Double Dutch from Quilts Made Modern

design, quilting, sewing

Really and truly, my worst nightmare as a designer would be to overhear someone say, “All of their stuff looks the same. When are they going to try something different?” Bill and I both felt, when we began Quilts Made Modern (to be released November 2010) we did not merely want to reproduce Modern Quilt Workshop, as much as we adore that book and for all of the success that we’ve had with it. We really wanted to get people to rethink their assumptions about modern quilts and certain associations with fabrics.

So I knew I was on the right path when I walked into a quilt shop and purchased a whole bunch of feedsack prints. “Is this for you?” asked the sales clerk who knew who I was and what kind of quilts we make. “Yes. It’s for a quilt that will appear in our next book,” I answered. “I’m surprised to see you buying this kind of old-fashioned fabric…” she said with a little disdain in her voice. “Bingo!” I thought. “Trust me. It won’t be Sunbonnet Sue,” I assured her. Not that there’s anything wrong with Sunbonnet Sue…(although I will admit to laughing when I see a “Death to Sunbonnet Sue” or “Bad Sue” quilt with Sunbonnet Sue engaging in questionable activities.)

The truth is that I love feedsack prints. They are so sweet and homey to me. I love the simplicity of the colorwork and most of all I love the history of them. I love that feed manufacturers used their packaging so smartly. Wouldn’t it be great if we could make nice clothes from the packaging that our food comes in?

Anyway, I wanted to make a modern quilt using as many feedsack prints as I could find that would work well together. The tricky thing, I think, about working with feedsack prints is that they all have lots of white in them so I decided that I’d introduce a soft red band as a graphic element which would unify all of the different colors of the various prints. Double Dutch is made from a compound, or two-block combination which lends itself really well to a scrappy quilt.

One of the other things we wanted to put in the book was a section on pieced backs. My friend Mary Beth is the queen of pieced backs and she shows up at our Quilters’ Exchange meetings with these unbelievably charming quilt backs that are as lovely as the fronts. (For more on pieced backs, see one of my very first Craft Nectar posts on Beautiful Backsides here. You’ll see the same cute handmade doll as well!) So we used some of the scraps leftover from the front and made a fun backing.

It’s a sweet quilt with the feedsack prints but this very-flexible pattern could easily be transformed into a boy’s quilt with a bunch of plaids or a very graphic quilt with a huge array of solids. It’s super fast to piece so it’s a great option for a bed-size quilt.

We actually shot this quilt in our guest room. We live in a classic 1914 Craftsman Bungalow so the almost 100 years of patina on the woodwork on the windows added to the homey feel we thought. I could also see it in a super modern, white interior though. The Chicago Tribune design critic once referred to our quilts as “Neo-Retro.” I can live with that.

12 thoughts on “Double Dutch from Quilts Made Modern

  1. I can’t wait for your new book. I’ve taken a few classes featuring your Modern Quilt Workshop and even though I found the classes challenging I loved every minute. Now that I am ordering your second book I’ll be sure to get your third as your patterns are great and of course your work with the handicapped inspires me to do the same.

  2. I never ever would have thought that I’d see a quilt made of feedsack prints and think, “Cute!!!” I sure hope you will also teach a class in the 2011 Houston quilt show. Please please please please

  3. I love feedsack prints and can never decide what to do with them – this is a great pattern! I can’t wait for your new book.

  4. what I’d really like to do is come to your neck of the woods and take ALL of your classes. But for the 2011 Houston Quilt Festival, I would be very very interested in learning “From Idea to Quilt” with a bit of “Luminosity” thrown in.

  5. MiChal: Idea to Quilt is best as a 3-day class. It’s an intense class that takes some time and Quilts Inc wants classes that are less than one day. But we do teach all over North America so see if your local guild wants to do some workshops.

  6. I was extremely fortunate to take the Idea to Quilt class when my guild offered it earlier this year. It was a one day class that I can only describe as life changing. If you ever have the opportunity to take this class, I highly recommend it!

  7. I was wondering where you purchased all the fabrics for Fashion District quilt. I can’t seem to locate anything that resembles them, except for decorator fabrics. Can you give me a website to purchase them at? Thanks. Love the quilts in this book.

  8. @Donna – One of the most frustrating parts about publishing quilts we’ve made is the minimum 1-2 year time lag between when we make something and when you see it. Meanwhile, the average fabric line lasts less than a year in stores so we’re forever having the problem you describe.

    Some but not all of the fabrics in Fashion District are still in production now or can still be purchased. Some of the fabrics are from our Wild Bunch line. You can find them on our website http://www.funquilts.com. Others were designed by Kaffe Fassett and you can still find at various online stores. Some, like those designed by Amy Butler, have been out of print for awhile so they will be harder to track down. Some of them were in our stash and others I purchased from several vendors at the Chicago Quilt Festival in April 2009.

    When we just need a yard here and there for a scrappy quilt, we buy from several different local and online sources because no one has everything we’re looking for. If you can, however, get to a large retail show, like the upcoming Quilt Festival in Cincinnati next month (we’ll be there with our own booth!) you have lots of different vendors in one place and that’s really helpful.

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