My Black-and-White Blues

I’ve been wanting to make a Black & White quilt for a few years.  A couple of years ago Gretchen & I went to Olive Juice Quilts and I bought their version of a black & white jelly roll.  That jelly roll has been sitting on my shelf ever since, and every once in a while I would think about it and wonder what I should do with it.  Then at a quilt retreat last year, one of the women in our group made a black & white log cabin at the retreat (yes….start to finish she had a finished log cabin top!).

Here’s Karen’s finished B&W Log Cabin:
(She had just finished holding it up and was starting to fold it when I saw it, so that’s why it’s such a wonky photo!)

At that moment I realized that I also wanted to do a black & white log cabin.  I borrowed her instructions for the fabric requirements and saved them in my phone so I could look them up when out fabric shopping.  Fast forward a few months and I found myself at Antoinette’s Quilt Shop near my in-laws and they had a nice selection of black & white fabric so I made my purchase.

Here are my Black & Whites.  I went with a different red than what is pictured here:

It’s been another few months (OK, almost a year) and I finally dug out the fabric and decided to press and cut it into 2.5″ strips.  Then I figured I may as well pull out the instructions and see what they say, and I was really surprised with the instructions on how to assemble the blocks so I started to sew.   They went together really quickly – the pattern is from Eleanor Burns ‘Quilt in a Day’ and I can see how it’s possible with her method.

I skipped ahead (still using her method, but with just doing one strip at a time) and finished two blocks so I could see how they’d look.  Because you don’t press at each stage with her method, I didn’t really look at my block until it was done, so it was kind of a surprise.


I’m going to admit….I don’t love the block.  I feel like my first two ‘whites’ are too similar in their black/white balance, and the same goes with my first two ‘blacks’.  I had help selecting fabric at the store, and it looked OK when the bolts were all standing together, but in the actual block…well…I don’t love it.  I’ve only completed 2 of 36 so far, and I’m hoping once they’re all complete and on my design wall I’ll have a change of heart. I really do I hope I fall in love with it…I had such high hopes!



About msminnesota

I'm a wife, mom of two (one blue, one pink), and I work full time. Our family loves to camp, and we're often on mini adventures during the summer. My fall/winter/spring/rainy day hobby is quilting. I started about 10 years ago, then put everything away when The Blue One was born. A few years ago a good friend decided to take up this 'hobby' and I've been back at it ever since. She's my partner in crime (A.K.A. 'the enabler'). I have no aspirations of becoming a quilt designer - I'm just not that good at geometry (I rely on my math major/computer programmer husband to help with piecing backs at times!). This little blog is my way of chronicling my quilting adventures. Occasionally I post about non-quilting things as well. Thanks for stopping by. Don't forget to say HI! IG: wannabequilter
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14 Responses to My Black-and-White Blues

  1. patti says:

    Don’t give up I bet you will like it. I have always loved black and white. Wish I lived closer to Olive Juice. I was only in that shop once, wow!!

  2. Carmit says:

    Would you consider adding a bit of grey to the blacks? that way they blacks won’t be quite so stark against the whites?

    • msminnesota says:

      Hmm, you know, I hadn’t thought about adding grey. I like the starkness, but I think I was expecting more of a contrast and I didn’t end up with that in the fabrics I selected. Thanks for the comment – you’ve given me something to think about.

  3. Beth says:

    I think once you have a few blocks done, on the wall and are able to step back from it you’ll love it again. I think it looks great!

  4. wendy says:

    If you’re not happy with the 2 blocks, why not try making one with the fabrics in a different order (the outer of each colour in the middle of the other two prints) and see if you like that better? I’d say it’s worth experimenting at this stage to find something you love before making 36 more blocks.

    • msminnesota says:

      Well, I don’t have enough of each fabric to totally change up the order. I only bought what the pattern called for (rounded up to the 1/4 yard), so I can’t go crazy and change things up. I usually really over-buy so that would normally be an option!

  5. Marly says:

    It looks fine to me, but I think Wendy’s advice is sound. Try cutting some pieces and moving them around on the wall before you commit to 36 blocks. I don’t think the first two fabrics on each side are too close in value. Try looking at the block with your eyes nearly closed; that blurs the details and maybe helps to see the value better.

    • msminnesota says:

      I’m going to keep on sewing, and throw 6-8 blocks up on the design wall and start moving them around and see what I come up with. I love the squinting advice…I’ve never done that!

  6. You’ve gotten a lot of good advice so far. I also squint hard to see the values, and it helps. Because you saw and commented on the Log Cabin I’m working on, I’ll tell you that I laid out one block, and almost quit the whole thing. I was so disappointed, and I had to play a lot with varying the strips. Still not thrilled. I had to sew all four before I could see the completed design. I tried 2 with the darker pinks and blues meeting, and then 2 with using the lighter of each meeting in the block. Mine are all going to be different, but I really like how your inspiration in the start of your post has such a beautiful secondary pattern from identical blocks. Mine won’t.

    I have a lot of luck taking a picture, and using the different filters on my iPhone. Have you tried that? Or, use your photo editing software to manipulate the blocks you have, turning them as you would if there were 4 made, and view it on your computer. It would save you some time constructing the next two. And last of all, sometimes it just takes a while to grow on you. I think you’re really going to like it in the end.

    Hang in there, friend.

    • msminnesota says:

      I’ve never thought about taking a picture and looking at it with the different iPhone filters…I will try that as I don’t have photo editing software. This will sound strange, but I didn’t lay out the fabric to see how it would look as a block before I started sewing. Her method has you sewing each segment onto the next 2.5″ strip – it’s really different, but super efficient. So you don’t even really have to get a good look at them until they’re finished…which is so unlike how I normally construct blocks. It’s an interesting process.
      My son thinks the blocks are cool and he has picked out a couple of layouts that he likes. We’ll see if one of his favorites ‘wins’ in the end!
      Thank you for taking the time to comment. I appreciate your thoughts!

  7. carla bynum says:

    Hi!!!! No!!!! I think there is just enough difference in them!!!! I love it!!!! I agree with your son!!!!! Very cool!!!!!

  8. Pingback: The Unplanned Purchases | Wanna-Be-Quilter

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