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.

Blue Maize Quilt

At long last, 270 5.5″ HST later – here is the quilt top for my sweetie. I’m not quite sure how I’m going to photograph the whole top – but, I’ll wait until I’m finished the quilting to figure that out. The quilt is massive though – he asked for a king sized but, I could only find batting for a queen sized quilt – thankfully!

This is a side view of the Blue Maize Quilt the blue zig-zag stripe is actually at the top of the quilt. It is 18 rows high. It is made with 15 yellow fabrics – most of them are various shades of yellow Kona cottons but, there is one linen fabric and 3 pieces that are yellow prints just to give it a little interest. There are five  shades of Kona blues that comprise the blue zig zag area. It will be backed in Kona Snow and I believe I’ll bind it in Snow as well.

A detail view. Excuse all the wrinkles and strings! :

Once again, the quilt is turned around to better show it. It’s actually upside down in this shot to show the blue zig-zag area.

I originally planned to have a 6″ square final block size. I started out with 7″ squares but, once the HST’s were finally cut out they were too skewed and small to cut down to a 6.5″ square, so I had to trim them down to 6″. Of course once 6″ blocks are sewn together, you end up with a 5.5″ final block. Oh well. More reason for this to be a Queen size versus the original request of a King size quilt. But, look at this yummy pile of trimmings. I was a little skeptical at all the yellows and the blues but, my fears were quickly assuaged as this pile was built up.

I can’t wait until this baby is all finished!

Latifah - January 24, 2011 - 10:43 am

:-) Happy Zombie, thanks for such a kind comment!

Latifah - January 24, 2011 - 10:42 am

Yes, yellow is definitely not a color that I work with often – or probably ever. I’ll write one day why I made this yellow and blue quilt. . . But, I’m so glad that I was pushed to make this! It is sometimes gratifying to work outside of your norm!

Pam - January 23, 2011 - 7:20 pm

I love your quilts. The whole cloth quilt is beautiful. The colors in this yellow quilt are exquisite.

Those strings are wonderful. I just made a Bonnie Hunter quilt that had a string block. Now I covet your pile of strings! I hope you use them to make something else equally as wonderful!

Patty Simmons - January 22, 2011 - 7:46 am

Absolutely gorgeous! I’m glad it’s not just two fabrics, but how you’ve used so many different shades of the two colors. You may push me into trying yellow. . .

happy zombie - January 19, 2011 - 10:57 am

WOW! If I had socks on, they’d be knocked off right now! I love so much about this – the movement, the dimension, the playfulness… but most of all I love how you’ve made the solids come to life and KA POWIE ZOWIE!

Rosamaría - January 17, 2011 - 5:19 am

wow! that quilt is reeeeally gorgeous!
love the assembly!

mjb - January 9, 2011 - 2:29 pm

Beautiful! I love the sense of movement in this.

Angie - January 6, 2011 - 7:04 pm

What a great assembly of HST. I like the colors with the various hues – Wonderful job!

Kathy Howard - January 6, 2011 - 6:38 pm

There is a way to do binding with one color on one side and another on the other side. I don’t recall the size strips you need. If I find the directions, I’ll post a link here or on twitter.

Latifah - January 6, 2011 - 11:22 am

Oh Lauren! Thanks so much for saying that! Can’t wait until Sew Modern is open!

Sarah – I did think of a blue binding and I think it would be gorgeous. But, my boyfriend asked for two things – a yellow quilt and and all white quilt. Long stories behind why he wanted both but, I figured I’d kill two birds with one stone. If I have a Kona Snow backing and binding then he’ll have an all white quilt on the back! ;-) There is a method to the madness! :-)

Vicki, Chris, and Debbie – thanks so much for the comments!

Sarah - January 6, 2011 - 11:00 am

Gorgeous! So vibrant and beautiful. Have you thought about a blue binding?

Lauren - January 5, 2011 - 8:04 am

Oh, Latifah, I’m exhausted from gasping at the beauty an ingenuity of your quilts. You just take my breath away…and Inspire!

Vicki W - January 5, 2011 - 6:31 am

That quilt is going to be fabulous!

Kris - January 5, 2011 - 4:57 am

Wow! That is stunning. I love the way you used so many shades of the same colors. It has so much depth.

Debbie-Esch House Quilts - January 5, 2011 - 4:52 am

This quilt is stunning! The blues look so rich against the yellows. I also love the scrappy yet limited color range. Beautiful!

Bricolage & Butter Bee Blocks – the Finale

I am officially, THE WORST BEE MEMBER EVER. Not proud of it, but, it’s officially a fact. So, I spent my vacation in December catching up! I figured I should at least start the new year off being all caught up.

I don’t know why I’m so bad, but, I think that my Bee blocks get in the way of all the other quilty ideas spilling out of my head and if you could only see the inside of my head you would understand!

In any case, I’ll post about these in two different posts for the two bees that I’m closing out for the year. The first Bee was the Bricolage & Butter Bee. I HAD to finish these blocks since we were having our B&B Finale celebration, which happened a few nights ago. And, guess what? I actually had lots of fun putting these together. Why, oh why did it take me so long?

First of all I would like to thank Jamie for hosting such a fun Bee! It really was a great group! I can’t wait to see the finished product of all of these blocks!

First are blocks for the fabulous Terri (who hosted our finale shindig at her equally fabulous home). I’m so embarrassed to say, Terri was Ms. May in the Bee. I told you I was bad. In any case, Terri’s quilt will be amazing when it’s done. She picked out all of these luscious shades of reds. Terri is a very precise and meticulous quilter and her instructions for the Bee were very meticulous and detailed and dare I say a little intimidating. But, it was fun to finally put these blocks together. This quilt is going to be beautiful!

I think I was the most inspired by Chris’s blocks. I’ve been intrigued lately by neutrals with that pop of color so this definitely spoke to me. (I so want the first block as a whole quilt! Gotta put that on the list!) This is going to be so yummy when Chris finishes!

And, then there was Emily. Emily, picked out this amazing array of fabrics in gray and chartreuse and aqua. I love this color combination. (I so think that my mother would love a quilt out of these colors. Gotta put that on the list!) I chatted with Em at the party and I was sad to find out that in hindsight she wishes she had asked us to use more of the solids in our blocks. She said the blocks were looking too busy when they were put all together. I can’t wait to see how she puts them all together though! Sometimes the most amazing creations are formed when out plans don’t work out as we wanted.

Liz’s blocks were fun, quick and easy to put together. Liz is having a little girl – very soon I must add – and wanted us to make blocks for a quilt that would go on the guest bed in the baby’s room. I absolutely love the colors that she chose. Aren’t they fab? Perfect for a baby! I love that she chose non-traditional colors for a baby girl too.

And, last but not least how cute will these little houses be in a quilt? Kelli had us make these little houses and I can’t wait to see how her quilt will come out! She asked for four of these super quick and easy blocks but, I only had enough fabric for 3 and a half!

Jamie G - January 16, 2011 - 11:25 pm

Latifah! It was wonderful beeing with you this past year. much love!

Debbie-Esch House Quilts - January 4, 2011 - 6:01 am

What a great bunch of blocks! I must say the neutral one is my favorite too.

Cheryl Arkison - January 3, 2011 - 2:39 pm

Those neutrals with the turquoise! Incredible.

Measured Improv: Love Potion #9 (Wonky Hexagon Quilt)

Hexagons are perfect in so many ways.

One of the reasons they are so perfect for quilts is because they are the only other regular polygon, besides for squares and regular triangles, that will tessellate. I hope I didn’t lose everyone in that last statement. In plain English this means that you can piece together regular hexagons over and over again covering a space without any gaps or overlaps. (If ANYONE is curious, the word “regular ” in terms of polygons means that all the sides are the same length and it also has the same angles all around). As a result there are many wonderful hexagon patterns for quilts. And, of course we have the old craze becoming new again of paper pieced hexagons.

So, I started thinking about how I would do hexagons. I also wanted to complete a quilt in my Measured Improv. series that wasn’t so much an artistic quilt like The Big Log or Up In The Air but, a more fun, creative, crafty one. Of course it still had to utilize the method of Measured Improv. Somewhere along the way I thought, how about improvisationally pieced Hexagons! Wallah!

So, I came up with this pattern. It was a lot of fun to put together. I’ll be posting a tutorial of this one soon! It’s fairly simple and painless with very little measuring.

There are 9 “Wonky” Hexagons each has a blue center. There are three other colors in each block that are arranged in alternating arrangements: reds, oranges, and greens/turquoises.  There are fabrics from quite a few different lines in this quilt, I wont try to name them all. Two lines that stand out and appear more than once are Love by Amy Butler and Modern Meadow by Joel Dewberry. The background is Kona White. I thought about using Snow or something a little more mellow but, I love how crisp this quilt looks with the bright Kona White. The hexagons are pieced improv style with very little measuring which makes them fun and very organic. I love that they are not perfect “regular” hexagons but, each one has it’s own personality.

I love the binding for this quilt. It is from the Joel Dewberry’s line Modern Meadow. To me it looks like stripes and zig zags all at the same time.

The backing is a mostly denim. I wanted this quilt to be fairly sturdy. I even toyed with the idea of using an indoor/outdoor fabric on the back. But, I realized that the quilt would have to be dry cleaned if I did that so that quickly got voted down. I decided to use an old standby for durability – denim – and realized that Elizabeth from Oh Fransson! recently used the same for her picnic quilt! How fun is that. I wanted to just put denim on the back but, I guess I underestimated the amount that I would need. So, I pieced strips of leftover fabric from the front and made an elongated hexagon  out of it to add to the back.  (The following image only shows one half of the backing because the grass was a little damp and I didn’t want the front to get muddy.)

I pieced my label into the denim backing. The quilt wasn’t named until after it was completed so I simply added the name to the label.

Naming quilts can be very difficult for me. I think I have a hard time naming them because I’m too close to them.  After working on them for so long, it’s hard for me to step back and look at the bigger picture. Lucky for me I have the “bestest quilt namer” in all the world in my corner, my girlfriend Courtney! All I have to do is snap a picture with my phone and shoot it across the miles to Texas where she lives. She is so awesome and comes up with so many amazing names! They are so great that I want to use them all! For this quilt she started off with the concept of “Hexed” as in a spell and from that came up with “Love Potion #9″. Genius! It was especially perfect since this will be used as a Picnic Quilt for two, hence the “Love Potion”. And, it has 9 Hexagon’s in it! Yay! Thanks Courtney for coming up with so many amazing names for my quilts!

Stay posted for the tutorial for this quilt as well as lots of cool picnic accessories!

Heather - September 20, 2013 - 11:48 am

Love everything about this site especially the thought process behind each quilted piece.

EG - July 27, 2012 - 7:24 pm

Did you post the pattern/ tutorial? I really like this!

Linda High - January 16, 2012 - 6:04 pm

Do you have the pattern for this quilt? How do you make the blocks?

anne - October 21, 2011 - 3:24 pm

wow love this quilt and the fabric looks great. Is there a tutorial on this one as it sounds like it would be fun to make.

Mandy M - July 17, 2011 - 6:17 pm

I really like this top and can see me using several scraps. My question to you are the hexs appliqued or pieced to the kona white? I looked for your mention of a tutorial but didn’t find it, did I miss the location?

Latifah - January 24, 2011 - 10:44 am

:-) Just love to inspire! And, work can absolutely wait! Haha!

happy zombie - January 19, 2011 - 10:52 am

I love the quilt and I love the most perfect name! I really see myself having a problem coming to your blog, Latifah… I want to drop every thing and make something from all that you inspire me with. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing – work can wait!!

NancyinSTL - January 10, 2011 - 10:20 am

For your friend Courtney, there might just be a new quilt business opportunity for her as a professional quilt namer. I’ve had conversations with my quilter friends about how difficult it is to name their quilts.

All kidding aside, I also love the idea of using denim for the backing of a picnic quilt, but until now, never thought of using black or another colored denim. Thanks for that idea!

Angie - January 6, 2011 - 7:12 pm

Very fun quilt – I am a huge fan of a pieced quilt to bring the front and back together :) Great fabric selection too!

Lori - January 5, 2011 - 8:19 pm

Do you have a tut out for this yet? Every time I see it I fall in love again!

lib - January 5, 2011 - 2:13 pm

latifah, i love your label… care to share about it?

ps – this is lovely… as are all your quilts!

Desiree - October 10, 2010 - 6:50 pm

I really like the Wonky Hexagons! I can’t wait to see your tutorial. Great job!

Jessica - September 24, 2010 - 12:42 pm

I just found your website and I am IN LOVE with every stinkin little thing on it. I want to make them all! You have a wonderful eye for color and shapes and are very inspiring. Thanks for posting!

Rachel - September 11, 2010 - 11:55 am

Love the quilt. A couple of years ago, I declared the hexagon my favorite shape. Aside from just being more interesting than squares and rectangles, it can be divided equally into six triangles, three diamonds, or sliced in half (I don’t know the name of that shape.). I think that’s kind of cool.

Val - September 9, 2010 - 6:50 pm

I love love love it, Latifah. I can’t wait to see the back!

Goldhara McKay - September 8, 2010 - 12:58 pm

so awesome.. can’t wait to make one. You’re the bomb! :)

Patty Simmons - September 5, 2010 - 6:40 am

Beautiful work and thanks for putting together an upcoming tutorial! It is such a fresh design.

krista - September 3, 2010 - 5:57 pm

This is so cool! That Modern Meadow is one of my favorites, especially the herringbone print.

I don’t name my quilts because it’s just too hard. Does Courtney name quilts for complete strangers too?

Nanna - September 3, 2010 - 4:23 am

Love your quilt. Looking forward to the toturial.

kathy - September 2, 2010 - 3:10 pm

Beautiful quilt and I love the free style….good job! am ready for the tutorial.

mjb - September 2, 2010 - 8:56 am

Can’t wait to see the tutorial – these look like hexagons that even I could handle.

Nichole - September 2, 2010 - 4:11 am

this is really beautiful! i love that you took hexagons and made them log cabin style. very creative use of the pattern!

Lauren - September 1, 2010 - 5:22 pm

I LOVE it. and the name couldn’t be better. You rock, Latifah!

Mary - September 1, 2010 - 2:02 pm

Gorgeous quilt! I love the bold style and the mix of Modern Meadow and Amy Butler.

WIP’s: A Pixel Quilt

Does having the fabric cut out count as a WIP (Work In Progress)?:-)I hope so because I don’t even have the quilt laid out yet. But, I’ve been dreaming about a pixel quilt for a long time. Here are my fabrics – 20 Kona Cottons. I can’t wait! Have a good week everyone!

Mariyn Bauer - December 16, 2012 - 12:02 pm

I would love to make a pixel quilt but not sure where to start, so I am going to start with a picture. I will pick something out then start reading everything I can get my hands on.

kelly - August 30, 2010 - 7:14 am

oooh, i’m curious as to how this is going to look. the other day, i was scribbling with my oldest daughter, and i thought “this would make a cool looking quilt. if i did it in squares it would look pixelated.”

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