What is Value?

Posted by Daphne Greig on 9 March 2015 | 0 Comments

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Daphne shares a valuable tip about color value which she teaches in her class Ripless Paper Piecing at the Academy of Quilting. This is just one of the many tips you will learn in her class...

Value refers to the relative lightness or darkness of fabric. The key word in this statement is ‘relative’. This means that you need to compare one fabric to another to find out which is lighter or darker in value to the other. You cannot tell the value of a fabric by looking at it alone. The only exceptions to this are black, which is darker than anything else, and white, which is lighter than anything else. It is when you look at a fabric next to another that you can say it is lighter or darker. Here are pictures of pairs of fabrics. Which one is lighter than the other one?

L1 fabric pair 1 L1 fabric pair 2

It is easy to answer the question for the first pair of fabrics. The fabric on the left is lighter than the one on the right. In the other pair, it is a little bit more difficult to determine which fabric is lighter. The different colors of the fabrics make it more difficult to decide. What if the color were not there? Would it be easier or more difficult? Let’s try it. Here is the same picture converted to grayscale, meaning only shades of gray are used in the picture.

L1 fabric pair 2 gray

Fabric pair 2 (above) in grayscale

Is it easier to decide which is lighter?  This time the fabric on the left is the darker one.  Used together, this would be a very low contrast pairing.

.... Daphne Greig


desert nights2About Ripless Paper Piecing: This small project will pay big dividends. Daphne will show you how to foundation piece without sewing through the paper. Using this easy method, you will have perfect points without spending hours removing tiny scraps of paper with tweezers. You will also save time and thread by being able to sew with a regular stitch length. Daphne will teach you how to choose a range of values for your blocks, a skill which can be used in many other projects. Read more...

quilting classes available at the Academy of Quilting


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