Thursday, April 4, 2013

Finding Value

Here's a low contrast quilt; the block is Grandmother's Choice. I wanted to evoke a 30's feel without using any 30's-style fabric The center and border both have the same value range. The center blocks are each enclosed by identical sashing which makes them appear like discrete units. Value variations cause some to recede and others to stand out. The border changes value in steps (like a mini radiant nine-patch) which tricks the eye into sweeping across the area rather than focusing on a single spot.

Pastel fabrics in yellow, blue, green and pink are used to make this Grandmother's Dream quilt.

Have you heard of a Gray Scale and Value Finder? I use it every time I make a quilt. It prevents many fabric mistakes. It is printed on card stock, found at art supply stores and still costs less than four dollars.

Starting with 100% black, each rectangle increases white 10% and decreases black 10%. The lightest rectangle is 10% black, 90% white. While they are numbered 1-10 there is no consistency between manufacturers whether 1 is the darkest or lightest. Just lay out fabric, place the value finder on top and squint. The fabric has a value (percent black or white) where it fades into the value finder. For example, my carpet is a 2.

We frequently hear that value is more important than color. The Gray Scale helps quilters track values across all their fabrics. Trading blocks is easier too because you can refer to the value scale (assuming everyone in the group has the same brand.) No, they don't work for every fabric. A large scale print with lots of color may have different values in different places.

The first one I owned had small holes made by a hole punch but these larger openings are better designed. The Color Wheel Company manufactured my current value finder. Other than a fondness for their products I have no relationship with them. Let me know how it works for you.

Knitters should consider this too. I saw color and black-and-white photos of gorgeous Fair Isle knit sweaters. Sometimes the pattern (and all the hard work) disappeared in black-and-white because yarn color changed but not value.

Fret not; enjoy the day.



Fun, Factual, Weird, and Breathtaking said...

This was a new one for me! Thanks for the post!!

Ann said...

I'm glad you found it useful. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Marly said...

Interesting. I take a monochrome photo of my fabric selection before I start cutting and although it doesn't give a numerical value it does the job of pointing out potential problems.

Ann said...

I like this tool but also love to take digital photos. As my sister says, I'm only wasting electrons. Black and white photos would be even better. They all point out problems before we sew them in. Thanks, Marly.