Christine's Color Connection
A newsletter for quilters who love color
April 2021
Spring in Full Bloom
Spring, indeed! Everything is in bloom, and the pollen is plentiful (achoo!). I don't know about you, but the longer days mean more creative time and fun in my sewing room/studio. It's the natural light that makes colors so tempting and true, and my mind starts spinning with ideas. I'm still working on the quilt featured in my last newsletter (, but a deep dive into my projects in progress took me in a very different direction. I invite you to read (and look) on . . .

One lesson I often get from revisiting projects I've abandoned is that I continue to learn (sometimes the hard way) about color. As a famous quilter told me, "The quilt you're working on now is practice for your next one." Yep! I invite you to get into your stack of UFOs and see the possibilities of "remodeling" a project you once set aside.

Color Correction!
No, I'm not a Photoshopper Extraordinaire who can magically correct the temperature of an image. Several years ago I made a series of blocks using Kaffe Fassett, Brandon Mably, and Philip Jacobs prints; Kaffe woven stripes; and Gelato ombrés. I was never satisfied with them, and 23 blocks languished in that place where not-so-good projects go. Here are a few of the originals.
Now I Get It
Looking at them again, I immediately saw what I wanted to change: the woven stripes are low-intensity, yet the prints are more intense, and the ombrés even brighter. (Remember, intensity is about how bright or dull a color is. Value is about the lightness or darkness of color.) With a stack of newer, brighter printed stripes from Kaffe, I knew what to do: unsew the existing blocks and replace the center squares with brighter printed ones for a "color correction." To see the difference, take a look at one of the original blocks, below. (In this photo, the woven stripe looks a bit more intense than it actually is.)
Now look at the new version, below, with a Kaffe "Layered Stripe" in the center. The orange in the center is strong, but bits of it appear in several of the prints. (The prints are the same fabrics, just cut from different places. Also, I switched the placement of the ombré strips.)
I love the bit of quirky green in the center square above. And because I ran the stripe vertically, the square almost merges with the prints on either side. That hint of ambiguity always appeals to me.

Another before and after below, starting with a woven stripe in the center of the block.
And now, with Kaffe's "Promenade" stripe in the center. The brighter stripe brightens the overall effect.
One more before and after. I actually like this "before" very much, and will use it in the quilt.
The new version has such a different vibe! Again, I flipped the ombrés and changed the print placement. The fuchsia in the center also appears in the prints adjoining the center.
And now, for some brand-new blocks using a few new ombrés. Notice the color connections among the prints and the ombrés. The pinks in the center are a surprise, but they echo the pinks in the prints.
Here I kept the woven-stripe center; it worked better with the blue-violet and yellow-green ombrés than any of the printed stripes.
One more new block below, again using Kaffe's "Layered Stripe." I placed the far left print at the yellow end of the upper ombré—another color connection. The fuchsia end of the lower ombré is near the far right print, which has red-violet accents.
Before-You-Sew Tip: To cut the center squares, I use a card-stock window to preview and choose the area I want. It can be the cut size of the square (which includes the seam allowances) or the finished size (so you see exactly what you'll get). If you do the latter, remember to add 1/4" around each edge before cutting.
You can see below that I mark the corners with chalk.
I am SO much happier with the new brighter versions. The classic color concept of intensity was the key to my happiness with these blocks, and now they have a new life. Stay tuned for the quilt. . . .
One More Thing . . .
I haven't given up on the new setting of my "Best Friends" pattern. You've seen the block below, but now I have the gray-and-white dot I designed and was printed by Spoonflower (another learning curve, for sure). I can hardly wait to turn it into dotted sashing, as in the original quilt (see my website; link below). Many thanks to Phyllis Orzalli for helping me with Spoonflower.

I created this fabric because I couldn't find one that had the desired dot color, size, and spacing. I plan to make it available to buy on Spoonflower—yet another little task, but that sort of work is fun.

Enjoy your Spring, wherever it may be, and sew on!
The newsletter format I use doesn't include a Comments section, but feel free to reply to this email to ask a question of make a comment. I enjoy hearing from you!
Contact Info
Christine Barnes
Stay Connected: