Monochrome Quilts

As I stated in a previous post, I’ve not had much of an opportunity to work with quilts in monochrome, i.e., mostly one color, or black and white, etc. I would not say that I go out of my way to have quilts just bursting in neon color or anything, but I definitely have at least the primary and tertiary colors present in most of my quilts. Or shades of pastel. So I wondered what was out there, and went looking.

This page from Craftsy shows some great black and white patterns:

“Black and white quilting is a high-contrast approach to patchwork that lends itself to stunning designs. Simple white fabrics paired with black fabrics can give a bold, dramatic look to your patchwork. Many traditional quilt patterns look beautiful when pieced from black and white quilting fabrics. Some quilt pattern designers have also drafted patterns to be used specifically with high-contrast, neutral fabrics.” (Photo via Craftsy member CarolynHughey)

As posted last week, here is a recent high-contrast Black and White quilt I made:

Here’s a masterful quilter advocating for going after a neutral approach in choosing colors and patterns, and to use the things learned regarding value as a springboard from which to become an excellent color decider:

“La Belle Fleur” bed runner

“Here is my ground-breaking, life-changing, you-better-listen-up
statement: If you want to learn about COLOR, make a neutral quilt!  
What??? Yes, I said that! You’ll learn more about color if you work with
a no-color palette for a while. In other words, when you limit your
palette to no color, you are FORCED to deal with value and value only.
Choosing fabrics and thinking about value is crucial when building a
quilt that pleases you. It is often said that color gets the credit but
value does all the work. Making an all-neutral quilt is the best lesson
for learning how to use value to your advantage.”

Red Quilts. And apparently, many red quilts exist.

This Martha Stewart blog discusses an exhibit of three centuries of red and white quilts:

from Martha’s Blog

 “Joanna Rose, a New York quilt collector, has a collection of more than 1,300 quilts but she really wanted to put her entire collection of red and white quilts on public display, all 651 of them and no two alike!”

This blog shares some great patterns for only red and white quilts, for those interested:

from Quilt Inspiration

“One of the highlights of the red-and-white quilt show was an art deco Vortex Quilt dated 1910 (we featured it here).   To our amazement, quilter Paula Yates not only re-created the original, but shared her instructions and templates in a three-part tutorial.  Visit her blog, Quilt Rascal, to see Part One, Part Two and Part Three. “

Blue Quilts. I did not find many discussions on just blue quilts, but I did find this great design by Esther Aliu (her blog is really fun, FYI, because it offers quilt sharing opportunities through link parties):

from Esther Aliu

“WIPs are funny things. You work so hard to get a quilt done and then, for no explicable reason, it just doesn’t feel finished. Has that ever happened to you? I felt this way about Oma’s Blues -so much so that I broke my own ‘rule’ and re-released it this year as a free BOM, I normally never do this but I just couldn’t finish it and then ignore it after so much hard work.”

White Quilts. Now, this seems like the ultimate frontier: a quilt that is all white! However, a long-standing French tradition brings us the Marseilles quilt:

These bedspreads were inspired by the beautiful white needlework for which Marseilles and the surrounding region of Provence in southern France are known. The distinctive style involved creating intricate raised patterns by “stuffing” shapes stitched in between two pieces of cotton. Quilts made like this were expensive, scarce, much-admired imports in the English-speaking world.In the mid-18th century British weavers set to work to reproduce the effect on a loom. Robert Elsden patented his solution in 1763, and is credited with being the inventor of “woven quilting”. Different firms developed their own complex layered weaves imitating the textures and patterns of hand sewn Provençal quilting. By the later 19th century, bedspreads like this were widely available at moderate prices. The name morphed, and the bed-covers were also known as Marcella counterpanes or coverlets. from Old and Interesting

These seem so cool that I decided to look for some more images:

By Marie Véronique Soulier – œuvre personnelle d’aprés un modèle de la collection “Boutis Provence” de Francine Born, CC BY-SA 3.0,

This site shares some wonderful examples of Marseilles quilts.  A fellow quilt blogger in England had an incredible opportunity to witness some marvelously rare and old quilts from the Bolton Museum storage facility:

A brief tour of
the facility highlighted the amazing variety of the collections,
including – from a textile interest – spinning wheels, looms, small and
huge, to wonderful textiles, both local and global.

 Rose has kindly given me permission to share some of these quilts on my blog today.

This is a wonderful Marseilles quilt with many complex animal and floral patterns around a central star:

Marseilles quilt. Photo with permission of Bolton Museum and Archives and Rose

and here’s another wonderful close-up of bird and flower motifs:

Just amazing to me the amount of labour that has to go into creating such a quilt. I am fascinated by the way this intricate work can compensate for colour in terms of creating a beautiful and interesting quilt. I wonder how long it would take me to create the above quilt, by hand, the way quilters constructed them back in the day? Maybe one day I will try! (not)

Here is another great site discussing traditional French quilting techniques that probably deserves its own post:

French quilted needleworks are no recent discovery, they have almost always existed. They consist of a layer of cotton, wool or silk batting covered on both sides with layers of plain or printed fabric, held together by a quilting representing specific motifs. Over the centuries, France developed its own textile traditions that can somehow be related to quilting.
In the French southern region called Provence, the first whole-cloth quilts appeared in the middle of the 17th century. This kind of needlework was already known in Sicily in the 13th and 14th centuries. The cottons used to make boutis came from Egypt, China or India. Three techniques followed one another: the ” matelassage ” (a certain kind of whole-cloth quilt), the ” piqûre de Marseilles ” and the ” boutis “. (from History of Quilts)

Lots more could be done or said about different sorts of quilts, but I think you get the picture. Lots of things can be done with a limited palette and unlimited time and imagination!

from Blogger

2 thoughts on “Monochrome Quilts

    • Unfortunately, I didn’t use a pattern to make this quilt. I used pre-printed fabric by Riley Blake, which already had the shapes on it.

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