Sunday, January 22, 2023


 As you are reading this, I am finishing up a 3+ day trip to the Needlechasers Guild of Iuka, MS. We are at their annual Retreat--at Pickwick State Park Lodge in Counce, TN.

There is a great statement I learned about quiltmaking years ago on a episode of "Simply Quilts" with Alex Anderson. "Color gets all the credit, but Contrast does all the work!"

I made this top years ago to prove the point. Each of these blocks is sewn in the EXACT SAME WAY--meaning all the pieces are exactly the same size and in the same location. 

It is the placement of light, medium and dark value fabrics that determines what you see:

I really like blocks that appear hard to figure out. And color and contrast can make that work for you.

Here is a simple quilt that is special because of placement of contrasting fabrics: Simply Serene , pattern available on Etsy:

Here is a very simple antique top I bought years ago for the lovely collection of old fabrics. It was only when I hung it on the design wall to photograph that I saw the distinct pattern that was no accident:

Here are some Western Sun star blocks made the first day of our Needlechasers Guild retreat. In most, the star is prominent. But in a few, you have to really look to see it. We call these “Maverick” blocks, same design, color and contrast determine what you see:

The next time you want to just PLAY, take a favorite block and change the color/contrast layout. See how many versions you can make that are different.

Let Contrast do some of the work for you as you make great quilts.

Let's quilt.



  1. That is a great idea! I watched Alex when she was on Cable and that is how I learned how to quilt - she had the top of the line Designers, Appliquer's and Piecers that were wonderful teachers!

  2. Those four blocks look amazingly different. Good lesson!

  3. This is a great post on an important subject. Your example in the top photo really tells the story. I made a churn dash quilt where I played with the value placement and it makes such a difference.

  4. OMGoodness - I forgot that saying - I learned it as "Color gets all the credit, but value does all the work" . I remember when I first understood the concept, it was a HUGE "Ah-Ha" moment. Now every single quilt I do a value study rather than worry to much about color. If the values are right, the design will be right. Thanks for the reminder!