Adding Black & White to a Rainbow

Way back – I mean four decades ago – I must have sat in a Physics lesson and learned about light. I can vaguely remember sending a beam of light through a prism and trying to identify the rainbow colours that were refracted (I think that is the right term). My Dad has been a keen photographer for many years and has read lots of weighty books on the subject and in so doing learned much about colour: including the odd fact that black and white are NOT colours! Huh?

In physics, a color is visible light with a specific wavelength. Black and white are not colors because they do not have specific wavelengths. Instead, white light contains all wavelengths of visible light. Black, on the other hand, is the absence of visible light.

Quoted from Seattlepi.

I’m wary of using black in the quilts I make – especially using a solid black as binding. This stems from a History lesson when we were told that war-time telegrams telling of the death of a loved-one were printed with black borders so recipients were warned of tragic news before opening the envelope. Isn’t it peculiar the things that stick in one’s mind and the associations they create over so many years?
Chocolatier Block of the month by Gen X Quilter, available at Purple Stitches, UKAnyway, it’s about time my mind stopped wandering around my school days and arrived at patchwork quilting: For the past 12  months I’ve been leading workshops based on the Chocolatier Block Of the Month organised by Viv at Purple Stitches. She recreated the Chocolatier quilt using a rainbow of Kona solids. The finished quilt is pretty large – 72″ square.
A perk of leading the workshops is receiving the block fabrics month by month – I’ve been using the fabrics to test the patterns, write my class notes, with hints and tips, plus checking that the correct quantities of fabric are sent out to everyone who is taking part.
Additional Chocolatier block by New Every Morning Patchwork & QuiltingWith all 24 blocks and the eight border panels completed I designed a different layout, making a smaller quilt (58″ square). I liked the idea of setting the blocks on-point, this required making a 25th block. I collected the green scraps from previous blocks and came up with this design. Not sure what to call this block…
Then I wondered about the sashing and whether to include cornerstones or not? Whew! I’m so happy that I decided to have cornerstones. To my eye, these little black and white beauties lift this quilt top without merging or interfering with the rainbow colours of the blocks. 🙂
Alternative Chocolatier by New Every Morning Patchwork & Quilting
So, this is what got me thinking about the nature of colour and the peculiar non-colour identities of black and white. (Thank you for hanging on – I got to the point in the end). Black and white seem a natural, well matched choice when adding extra features to a rainbow-style quilt, don’t you think? Maybe I will be less fearful of black borders in future? I intend to use the Flurry white-on-black fabric for the binding – having used it for the cornerstones and the narrow borders.

Alternative Chocolatier binding choice by New Every Morning Patchwork & Quilting
I’ve placed some pieces of the Flurry B&W behind a corner to show how the binding will complete the ‘frame’ around the borders and corner blocks.

Does a certain colour hold associations for you that maybe make you more or less likely to use it in your patchwork quilt making?
Linking with Lorna for Let’s Bee Social. She’s sharing a couple of quilts made using and adapting her animal patterns as well as a catch up with life going on around her patchwork quilting.
Allison

12 thoughts on “Adding Black & White to a Rainbow

  1. I really like this layout and the black and white definitely adds to the design. It is good to step out of our comfort zones now and then. 🙂

  2. I really like reading your posts to listen to the memories you relate…. I don’t seem to have a problem using black….some colours just pop when beside black. The design you’ve created for the layout of these blocks is really good. Thanks for sharing. Linda … cozy-quilts.ca

  3. The black borders make the quilt very unique. Never be afraid of it..I am trying to blend it too in quilts lately and the result is very good.

  4. I really like the patterns and colours in this quilt – I always enjoy hearing about your sewing and seeing the work in progress and completed. B&W works so well in bringing the colours alive!
    Julie Kirsch xxx

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