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See color combinations in new light

Photo: Scott Phillips

Combining aesthetically pleasing fabric colors and prints for a quilt- or color-blocked garment takes a special eye. I’ve discovered that a child’s kaleidoscope is a great tool to use for choosing harmonious colors and establishing a pleasing palette. Here’s how:

Buy a kaleidoscope without any color chips—you’ll want the fabrics to be the only images reflected and fragmented in the mirrors. You can find a kaleidoscope in a toy store—they’re often stocked in the children’s party favor’s section.

I usually arrange three or four different fabrics so they touch or overlap. (More than four confuses my ability to really see the collection.)

I view the fabrics through the kaleidoscope by moving it slowly across my selections until the mirrors reflect all of the fabrics. Then I rotate the scope and observe the color combinations through the eyehole.

Through the kaleidoscope I discern the dominant color(s), evaluate the contrast, and choose the ratio of one color to another. By adding and subtracting fabrics, I ultimately find a balance between contrast, tone, color, and pattern, and achieve a handsome combination that suits me.

— Carolyn Rehbaum, Altamonte Springs, FL

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