Choosing a felt colour scheme is one of the first steps to making a Blooming Along Basket. Read on for tips, tools and ideas to choose a colour scheme that you love.
The Blooming Along Basket
The Blooming Along Basket is a felt thread catcher basket, made with embroidered and appliquéd flowers. Selecting a unique colour scheme will make your basket one-of-a-kind. Choosing that colour scheme is one of my favourite parts of any project, but for others it can be overwhelming.
I’m going to provide some guidance, tips, tools and ideas to help you choose the perfect colour scheme for you that is both visually pleasing and makes you happy.
Requirements for the Blooming Along Basket
In the pattern, the Blooming Along Basket pattern calls for the following wool or wool-blend felt:
- One 12 x 18″ sheet AND one 9 x 12″ sheet of the same colour for the body of the basket
- Scraps, or one 9 x 12″ sheet EACH of 3 different colours for the flowers
- Scraps, or one 9 x 12″ sheet of green for the leaves (or more than one green)
It also calls for one skein each of embroidery floss to match each felt colour. The colours are mixed and matched throughout each flower to find balance throughout the basket.
The colours are completely up to you, and you get to plan your ideal colour scheme.
Below is an example similar to what I used on my main Blooming Along Basket. I used Baby Blue for the body of my basket, but pictured is Alluring Aqua. The flowers were Old Gold, Bright Red, and Peacock. Leaves were Reet’s Relish and Grassy Meadows.
To read more about the materials required for the pattern and where to purchase them, read Felt Embroidery Materials.
How to Use Your Colour Scheme Effectively
As I just mentioned, no matter what colour scheme you choose for your basket, it is important to use it effectively. The three flower colours of felt and floss should appear within each flower, and balance across the basket. You want a close to equal amount of each colour.
There are four flower designs that each appear twice. You can decide if you want both versions of each flower design to be identical or not.
To help plan your colour scheme and colour placement, a Colour Planning Worksheet is included in the pattern. You can print as many as you like to plan your scheme with pencil crayons. Or alternatively, use a pencil and make symbols to show which part will be which colour.
The Number One Rule for Your Felt Colour Scheme
Now, before we go any further into colour theory, colour scheme ideas, or tools to use, there is one main rule to follow. And that is – there are no rules.
Yes, that’s right – there are no rules. You can take all of my advice below and not follow any of it. Because art is very individual and the only thing that matters is that you enjoy making it, and that it makes you happy. You don’t need to pick a particular colour scheme to make me or anyone else happy.
Life is short – break the art rules and just create something!
But that being said, some people feel a little lost or overwhelmed at choosing colours so I’m hoping all the information, ideas and tips that follow will be helpful.
Not to take you back to high school art class again, but there are some concepts that are useful when planning a colour scheme. Let’s review a few quickly.
Colour Wheel: shows the relationship of colours to each other. Below is a small pocket colour wheel I have for mixing oil paints.
Primary Colours: Red, Yellow, Blue
Secondary Colours: Orange, Green, Purple (Violet) – Made by mixing the primary colours
Tertiary Colours: Made by mixing a primary and secondary colour that are side by side on the colour wheel. For example, blue-green and red-orange.
Warm Colours: Reds, oranges, and yellows
Cool Colours: Blues, greens, and violets
Hue: That’s the name of any colour, such as yellow, or red.
Value: The darkness or lightness of a colour, usually illustrated as a grey scale from black to white.
Shade: A colour with black added to darken it
Tint: A colour with white added to lighten it
Complementary Colour: The colour directly across on the colour wheel. For example, red is the complement of green.
Different Colour Schemes
There are different colour schemes that are visually pleasing based on the relationship of colours on the colour wheel. Again, you don’t need to feel obliged to follow any of these rules. But often times when a combination of colours looks pleasing together, there’s a colour theory reason to back it up – even if you don’t know it!
Because there are a few different colours involved in the Blooming Along Basket, I feel it’s more useful to focus on schemes with three or four colours in them.
The back of my pocket colour wheel has triangular and rectangular shapes to help to show the colour schemes.
A Triad is made of three equally spaced colours on the colour wheel. The primary colours, red, blue and yellow are a triad.
A Split Complementary scheme is one colour and the two colours on either side of its complement. For example, the split complementary triangle on the wheel is currently pointing at yellow, blue-violet, and red-violet.
Then there are two kinds of tetrads which use 4 colours that are two pairs of complements, depending on how far apart they are on the colour wheel.
A Square/Tetrad Scheme – is one where the colours are equally spaced. The example above on the back of the colour wheel shows yellow-orange and blue-violet (complements) and red and green (another pair of complements).
A Rectangular/Tetrad Scheme – is one where the two pairs of complements are not equally spaced. The example on the back of the colour wheel above shows orange and blue (complements) and red and green (another pair of complements).
You will find these colour schemes used in some of the tools listed below in the Tools section. As well, thinking in terms of relationships on the colour wheel might help you to select colours with better contrast. For more on that, keep reading about contrast.
High vs Low Contrast
My preference for choosing flower colours for the basket is to choose colours with high contrast. This means that the colours are far apart on the colour wheel, or have a very different value from one another (such as baby blue and royal blue). I feel this is important because the colours get layered on top of each other, either in felt or in floss, and they need to pop.
Eternal Sunshine and Peacock felt, above, stitched with the opposite floss are good examples where there is high contrast.
Below are Georgia Peach and Pink Grapefruit. With the felt side by side, they looked quite different. One is a nice bright coral/peach, and the other is a dusty pink. But once they are embroidered with the opposite colour floss, it becomes apparent that there is very little contrast.
These colours are too close together on the colour wheel, and too similar in value to create any contrast.
In my opinion, using colours that are this similar will not make an interesting basket. But again, you get to decide. Just keep contrast in mind when choosing your colours, especially for the flowers.
Example Felt Colour Schemes
While I prefer to choose a colour scheme with higher contrast, you might prefer a more muted palette with less contrast. Again, you’re the artist here! I’ll share some real colour schemes of Blooming Along Baskets and their felt colours. Once more people create theirs, check the hashtag #BloomingAlongBasket on IG for more inspiration.
This is my favourite colour scheme that I use often. The basket felt is Baby Blue. The flower colours are Old Gold, Bright Red, and Peacock. The leaf colours are Reet’s Relish and Grassy Meadows.
Above is the first prototype I made of the basket. I used Opal for the basket. The flowers were Lavender, Coral, and Fuchsia. The leaves were Chartreuse. If I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t have used opal for the sides – it came across as white and very drab. I would instead choose Wheat Fields (a pale peach) or Sweet Lavender (a very pale purple). Here again, I was going for high contrast.
This is a basket my mom made while pattern testing for me. She wanted a more muted palette. Her basket felt is Sweet Lavender (though it doesn’t look very different from my Opal one above). The flowers are Hydrangea, Pink Violet, and Baby Blue. The leaves are Pistachio and Moss Green. I think this is a great example of a more muted scheme with less contrast and that it can work and look lovely.
Choosing a Background and Leaf Colour
My preference for choosing a background colour is to take a different tint (lighter) or shade (darker) of one of the flower colours. I did that with my aqua coloured basket, with the aqua (Baby Blue) being a lighter shade of the turquoise (Peacock).
That’s why I feel the first basket I made with lavender, coral and fuchsia was less successful because the background lacked a related pop of colour.
To choose leaf colours, you can look at a green that would make a tetrad colour scheme with your flower colours. Or you can choose any green you like.
I feel that a green with a similar value will look best. In my aqua basket, the greens are deep and intense. In my bright lavender, coral and fuchsia basket, I used chartreuse to contrast because it was also my bright. My mom chose a couple of soft mid-tone greens to coordinate with her mid-tone flower colours.
By choosing leaf colours that are a similar value, they can relate to the flower colours without stealing the show. If you use very deep flower colours and then a pastel green, the pastel green will stand out. Or vice versa.
Other Felt Colour Scheme Ideas
Here are some other colour schemes that I think would work well for the basket. I looked at the felt swatches and approximated a colour using the Color-hex website, which I’ll explain further down in the Tools section. All colour names are again from the Canadian Felt Shop felt. These are just ideas – use them as a jumping off point.
Going from left to right, I’ve put the three flower colours, then the background basket colour, and finally a leaf colour.
Where to Get Inspiration For a Felt Colour Scheme
A great place to find felt colour scheme inspiration is from multi-coloured fabric. The designers have already done the hard work for you of choosing colours that look good together.
For example, above are five multi-coloured fabrics I pulled from my stash. I could create a beautiful Blooming Along Basket colour scheme from each of them. In fact, the one on the bottom left is one of my favourite fabrics and a jumping off point for my basket colour scheme as well as the colour scheme of the blog.
If you don’t own a whole bunch of multi-coloured fabric, you could go to the fabric store and take photos of fabrics you like to refer to when you get home.
If you don’t have felt swatches to play with, an alternative is to play with paint chips. Grab a bunch in all your favourite colours and combine then until you get something you like. Then select similar felt colours. Sometimes, the pamphlets of paint chips at the hardware store even have grouped colour schemes that might inspire you.
You might also like pulling a colour scheme from a favourite photo – maybe from your garden. After all, nature’s palette is stunning all on its own!
Tools to Help Plan a Felt Colour Scheme
I have also found several helpful online tools that can help you create a pleasing colour palette if you’re looking for a little help or inspiration.
The first website/tool for choosing felt colour schemes (or colour schemes for anything!) is color-hex.com
There you can do a variety of things including browse colour palettes made by others. There are nearly 2000 pages of them to look at and you’re sure to find something inspiring. You can also search by keyword based on what people have named them.
If you create a free account with a password, you can create your own colour palettes by finding and choosing five colours in the colour spectrum according to their RGB codes (red, green, blue and each unique 6 digit code represents a particular colour). You don’t need to know the codes – you can drag the selector around to find a colour you like.
You can name your own palettes and save them, as well as download them. It’s a very handy website. Once you have selected or designed a colour scheme you like, I would then compare to the colours of felt available and choose whatever’s closest.
Canva Color Wheel
Another free tool is part of the design website Canva, which I love using to design all sorts of things for my blog. They have the Canva Color Wheel tool which is simple and helpful. Along the left column is all sorts of educational material about different colour wheel colour schemes and other parts of colour theory.
On the right is the tool where you can choose a colour on the wheel by clicking or typing in a RGB code. Then you select the colour scheme you’d like – triadic, tetradic, etc. and it will generate the other colours for you. You can export the palette as an image with codes. Simply choose the closest felt colours available when you’re done.
Sessions College Color Calculator
This calculator functions in a very similar way to Canva’s Color Wheel. You can find it here. The main difference is that you can ‘unlock’ the colours on the wheel and move them around to find slightly different shades after the scheme is generated. You can also download your colour scheme and codes.
Stitch Palettes – Palette Generator
This free Palette Generator tool is very cool. You can select a floss number from the DMC floss line, either by inputting one or choosing from a visual list.
Then it brings you to a new page where it gives you similar colours, and if you keep scrolling, it will give you colour schemes. For example, below you can see a tetrad scheme by choosing 3846, a bright turquoise. It also gives you an alternate shade of one colour, which could be a good base of the basket colour.
To convert to a felt scheme, I would then compare those floss colours to the closest available felt colours and tweak as necessary.
If you ever get further into your felt embroidery hobby, or are working with felt a lot, I highly recommend investing in swatch cards if they are available. I love the set I ordered from Canadian Felt Shop. If you’re just starting out, you might not want to invest in that right away. But it does help to keep records of which colours go together as you build your floss and felt collection.
Choosing a Felt Colour Scheme
To me, choosing a colour scheme is one of the best parts of making a Blooming Along Basket. There are so many possibilities! But if the possibilities overwhelm you, or you don’t know where to begin, I hope you’ve found some of these tips, tools, and ideas helpful.
I want to hear from you! When you’re quilting or crafting, how do you choose your colours? Where does your inspiration come from? If you were making a Blooming Along Basket, what felt colour scheme would you choose? Let me know in the comments below.
All the best,