January 27, 2016

Low Volume Fabric

I gave a talk about low volumes  at our guild. We discussed all the different types of low volume and how to determine whether a fabric is low volume. The definition of low volume is as fabrics that “read” as white or light fabrics but at the same time have a secondary pattern or design. So, when you are looking far away. They look like one solid color.

Recently, low volume has been updated to have a "neutral" background. The popular cotton and steel have a creamy grey background and work well as low volume.


There's two main kinds of low volumes Muted and Pop Low Volume. You can find in depth blog post here with the  The Elven Garden. She also goes into color value as well which is very helpful in determining  if your fabrics are low volume.
You can see the use of muted or 'whispering" low volumes. Some of these even have a bit of color, but they still whisper and fade away into the background. They are soft colors. The color and secondary pattern really do fade away when seen from a distance or even up close. These would add a subtle hint of texture while giving the quilt an overall soft feeling. As you can also see, there are white, cream, and grey backgrounds which all give a variety of texture as well.

 Low Volume can be multicolored, but most involvement of color are added in small doses of one or two colors.  If these are a background color palette for your quilt, you would need bright or saturated colors to help these low volumes stand out.

 Techniques you can use for determining low volume is look in the wrong side of binoculars. The second is just standing back a several feet from your design wall. Squinting can be helpful. Take a black and white photo. If it stands out in the photo too much, you can just remove it from your overall palette.

Deciding which low volumes to use will depend on the texture that you are looking for  in your quilt. The beautiful thing is that it is completely up to you what you want it to look like.   Most of the time, low volumes are used as background to give the quilt interest. However,  low volumes can be used for the whole quilt. As always, there's no wrong or right way to use these fabrics. The choices and placement are up to you. That is what is so exciting about quilting, Each quilter's interpretation is what makes quilting a work of art.  There's another blog post that has some wonderful pictures of low volume fabrics on Craftsy . You can also find tons oflow volume inspiration in this Flickr Group.

I hope this is helpful in your quest of what is a low volume. 
Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by. 

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Maira Gall