Herringbone Linen – Modern Whole Cloth Quilt

I love looking at quilting in new and fresh ways. Oftentimes “new and fresh” refers to looking at traditional and established methods and making them your own. I’ve been thinking a lot about designing whole cloth quilts. I’m a little hesitant in calling this a “whole cloth quilt” because most whole cloth quilts are such intricate works of art. I’ve even thought about referring to this as a Plain Quilt a name the Amish use for a whole cloth or almost whole cloth quilt. The word “plain” is quite the misnomer though. There was little to no piecing in Plain Quilts BUT, the stitching though clean and simple was beautiful and often quite intricate.

For those of you that aren’t familiar with the term a whole cloth quilt is simply a quilt made from two pieces of “whole cloth” basted together and then quilted. The highlight of the quilt is of course the actual quilting stitches as there isn’t any piecing. So, for my version of a whole cloth quilt, I started to think of some creative, clean, modern machine quilting patterns.

I’ve been very obsessed with the herringbone pattern lately, sketching many herringbone quilt patterns in my sketchbook and decided to go with a herringbone quilting design for this quilt. I so love how it came out. It is very simple but, very classic and clean. And the rich colors just make the design pop.

I designed this quilt with a specific friend in mind. Liz of Lady Harvatine fame (and one of the most awesome and inventive quilters I know) is having a little Baby Harvatine and I wanted to make something special for her and her little one. Luckily, we knew what her colors would be since the blocks we made for her for the Bricolage & Butter Bee will eventually be a quilt for a guest bed that would go in the babies room. Yippee! So, I set out to find the perfect fabric for this quilt. I figured she would receive a whole slew of quilts (which she did) and thought that she was the perfect candidate for a unique quilt style – that she likely wouldn’t get from anyone else. I auditioned a number of fabrics, including some luscious dupioni silk. In the end, I settled on a  two pieces of linen for the front and the back – very similar in color and texture to the fabrics in her quilt. And a simple cotton binding – again with two fabrics from her quilt.

The front of the quilt is a turquoise blue and the back is a yellow gold color. I don’t know the brand, they are just linen’s that I purchased at Michael Levine’s Fabrics in downtown Los Angeles. I did pre-wash all the fabric since I knew the linen would shrink quite a bit.

Of course, since the highlight of the quilt would be the quilting, I had to decide on the thread that would be used. I chose to use a Yellow/Gold Gutermann Variegated Cotton thread. I love the effect. It adds a subtle character to the quilt that you don’t even much notice until you look at the stitching.

The contrast of the thread with the turquoise on the front was perfect.

I used a decorative stitch on my Janome 6600P that essentially sews a stitch and then sews over that stitch, resulting in a very heavy stitch. (For anyone that has the 6600P it was Mode 2 Stitch 20.)

The beauty of this quilt is in the texture and color and this was difficult to capture in pictures.

I chose to make the backing yellow even though it was just a complementary color on Liz’s quilt. I love how the quilting lines created texture and depth.

I like how the binding frames the quilt and adds another subtle detail. It is a 1″ binding which works well with a simple quilt like this. It includes two fabrics from Liz’s original quilt. I can’t remember the line the green comes from (if you recognize it let me know!) and the red is a Shot Cotton.

Let me know what you think about it. I’d love to see what others interpretation of a modern whole cloth  or “plain” quilt would look like.

Qlt712 - June 20, 2014 - 3:39 pm

Latifa, I came across this quilt from *Crazy Mom Quilt site (she was finishing up a quilt from 2011) and she was inspired by your Genius Quilt… I love this quilt it is unique and a awesome design. You have convinced me that a whole quilt can really be an amazing gorgeous piece of glorious art and using the vibrant fabric colors is by far awesomeness :-)!

yep, it's me - June 20, 2014 - 1:33 pm

Doesn’t this quilt end up looking like one of those things guys use in moving vans to haul furniture?

I’m sure your quilting would be much more appreciated on something pieced.

Jennifer at Ellison Lane Quilts - May 19, 2011 - 11:04 am

Oh I just love this. Very clean, fresh and I love the thread choice too. Excellent quilting.

laura lewis - April 24, 2011 - 1:09 am

seriously. i very rarely comment on blogs, this is INCREDIBLE.

Peacock Chic - April 15, 2011 - 9:59 am

Amazing!!! The design is so simple yet looks so AMAZING. Love the color choices too.

amandajean - March 9, 2011 - 9:56 am

this is an utterly fabulous quilt! nice, nice work!

Cheryl Arkison - January 28, 2011 - 3:52 pm

I’ve had herringbone on the brain too, but haven’t acted on it. This is incredible!

Bonnie - January 25, 2011 - 9:28 pm

Love your blog, Latifah. It is so YOU!

Latifah - January 24, 2011 - 10:46 am

Yes mjb, I find that restraint is one of the biggest design challenges but, when it is effectively utilized the result can be stunning! So glad you like it!

mjb - January 15, 2011 - 8:56 am

I love the bold solids here – I would’ve been tempted to use a print on one side, I think. The quilting is really beautiful.

Kate - January 10, 2011 - 11:55 am

LOVE. I love everything about this quilt, simply gorgeous!

NancyinSTL - January 10, 2011 - 10:11 am

I love your quilting aesthetic and just realized that this was another one of your quilts. To me modern means beautiful in simplicity, so I think calling this quilt a modern whole cloth is right on the money. You seem to know how to make just the right choices of colors, fabrics, thread, and design.

By the way, the pattern in the bricks behind your quilt would make a great quilt design too.

Margaret - January 9, 2011 - 4:37 pm

Love this! The green in the binding looks like it’s from Basic Grey’s ‘Origins’ line.

abi - January 7, 2011 - 8:33 pm

I favorited this on Flickr and didn’t even realized it was you! I should have known…you always make my favorite quilts :) Awesome work, as usual.

Angie - January 7, 2011 - 7:43 pm

Beautiful quilting – it really is a nice way to make a thicker stitch. Great job!!

nichole - January 7, 2011 - 12:27 pm

i have been dreaming of herringbone so much lately! this is so, so lovely. great job!

Melissa - January 7, 2011 - 11:12 am

Stunning. Absolutely stunning. I love the variegated thread, too! What a nice touch. :o)

Liz Harvatine - January 7, 2011 - 9:46 am

I love it so much Latifah! It looks so cute in the room and I can’t wait for the baby to use it!

Sara L. - January 7, 2011 - 9:26 am

Wow! I came here from flickr, because I love this quilt, and the close-ups in this blog are making me a little faint! That thread is luscious. I think I have to go to the quilt store…

Beautiful job!

Stephanie - January 7, 2011 - 5:51 am

I love this quilt so much it’s making me feel a little woozy. Now I NEED to make a modern whole cloth quilt.

kelly - January 7, 2011 - 5:51 am

like everything else you make, this is beautiful and interesting. i enjoyed just reading this post, too! i guess i did a “whole cloth” (or plain – since i wouldn’t call it an intricate work of art) quilt, but i had no idea that’s what i was doing! it was using star wars sheets, but still. :)

yahaira - January 7, 2011 - 5:38 am

everything combined to make a gorgeous quilt. I love whole cloth quilts and have been daydreaming about one since I saw a very lofty one in cream at a eco-store. if I can find the perfect batting I’m going for it with some shot cotton.

Elizabeth @ Don't Call Me Betsy - January 7, 2011 - 4:58 am

Latifah, this quilt is so truly amazing! Thanks for the education on whole cloth quilts, I’d never heard the term before. Yours is just stunning. I love that stitch you used on your machine, it looks practically hand quilted! That variegated thread looks just amazing – I haven’t tried it before, but now I definitely want to!! I love the pieced binding, too. Stellar job, as always!

Debbie-Esch House Quilts - January 7, 2011 - 4:45 am

This is an amazing quilt! I love the idea of a modern whole cloth quilt. I love the thread you chose and that it contrasts on the front and blends on the back – the best of both worlds!

My Bold quilt isn’t whole cloth, but it has minimal piecing and the color and the quilting are the stars.

I tried to insert a link here, but am not sure if it will work in a blog comment. If not and you’d like to see my Bold quilt, check out my eschhousequilts photostream on Flickr.

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