Two Colors, One Color ApartThis one is pretty easy to figure out. Choose a color, skip a color, find the other color.
In some regards, this has a very similar effect as analagous colors would. You're still pretty dang close to one another on the color wheel, so you're related. But you're just far enough apart to create a little bit more visual pizzazz.
In my example here (let's look at the standard 12-point color wheel first), I started with purple, skipped over red-purple, and went right to red. If we'd included the red-purple in there, we'd have an analogous harmony. It would be all sorts of calming, as analagous can tend to be. But by ripping out the center color and leaving the two outies, you get rid of a bit of the calm and find yourself feeling just a little bit zingy.
Pulling fabrics from my stash, here are my purple and red examples. I do actually really appreciate a good purple and red combination. If I used these two fabrics I'd want some blenders, or perhaps just shades and tones, to give it a little more interest. Or maybe just combining these with a bright white (if I wanted excitement) or a light gray (if I wanted to tone things down a bit). Pairing it with black would be heading in the direction of an Amish effect.
If you go back up to the first picture you'll see I also included the 3-in-1 Color Tool version of skipping a color. As always, since that's a 24-point color wheel, the two colors are a whole lot closer together. In that color wheel, violet and purple are the two colors and there isn't quite as much separating them visually.
I'm not sure I would do a quilt only using these colors, although honestly it just comes across to me as a straight-up analogous pair. This one doesn't jazz me as much.
Two Colors, Two Colors ApartNext color harmony: Start with one color, hopscotch across two colors, then land with both feet on the third color. Bingo.
Pictured--12-point color wheel and 24-point color wheel. I stayed with purple as my starting point both times. (Note here: The color I think of as purple, and is most often referred to as purple on the 12-point color wheel, is labeled "violet" in the 24-point wheel. I decided not to get overly sticky about terminology or I'd drive myself nuts. Feel free to mentally translate if you prefer one term or another. I know technically they're two different colors, that purple and that violet, but in the quilting world, I'm used to seeing what I call purple referred to as purple, so I'm rolling with it.)
By the way, have you ever noticed how hard it is to distinguish red from red-orange in your stash sometimes? The fabric I pulled as an exemplar here I always just think of as red, until I hold it up to my color wheel. Nope, guess it's actually red-orange. But if I held it up to another red-orange fabric, it would likely look more true-red. So color is often quite relative.
Not so much anymore. I seem to be in a turquoise phase this year. But I digress.
I do like purple and fuschia together. In fact, I believe I wore a lot of purple and fuschia together in college. You might be able to recall what time period that was. For those of you alive back then, anyway...
And Finally, Two Colors/Two Colors and a Jazzy FriendSo for this one, we stick with the above color harmony but then jump directly across the color wheel and find the opposite.
Okay, so it's a little tricky to find the opposite when there isn't a direct line. Color Magic for Quilters suggests you draw a line from your first two colors into the center of the color wheel, and then draw the tail of the "Y" from that center point to find your opposite color. Hmmm. To tell the truth, I couldn't exactly decide if I was going green, or yellow-green. It could actually be that I'm going somewhere in that spectrum of green to yellow-green. (Or it could've been that I was doing this at midnight and getting a little loopy with sleepiness.)
In any case, I pulled a green from my stash to accent my original purple and red-orange pairing. Looking at it, my green could just as easily be seen as yellow-green. Or somewhere between the two. This is where color theory becomes less of a science and more of an art.
The 24-point color wheel is even more problematic, trying to figure out exactly which color is directly across. Besides, mine's really really small and I was having problems seeing by then.
I ended up with violet, fuschia, and yellow-green set here. Eye-popping. Would be a really fun kids' quilt or teenage girl quilt!