It's February, and once again I've had the opportunity to select a bundle of fabric for the Sew Lux Curated Collections Series. I really like writing these posts because it allows me to share a little more about my process for choosing fabrics for quilts and other projects. This month, I wanted to work with a specific type of color palette that I've been excited to try out. Lately I've kind of been obsessed with mixing blacks and brights. The combination of the two seems to make the colors really shine while also adding lots of definition and dimension to the block design.
The colors and prints in this particular bundle also really remind me of northern Scandinavian winters. Perhaps it's the ikat prints which have a folk, handmade quality to them or the combination of the exuberant colors with the more subdued blacks, but these really feel like taking a trip to the Laplands for me. Here's a little more about my inspiration for this collection:
This month, I was inspired by the shorter days and longer nights of winter. In the far north, the Aurora borealis activates the dark night sky with ethereal color and light. This collection is a celebration of that simultaneous lightness and darkness. It brings together brights and blacks to create a palette that is all about beautiful duality.
I also wanted to show how this collection could be used to make some beautiful, dramatic blocks. Black can be a little intimidating at first to fold into a quilt design, but when used with purpose, it can add lots of depth to a project. I'd personally like to use more black in my work to create areas of focus in a design. With the Japanese "X" blocks below, the black cross reads more strongly than the colored portions of the design. When a bunch of these blocks are put together, the distribution of value and color helps to define the design in a way that pushes some of the areas forward (the lattice created by the crosses) and some areas backward (the colored "Xs").
Different values of black can also be used to add layers of depth to a design. With the HST block below, the more solid black print feels like it has more visual weight than the lighter houndstooth print even though both are essentially black prints. The result of using these two slightly different values together is a block that feels as though it has a little more dimension to it. The lighter black recedes while the darker, more solid black print comes forward.
I hope to have the chance to play more with using black in some of my future quilt designs and try out some of the techniques I mentioned above. Working with black and brights can be a great way to see fairly easily how much value really influences a quilt design. Making these digital mock-ups certainly gave me a lot more insight into how I might approach a new quilt design using these prints.
In case you might also be interested in playing with some value, the Northern Lights bundle is now available at Sew Lux Fabrics and will be on sale for 10% off through February 10th, while supplies last.
*Just a quick disclosure note: affiliate links were used in this post*