Let's talk about color value in the Twin Lakes Quilt- scrappy version- and lessons learned!!
I set out on to make this Twin Lakes-scrappy version, on a whim, like I do many things in my creative world. I chose a partial fabric bundle (all Art Gallery Fabrics) from my stash, because I thought it was pretty. I pulled in a few more stash fabric FQs to give me the required number of FQs I would need to make the quilt. I know that color value in the design matters; it's almost always an essential consideration when planning a quilt, but I didn't give it a ton of thought and just dove in to start cutting.
*Although, as I look back, I do remember having this annoying thought that the dark blue was just too much of a standout*... blatant foreshadowing here!
Trust your intuition Karen!
I'll just start by saying, I'm not a "color value" expert and am just speaking from my own personal experience with fabric/color over the years and most specifically, with this quilt. I've made two scrappy versions of this pattern and while I love them both, my critical, perfectionist self notices a few key things I would have done differently in regard to layout and value. I'll share those things here in hopes that you can learn from my "mistakes".
So what is value and why is it important? Value refers to the relative lightness or darkness of a color. This is very important to be aware of when choosing color palettes for your quilts as well as for understanding the best placement of those colors within your design. There is so much information on this topic and as I said, I'm not an expert so will not attempt here to explain what's already been explained so well by others. Please check out Shannon Brinkley's post on value for a deeper dive into this topic. Hers is just one of the many that refer to value specifically in terms of quilting.
So let's get to breaking it down, shall we? If you look at the above quilt photo, which I've converted to black and white, you'll notice the greyscale "values" really show up well. This is a quick and easy way to check for value. I notice things here in this photo that I didn't notice when looking at the color layout. In my opinion, the lowest value color (the dark blue) shows up too prominently and my eye goes directly there. Since it's not distributed throughout the quilt and there aren't enough other values that are that dark, I find it distracting to my eye.
Here it is in color, and you'll notice that, it's pretty obvious here too, however the medium value colors (the darkish brown) show up a bit more to balance it out. In my opinion, the darker value is just not evenly distributed and there needed to be more of it to balance out the quilt. I meant to swap the top left and center blocks but then changed my mind at the last minute- see my Instagram Reel for the proof:-)) Anyway, moving on.....
I feel like for the individual blocks, my values were nicely distributed and I was very happy with how they turned out. Thinking that because I liked the blocks separately, I would automatically be happy with them in the quilt, was a bit of a mistake. I know that considering how your blocks will "play together" in the final design is important, but I somehow missed the mark on this one.
Here it's oriented differently and for me, my eye goes straight to those darkest values. Dang it- LoL!!
While I feel like this larger size scrappy Twin Lakes Quilt, using the Gloria line by Maureen Cracknell is more balanced, I still see places where the values pooled together more than I would have liked and there was not quite enough contrast achieved. This could have been avoided by just adjusting a few of the blocks.
Don't get me wrong, I adore both of these final quilts, and really just wanted to bring these concepts to light for you all or anyone considering making the scrappy version of this quilt.
So final takeaways and what I will do differently on my next scrappy Twin Lakes Quilt (suggestions for your next scrappy Twin Lakes Quilt)....
*Make sure if you use a very dark or low value color, that you use several of them in order to balance out the overall design.
*OR just don't use a super dark color at all and keep the palette to a wide variety of medium (mostly) to lighter values. You'll still need to work to achieve balance but it will not be as challenging.
*If you choose to make the scrappy version of this quilt, I think the it's most visually appealing when you make the larger versions- the throw size and up!
*Lastly, if you don't get it just right, remember, it's not a make or break deal. You'll still end up with a beautiful quilt.
I'd like to leave you with this super lovely scrappy version made by the gals over at Binded With Love Etsy shop. You'll notice here that the values are nicely distributed and there are plenty of darker values.