Value can be a head-scratcher. When separating your fabrics for a project like…let’s just say, the FREE River Heritage Block-of-the-Month Mystery Quilt, you might find yourself guessing which fabric goes where.
That’s because the fabric value can change, depending on what value it is next to.
How can a fabric value change, you ask? While the value of the fabric itself doesn’t physically change, how you see that value can be affected by what is around it. Let me explain and then give you a simple way to test your values…
Here are three piles of fabric stash I’ve selected for my River Heritage. Dark, Medium, Light. Straight forward.
However, if I were to choose to use a dark Light and a light Medium together, they suddenly look similar.
I’ll use my first-run at BOM as an example.
Because I like to mix it up with background fabrics in my #usebothsides quilts, I thought I could do that with my BOM as well. As you can see, the neutral on the bottom right from my Lights pile stands out and interferes with the rest of my block. (My eye goes right to it.)
My Medium looks too light when I use that dark of a Light!
Or you could say…
My Light looks too dark when I use that light of a Medium!
The best way I have found to truly see the value of a fabric is to take a black and white picture.
Boom. There it is. Block is fixed.
(Now how did those too Grunge Dots get so close together? Come here, Sam ( the seam ripper). Read more about The Tricky Traits of Value here and here.
So why does mixing of values work in other quilts? Mixing up my neutrals for #usebothsides works because my focus fabric is a very vivid Dark value. Even a dark Light or light Medium works in the background of these quilts.
You can really see that in Phoebee the focus fabric will be strong enough to override even a medium background fabric.
While I still want to encourage you to live on the edge (only in quilting circles) and mix up those fabrics, you do have to pay close attention (maybe even more so) to values.