One thing that many people find difficult, me included, is combining colours, achieving a happy balance where certain colours get emphasised and others are given a less important role to play in the whole piece.
Some people seem to be able to do this instinctively, others find it a lot more difficult. I think it's a skill that can be learned by paying attention to the colours and combinations that you see around you on a day to day basis. Really it's an ability that needs exercise, just like weak muscles do, until it becomes 'instinctive. It is something you have to work at and is probably something, again me included, that you always need to be exercising/'taking notice' of, being alert to new possibilties and seeing colour combinations afresh.
There is always colour theory, to fall back on as guide, or even as a place to start, but where else can you/do you get your colour combining inspiration from?
Something that's freely available to all of us is the world around us; the natural world with it's grand landscapes and urban centres with large, historic parks and buildings. They can both provide us with examples of how to use colour successfully. Successfully here really just means that you happen to like it.
At the moment of course, autumn is definitely underway. You tend to notice the change of the seasons when you live with fields behind the house. There's a kind of quietness that descends as if the urgency has gone out of everything. The small mammals and birds become more involved in finding food than setting up home.
Autumn just has to be the most fantastic time for colour. Great explosions of deep, tantaslising colour.
Nature is a great source for finding colour combinations that work, that look good together. Gardens, natures tame counterpart, along with gardening magazines and gardening books provide brilliant examples where colour and texture have been used to great effect. Gardeners whether they realise it or not, are just as moved to work with colour and texture in their bedding and landscape designs as anyone who works with textiles. Happily therefore, we can unashamedly plunder both natures and gardeners best ideas, make them our own and translate them into fabric.
When you read about the designers whose work fascinates you, many of them acknowledge gardens and the natural world as being part of their inspiration. Interestingly, Jane Brocket is one of these and Amy Butler is another. Kaffe Fassett has designs that draw on urban landscapes that he's experienced on his many journeys around the world.
Predominantly just now, there's a great deal of orange, yellows, deep, dark greens and splashes of red through to dark purples. As autumn progresses all this colour will develop into a more intense palette of muted colours mixed with bright splashes of yellows, golds and scarlets to please the eye.
Orange turns up in the leaves, in the pumpkins and in flowers that are hanging on against the cold weather. The colour goes all the way from a pumpkin orange through to a kind of burnt spice colour that isn't quite brown.
The yellows at the moment tend to be more golden, such as in this echinacea plant..
but there still are splashes of that more acid yellow hanging on in flowers in more sheltered spots and odd leaves here and there. Once the beech trees start to turn, you'll find golden leaves sprinkled across forest/wood floors like golden coins glinting in the low sunlight. Beautiful.
The reds I can see around me today are more muted than the scarlets of summer although I expect deeper more intense reds and russets to appear as this very pretty season progresses. Reds are in the flowers, in leaves and the berries and I mustn't forget the deep purples of blackberries and sloes.
Everywhere still has a great deal of green... in the grass in the shrubs and and the trees. But this isn't the fresh, young greens of spring. These are darker, deeper greens ...
Obviously, there's a great deal of brown around, brown in the earth, brown in the trees and shrubs and as all the leaves disappear this will only become more apparent. Giving way eventually to the more stark looking landscape of winter, which has a different kind of beauty.
Brown is always so present that you almost fail to notice it, which suggests one thing to me, that it's probably quite a good neutral colour to use as a back drop to anything which uses an autumn inspired colour palette.
One of the greatest pleasures of an autumn walk just has to be running through scrunchy, leaves and watching them fly up into the air and fall back down .... and then back home for a cup of warming soup.
So, much glorious colour...
What's happening with the colours around you this autumn? If you go for a walk this weekend why not take a camera with you then you can use the glorious colour combinations you see as an inspiration for your sewing.