A couple of months ago, I happily cut into fabrics for a new quilt. I wanted to stretch a bit and use a background that wasn't very light or very dark. I don't have a picture of the yardage, but there's the fabric all cut out.
I love the red, orange and yellow together, and that background is rich but not too dark or light. Looks good so far.
Next there was sewing and trimming. So much trimming. I think the trimming monster looks pretty good in these colors.
The units look pretty good too.
Once all those geese were sewn and trimmed, the pace increased and blocks came together quickly.
Things were looking good and I was excited to sew blocks into a quilt top.
This is where I started to worry. Something is not quite right here, but I thought adding the sashing might pull it all together.
Nope. The shapes in the yellow blocks seem to fade into the background. This fascinates me, because the yellow seemed strong enough when looking at individual blocks. Let's see that again:
That looks sharp enough, but put them beside the much stronger red and orange blocks, and they look weak and ineffective.
It all comes down to color value. Color value refers to relative lightness or darkness. If you look at fabrics through a red filter, or apply a black and white filter to an image, you'll see the color value rather than the color. Here's the first photo in this blog post with a grayscale filter applied.
When viewed in black and white, there isn't much difference between the background and the yellow (top left square).
Here's the design wall in grayscale.
You can make out the shapes of the yellow fabric, but they are much, much lighter than the red or orange, which makes them fade into the background by comparison.
In color, you can see the yellow, but because it isn't as strong as the red and orange the design looks unbalanced.