Friday, September 3, 2010

Our Town

This time of year, the school bells ring again for so many of us and our children.  While researching an article on traditional Amish "schoolhouse" quilts,  we found so many darling quilts with houses, that we decided to expand our post to include all kind of wonderful house patterns.

A house on a quilt is a symbol of our community and our lives together in society. It's no wonder that house quilts remind us of comfort and the togetherness of family, friends, and neighbors.

Welcome Home, 64 x 64, by Alex Anderson,at Alex Anderson Quilts

Here's a delightful neighborhood of cheerful houses done in russet and gold. Internationally-famous designer Alex Anderson has brightened the traditional fall quilt by adding contemporary colors of aqua blue and rose pink which make the maple leaves and houses sparkle against the dark background. Easily pieced using half square triangles, "Welcome Home" has become a classic best-seller from JWD Publishing. You can view all of Alex Anderson's books and patterns at Alex Anderson Quilts.

At The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims, you can sign up for podcasts with instruction from other top name quilters, contests, a block-of-the-month program, a fabulous quilt galley, and a store full of wonderful products and DVDs. Take a look, as it's great fun to browse through all these goodies.

Little Old One Room Schoolhouse,  23 x 27, by Ruth Powers, at Ruth Powers Art Quilts

The traditional schoolhouse of the American frontier, complete with a bell tower, beckons us back to learning, as leaves swirl in the early autumn breeze.  Prolific quilt designer Ruth Powers offers this charming scene as a pattern on her website, along with so many other beautiful patterns.

Little Houses, 48 x 60, by Ruth Powers, at Ruth Powers Art Quilts

Ruth writes, "Much of my work is inspired by nature;  my daily walks fill my senses with color and design possibilities." In creating Little Houses, Ruth has done an excellent job of selecting different blues and greens for the sky and earth, while selecting the complementary colors of bright orange and orange-red for the homes. Ruth notes that this is a great pattern for using up fat quarters and scraps, so let your imagination run wild, and let the stash-busting begin ! Ruth also composes a very interesting blog, where she updates everyone about her latest projects and patterns.

Hillside Houses, 29 x 36 by Daphne Greig and Susan Purney Mark

We love the idea of a village of houses nestled cozily together, their rooftops peeking out from one another. Daphne Greig was very kind to give us some background on this enchanting quilt. She writes: "Bright houses perched on a hillside are the inspiration for this quilt. You will see these along the coastlines of Italy and Greece and even in Newfoundland. The piece was designed for my book, co-written with Susan Purney Mark, Simple Stained Glass Quilts, Krause Publications, 2008. Our unique "whole cloth" technique makes construction of stained glass quilts easy and less labor-intensive than other methods."  Autographed copies of the book are available through Daphne's website,

Wonky Houses, 44 x 60, by Carol Morrissey, at O Carol Designs

Wonky Houses is an irresistible quilt pattern, because the fairy-tale cottages and trees at their lilting angles provide such a whimsical, fun effect. Carol Morrissey created this quilt as an easy paper piecing pattern, with clearly understandable directions and full size paper templates. The triangles that dance through the quilt and the vibrant orange-red border against the blue sky really make this dazzling pattern "pop". What a great opportunity to use up bright fat quarters and scraps.   Carol notes that "variety is the key to success of this quilt". For more great patterns, and a fabulous gallery of photos, visit  O Carol Designs.

Firelight and Chimney Smoke, 62 x 50, by Martha Milne, at machinequilter

Martha Milne, who is based in the UK,  constructed this beautiful Amish-style schoolhouse quilt out of jewel-tone remnants. She had just completed a Jewel Box quilt for her daughter, and fell in love with the jewel tones against the black. The light and bright windows in this quilt give the inviting illusion of a warm, glowing hearth within, which beckons us inside. She writes: "I did want to create the effect of light shining in the darkness. The idea was for each house to have its own personality. I had fun playing with my fabrics to achieve this." Extensive instructions and an easy-to-follow pattern can be found at Popular Patchwork and Quilting.  Martha is renowned for her machine quilting; to see the quilting detail, click on the image of the full quilt, or the photo below.

Martha Milne is an inspiring teacher, because she believes that everyone can learn to do machine quilting; see her fascinating video on You Tube. Also don't miss her demonstration of The New English Quilter, which converts your home sewing machine into an affordable version of a professional long arm machine  (it's also available in the US !)  At Martha's machinequilter website you can purchase The New English Quilter, the first of a series of Line Dancing DVDs, and the amazing JUKI sewing machine (have you heard of it?)

Last but not least... here's Martha Milne's "Little Houses in the Big Woods".  This quilt was published in Popular Patchwork in 2007 (subscriber access).  The quilting was done with a Juki machine and the New English Quilter. The detail of the red houses, and the quilted chimney smoke, can be seen on Martha's blog.

More Houses: Teacher, author, and quilt artist Freddy Moran is internationally acclaimed for her unique and original house quilts. You can see brilliant photos and read about her designs in Freddy's House: Brilliant Color in Quilts.  In addition,  from her quilt images, Freddy has created House Party Quilts Gift Wrap, which would make a lovely gift in itself ! 

Don't miss Our Town Part Two, where we show more stunning quilts with houses.


  1. Stop it, you are showing all these truly beautiful quilts that I want to make, but will probably never have enough time to make, dreams are free though. My favourite from this selection is the Wonky houses.

  2. Sorry Pip, but we're in the same boat! We can't help ourselves. Still, we're loving the visual inspiration, and so glad you like our picks!

  3. I am so, so glad I found your site! Thank you for all the hard work of bringing images of so many gorgeous and amazing quilts to all of us.

    This series especially appealed to me and I have it bookmarked so I can return once and a while just to enjoy.


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