I was asked recently about how I put colours together for patchwork and although it’s often a matter of spending a long time playing around with fabric, trying out different parings, picking up on small flecks of colour from one print with another, I’m also inspired and influenced by colours I see around me.
Right now it’s feeling more like Summer than Spring, the last week or so have been lovely and warm, and all the sunshine has got everything blooming and blossoming like you wouldn’t believe. It’s too nice to be all cooped up indoors so windows are flung open, back doors left ajar (not too wide or the cuties next door get in), washing is hung out on the line and billows and blows in the breeze…walks over the marshes are more of a an amble (soaking up the sunshine) rather than the muffled up fast trot in Winter months (a bit like how people walk in those first early film footages) …..everywhere there is inspiration for embroideries, patchworks and crochet…….
Glorious and bright bursts of colour seem to surround us whether we’re out in the garden or just popping down to the shops to pick up groceries.
Although we have some of this yellow shrub growing near our compost bin, it’s not so impressive as the one in a neighbour’s garden. It’s such a beautiful rich yellow and I love how the tiny leaves are such a bright green.
Growing right next to it is this fuschia pink flowering currant bush……I love the combination of pink and yellow blossoms mixing (it’s a colour pairing I’ve used a lot in my “dear ethel” patchworks, although I’ve not used a pink quite so bright.)
The flowering currant is itself pretty sprawling, this time of year it looks amazing, and I particularly like to see it in the morning when it’s both in full sun and shade, the pinks are a mix of bright and dark, and then in the background there is the lovely rust coloured brickwork.
I often stop and jot down particular colour combinations I see, sometimes they are forgotten about but often they are scibbled down as little thumbnail notes in sketchbooks to be used as little jolts for ideas when I’m mixing colours together for patchwork, embroideries or crocheted granny squares.
I don’t know what this plant is, it’s blossoms are both the creamiest pale pink tinged with a deeper brighter pink, almost a raspberry jam colour. (they make me think of the smudges of colour left on a plate after eating a pile of scones covered in clotted cream and raspberry jam)…..I’m not sure if this a wild plant or something escaped from a neighbour’s garden, it’s growing in shade under trees by a little footpath so it’s in quite a secluded area…..I love the green leaves, it’s a gorgeous crisp green and is the exact colour of the big lettuces my dad used to grow.
Just along from the flowering currants are these beautiful blue grape hyacinths, growing amongst a swathe of tiny flowering heathers. It had been a bit dry out when I took these pictures so the little blossoms weren’t quite so eye popping with colour as they had been….it certainly wakes you up when you pass by bright yellow, pink, blue and then purpley pink all in a matter of strides.
One of my favourite plants I’m seeing at the moment in gardens and edges of communal green space is this one, it has dark green leaves and the softest orangey blossoms. It’s a colour combination I love and happily mix together in my patchwork and in my wardrobe….
The blossoms themselves are really tiny, and very delicate…the colour is the softest flattest toned orange, almost the same as a sweet smelling apricot, ripe and ready to eat or to make into jam.
Finally when I’m almost home, coming round the corner I’m treated with this glorious array of colour growing by our front door. The afternoon suns falls on them and their scent is so heady and intoxicating…I love it. I’ve written before how when I was smaller I wasn’t impressed by them at all, but now I’m older they are one of my favourite flowers in the garden, from the feel of their thick, almost velvety soft petals to their fantastic mix of colours all combined with that perfume.
I love the mix of colours of every petal, a bit like an artists palette mid painting. Gorgeous blends of orange and flame, bright yellow and mustard, deep red and crimson. I might not wear all the colours at once or use every hue in a piece of patchwork or embroidery, but I try to centre in and pick out colours and mixes I particularly like.