Bright and Black

Today as I was re-arranging some quilts in the house, I was a bit surprised to find how much I use black in my quilts. I suppose it’s because of my love of brights and black goes so well with brights. Some of these quilts you’ve seen before, some fairly recently but just to give you a little show of a few of my quilts with black, you’ll get to see them again! 🙂

And, so many of the older quilts have stories or bring back memories — things I don’t remember til I see these quilts so I’ll share a few stories with you too.

This, of course, was our most recent Quilt for an Hour project. Since this quilt was just completed a month or so ago, there’s no great story to go with this one. What I will remember most about this quilt is that I put the seven borders on while at mom’s, without the benefit of my big cutting/measuring space and had a huge mess and had to remove most of them and start over after I got home.

This quilt will be shown at the AQS Expo in Nashville in a couple of weeks. I love the colors in this quilt. All but the black is batik. There’s lots and lots of quilting but black on black doesn’t show up well at all and I doubt I’ll ever put this much quilting into a black quilt, especially I will not use black thread on it, again.

If you click on this picture to see a larger image, you’ll be able to see a bit of the quilting. There are half feathers in the green and the other half in the purple strips, with the ‘stones’ type stitching in between the two rows. The outer border has a Pepper Cory stencil with ‘stones’ quilted inside the circle. Lots of microstippling that doesn’t show up. Grrrr!

The quilt shown below has lots of stories. These friendship stars were from a swap that was done in the early 90’s. They sat around forever and when I finally decided to put them together, like so many swap type blocks, they weren’t all exactly the same size – anywhere from 9″ to almost 10″ unfinished. They were supposed to be 9-1/2″. So, I took a bunch of Moda Marbles and added strips around the blocks, then squared those up. When we were in KY, we’d go to GA and stay in a cabin every year at Christmas. This particular year, I wanted to bring my Bernina 930 and Vince insisted we didn’t have room so I brought a Featherweight. I have several and I had one that was slower that . . well . . Christmas. Of course, that’s the one I grabbed. It would literally make like 2 stitches a minute. I took it apart and did everything within my limited ability to get that thing running. The second day we were there, I told Vince I had to go to Wal-Mart and buy a cheap machine because I couldn’t stand sewing on that slow Featherweight. On the way out of town to Wal-Mart, we stopped by a little antique store and wouldn’t you know it . . they had a Singer 301. It didn’t work but I knew immediately what was wrong. Someone had removed the bobbin case and needleplate cover and when they replaced it all, the little arm thing wasn’t in the right position. It was in a very nice cabinet with a nice stool and I got it for a song! Took it back to the cabin, re-positioned the little arm and I was back in business. But, then we had to get the cabinet, the stool, the 301 and the Featherweight back home. I’ve since had the Featherweight fixed and whatever it was, must’ve been not much because Mr. Murphy didn’t even charge me.

This quilt is the stack and slash type. It’s another project I took along one summer when traveling with Vince to a convention. I think we were in Nashville this year and the convention was actually at the Opryland Hotel but because we brought Speck along, we stayed at another hotel that allowed pets. It was one of those suites type hotels because Vince was gone all day and sometimes late into the evening and I would fix myself snacks in the little kitchen and sew non-stop.

And, this Stack & Whack is my quilt that won Best of Category at the AQS Expo in 2004. I still can’t believe it won . . I had several struggles with it but it is a beautiful quilt . . if I say so myself.

A closeup of the background quilting, which is my version of McTavishing made famous by Karen McTavish.

You all know how much I love feathers. As I got to the border, I just couldn’t quite see how I was going to incorporate feathers into this border but it was such a perfect spot for feathers. They had to fit. I drafted my curve for the spine but I still wasn’t quite sure feathers were what this quilt needed. Then I thought . . leaves! So I kinda made feathery leaves using the variegated thread and I guess it worked!

Hope you enjoyed my little Black and Bright Quilt Show!


  1. 1

    Vicky says

    The one thing that strikes me most about your quilts, all of them, is that you use very little focus fabric. You let your colors do the work. I so admire your fabric choices. I’m a real focus fabric person. No imagination to pull colors together without that focus.

    Beautiful quilts.

  2. 2

    deputyswife says

    I have to agree with Vicky. I like how you choose and display your colors.

    I will tell you a little secret… sometimes when I see your fabric selection, pre-cut, I think “Oh, I don’t know about those colors.” Then, when I see the finished product, or even just a block, I think “What the heck was I thinking? It’s beautiful!” Really, I do love your quilts.

    I would have to say the color I like to use most is black. The reason I started quilting in the first place was because of Amish quilts. I loved the rich colors set against the black background. Though, do you think I have made on yet? lol!

    Thanks for sharing some more of your quilts. They are beautiful!

  3. 3

    Kim says

    I loved looking at your quilt show! I too am drawn to black, but not so much the brights, so I don’t end up using a ton of black. Although that doesn’t keep me from buying it. But I think that unlike you, I often buy a “focus fabric” type of print in black–something showy and graphic. I just love the graphic look of some of the black and white fabrics. I sure don’t know what I’ll do with them, though, other than “collect” them! LOL! Oh, and your bread was making me drool, even though we just finished dinner. Darn it! Drooling over bread and drooling over quilts. It’s not a pretty sight, believe me!

  4. 4

    QuiltMom says

    Your black quilts are all gorgeous- I especially liked your stack and whack quilt- It is awhile since I made a stack and whack and I blew my color choices (or at least I didnt like them and I have always disliked the quilt)Your quilt makes me want to rethink whether I might try it again and make another one. I really liked the multicolored border on one of the first ones and I think you may have helped me solve a border problem on a star quilt I am currently working on- the total dimensions are 60 inches square and I want to make it somewhat bigger so that I can make it into a twin quilt for my mother in law. As always your blog is filled with interesting ideas that inspire other ideas.
    Thanks for sharing your beautiful black quilts- You have great color sense.
    Regards from a Western Canadian Quilter,

  5. 6

    Mrs. Goodneedle says

    Great show! Thanks for inviting us in. I loved the story about the Featherweight and the 301. I , too, have a 221 that sews oh, so s-l-o-w; I thought it probably needed a new motor, maybe not; after reading that yours was something much simpler. I need to have it looked at. Again, thanks for all the black/brights… this was fun!

  6. 7

    Carol says

    Judy, what a wonderful quilt show and great memories. Isn’t it amazing how our quilts make us remember things that we would probably forget in day to day life.

  7. 8

    Suzanne Earley says

    Thanks for the quilt show and stories this morning, Judy! I think it’s interesting how our style always has a tendency to show through even when we aren’t aware we are doing it.

  8. 9

    Carolyn says

    A cup of tea and Judy’s Quilt Show…what a great thing to wake up to! Thanks for sharing, you’re work is astounding!

  9. 10

    Kaye Wood says

    I love your choice of colors. And you are right—black is it.
    Thanks for sharing your quilts.
    Kaye Wood

  10. 12

    Henrietta says

    Thank you so much for the show, a lovely and inspiring start to what is going to be a horrible day.

  11. 13

    Tanya says

    Beautiful, beautiful quilts! I haven’t used black that much in my quilts though the one I made with batiks was just perfect with the black. I’ll be sure to try using it again. Your quilting is gorgeous!

  12. 14

    Deb says

    Thanks for the quilt show Judy. All your work is wonderful. I too am drawn to darks(if not black) and brights. And the stories behind the quilts bring them to life.