTRIC QUILT, QUILT PRO and several professional photo editing software available to quilters.


Amy’s lecture, COLOR FOR QUILTERS, she hopes to take THE FEAR OUT OF CHOOSING, BUYING AND USING OUR FABRICS. Amy did talk about the color wheel but did not dwell on it. Basically, she referred to what we learned about color in elementary school. By doing that, I think Amy made color less scary. Some of the points that Amy discussed in her lecture.


Before you BREAK color rules / theory it is important to understand the rules and theory.


It is all about the contrast …. Workmanship gets lost if there is not good contrast. Value is important in designing your quilts.


Color produces a visceral response in the viewer. Color reflects moods and feelings. Warmth… Comfort…. When making a quilt is important to remember the feelings you want to convey. Amy showed a series of color pallets in a power point presentation and asked us what feelings they conveyed.


Important aspects of color are the hue, value and the saturation / intensity of the colors. COLOR IS RELATIVE TO IT SURROUNDING COLORS. Amy then showed us a series of slides of quilts ( Electric Quilt renditions of her quilts) and we discussed the impact of the colors in the quilts.


Cool colors recede

Warm colors dominate

Pure colors dominate ( Brights/ crayon colors)

Dark colors dominate …. Warmer colors dominate more than dark

ALL COLORS dominate neutral colors (except black)


The color next to your color can be changed by what colors are next to it. Amy proved her concept by putting a series of fabrics next to a swatch and we observed how the color was impacted. She also had several quilts where she did the same thing using the same color and using different elements in the quilt to change the mood of the quilt.


The amount of a color in a quilt also impacts the design. This was significant with COMPLEMENTARY COLORS GROUPS, specifically.


Equal amounts of complementary colors cause a JARRING EFFECT. She showed several slides where she showed this to be true. Most two color quilts have unequal amounts of color. One fabric is used more than the other.


AMY stated that she felt when using PRIMARY / Pure COLORS it was important to very the values. Less contrast (predominate medium fabrics/ colors) results in a color wash. Workmanship gets lost.


The more contrast (addition of lights and darks in increased amounts) the more the workmanship shows.


Amy feels it is a good idea to put out your fabric opened up in similar amounts you are going to use in your quilt. ( Splay them out on the design wall, a bed or wherever you can look at them over time.) Splaying out of your fabric allows you to see them better. Looking at just 2 inches on a bolt can fool you and cause mistakes.


ANALOGOUS COLORS : Friendly and liked by the majority The analogous color scheme uses colors that are adjacent to each other on the color wheel. One color is used as a dominant color while others are used to enrich the scheme.

Amy suggested taking the emotion out when designing by working with GREY SCALE. You can either scan the fabric or take pictures of your fabric.

COLORS need to be used in UNEQUAL AMOUNTS
Avoid using CLEAR / PURE colors with muted, greyed, subdued fabrics.
BRIGHT vs. Civil War vs. Repro
Exception scrappy quilts using small amounts of fabrics
YOU can use ugly fabrics

Investigate other sources of color
Photography … .. Nature does not make mistakes
Works of art … the great masters …. USING THE INSPIRATION OF GENIUS
Newspapers, magazines, catalogues … new colors / new designs




Recommendations : for those with PHOTOSHOP
Look up color theory in the search engine


From Caron’s Blog additional information :


Online class for PHOTOSHOP for sewing enthusiasts.
Color by a fabric dyer…. Learn color as you peruse through her wonderful fabrics.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Nonnie’s Blog My Blog Nonnie’s Quilting Dream Podcast

Pod cast link for Nonnie’s Quilting Dreams

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