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Quilting and Value

the antique file quilt block showing value

The value of a color is how light or dark a color it is.  Lavender is a light shade or purple. Plum is a dark shade of purple. If you do a black and white scan of a lavender fabric, and a plum fabric, the difference in the value of the two colors can be clearly seen.

Value is extremely important in quilting because so many blocks, layouts and designs are based on contrast.  You need value for the contrast to show.

The quilt block at the top of the page is called Antique Tile.  You could make the patches in this block any color, as long as the value of the color in each patch is the same as in the picture.

Fabrics are called lights, mediums and darks.  As a general rule, you place a light with a medium or dark when you want contrast.

The Antique Tile Quilting BlockHere is the block above in colors with value similar to the above block.  The lights are done in scrappy fabrics.  The medium and dark are solid. 

This block could be made entirely scrappy, with the dark green made blue in some of the patches, or the lighter green any other color in the same value.

You can see that the color doesn't matter for the pattern to show.  It is the value that is important. 

It is often difficult to determine the value of fabric.  When you are making a block or quilt where precise value is important, there are a few things that can help you get your fabrics in the right order.  They sell a lens for quilters that shows value.  You can also scan your fabrics in black and white, or look at them with a digital camera set to black and white.

Just be aware of the value of colors, and normally you will do just fine with your eyesight.

Eye Candy for Quilters

Pictures of Quilts and Projects


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Quilt Sizes

Buying Quilt Squares

Finishing Your Quilt