Colour Theory – Part 2 – Who’s the Pushy One?


When you look at a quilt, what colour do you see first?  For example, in this little patchwork, which square do you notice first?

patchwork block

patchwork block

For me, it was the yellow and I’ve recently learned that is not surprising.  You can predict it as there is a such a thing as colour dominance and our friend yellow is the most dominant.  Warm colours, on the right side of the colour wheel (see Colour Theory – Part 1 post), are also kind of pushy.

But let’s talk about yellow for now:

It is considered a happy colour but too much of it can be disturbing.  Yellow is difficult for the human eye to process.   It will advance from its surroundings. Globally yellow denotes caution, as in amber traffic lights or yellow cards in soccer
(remind me to tell you of the time I got one).  Because of its high visibility, it is often used on school buses or police cars.  My first car was a yellow Mustang , TBar roof – everybody noticed it – I loved that car!  But I digress…back to quilting.

How to use yellow in your quilts?

Well, yellow is very effective on a black background:


but it tends to disappear on white.


It is great used as a “Zinger”:   a small amount in the right place can add punch, catch your eye and give your quilt a bouncy, energetic feel.

You should scatter it around your quilt – that is , unless you want to highlight a focal point.  If you do, a  single line of yellow will draw your eye right to it.

What about you?  How do you feel about the dominance of yellow?


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