Choosing colour with help from the #rubyruler

February 10, 2020

This piece is long overdue, so I’d like to start with an apology to Blair Stoker of Wise Craft. In December I was asked asked by Blair if I wanted to have a play with her Ruby Ruler and of course I said yes (after secretly looking up what colour value means*). I’ve got no colour training so I was very curious to find out how it worked and what the impact of using it would have on my colour choices.

*Colour value refers to the lightness or darkness of the hue. Adding white to a hue produces a high-value colour, often called a tint. Adding black to a hue produces a low-value colour, often called a shade. Intensity, also called chroma or saturation, refers to the brightness of a colour.

My thoughts on my go-to tools and many, many other things can be explored more in the interview set up by Blair. Thank you Blair, it was so lovely to ‘meet’.

The first opportunity to have a play with Blairs’ ruler came when I was picking the Kona colours for my latest quilt, a continuation on the play on perspective started with my new logo and after that the Cones Quilt.

Cones photo and styling by #austinhyler and  #thedayshift_ for The MQG.

A Hole Lotta Luv is a play with holes, dowels and angles. I was trying to get some depth and perspective into the quilt but with an added wonk. A slightly skew-whiff box with sides coming apart kinda thing. I needed the colours not only to make the sides of the box and the dowel appear to protrude but the hole on the lid and the bottom of the box to recede.

I had selected a lovely bundle of bright Kona Solids but my main worry was the turquoise (Kona 440 Breakers). Would it be different enough to the pink background (Kona 1384 Watermelon)? Or should I pick a darker colour? Remember, I’m really trying to make the dowel stick out and look like it is coming towards me. To the naked eye the two colours look like they have the same value but according to the Ruby Ruler the turquoise has a lower value (less white, more black). This would hopefully make it appear to stand out against the background.

So piecing went ahead. I wouldn’t dare to call this improv as I work from a drawing and the dowels and holes are created using my custom templates. But there are no pattern pieces for the box and it takes shape on the design wall. I do a lot of stepping back, looking, folding the fabric over, stepping back again and adjusting until I’ve got that slightly mind-boggling effect that I’m after.

When I taught this class at the Village Haberdashery we used masking tape to try out different angles. A thicker contrasting thread stretched between two pins works well too.

The first quarter of the quilt was now pieced and I could get my Ruby Ruler out again to check the value. One dowel positively protruding:)

I am teaching this at the Village Haberdashery again in July and other dates/venues throughout the year. You can find the A Hole Lotta Luv workshops and a list of all my other classes here.

You can see A Hole Lotta Luv at QuiltCon next week. If you see it please say hi, take a picture for me (tag #aholelottaluvquilt) and ask one of the handlers if you can have a look at the back. I really like the way Joë Bennison‘s quilting turned out on that Kona 489 Pickle.

Photo by #lauracarlyadams

The finished quilt play the tricks on my brain that I intended and I have now started something that can’t be stopped. I seem to have added an addiction to perspective to the already troubling inability to sew anything not including a Drunkard’s Path block, whether its circular or oval. So brace yourself for more #perspectivequilt creations.

Photo by #lauracarlyadams

I might have told you that I’m going to Australia in March. I’m currently working on class samples for my #aholelottaluvquilt workshops with Brisbane MQG and Quilt NSW. When I saw the new basic collection from @rubystarsociety I knew it would be perfect. It’s called Speckled and its designed by @rashida_coleman_hale and it’s the kind of print I can handle. And whilst on the subject of handle, these fabrics are both soft and full bodied (but without the aroma of chocolate and compost) and I can’t wait to start sewing with them.

I get really excited by the bit where I start putting fabrics together. As in the A Hole Lotta Luv quilt i was looking for contrast between the background, the box and the dowel and hole and, with a little help from the Ruby Ruler, I think I’ve settled for this combo. The red and yellow pop against the grey background and the pink and fuchsia are different enough in value to add that perspective I’m so badly craving. Saying that, I do have about 25 other options and 50 or so designs so things might change.

And, even though the design and the colour choices might change, I’ve got a feeling this piece will involve even less improv elements than A Hole Lotta Luv.

I simply cant help myself.

Have a lovely day, Jenny