Quiltmaker 100 Blocks

Quiltmaker 100 Blocks
My block is in the November 2015 issue!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Opposites Attract Blog Hop - Black and White Blocks

Hi everyone and welcome to Day One of the Opposites Attract Blog Hop!  

Do you have a quilting 'bucket list'? In other words, a list of quilts or quilting projects that you would like to make? I don't have a written list, but I do have a mental one. I basically have three requirements for a bucket list quilt - I want to learn the technique, I really like the way a certain pattern looks, or I want to try different color combinations.  I'm not sure that a certain color combination is a technique, and it certainly isn't a pattern, but it is something that I want explore, so I added it as a requirement. 

One color combination that I have been wanting to try is black and white. So when I first heard the title of this blog hop, I immediately knew what I wanted to do for it. Black and white! What is more opposite than black and white?

Two color quilts aren't new. A few years ago, there was a quilt exhibit in New York City of a collection of quilts from a woman who collected only red and white quilts. There were 650 quilts in the exhibition, and the collection included quilts from three centuries! It's hard to believe that there are so many red and white quilts! Take a look at this link:
Red and White

I was thinking about doing something similar for black and white quilts. Except that my collection will have to be a virtual collection, since I have neither the resources to purchase a bunch of quilts nor the space to store them! So for the time being, my collection is on Pinterest. I started a board to keep pictures and links for black and white quilts separate from my other all-purpose "Things I want to Make" and "Quilts" pages. Here is a link, if you are interested in seeing it: Black and White Quilt Pinterest Board

In the course of playing around with black and white fabrics for this blog hop, I've discovered that making black and white quilt blocks isn't as easy as you would think. For one thing, there are many different definitions of 'white'! Who knew? For example, milk is white, right?  But take a look at whole milk next to skim milk.  Whole milk is a creamier white, while skim has a grey or blue cast to it. But they are both 'white'. So you need to take a look at the undertone of the white fabrics that you want to use, especially if you are going to go scrappy. I found out from the owner of the local quilt store near me that 'white-white' is called 'optic-white'.  Be aware that, if you are going to use a lot of optic white in a quilt, any other whites in that quilt may end up looking gray or dingy.  

Similarly, there are variations in black fabrics.  A black fabric may look 'blacker' if there is less of a print and more solid black.  For instance in the picture with all the blocks below, the whirligig (my term, not sure what it is actually called!) in the block in the upper left hand corner really stands out.  In the closeup of that block, on the right, you can see that the whirligig black is almost solid, with only a few speckles of white.  The other black in that block has more of a white print, so it doesn't stand out as much.  

12 Black and White blocks
Whirligig Block

The two blocks below both use two white on black prints that are very similar in saturation.  I thought that the difference would be enough to make the pattern really stand out, but it didn't work.  When looking at them close up, the difference is obvious but from a distance, they mush together and blend in.  

Blacks blend together from a distance
Another example of blended blacks

You can use the differences in blacks and whites to your advantage, to help achieve dimension and definition.  If you want the blacks to blend together more, use one with more of a print and less solid.  Conversely, if you use a white with a black print, it can also help to either define that section of the block or help it to blend in.

The three blocks pictured below are a much better example of what I was hoping to achieve.  They show more of the definition that can be created by using fabrics with different amounts of black or white print to really make the design elements pop. 


I'm including the one below, not just because it is a great example of definition, but because I love it! I did some fussy cutting to achieve the center medallion look. Fussy Cutting is a technique I want to explore. Hmmm, another one for the bucket list?

My favorite black and white block so far!

Now, for the giveaway!  The friendly folks at The Fat Quarter Shop have generously donated a $25 gift certificate to be given away each day of the hop. To enter to win today's giveaway, use the Rafflecopter link below.  Good luck to everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway