somewhat herringbone quilt

by Dorie on May 6, 2014

somewhat herringbone quilt

At the end of this quilt, what I have to say is, Yes, that is the quilt I wanted to make! This quilt was gradual. I knew the feeling of the thing I wanted to get to, but I wasn’t sure at the beginning how I was going to get there. Wait, hold the phone – is that what improv is supposed to be? Mmm, I think so.

The very beginning of this quilt was a play with leftover whites. I thought I’d do a whole chevron quilt with all the different whites I had left from other projects. I was inspired by Natalie & co’s do good stitches quilt, and I used the this tutorial from six white horses as a jumping off point. It seemed like a good idea – I had different white and off-white quilting cottons, some white on white prints, some white linen – but it got boring quickly. I still think that would have been a good idea, but I would have needed more variety in the whites (and more patience).

Not really enjoying the white-on-white-on-white process, I decided to add some color. The mustard and aqua are pulled from the colors Meg picked for our first Kids Clothes Week web site season. I was deep into development and they were beautiful. And then gray, because I love gray.

I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time trying to make things look random. I over-think the randomness, and I didn’t want to do that in this project. So, my piecing process went like this: Cut up a bunch of strips of fabrics in varying widths and about the same length. Safety pin the strips in pairs. Put them all in a big sack. When ready to sew, pull a pair from the sack and sew it to the chevron row. I mostly stuck to this, but sometimes the next fabric was too wrong and I just couldn’t. My prerogative. (Points if you’re singing Bobby Brown now. More points if you have done a dance routine to this song.)

I finished assembling the quilt top at winter retreat with the Ann Arbor MQG, the perfect place to do such a thing. I was glad to be surrounded by quilters with good feedback! I knew I wanted the rows to have white space, but not too much white space, because the quilt is really about the texture of the herringbone. I messed around with the spacing and row order until I was happy with it.

And last, but in this case actually not least, the quilting. This might be the first time I was really excited about how the quilting was, for real, making the quilt even better. I quilted the quilt in zig-zag lines, loosely following the herringbone pattern. Like the strips, the space between quilting lines is varied.

Happy about it.


Nina May 6, 2014 at 9:37 am

Gah, stunning. And I like your process, and the fact that it turned out to be just what you’d hoped!

Lorna May 6, 2014 at 10:45 am

LOVE IT! It is really hard to be intentionally random. I applaud your outcome (and the method).

Sarah from mila+cuatro May 7, 2014 at 4:07 am

I think it looks fantastic. I almost got up and danced.

erin May 7, 2014 at 7:19 am

dorie, i love it! and your description of your process is fantastic.

meg May 7, 2014 at 3:33 pm

I don’t need permission, make my own decisions, it’s my per..rog..i..tive! I will forever think of this as the Bobby Brown quilt now. And I still love it.

CitricSugar May 7, 2014 at 8:46 pm

Oh, gosh, that’s pretty, Dorie! I’m a big fan of improv and working without a set plan. Your soft colours and use of the low-impact whites… wow!

PS. I’m giving a presentation on Monday on modern quilting for one of the local guilds. May I use a photo of this quilt? I would of course cite your blog and identify you as the artist.

Sarah May 10, 2014 at 7:03 am

Stunning! Just, wow. Gorgeous.

Deborah May 12, 2014 at 11:23 am

I love this!! I am intrigued by the idea of a white-on-white quilt, but I agree with you: I think I’d need to inject some color to make the whites more enjoyable. The quilting lines on this really emphasize the variation in the chevron sizes–looks super!

Natalie May 19, 2014 at 10:24 pm

I love your quilt. I don’t do well with radome either.

ann May 24, 2014 at 5:22 pm

I just love this! Love the use of negative space. It’s going straight into my inspiration file!

Amanda June 6, 2014 at 8:32 am


Corinne Berinstein November 29, 2014 at 12:13 pm

Beautiful. Love your work.

Carol Stearns November 30, 2014 at 7:39 am

I love this. I can see grabbing all those little strips I have in a bin next to my cutting table and sewing them together. Usually, this bin is for scraps too small to use but hey, this design is perfect for those. But then again, I’ve got sew many other fabrics to choose from. Thanks.

Kim October 8, 2015 at 1:16 am

awesome awesome awesome. I’m inspired beyond to make similar for a charity quilt I signed up to make. Herringbone takes forever!!!! I don’t even know if you understand how over the top beautiful this is. Make a pattern for sale or sell this to bed bath and beyond or a bedding co. Colors and texture and quilting and errything

Kelly in Chicago May 17, 2016 at 2:19 pm

This is totally simple and beautiful in its simplicity. I love it and I’ve pinned it to my “Quilty Goodness” board on Pinterest (with proper credit, of course!). Feel free to follow me if you’d like:

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