The Art of Choosing: Warm vs. Cool

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Art of Choosing is a series discussing fabric, color, and the fabric selection process! Here's what's been posted so far:

1. Recognizing a Fabric's Overall Color
2. Folding
3. Stash Storage
4. Organizing Your Stash by Color
5. Building a Well Rounded Stash
6. Supplementing a Fabric Line
7. Reader Stashes
8. Building a Scheme Around a Single Fabric
9. Building a Scheme Around a Photograph
10. Light vs. Dark
This Week: Warm vs. Cool

This week we are going to talk about how to build one of my favorite schemes, a Warm vs. Cool Color Scheme!

The Art of Choosing, originally uploaded by jenib320.
I first started playing around this concept after a happy accident. My first two quilts were a warm color quilt and a cool color quilt. After finishing both, I ended up with a lot of scraps. Playing around with little triangles I made the block above and thus started my love for warm vs. cool! :)

Finished Value Quilt, originally uploaded by jenib320.
I'm going to lay things out a little differently this time! First I'm going to show you my initial fabric pull, then we're going to look at warm and cool separately and finally the fabrics that didn't make the cut and my final stack!

1st Pull

The Art of Choosing, originally uploaded by jenib320.
These are the fabrics that I grabbed to put together my stacks. This is without any "edits" yet! Lots of different value and accents! There isn't really anything wrong with these stacks, but not let's simplify and streamline them!

Warm Colors

The Art of Choosing, originally uploaded by jenib320.
For my warm color stack I choose red, light pink, fuschia, orange, and gold. I could have opted to include more colors like peach, traditional yellow and additional shades of orange.

Cool Colors

The Art of Choosing, originally uploaded by jenib320.
For my cool color stack I choose lime green, turquoise, plum and light purple. I could have included a wide range of other greens and blues.

1st Edit

The Art of Choosing, originally uploaded by jenib320.
These fabrics got pulled pretty quickly after my first pull. Many of them at distracting accents and a few had tones that simply didn't match with the rest of the colors.

2nd Edit

The Art of Choosing, originally uploaded by jenib320.
These fabrics didn't make it for a variety of reasons! I paired down my color palette to focus on certain shades, ditched a few darker shades, and also set a limit of 27 prints per stack.

Final Stack

The Art of Choosing, originally uploaded by jenib320.
I finally ended up with this pair of stacks! I choose a variety of light and dark prints but tried to stick mostly to medium shades. In general avoided fabrics with white or really light backgrounds, as they don't necessarily read well as a single color. I used mainly tone on tone and color + white fabrics.

I think the most important tip for putting together these stacks is taking care when choosing fabrics with accents. When I did use a fabric with an accent, I stuck to fabrics that have generally warm or cool accents. For instance, in my warm stack I used a pink Martini print by Amy Butler (9th from the top!). It has mostly pink, but has gold accents. Both are warm colors! Similarly with the cool stack, I choose a green Hopscotch print by Erin McMorris (8th from the top!). It is mostly green with turquoise accents. Both are cool colors!

Well, there we go! We've now made it through the bulk of this series! Don't worry, there are still going to be weekly posts for a while longer! There have been a few topics requested in the comments (now is your chance to make additional suggestions!) and a few topics I've realized I should have covered in the beginning! Then, in May, something else is going to finish this series off properly...

The Art of Choosing, originally uploaded by jenib320.
A Quilt Along! I'm working on a Warm vs. Cool quilt using simple patchwork! The quilt along will kick off sometime in the beginning or middle of May after I graduate! School is about to get super busy, don't want to bite off more than I can chew! However, you will see little sneak peaks of the quilt you'll be making here and there! I hope you'll join in the fun! :)


  1. Can't wait for the quilt-a-long!

  2. Thanks for that. I love your fabric choices!

  3. I love this series! And I'm looking forward to your quilt-along!

  4. Ooh, I'm interested in your QAL. Postage stamps maybe?

  5. oh oh!
    will there be a giveaway to finish off the series?

    Thanks so much for these! I have been enjoying them a lot

  6. amen to what Jenny said :) ha! and ouuuuu, I can hardly wait for the quilt alon :)!!!!YAY!~

  7. i have enjoyed your series and appreciate you doing it!

  8. I love your series! It's inspiring! A quiltalong will be great, looking forward to it!!

  9. Thank you Jeni! I've been wanting to learn this since a got that doll quilt from you remember???
    Thanks again!

  10. Can you turn these posts into an e-book and sell it on etsy (or on an online store) I would definitely buy it, I find all of these posts fascinating and would love to have an easily consultable version (if you see what I mean) :-)

  11. More than anything, I just love seeing your pretty stacks of fabric. :) I am excited for the quilt along and hope I will be able to participate with you!

  12. Those plums have such a red undertone that they read as warms to me, but I guess that could be influenced by what colors are around them.

    I really enjoy all the fabric stacks. Always lovely.

  13. Very helpful post! I'm one of those people who color value does not come easily to, so I appreciate this immensely! I'm sloooowly learning, so my quilts are looking better and better, if I do say so myself!

  14. I'm in that color-challenged boat, too. Thanks for all of the detailed instructions....I'm hoping to get better at these choices! QAL sounds great - I should be done with taxes by then! :(
    Jacque in SC

  15. What about a post (or posts) on what to do with those poor fabrics that always get kicked out of the stacks--like ones with huge motifs, lots of white, large accents, etc? I have quite a few pretty prints that don't fit with anything, but I still love them and want to use them for SOMETHING! :)

    Also, HSTs are one of my favorites. So many things you can do with them, but the piecing is super easy!

  16. This is great! I struggle with color a lot and it's a methodical way of tackling it. I need to catch up on the rest of this series!

  17. So if course this post was first screened way back when... however just as it was in 2010-11 it's just as relevant today in 2017 !! Colour basics and how to choose, mix and match pretty much never changes. The only thing that does change is the fabrics !! Colour principles always have and always will be easy to incorporate for some and an absolute living nightmare for others. I'm still learning about colour and in particular moving out of my comfort zone and experimenting with colours that I wouldn't generally gravitate too. This is an important part of the learning process because if you find yourself always gravitating towards your favourite colours you run the risk of having s very 'one colour palette' stash of fabrics which makes for one boring old fart haha !! Seriously, you've gotta broaden your horizons and start building a stash using ALL of the colour wheel - not colours 1,2 and 3 only !! Chow my lovelys 😍


Thanks for keeping this blog a positive place, I appreciate the time you are taking to leave a comment! I will answer any questions here in the comments section.

All comments are moderated to filter out spam. Your comment will appear after it has been approved.