Color Blog Series – Black and White

Have you all read about the year-long Color Blog Series? It’s hosted by my friend Michelle Wilkie who blogs quite regularly over at Factotum of Arts. First a little background: Michelle and I got to be pretty good internet friends and finally were able to meet in person at QuiltCon 2015. We thought it was fate when two of our mini quilts were hung up next to each other during the show. I’m excited to see her again next spring when I’ll be presenting a workshop for her guild The Triangle MQG.


Me and Michelle at QuiltCon 2015 – notice my black and white bag!!

I was excited to choose Black and White for my color this month.  I think one of the reasons I like using black and white so much is there’s not much color theory involved. You can’t get more opposite when pairing contrasting black and white together! So I thought I’d share a few quilts I’ve made using this graphic combo and talk a little bit about each.

Modern X

Modern X

Modern X was the first quilt I made using black and white. I created it for the Modern Quilt Guild’s pattern of the month series back in 2014 and after making it, was hooked on using this color combo. I used black and white Kona solids to create the highest amount of contrast possible, and created a focal point by coloring the X with a pop of yellow-green. Pattern available here.


Christa Watson Illusions

The design of Illusions was on my mind for quite a few years before actually making it. I got the idea from the optical illusion known as “cafe walls” and wanted to see if the illusion would still work in quilt form. Again, I used solid black and white, with solid gray forming the skinny lines between the squares. To really see the optical illusion in action, scroll your screen up and down a few times to see it wiggle. 🙂


Quilting detail on Illusions, using black, white and gray threads to match.

Illusions hung at QuiltCon in 2015 and caught the notice of the editors of Modern Quilts Unlimited, where the pattern was subsequently published in the Spring 2016 issue.



Ahh Lightning!! This time I used prints to create the strong contrast. The thing I learned in working with black and white prints is that you need to separate them into piles of white prints on mostly black background and the opposite: black prints on a mostly white backround. If too many of the prints have equal amounts of both colors, the contrast will be lost when mixed with other fabrics. I love throwing in a bit of gray when working with black and white prints to give the composition a bit of extra interest.

Again, I chose to accent part of the design using yellow-green solids. I guess I have a thing with black, white and green! Lightning is patterned in mybook Machine Quilting with Style, and I used leftovers to make a fun pieced backing!


Click here for a tutorial on making the pieced backing.



Lately I have been having a thing for HRT (half-rectangle triangle) designs. Usually when I design in EQ7, I start out with solid black and white. That’s where this design is now. I’m sure I will tweak it quite a bit before coming up with a final layout. I may even completely change the colors, too. But for now, using black and white while designing allows me to create the most graphic impact I can, allowing me to focus on the design, rather than the colors I will eventually use. The funny thing is, each time I’ve started a design in black and white, I want to make that version, too!

Double Star Quilt

Double Star Quilt

I designed this Double Star Block for a friend’s monthly block tutorial series (The Beehive from Blossom Heart Quilts) and I love secondary pattern that emerges when the blocks are placed together side by side. This is one of those ideas that I designed in gray scale first, and then just decided to keep it that way! Although I only made one block for the series, I’m dying to make a whole quilt from these!


Click here to get my double star block tutorial.

How about you? I’m curious to know what your favorite color, or color combination is. Please leave a comment and let me know! The be sure to follow along with the color series to see other fabulous combos.

Click here to read all of the color series posts on Factotum of Arts.

6 thoughts on “Color Blog Series – Black and White

  1. Lori says:

    Your double star quilt block has a wonderful sense of movement and dimension. I can see it would work beautifully with any number of tone on tone colors, it’s a real classic.

  2. Paula S. Pike says:

    Christa, as I love most of your work, the black and white with a punch of color is probably the most stunning for me. I’ve always loved the impact black and white makes! Thanks for keeping us inspired.

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