Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Taupe Tutorial

In spite of seeing the beautiful quilt win a major prize at the International Quilt Festival, I still didn't understand the attraction of the Taupe color scheme. I stood in front of this quilt and pondered the pattern and its subtle colors. The beautiful quilt, by Yoko Saito of Japan, was an eye-opener for me. Maybe if I expanded what my idea of 'taupe' was, I could work in those shades.

What I started to comprehend was that Taupe was a whole range of greyed soft colors. From the traditional taupe (grey-brown) to soft greens and blues, even lavender and plum,  'old' gold and blue-reds, the sensibility was reminiscent of nature. Think forests and fog, wood worn smooth, stones of various shades and textures, mist rising from a marsh.

Stones of many colors embedded in a concrete walkway and a tile in an ancient wood floor.

 The folks at Presencia Thread are supporting the Taupe tide and collected six shades that meld beautifully with most taupe colors. The fabrics behind the spools are my choices to start working in this interesting palette. 

Some people "got it" long before I did. Pinwheels, an American quilt store, brought Japanese taupe fabrics into this country as early as 2003. A friend from Oregon, Steve Lennert of One World Fabrics  has based his whole mail order business around the taupe theme. He offers packs of taupe fabrics in different shades from grey to green to lavender and a light category he calls 'pearl.' He made this beautiful round Star quilt and even offers it as a kit. He carries the taupe thread sampler too.

Maybe taupes are a way of taking a 'time out' from brighter graphic prints. For those of us who quilt obsessively, it's nice to have a calm color scheme every once in a while. It's as close to Zen as I'll ever get.


  1. i love taupe's and have for some time now....collecting to make something beautiful...
    peg in ks

  2. I love your review of taupe, I caught the "bug" last year at Houston and fell in love with Taupe at Yoko Saito's booth. Since then I've been "collecting" taupe fabrics and Quilt Mania has a mystery block each month by Yoko Saito which I've started. I love the color range and yes it has a back to nature zen feel about it. I'm going through treatment for breast cancer and using these fabrics and making these blocks, by hand, has a wonderful calming effect.