Tippecanoe Quilt - in Arizona

This quilt is based on the traditional quilt block Tippecanoe, that also goes by Crossed Canoes and other names. It is featured in Denyse Schmidt's book Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration. I used April Rhodes Arizona fabric and coordinating soft cotton solids (I think Cotton Couture but I can't be sure - they're super soft). 


Quilt measures 87x64" - a perfect twin size or large throw quilt. I started it at least two years ago and found it quite busy for my usual aesthetic, so it sat in the WIP stack for quite some time. Backed in icy teal, pale seafoam, it balances out nicely.


Meryl Quilt - Raw Edge Adventures

This falls into the category of "Oh, I thought you were joking." A dear friend asked for a Meryl Streep quilt and then a few weeks later, emailed me a bunch of images of her, over the ages, for inspiration. I kindly considered the images, selected my favorite, and tabled it for a decade down the road when I felt at all prepared to tackle that. 


About one year went by and Meryl was still a glimmer in the eye. I attend QuiltCon in Savannah, and there is this pop art quilt of Abraham Lincoln. I realized that doing a literal interpretation of her was always bound to fail, but that pop art might be my out. 

I Googled pop art images of her and found this one: 

meryl regular.jpeg

I got all excited and started pulling beige and grey and blacks and purples for this quilt. My husband stopped me: "You wanted to do a pop art quilt, not copy someone's version of Meryl Streep from the internet. You need to change to colors to pop art." Me: "Yeah, I don't know how to do that."

He helped me learn! Then Meryl became this, which I gridded off in 4x4 squares.

Colorful Meryl.jpg

It got worse before it got better though: I started by using regular piecing for each square. It turned out literally look like Frankenstein, so again the project stalled. I started looking into raw edge applique and the possibilities and limitations, and risks of that method. Just gluing down tiny pieces of fabric? Would it work?

This is supposed to be the top right corner, part of her head and hair. YIKES. 

This is supposed to be the top right corner, part of her head and hair. YIKES. 

The raw edge applique was liberating and terrifying. I used NO interfacing, just a gluestick and some scissors. I got to use colors I almost never use, like pink and purple, and even now I know she's quite delicate. 

Would I make another one? Hard to say. This was a LOT of hours, after a LOT of trial and error, and it's a decorative quilt only. But, I'm proud of myself for facing the challenge and turning out a product. Also, that moment when she started to actually look like Meryl Streep was kind of great.

Meryl Streep Quilt.jpg
Meryl Quilt2.jpg




I admired her original in the show at QuiltCon 2013, and marveled over the quirky houses, her fabric designs that seem to work so well with the aesthetic (she is an architect by training) and those straight-but-not straight quilting lines. Those "are they free motion or straight line and how tedious that must be" quilting lines. 

As the universe worked out, she re-released the pattern last year, since before that it was impossible to find, even on the internet. She also released my favorite fabric line maybe ever, Carkai, and so I knew I needed to finally make my version, using those. 

It's a block-of-the-month, and the paper piecing is tedious enough that you kind of need a month in between each block to rest your brain and return with renewed energy -- paper piecing does not favor the tired brain or someone looking for mindless patchwork. I started in March and finished the quilt top by September, then spent about six weeks quilting all those lines. 

Yes, that's right, I also mastered (ok, tackled and felt good about) her method for quilting as well. In 2016 I discovered CreativeBug, which is basically Netflix for craft tutorials, so as long as you're willing to pay $5/month, you have unlimited access to thousands of their tutorials. I will say more things elsewhere on Be The Ink about how I learned weaving and how to crochet in 2016 as well, all thanks to CreativeBug and the cadre of fantastic talent they have teaching online tutorials. I'm a walking advertisement for that resource. 

My point is, Carolyn Friedlander did a two-parter on modern quilting, including a demonstration of how she gets these lines in her work. They are free motion. Yes, they require a fairly steady hand. Yes, the lines are never perfect. Yes, there are plenty of weird mistakes in mine if you get close enough. But seriously, compared to straight line quilting all of that, flipping the quilt that many times? I would never have done it. The lines end up being an incredible part of my overall finished piece. The texture is incredible just to ponder and to run your fingers over.

It hangs on the wall in my office. Coworkers and students delight, and it makes me happy when I need a moment to breathe. 




Improvisational, original design. Machine pieced, hand and machine quilted.

This quilt was included in the juried QuiltCon Quilt Show, Savannah, GA, February 2017.


Ugly Nine Patch


To be clear, I love this quilt. I love using Essex yarn-dyed linen in my quilts, and I am constantly inspired by menswear pattern, texture, and color. This was my very intentional stab at mixing colors I don't normally consider together, some prints, and a whole lot of randomness. 


Nine patch is a classic quilt block and basically the first thing you learn when you learn how to piece or patchwork. I would also like to add that it is probably one of the most satisfying blocks to make, nesting all those seams, and watching the five/four pattern take effect in each block and as the whole piece comes together.


I used red pearl cotton thread to hand quilt a very lovely grid across the whole quilt. It's backed in Mammoth flannel, very random color combinations that were still in stock by the time I decided what to do with Mammoth flannels --again, my love for menswear meant that I was determined to eventually find a reason to use them in a quilt. This was my first stab at polyester high-loft batting in a quilt too, so it's very cushy and cozy, especially paired with the flannel.


I will be sending this quilt off to a very special family member, and I have daily pangs of quilt separation anxiety when I think about parting with this guy. But, that is the sign of a well-loved and well-made quilt.


Dark Star Mini


*This quilt is for sale, $300. Contact if interested.*

Machine pieced and hand quilted, naturally dyed textiles from Brainerd, MN.

This quilt was inspired by the breath-taking and always gorgeous work of Maura Ambrose, under her company Folk Fibers. I have to restrain myself from not simply making a replica of every one of her quilts. This one is a mini (something I usually have shied away from, but am seeing the appeal nowadays) using all natural-dyed fabrics and hand-quilted. It was machine pieced.  

I bought these fabrics in a bundle from Cherrywood Fabrics while at QuiltCon 2015, and feeling particularly impressed and inspired, as I had just finished Maura's workshop on natural dyeing. I had new-found appreciation for the difficulty of creating black fabric through natural dyeing, so I made sure to grab some of that to go with my pretty pinky-reds (made by the madder root, I had just learned). This simple star, bold the way the colors play off one another, is the result.

Using all natural-dyed fabrics and hand quilted, 24"x24"; 2015. Binding and photography finished this year, hence the delay.

jessie quilts-9379.jpg
jessie quilts--3.jpg

Calm tones, flying geese



I started this quilt ages ago. (Read about its beginnings here.) No, really, it might be one of the earliest quilts I wanted to make, after I had a sewing machine and had made a couple. I loved the palette of these colors, murky, calm, cool, and I love flying geese. But, turns out they take a long time to make, and I got bored making them. So I decided, this is modern quilting, I'll put them against a lot of negative space! Then I decided I would use the geese to practice my hand quilting. In the interim years from when I started this (2012, if I have to put a date on it) and when I finished it a few weeks ago, Brittany came into my brother's life, and then our family forever when she had Adrian, my niece. Now she's also an Edens, and I have two sisters-in-law.

Turns out this color scheme is exactly her. I couldn't have designed something more perfect for her if I was trying, I think. Also, there were so many hours wrapped up in that quilt, as well as one blood stain and one wine stain (classic quilter, there) that I didn't want to sell it and definitely didn't want it to leave the family.

The quilt is mostly Kona Pepper, and it is backed in the micro-corduroy made in the same Kona Pepper, which reads slightly more grey than the regular cotton. I did straight-line quilting where there are no geese or squares, and hand quilted inside the geese and squares. All kona solids on this one.


Massive Maples



Machine pieced and quilted, hand quilting on the green maple. 

Made using Massive Maples tutorial by Darcy Childress at Modern Cozy.

A few years ago, one of my West Atlanta Modern Quilt Guild buddies, Darcy (of Modern Cozy) posted this quick and graphic quilt, taking the classic maple leaf and blowing it up large. I thought of it when my mother-in-law requested a quilt for her to use while reading in bed, napping, and other reasons to have a good solid throw quilt, and it fit perfectly because she requested "earth tones"--not typically my color palette.

I set about interpreting earth tones in a way that still felt like me, and used some shot cottons and Essex linen and yarn dyed linen to that effect. This really does come together quickly. I hand-quilted the green maple leaf, and pulled that quirky batik-looking fabric from some stash I inherited from my mom. My mom was also there to talk through some ideas early in the planning stage, which is when we found the wonderful backing/binding fabric, in those murky tones, striped like surreal water, while wandering Jeri's Quilt Patch (Norway, Michigan) last year during our visit to the U.P. I used that as the starting point for the colors and aesthetic for this quilt.

From the time I began the thought process on this one, several quilts came up that had priority first, including Casey's quilt, which he commissioned, and a baby quilt for my sister-in-law who was expecting her son, and a few other projects. So while this was originally meant to be a Christmas gift, it was a mother's day gift instead. 

Green and purple shot cottons were picked up during our trip to Portland in December, at Cool Quilts. What a wonderful and well-curated small little shop! Both the quilt shops included in this quilt's process operate out of old, charming houses, with rooms of bolts and bolts and notions in the hallways. The green pearl cotton used to hand quilt the leaf was a gift from my brother Paul and his wife Brittany, in the most perfect, Harry Potter-esque ink bottle green.