Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ojibwe Hot Mess Quilt


I finally found a moment to finish this quilt; what with all the jetting around and mountains of dirty laundry and blueberries to be picked, it’s been a bit hectic around these parts.  But here she is!


I saw this photo and my little heart skipped a beat.  The original quilt is called “Chippewa Nine Patch”, designed by Laurie Simpson and Polly Minick, two sisters from my home state of Michigan (you Michiganders will note that “chippewa” is really “ojibwe” but I forgive these things) and I just fell super hard for all those little motley nine patches, and the flowery chintz alternate patches.


I don’t like to use a quilt pattern (sorry, pattern people) because I feel I can mostly just look at the picture and figure it out.  What do you think your old great-granny did, anyway?  Besides which, I have a couple of math whizzes in the house, and so my sixteen-year old son happily reviewed me on the Pythagorean Theorem (he likes to prove he’s smarter than I am, and so he is.  What are you gonna do?) Armed thusly, I figured out the hypotenuses of all the different triangles.  Oh geometry, you confound me!  And I don’t even want to tell you what happened at the edges—let us just say I have experienced the consequences of ignoring the conventional wisdom about the right and wrong time to cut things on the bias.  It ruffled like a tutu.

Then, mid-stride, there was the first Bernina Breakdown of 2011 (more will follow, I’m sure) and I thought to maybe wait on the quilting until Tom the Repair Guy could get her fixed, but I am an impatient little magpie who can’t leave a thing like this unfinished.   The sturdy little Kenmore rose to the occasion and, walking foot in place, got the job done. 


It just did not want to photograph well.  I tried all my tricks, and so did Picasa, to no avail.  It’s kind of an impressionist mess, isn’t it?  A busy, flowerdy, tone-on-tone yard-sale of fabrics, a big, noisy, hot mess of a quilt.  Which, of course, means I love it. 


  1. It's not a mess at all, its BEAUTIFUL!!!!!! I love the colors, I love the color combinations and I love that your son thinks he is smarter than you, maybe in math, but in life you have him beat by a mile or 5,280 feet.
    Have a great day,

  2. Sure looks like it photographed just right to me. It is absolutely gorgeous! I love the colors and the crazy kaleidoscope look of it. The fact that you can look at something and then create it is a wonderful thing! Happy August! Tammy

  3. Holy Cow, I have quilt envy! It really turned out lovely. I've been waiting to see the final reveal since you first gave us a peek at the blocks. There was an Ojibwe reservation in my home town of Kenora, Ontario(Canada). I didn't know it was the same as Chippewa! By the way, thank you for the kind comment on my blog. You made my day!

  4. UM WOW! I cannot believe you did not use a pattern! Amazing.. I love it very vintage looking

  5. Wow, your quilt is amazing, and so is your new header. Also, no one can possibly be smarter than someone who uses the phrase "Armed thusly".

  6. AMAZING! Your quilt is absolutely gorgeous! You are one talented lady that's for sure. I really love your new blog header too. Everytime I visit you I am inspired - thank you! Have a lovely week - see you again soon.

  7. Gorgeous! I love the little 9-patches interspersed with the bigger ones. Isn't is just the best feeling when you finish that last little bit of binding? Sigh- just the most contented feeling in the world!

  8. I love it too! You've inspired me to try things without a pattern-I'm so glued to using a pattern and not trusting my own instincts, or just giving it a go!

  9. Oh is stunning!

  10. Thank you all, so much! After a rough few days, reading your kind comments is a wonderful healing balm. Thank you for taking the time to leave me a message. :) :) :)

  11. Your quilt is absolutly fabulous ! Wonderful colors !
    Today I've just bought this kit (yes, sorry, a pattern AND the fabrics !) in blue. I'll hope it will be also splendid !

  12. Its beautiful Kristen - I don't know how you manage to fit in making all these wonderful things - love the paintings in your last post too.
    Ha! the word verification gave me the answer - it was "coper" - thats what you must be Kristen, a coper!