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…
I 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.
The 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.
I 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”
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.
I must admit in use a lot of white and cream. It could’ve colour crutch. Do you use cream/beige at all?
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?
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.
Great pattern! Looks great. I don’t like to use black very much, I think I feel so many traditional quilts rely on black and it just becomes gloomy to me.
I think going in to this exercise I was scared it would be gloomy but was pleased that the blue dragged into the “bright” spectrum.
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.
I love the idea of binding in black…I am definitely going to give that one a go.
This is stunning. I love the color combo.
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.
I love this!
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.
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!
Oh a black and grey trip along sounds fabulous.. And a great idea for a male quilt.
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.
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.
I really love the glitter, as you know.
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.
I do use black. In fact I am doing the Sugar Cube 2014 QAL and chose black, white and yellow, and grey as my color scheme. I love your aqua and black!!!!
Black white and yellow is a great combination.
This is such a gorgeous block Cath!! I’m a big black fan, but yellow and orange are always more challenging for me.
I have done a few orange and yellow quilts, as I love the warmth these colours bring to things. I am really going to have to play more with black.
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.
Love hunters star blocks
This is my first time using the pattern and I love it. There is so much you can do with it.
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!
They are cool but not as cool as your paper plane quilt.
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.
I was surprised how much black had made it into my cart and then into my stash. I obviously do not edit my carts well enough.
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 🙂
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.
Cath, this is stunning! You’re so talented 🙂
I’ve always loved black in quilts! I think this is fantastic. Right in my wheelhouse for sure!
The fabulous graphic nature if your quilts just calls out for black. You use it well.
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 🙂
Sarah I love the idea that you did not know it was my work. I am now going to strive to “throw” you again…you know how I love a challenge.
Love it! It works so well with the bright turquoise.
Mind you, navy would also look stunning 🙂
I must admit when I was making this quilt I was thinking the same thing…navy would look great…it took a lot of will power to stick with the black.
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…. …
I really do think solid black is still an issue…maybe there is another challenge in all this!
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.
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!
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.
I am thinking that when I do my husbands quilt there may have to be black in it. It sounds like a great option for those difficult boys/men’s quilts.
I love black, but I understand your concerns… This experiment is fab!
What a successful experiment ~ striking!
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! 😀
Oh it’s gorgeous!!! And black I love 😉
It’s just gorgeous! The larger quilt top is stunning and I would not even think that from that one basic block that such a lovely quilt could come out of it.
Wow… those are some awesome colors! That aqua is just so stunning! Great job!
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!
Very stunning – I love how you used the black as your neutral. I really enjoyed your color theory presentation at the meeting!!
I am glad you enjoyed the talk. It was so much fun to out together and really got me thinking about how I use colour in my quilting.
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!
Pingback: Another quilt top done… | WOMBAT QUILTS