An interesting Colour Play challenge

First up a little bit of background before I show you what I am playing with this week….  Last week I gave a presentation on Playing with Color in quilting to the Portland Modern Quilt Guild.  I talked a little about color theory and a lot about the colour schemes that quilters can borrow from the art based theory, as well as ones we have come up with on our own (like Low Volume).   During the presentation I also talked about ‘neutrals’, those fun, versatile colours that play nice with nearly every colour they meet.  It was during this part of the presentation that this weeks challenge presented itself…

So I was talking about the standard neutrals – white, cream, grey, brown and of course navy blue, which is my favorite neutral…though it is not really an official neutral.  I rambled on about how navy is my response to my personal aversion to black as a neutral.  I find black harsh and though it gives great contrast, I do not tend to use it unless I absolutely have to and always opt for navy or dark grey instead.   I will, on occasion, condescend to use black and white prints but never straight black.

As I was making these statements I realised that I should not be making such a harsh judgement on black without at least giving it a go.

So I choose a pattern and went to work…

hunter star patternI went with the traditional Hunters Star block and used the paper piecing pattern by Quilters Cache.  It seemed like the perfect pattern to make use of the high contrast of my colour choices.

hunter star block piecesThe block pieces join together to make these wonderful stars… and we all know how I feel about stars!   When you add a number of blocks together you get to see the bigger pattern which is stunning.

hunter star wipI have to admit I am thrilled with how this “experiment” turned out.  I think because I am using scraps and different blacks, the colour is not quite as harsh as a solid black, and the blue just seems to pop off the quilt.

So going forward I am not saying I will be abandoning navy blue any time soon but I may give black more than a fleeting glance next time I am pulling fabric.  So is this aversion to black just me or do others share my feelings?  Have you used it in any of your quilts?

As it is Wednesday I am linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday




61 thoughts on “An interesting Colour Play challenge

  1. I love this, it turned out so pretty! You chose a great color to go with the black, and lots of great blacks to use! I haven’t used black much, and almost completely avoid white.

  2. I, too, have an aversion to black. Recently, after the MQG challenge, my husband issued his own challenge: make a quilt with mostly black, and add in pink and metallics, that you love, and get a prize. He added the pink and metallic because I have an aversion to those as well. Best part is the prize comes from his “crafty” budget, not mine!!! I love this pattern though – perfect for high contrast. I hope you finish this into a large quilt; it’ll be spectacular! 😀

    • I love the idea of your husband challenging you…though I do not understand the pink and metallic aversions. I do not think I have made a quilt in the last year or so that does not have a splash of Mirror Ball in it. Lovely subtle metallic in a wonderful array of colours. So how is the challenge going?

  3. I agree, the colors are stunning and work great with this pattern. I don’t use black too often but I have seen many quilts that I love where they have used black to really set off other bright colors.

  4. What a great quilt, I really like your fabric selections.
    I love black, but use it mainly for a binding or a border. My favourite ‘neutral’ is a very dark purple batik, my local quilt store calls it a blender – there is no definite pattern, almost a subtle water colour effect – and it seems to go with everything.

  5. it’s fabulous! good for you for questioning your set ways and at least being willing to try something out before committing to not liking it! you were well rewarded. this is a beautiful block with a great secondary pattern. it’s simply stunning! and I think you are right that using the various blacks helped ease the starkness you were worried about.

  6. Your quilt is beautiful! I love black in a quilt and try to use it whenever I can. They say when you decorate in your house, each room should have something black. It kind of “grounds” the space. I feel the same what about using it in a quilt. I just did a herringbone quilt with tons of different fabrics and some were black and white. Then I used a black and white binding of several different fabrics but each black and white and it turned out awesome.

  7. This is so beautiful! I actually just finished piecing a Hunter’s Star quilt top and it’s funny how the choice of color makes such a difference! I don’t use black much because I am always drawn to light and white backgrounds, but I did make a scrappy trip along quilt for my son at Christmas that was all blacks and grays… it turned out great! Love what you’ve done here!

  8. I love this colour combination. The blacks that you use are tonal and give the pattern an extra depth and dimension that would otherwise be missing. Truly lovely. I just want you to know that your beautiful quilts have inspired me to take up this hobby. I am starting with your star pattern (that you have on your website) and although I am finding it slow and difficult I am determined to finish this quilt. Thank you for your posts.

    • Julie I am so glad you have taken up this fun hobby. I must admit I love it and the creativity it allows me to express. Please let me know when you have something to show…I would love to see what you create.

  9. I’m with you on solid blacks, but do like and use black on black or black/grey and black/white prints. I do very much like what you’re doing with this Hunter’s Star block, it has a real ‘glitter’ to the stars.

  10. I don’t think there is any colour combo that you assemble that does not look fantastic – I challenge you to find one! I am usually a white person but recently left my comfort zone and tried blacks instead. I loved the results, digging through my black scraps to add contrast and a whole new look in my quilting.

    I just love your use of black and am so inspired by your use of ‘simple’ paper piecing blocks to produce fantastic designs. Many thanks for the inspiration you provide.

  11. I like your hunter star; I agree that the black works because it is varied prints. About 5 or so years ago black was very in as a background, supposedly it made quilts more sophisticated. I don’t work with it in the large quantities that sometimes are a background, but I do like to use accents of it.

  12. I am making a black and rainbow quilt out of paper pieced stars, it is on Flickr in my pictures (supersara20). I love black and I’d rather use black than whites in a quilt. The black just makes colors pop!

  13. Actually, navy is one of my favourite background colours too. Kona Nautical is fantastic.

    I haven’t bought much back, I keep putting it in my online shopping cart then taking it out, but I like your challenge, I shall have to try.

  14. Ooooh I love this!! The black really makes the color pop. I am a big fan of black in quilts, but I also use a LOT of primary bright colors, so the black is a great contrast. I’ve been drawn more to white lately, but do like black 🙂

  15. Your post makes me laugh because I really like black, and I agree your blocks look great with the mix of black prints. I laugh because I have never used navy before in a quilt, but last month I purchased my first big yardage of navy solid to work with for a specific project and I’m feeling uneasy about it – only because it is new for me – but I think it will end up looking great. Your quilts and projects always have fabulous color and I find them very inspiring.

  16. So this really is stunning, but it’s funny/interesting — I saw it pop up on flickr and had no clue it was yours until I came across it in my IG feed. (I pretty much assume any visually striking gray+(bright color) is attributable to you, so the black here definitely threw me off!) I’m still not entirely sure how to incorporate into my own style but I’m happy to live vicariously through you as you explore this new side of your aesthetic 🙂

  17. I know what you meen Cath. But MY problem is solid black not so much black patterned, black/grey etc…. And as you wrote I think the difference in your quilts is the use of several different kinds of fabric in black…. …

  18. Wow! I have stayed away from this pattern because I didn’t see much in the way of interest for me. Two colors, too boring. Your scrappy version along with the paper piecing is going to make me rethink what I think of this version. As far as black goes, I like black. I like to use it as background when I want my applique to really pop. Your use of a variety of black has given new direction to what I use black for. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • I love the idea of appliquéing onto black. I could really see that working because you are making your own fabric really and breaking up the blacks. Ooh you have given me some food for thought.

  19. wow! I love how this is coming out. That’s a good question, do neutral’s have to be beige? Or can they be any color that descends into the background.

    • It is interesting because grey is considered a neutral really only in modern quilting… So I think to certain extent we can make it up as we go along. Maybe I should start a serious campaign for navy as a neutral!

  20. Hi there. The 2nd quilt I ever did was a King Size for my 25 year old son, who said he wanted purple, gold and black. I did a wonderful paper pieced Mariners Compass quilt and I must admit the black made the gold and purple pop. My other hobby is oil painting, and I never use black! It deadens the other colors, so this was an interesting experiment for me.

  21. You have single-handedly changed my opinion on black. I usually will use it here and there in a design, but never as the predominant neutral. I am inspired to give it a go, now! 😀

  22. See I think this is stunning. I think because your blacks have so much texture in them they are still softer than using a black-balck, if you know what I mean. i admit that I prefer to use black or grey over white, just because I am afraid of my fabrics getting dirty, but I love the look of Low Volume and if I could have every quilt made with LV I’d be the happiest camper int he world.
    Now off to print me soem of these patterns and see if I can’t knowck me together a fantabulous quitl just – like – yours! So pretty!
    E xx

  23. Until recently, the only black fabric I had in my stash was black with a white dot, bought to make toy penguins. I have been trying to expand my horizons, but I doubt I will buy a solid black any time soon.
    I love the combo with the turquoise!

  24. Pingback: Another quilt top done… | WOMBAT QUILTS

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