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Color: To Match or Not to Match

By Addy Harkavy, Pinetree Quiltworks.

Every quilter has at one time or another wondered whether to use a fabric that doesn't quite "go". Just remember that early quilters didn't have nearly the selection, and they often settled for "close enough" with spectacular results.

So today's tip is that fabrics don't have to match when you look at them from close up (six inches to a couple of feet). Rather, they should be work together when you're six feet away. The mismatch can be subtle or more obvious, depending upon your comfort level. Then there are those special circumstances in which you really need to make a statement, so you select your fabrics to clash. This is a wonderful strategy for highlighting a given area of a quilt, but it loses its impact if it is overused in that piece.

Keep in mind that the color wheel is a great starting point, but that's all it is. Your eye is the final arbiter. The bottom line: have fun, relax, and give yourself some slack when it comes to fabric selection!

Addy Harkavy 2003. Reprinted with permission by Addy Harkavy.

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