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I picked up this owl flannel fabric a while back because I simply couldn't resist. It is cream (not white as in the photo, which looks a bit bleached out) with owls and small dots scattered over it in shades of rich golden yellow, orange, pink, and a tiny bit of purple. The plan is to use it as the backing to a baby quilt, where the front is a single piece of plain or semi-plain fabric which I will do as a Welsh wholecloth quilt. Patterned backings of this sort aren't usual for wholecloth quilts, but who cares, it's going to be a baby quilt for my friend DG and I'm sure it will still be lovely. She came around yesterday, loved the fabric, and mentioned that she is perfectly happy to use pink for a boy, and that indeed her mother has given her some spare baby clothes in pink.

Meanwhile, I am dithering over the other side. Pink is out, I don't like it much, and I don't want to do purple either. Should I go for:

1) Yellow fabric with quilting in red standard quilting thread - while standard quilting thread doesn't always show up well, this level of contrast would. One snag here is that I'm having trouble finding a matching yellow, it's darker and orangier than most of the ones out there.

2) Orange fabric, perhaps a little lighter than the fairly deep orange in the owl fabric, with cream quilting thread. Possibly perle cotton #8, which is quite a lot thicker than standard quilting thread and will show up nicely. Perle #8 is getting popular these days for the "big stitch" quilting technique, you can look it up fairly easily in Google Image.

3) Turquoise blue fabric, with perle #8 (ordinary quilting thread wouldn't really show up) in cream and/or deep yellow, possibly even a bit of hot pink thrown in. Using more than one colour could be fun, though I'd need to spend a while working with some traditional Welsh wholecloth patterns to see whether it would work out or whether it would just look wrong. I'm also not sure if I want to be staring at a huge stretch of that strong a blue while quilting.

I'm trying to take into consideration how much the quilting on the top will interfere with the owl print on the back. I think that as long as I keep it to either a standard quilting thread, which shows more as indentations than colour on the back (hand-quilting, remember), or perle cotton in cream or yellow, where you'll see bits on the back but they'll blend in nicely with the general fabric, I should be OK.

Owl wholecloth baby quilt - sample fabrics

Date: 24 Mar 2011 11:01 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I vote yellow.

Hurrah, I had an opinion about fabrics!

Date: 24 Mar 2011 01:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] virginiadear.livejournal.com
I favor the turquoise, but that may be due to this monitor: the owl fabric looks strongly orange, and turquoise makes a nice complement to that.
When I look at the oranges (well, orange is how it's all showing up: I'm seeing oranges, and turquoises), I just like the grounding effect of the turquoise, at least as things appear on this screen. Orange with yellow and orange and pink just seems...overly stimulating.
Perhaps that's too much grown-up think, or too much grown-up-with-a-sinus-headache-due-to-a-weather-front-moving-in think.

I'm in love with the small floral in orange or yellow, just to the left of the owl fabric, but all on its own merit! Now I have to find a fat quarter (or a half-yard) of that. Yummy! (Ooh: hope we have it on this side of the pond!)

Date: 24 Mar 2011 03:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] virginiadear.livejournal.com
"thick red thread on blue fabric, it seems to shimmer and generally behaves oddly. I noticed this when I was embroidering the coral onto the fish baby quilt I made three or four years ago, and at the time I thought I had a problem with reds, but now I've realised that it's specifically red against blue. Most odd."

Not odd at all.
That "shimmer" occurs when two or more hues of equal intensity are placed next to or on one another. They will seem to shimmer or throb or pulse, whatever term you like for it.
This phenomenon even has an official name: "irradiation." Hues 'irradiate,' and the effect is 'irradiation.'

It will have seemed to have occurred because you're having a psychological event triggered by red on blue, but actually it's an optical event triggered by the exactly equal intensities of the two hues. If one were slightly duller, 'irradiation' wouldn't occur.
It doesn't matter what the two colors *are,* either. The effect is more readily noticeable when the contrast between hues is very strong: green and red; red and blue; blue and yellow; red and yellow; purple and orange, etc. But it still occurs if a yellow is as intense as an orange.

If there's an overwhelming quantity of one of the colors in the field of vision, and only small bits of the other hue, you may find that the major color is only 'enlivened,' which is why a field of solid green is boring in a painting, but a field of green with flecks of red, yellow, purple, ochre or even white seems natural, believable and *viewable.*

Anyway, a slightly quieter red thread, regardless of how thick it is, will avoid that irradiation. (A slightly brighter one may stop the irradiating, but may not be pleasing.)
Any other color of *equal intensity* will cause it to happen, so merely changing colors isn't a guarantee.

Oh--! I also need to mention that this is probably happening by subconscious chance: that you happen to be drawn to blues and reds of equal intensity as a combination. Unless a medical practitioner knows for a fact that you have a problem in your eyes, which is a viable possibility in anyone's life, then that "shimmer" is just an optical illusion.
But in my personal experience, it's a very annoying one.

Date: 24 Mar 2011 05:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] virginiadear.livejournal.com
The reds have been quite a lot darker than the turquoises they've been against. They were both pure colours rather than tints or shades, though, so is that what matters or how dark the colour is?

By "dark," I'm assuming you mean how deep? Usually "deep" colors are the way people describe darker tints of the same hue.

What matters is the intensity, or saturation.
For example, let's talk about a pure red, one of the three primary colors. Because it's just pigment and a vehicle (gum arabic/tragacanth, if this is a watercolor paint), in its cake or tube form, it's as intense as it's going to be.
If you brush a wash of that red over a piece of white-white artist's watercolor paper, the water used on the brush---we're saying for the sake of illustration---dilutes the pigment (because of the water) and it also dilutes the intensity (because of the water and the white of the paper.)
When you make a tint of a pigment, by adding white, you have also diluted the intensity. For the red, that would become pink.

Now, if you have an equally intense blue (compared to the original red in the above example), and you dilute it with white to make a blue of an intensity equal to that of the pink, you have created a less intense blue to what the original hue is, but if you set the tint of red next to or on the equally intense tint of blue the effect called "irradiation" still occurs.
It's just not as noticeable (assuming perfectly normal color vision, in this example), because the intensity isn't as great.

This principle also applies to the shades of hues. The irradiation effect isn't as noticeable, but it does still occur.

The stronger the contrast between the two hues, the more noticeable the irradiation effect, but they have to be, or to be perceived by the eye, as being equally intense.

Meares-Irlen is a syndrome of which I haven't heard before now, except when you've referenced it ["MIS"]. I'll have to read up on it a bit!

Actually I was going to suggest that if the colors of thread against the fabric were troubling you, you might try sunglasses or a red viewing film in a cardboard or pasteboard frame pair of "eyeglasses" to make the colors gray out on you. I think, though, you know your body and your eyes, so you'll work that out better for yourself than anything I can suggest. Gray on gray on gray, though, will not irradiate.

Date: 25 Mar 2011 02:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] virginiadear.livejournal.com
Today, as I re-read this comment (yours), I'm interpreting "dark" as "strong," which for me is color saturation.

I would expect that yellow set next to, or on, the violet directly opposite it on the color wheel to be more likely to irradiate, rather than violet set next to yellow with an admixture of violet.
This is why I think so:
Any time you blend two opposing hues on the color wheel in equal amounts, you will get, theoretically, grey. If you add a bit of its complement to a given hue, you will have grayed it, or "toned" it, as you say, although you haven't, technically, shaded it despite its looking darker or duller to a greater or lesser extent.
However, the more we're talking about this, the more firmly convinced I am that there is an element of subjectivity in all this which is ineluctable as well as being, naturally, variable.

I went looking on the internet for additional information on MIS since I know next to nothing about it, and have come to the realization that while I was always taught that irradiation is about *intensity,* I've been using certain terms incorrectly (not "irradiation" or "irradiating" though: those, I have right.)

From this page:

...I note this on color/colour:
"1.9. Description of Colour
Colour can be described in terms of three perceptual properties, hue, value and chroma. Hue is the description of the appearance of a wavelength, i.e. 580nm has a yellow hue. It is commonly interchanged with the word colour, although colour actually refers to all three attributes of hue, value and chroma together. Value refers to the brightness or the amount of radiant energy perceived whereas chroma is the saturation or how vivid a colour appears."

From that description, above, I would say that "irradiation" is the result of equal *values* of two hues, the brightness or amount of radiant energy perceived.

'Way back when I was in school, "value" was what you would recognize as "tone," *and* it included tints and shades. "Value" was how light or how dark a hue's tint or shade was or is.
Here, it is what is responsible for the phenomenon called "irradiation:" the amount of radiant energy perceived.

Vividness, in my opinion and in my own visual experience, also has to play a part because there is what in science is called "discernible difference," the point at which a subject---in this case the person doing the viewing and/or responding to colors/hues and their irradiating---detects or ceases to detect a recognizable stimulus. (For the purpose of my statement, perceiving "irradiation" is the recognizable stimulus.)
I know I've complained of "irradiation" bothering me on occasion when other people just don't experience it, and vice versa, so there has to be something there which explains that and I suggest that the explanation lies within those of us who are seeing those pairs or sets of hues, that one or another of us perceives irradiation, or doesn't.
As vividness is reduced, i.e, the saturation of a hue lessened, the likelihood of irradiation is, also.

What I've actually concluded is, I may be out of my depth here. "Irradiation" comes up in art courses because it's useful to the artist to be aware of it or to know how to take advantage of it; I imagine it comes up in other venues, too, just not ones of which I've had any experience.

I think my knowledge here is inadequate. Your specialist will be able to sort this out for you, I am confident. I, alas, am not an M.D., not yet a physicist.
But I am hopeful that something here will be of use to you. <:^)

Date: 24 Mar 2011 03:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] virginiadear.livejournal.com
Ohhh, now I do like these turquoises, very, very much! I like the 'solid' oranges, too, but for me the turquoise offers balance, and a kind of serenity. Orange with the owls kind of yells.
I'm assuming you'll want a border? Maybe a narrow one, almost like the facing you did a while back---I've forgotten which quilt it was? A touch of turquoise around the edges of those owls would be charming.
I like cheerful, with quilts, as much as I like serene, but I'm not much for cacaphonous bed-clothing, h'm?

Date: 24 Mar 2011 04:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] virginiadear.livejournal.com
Two threads in one needle at the same time? [Oops! Warning: undisciplined and free-range brainstorming.]

Time for a test, really. Use whatever you think you might use and try it out.

Date: 24 Mar 2011 04:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] virginiadear.livejournal.com
"Any thoughts on whether two colours of thread would work with Welsh quilting?"

No well thought-out, articulated opinions, no.
I think it will depend on whether you want the quilt top to be "officially traditional and literal and proper for the genre," or whether you're willing to be a bit more expressive, "cheery and visible" as you've said.

One of the things prized in whole-cloth quilts has been the fine stitching, so I think the moment you depart from that by choosing to make the stitches visible intentionally, you've opened the gate to also employ multiple colors of quilting threads.
If it feels right for this quilt, go for it!

Date: 25 Mar 2011 01:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] virginiadear.livejournal.com
I'll follow your lead regarding the orange's darkness being too great, and I do agree that a variegated thread is going to look unstructured for Welsh quilting.

Date: 25 Mar 2011 02:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] virginiadear.livejournal.com
"In reply to your comment above, goodness me, no, I meant stitching the colours individually! But usually a wholecloth just uses one thread colour, so it was using two thread colours on the quilt that I was pondering."

Understood. My mind was simply refusing to be orderly at the time I wrote that and was almost free-associating. What I was mainly aware of was pain, Pain and More Pain in my head, and the ever-encroaching nausea.
However, by this morning the pressure-front has moved in, the sinuses have adjusted (before anyone asks: no, there are no meds I can take that don't give me worse reactions than the condition they'd purportedly be alleviating) so things are pretty well right in my little world.

Anyway, I had understood what you meant, and was just sort of brainstorming, very randomly, and then the brain more or less refused to do anything further. I got as far as I could, then folded.

Date: 25 Mar 2011 11:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] virginiadear.livejournal.com
"Are you feeling better today?"

I am, thank you!

You two need a single-syllable code word.
Have you tried the menthol "plasters" which impart a hot-cold sensation? They're quite *visible,* which in your case (or D's) I should think would be advantageous.
Menthol, I know from personal experience, isn't anything you want to get on your eyelids or mucous membranes, but it's not as bad on the lips or tongue as it is on the very thin skin around the eyes.

As I recall, the active ingredient in Tiger Balm is capsaicin, which can be wickedly painful (or blissfully effective) and I know this from experience, too.
Poor D!

I actually had written a fairly lengthy (all right: typically lengthy) comment, and included in it an explanation: experiencing violent sinus headache, nothing to be taken for it, pressure system moving through, yadda-yadda-ya, and heading toward sick as you British mean "sick," and was calling it quits for the day.
Then today I couldn't find the comment, and was totally mystified. Finally, I located it in a Drafts folder when I went there looking for something else...oh, yes: I'd placed the reference to the Colour definition in there.

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