What’s black and white with a red behind?

My latest customer quilt of course!  This quilt is from the March/April issue of Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting and is called “Study in Black and White”.  It is a very striking quilt and she has done a good job of lining up all the stripes; they would definitely have shown if she had been the least bit off.

Study in Black and White

She originally wanted a black backing which was no problem because I carry black batting.  Never again will I make the mistake of using white batting with a dark backing!  She ended up with a deep red instead so I still used the black batting.  Luckily, the white fabric is a good quality tone-on-tone and the black backing didn’t affect it other than make the heavier white print stand out a bit more.

She brought the magazine with her and asked that I quilt it the same way it had been done in the magazine.  No problem I figured.  Lots of straight and curvy lines; should be fairly easy.  OK – so it wasn’t exactly difficult but extremely time consuming!  The quilt is 110″ x 106 so a fairly good size and was on my frame for almost 3 weeks.  True – I had company for a week during that time but I still worked on it an hour or so at a time while they were here.  What took so long?  Well, in the white areas they had quilted what I called a Greek Key design – it’s not what it is but it’s what I called it!  I originally tried to just measure and mark the design and quilt around it using a ruler.  That didn’t work so well as it was too easy for the design to go “off”.  I decided a template was once again in order so I printed off some graph paper and made a freezer paper template that I traced.  That didn’t work so well either.  I ended up spraying the back of the template with temp. adhesive and carefully quilting around it!

freezer paper template

freezer paper template 2

Every third or fourth strip I would have to stop and press the template again to stiffen it up and spray some more adhesive on the back.  It is a pretty sad looking template now that I’m done LOL

I did have some issues with the backing.  My customer wanted the bobbin thread to match and after a couple of days working with the tension I came to the decision that from now on the bobbin thread will match the top thread.  I have some “pokies” going on that no matter what I did to bring the tension in line the red bobbin thread showed in the white fabric.  So pokies it is.  From a distance  you don’t notice them but I know they are there and they bug me.


The backing is actually a much deeper red than this.  You can sort of make out the quilting that was done.  I used So Fine! in the bobbin.  Usually I use the BottomLine but I didn’t have the right red.  I had no trouble with the thread at all and will not hesitate to use it for the bobbin again.  Speaking of bobbins – it took over 5 bobbins – the large ‘M’ size.


The black centre square has a simple meander in it; the white box is simply outlined; the black outer square has a simple curved wavy line and the wide black border has an allover hooky type of doodle.

Greek 'key' type design

I used King Tut #978 Rosetta Stone for the large black areas.  I really wasn’t sure how it would look but it really soften the harshness of the black and white without taking away from the boldness.

I have never had so many starts and stops in my life!  I can usually backtrack to lock the stitches when I use So Fine (because it is so fine :)) but not when using the red bobbin thread AGGHH. I outlined all of the white and each white strip had at least 4 threads to knot and bury.

So – the final tally?  Over 300 thread tails knotted and buried

Did I ever explain why I named my bog Threadtails?  All through sewing classes in school – right through grade 12 tailoring – the main comment from my instructors was ‘You need to cut your thread tails!’  Life sure is funny sometimes.

5 thoughts on “What’s black and white with a red behind?

  1. Gale Manson says:

    Hi…I love this quilt!! My son has wanted me to make him a black and white quilt for a long time…..i have just been trying to find the right style that would fit his likings….i finally came upon it….Study in black in white!! Is there any possible way i could get this pattern to make it? I love the trail connection look of the blocks…..! I will wait for a reply…Thank you …Gale Manson.

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