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For the Love of Color: Radiant Orchid

So you might have heard about this color by now: Pantone’s color of the year, Radiant Orchid.


Adrianne @ On The Windy Side and I are running a quilting challenge using the color, and I thought I’d write up a bit about the color. Just to be clear, you don’t have to use any of these schemes for the challenge! I’m just writing up this post to get you started. All we care about is that radiant orchid is the feature color of the quilt.


Radiant Orchid is a red-violet hue, with a medium saturation and a high brightness. I wrote a bit about what those terms mean in my post about color contrast, but basically that means it’s a reddish purple that’s got some grey in it.


My main excitement over Radiant Orchid being the color of the year is that I’m hoping it means we’ll start seeing some purple choices in fabric. As it is, these are the closest I have in my stash. For the challenge, we don’t expect you to have the exact color! Find some red-violets and go from there.

As always, I like to start with the complementary and analogous color schemes, because they are easy places to start.


The complementary of red-violet is yellow-green, somewhere in the chartreuse or lime family.


Paired with chartreuse this suddenly reminds me of Napa Valley wineries and vineyards. The colors remind me a lot of spring, with those new-growth greens and floral violets. Complementary color schemes are not “sit down and be quiet” pairings, they are out to be noticed. If you want something more subdued, analogous is a better bet.


The colors next to red-violet for the analogous color scheme are red and violet, although I dipped into the blue-violet/navy territory to give it a little more depth.


The dark purples and navies are much more wintery and mysterious compared to the complementary scheme.


Or you can go the other direction and use that pop of fuchsia to keep things lively.


Or you can incorporate both to do the full tour of purples. This palette reminds me of transitions: the colors at twilight or the end of winter and start of spring.


And if you edit down, you end up with some deep jewel tones, supported by the Radiant Orchid color.


And if you change the navy out for aqua, you end up with a very different feel. These colors would make a fun child’s quilt!

As for neutrals, it depends on what type of feel you’re going for. Red-violet is a warm color, so look to cool neutrals to complement and make the color stand out, or warm neutrals to smooth out the transitions.


Apparently I was feeling blend-y because I only took pictures with creams and whites…


And with warm greys. Because Radiant Orchid is a medium saturation (has a lot of grey in it), using greys will give a more monochromatic feel to your project.

I hope this gets you started and gives you some ideas of what to do with the color. I am really excited to see what you all make with Radiant Orchid!


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