Value refers to the relative lightness or darkness of fabric. The key word in the definition is relative. Value is determined by the lightest and darkest fabric in a selection. Understanding value is an important part of quiltmaking. An easy way to determine the value of a selection of fabrics is to photograph them together with your camera or phone set to black and white. That will eliminate the color and you can easily see which fabrics have a darker or lighter value than the other fabrics.

There are three categories of Value: high, medium and low.  High value colors have more "light" in them, while low value colors are very dark.  Fabric manufacturers know that quilters generally select medium value fabrics which means when you go shopping it may take a bit longer to select your fabrics and make sure you find both a high and low value fabric to compliment your fabric selections.  

Benefits of Value

  • Value can highlight a focal point in an Art Quilt or create movement in a Traditional Quilt.
  • Value can create perspective with light colors in the foreground and darker colors in the background
  • Value can set the mood fo a quilt. Using tints, or high value colors in a landscape will give a calming view. The same landscape with low volume colors will appear more dramatic.
  • Value can also give dimension to an object.  Using light colors will give highlights with darker colors appearing as shadows.

Tools and Supplies for Value

  • To help determine Value, a Red and green value finder is helpful.
  • Use your mobil to take a picture of your fabrics arranged light to dark with the filer set to greyscale or black and white.  The picture will let you know the value of the fabrics.
What I Wish I Knew When I Started - Value

VALUE is one of the most important things to learn when picking fabrics for a quilt.  Take your time to find different values of fabric for your next quilt.

Value Resources