What’s black and white and red all over?

September 10, 2017 EDIT:

If you have come here from a Facebook page called “I Love Quilting” and are looking for the free pattern for this block, I am sorry to say the pattern is no longer free.

4The owner of that Facebook page took the liberty of reposting my picture on their page without my knowledge or permission, and didn’t bother to check their facts about this “free” pattern.  It was free four years ago, when I first made the block and blogged about it.

However, you may still purchase this lovely Bobbie Ashley pattern for $7.95 on Craftsy.

I apologize for any aggravation this has caused.

And now back to the blog....


My latest blocks for the birthday block exchange, that’s what!  And I have to say, I absolutely LOVE them!2I’ve never been much of a black and white fan, but lately I’ve been noticing that black and white, even if it’s just a small touch, adds quite a bit of zing to a quilt.  So when this month’s Birthday Block Swap partner requested black, white, and red, I accepted the challenge with anticipation.

3I’ve had a fat quarter of that adorable mushroom house print for a while, and this was the perfect project to use it in.  LOVE it.  And yes, I did make the striped print match in the corners on purpose.  My husband teases me about it, but sometimes being anal detail-oriented has it’s benefits.  I like paying attention to the little things.

4But this is the block that has stolen my heart.  I love, love, love it.  It’s actually a free download from RJR.  (Edited to add that after nearly 4 years, RJR has finally taken it down from their website, but you can purchase it from the designer here.)  Is it not absolutely gorgeous?

One teensy, tiny problem I discovered while pressing and starching.  Gasp – one of those red fabrics was a bleeder!

6A cautionary tale, to be sure.  That fabric is good quality quilting cotton – designed by Alex Anderson, manufactured by P&B Textiles, and yes, it was prewashed.  It still bled.  I took a deep breath, snagged a couple of color catchers from the laundry room, and filled the sink with hot water.  I put one color catcher on top of each petal and let it sit for about 30 minutes.  I squished, pushed, and crunched the color catcher on top of the fabric.  I swished the fabric a bit more, then I drained the sink.  Filled it up again and added one fresh color catcher.  Let it soak.  This time the water was clear and the color catcher stayed white.  I rubbed and squished it some more on the bleeding reds and it stayed white.  So I drained it, let the block air-dry, then pressed it.  I’m confident it’s done bleeding.

I usually don’t trust color catchers to catch everything in the wash, but I didn’t have anything else to use.  My guidance regarding bleeding fabrics comes from Vicki Welsh.  She hand-dyes her own fabrics and did a little experiment with bleeding dyes – go ahead and read about it here, I’ll wait.  It’s totally worth your time.

Nowadays, I would (as recommended by Vicki) soak the snot out of that red fabric, instead of just washing it.  However, I acquired this fabric before I stumbled across Vicki’s experiment.  Fortunately, the color catchers worked.  The back of the block is dyed where those fabrics bled, but the front looks crisp and perfect.

5And I might have to put a black, white, and red quilt on my Bucket List!

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17 thoughts on “What’s black and white and red all over?

  1. Peggi: Always enjoy you blog but today was especially great. Love your blocks, sometimes it seems the pop of color is just an after thought. Your use of the red really flows into the blocks without being jarring. I so agree that applique block is great! Been looking at applique recently, love the pattern, thanks for the link.
    I do a little hand dyeing so thanks for the link to Vicki’s site!
    In short, entertained by your beautiful blocks, have a new pattern I really like, have some valuable tips on testing for colorfastness. Thank you.

  2. Hi Emma! It’s always a thrill when a post elicits a happy comment, but this one really had me grinning from ear to ear. Being able to give back what I’ve learned – in a referral to another site, the link to a new block, or just “looking” at something a little differently than one normally sees – is a thrill for me. The fact that you found three things in my post that will inspire your quilting makes writing these posts worthwhile 🙂 Thanks so much for visiting our site!

  3. Love the blocks, and thanks for the links. I think it is cool you took the time to match the stripes in the corners. That attention to detail makes that block.

  4. Omg, I have had the same thing happen. Thank you for the tips. You now have a new follower. Btw red and white quilts are many favorite. I’m so going to try the block. 🙂

    • I looked all over for a block name but haven’t found the name of them. Just that its block a or b. I will continue to search though. This is on my to make list once I get moved to our new house.

  5. I just found you a few days ago! Love you works of art. My mother kept things from bleeding by boiling the item in vinegar water -dry completely – iron – wash again- if water is clean – finished – if not – boil it again with vinegar, rinse. The 1960 had many items of color that bled. I didn’t mind pink, but my brothers did!

    • Hi Diane!
      You have a great idea there, but unfortunately today’s synthetic dyes aren’t affected much by vinegar. The boiling probably helps set the dye more than anything, which is pretty much why I use the process I do – place the fabric in plenty of 140° water and let it sit overnight. The good news is, it works every time! Now I just need to remember to test my fabrics before using them….

    • Hi Kathy,
      The pattern is still available on RJR’s site. The link worked fine when I tested it just now. Click the link, then click on the red “download pattern here” right under the picture of the quilt.

  6. Can you tell me where I can buy the fabric, I have downloaded the pattern and can’t wait to get started on this fascinating project

    • Hi Margaret,
      I used assorted fabrics from my stash, purchased over the last 5-7 years from various outlets. I couldn’t begin to tell you where most of the fabrics came from, sorry!

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