This week, as we continue our study of color, we look at the harmonious split-complementary color plan. Less harsh, and easier on the eyes than last week's complementary plan, this grouping of colors offers just as much visual impact, but in a softer more balanced manner. The colors transition is gradual, softer, peaceful and very pleasing.Think evening sunsets or morning sunrises, and you get the idea.

This plan takes one color, "the lead," a "supporting actor" color, and a "cast member" on either side of the lead's complement. For example, on our Essential Color Wheel, Blue is our lead color. Directly opposite of blue is orange-yellow. Our split-complementary will now be made up of blue, golden-yellow and yellow-orange (supporting actors and cast member). This combination allows for contrast without the harshness or vibrations of the complementary plan.  












But like any plan, there are a few rules that need to be followed to achieve harmony. It is best to use an uneven number of 3, 5, or 7 colors in your analagous color selection. Definitely include the direct complement of blue (orange-yellow) when selecting fabrics as it makes for a softer and more subtle color shift as Jennifer Dick did in her quilt Flame.


Gloria Loughman's quilt 10_30 shifts from orange-yellow to cerulean blue in a much more subtle and softer manner than Mel Beach's Orange You Glad I Got The Blues complementary shift from orange to cyan (turquoise). Both quilts are eye catching and have strong visual interest for the viewer, however, the quilt on the left reads as subtle with a great deal of movement, while the quilt on the right reads as strong, dynamic, and vibrates. The bottom line is, it's all about the message you want to send in your quilt.


Using our Essential Color Wheel, let's put this to the test when selecting fabric from a stash.

Example #1: Using the narrowest of split-complementary plans, in this case the 3-1 combination of Golden-Yellow, Orange-Yellow, Yellow-Orange and Blue, these are the fabrics from our stash that we selected to use. Karen Kamenetzky's stunning quilt, Fundamental Change VI, beautifully illustrates the subtle color changes with that added little pop of blue to catch the viewers attention.


Example # 2: This group of fabrics is a wider split-complementary plan using a 5-1 combination of Violet, Red-Violet, Purple, Fuchsia, Magenta, with Yellow-Green. If you are not sure about whether a fabric fits in your selected analogous color run, use the Ultimate 3-in-1 Color Tool to help solve the mystery. Each of the twenty-four pages illustrates the pure color, tints, shades and tones of a family, allowing you the opportunity to select from a wide array of fabrics to make a quilt more interesting.



Let's look at some more examples of quilts using the split-complementary colors







Frieda Anderson (Show 705) is known for using her own hand-dyed silk fabrics when it comes to creating luscious quilts. She shares her approach when it comes to working in a split-complementary color plan.

The split-complementary color scheme is a variation of the complementary color scheme. In addition to the base color, it uses the two colors adjacent to its complement.
This color scheme has the same strong visual contrast as the complementary color scheme, but has less tension.
The split-complimentary color scheme is often a good choice for beginners because it is difficult to mess up.

This is the description of a split-complementary color scheme. This color scheme is three colors spaced in an uneven triangle shape on the color wheel. I often find that if I just open up my eyes and pay attention to nature, it will give me all the color combinations I can ever use. But I certainly use my color wheel as a guide when I am working on my creations.

I knew that I wanted to make a quilt with large green leaves. While I was scrolling through my photos, I came across the image of a succulent plant that I had taken while vacationing in Hawaii many years ago. It was the perfect combination of lime green, orange and fuchsia, which is a triad color theme.


That photo inspired the color theme for my large quilt Shimmering Foliage. I used the one color I like the most, lime green, as my dominate color choice for the leaves. I then used the two other accent colors, fuchsia and orange, to really make this quilt vibrate. This quilt went on to win some awards, and it is still one of my all-time favorite quilts.

The construction of this quilt is made using a freezer paper template to achieve an easy curved leaf shape. This method requires you make a pattern in freezer paper of the shape you are going to piece.  You then cut the pattern apart on the lines. Using the template as a guide, cut out each piece of fabric ½” larger than the template. Put starch on the seam allowance and fold the edge of each fabric piece over the freezer paper template, then press with a hot dry iron. Once you have all the template pieces covered with fabric, place the design back together, snugging each section together like it was before you cut it apart. Using a thin line of Elmer’s school glue on the edge of one seam allowance, fold one seam allowance over another seam allowance and hit it with a hot dry iron. You can now remove the freezer paper templates, and the glue will hold the seams together so that you can stitch the two pieces together.

Check out my easy to follow directions for my little Leaf Mug Rug quilt and try this fun technique. I have a larger version too called Falling Leaves. Make the little one first and then tackle the larger version. You can find the patterns on my website on the patterns page.





Practice Exercise: Build a block

Use these two blocks to try out your own split-complementary color group. Build the blocks using fabric, construction paper or colored pencils.

Click here to download the Quilt Block Square .pdf file.

Click here to download Quilt Block Star .pdf file.


How good are you at guessing the block names? Have you ever been stumped? Try the game and see how well you do.



Teri Cherne shares how she kept her Mom close to her on the set. It's a great idea for anyone who wants to keep someone close to their heart.

Star Members can watch Teri in Show 2011: Building with Details, Interest, and Finishes.


Barbara Ann McCraw's quilt, Family Reunion, won 1st Place in the Large Quilts: Stationary Machine Quilted category. Barbara wanted to create something for her children that would allow them to cherish their past. Below this video is another video where Barbara talks about the quilt.

In this video, Barbara talks to Bonnie Browning about the quilt right after winning the blue ribbon.

Many of you at TQS are familiar with the RARE Science and RARE Bears (click here to learn more). At the beginning of this year, BERNINA announced their partnership with RARE Science, aptly titled the BEAR-NINA Sew-Ins. The events are held at local BERNINA Stores who provide teachers and resources to help make BEAR-NINAs for the cause.
RARE Science is currently gifting bears to thousands of kids in over fifteen countries, but there are still more than 200 Million children in the world that need your support. The RARE Bear Army is almost 2000 people across the globe—together and united we can change the lives of kids with rare disease.


Denise Jones at WeAllSew.com loves the Shoo Fly block so much, she decided to create placemats.



Star Members can watch Alex put her own twist on a Shoo Fly block in Show 2011: Building with Details, Interest, and Finishes.


As Alex went to work at the Quilters Select booth at Quilt Market in St Louis, John walked towards the Gateway Arch with his ticket to go to the top. 1 hour later John texted Alex that due to mechanical failure, he was stuck at the top of the arch with 80 other people in a space the size of the economy section in an airplane. When Alex read the text to the workers in the booth, the reaction was universal.....laughter.  1 1/2 hours later and just in time to reach his plane, the elevator tram started up again. No harm, no foul....and definitely no empathy. Alex and John went one day early to St Louis to take in some sites. Here are a few quick pictures of places you should see if you go to St. Louis:

The Shadow of the Arch from the Top

There was plenty of time to take pictures

The Gateway Arch


The Cathedral and Basilica of Saint Louis

The mosaics on the walls and ceilings are a must-see. You won't be disappointed in the amazing art.

 Missouri Botanical Garden

We loved the huge variety of trees throughout the entire propery and the serenity of the Japanese Garden

The City (Kids) Museum

Okay, I threw in the kids part. Adults alone might be disappointed, but if you have kids from 4-16 in tow, don't miss this mixture of eclectic

art that they crawl, swing and slide through.


Fujiwara Junko took first place in the Hand Quilting category at Paducah with the 78" x 78" quilt "Fantastic." The design source is The Baltimore Album Quilt Tradition by Keiko Miyauchi. It uses hand appliqué, hand embroidery, trapunto, and hand quilting. This category (like all of them we suppose) was a very hard choice for the placement of the award-winning quilts. Click below to see the 2nd Place and 3rd Place quilts if you missed them.



Kaleidoscopic Marbles was designed and pieced by Paula Nadelstern and quilted by Marlene Hiltner (40″ x 40,″ 2015). It is another one of Paula's kaleidoscopic quilts where she allows the fabric to do the work, while using easy piecing to assemble the quilt.

Click here to learn more about the process Paula used to create the quilt.

Star Members can watch Paula at work in Show 2010: Easy Piecing with Complex Fabrics Makes Stunning Quilts.

Original Photo: Mary Kay Davis

Need a super quick and easy graduation gift? Laura at SewVeryEasy shows you how to make a Phone Pillow. A great way to use up scraps of fabric and keep your "hands free."

Have you seen the latest, greatest EverSewn Sparrow20 for $279.99?

Check out all the EverSewn Sewing Machine Models here!



Take your EverSewn Sewing Machine to class with you, as these are only 16lbs!


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