Saturday, January 9, 2016

Adinkra Quilt 2016 Block of the Month

Welcome to my 2016 Applique Block of the Month: The Adinkra Quilt. I've made this wonderful project twice and I still have enough motifs to make a 3rd one!

I will add a new pattern sometime in the second week of each month in 2016. (Remember, I also have another BOM running, my Calendar Girls project, which is revealed on the first of each month.) I need breathing room between each!

I have a personal connection to the Dark Continent (Africa), as I spent 3 years there teaching high school math and English. I lived in a peaceful country called Swaziland, which is landlocked - wedged between South Africa and Mozambique. It has a lot of fond memories as it is there I met and married my husband Phil (who is from Texas). That was in the late 1970s and he has been asking me since then, every few years - "Where's my Africa quilt?" Well, here's one of the two I've made so far.

Original Adkinkra Quilt: 69" x 69"
I am not a purist. I freely mix and match my fabrics regardless of what country they come from. The Adinkra symbols are from Ghana and the fabrics come from Nigeria and Swaziland and America (the batiks used in the applique).The bold geometrics and beautiful blooms in these vibrant quilts beckoned me to keep the patterns simple so the fabric could steal the show. I loved placing these applique patterns on brocade-type cottons in blue and white. Using a simple square in square alternating block gave me a large enough block to showcase the dramatic African prints.

My second Adinkra Quilt was made for Blank Quilting using their Ethnic Echoes Collection of blues and browns. I changed the square in a square block so I could fussy cut the center motif and added another set of triangles.

Adinkra Quilt: 60" x 60", using the Ethnic Echoes fabrics
There are 12 applique blocks in this quilt. The pattern is full size and includes a simple translation of what the Adinkra symbol means. It couldn't be any easier!

You will have to decide on your own color combination. I will include the supply list for both, but the first quilt is very scrappy. The second quilt is color controlled.

This first month will include the supply lists, the pattern for the Square in Square blocks, and the first of 12 applique motifs. Each successive month will reveal a new applique block. The last month will include the finishing information.

Both Supply lists include the cutting and stitching the square in square blocks. Notice that the Square in Square blocks in each quilt are DIFFERENT.

Supply List for Scrappy Adinkra Quilt #1

And our first applique pattern is for ANKOKO NAN - “the leg of a hen”
Symbol of discipline and nurturing, like that of a parent


I use raw edge applique for all my applique patches. By machine. Always! If you prefer hand applique, make sure you add seam allowance to the templates. Enjoy!


  1. I don't have African prints, but I have a lot of scrap solids I want to use up with this. Maybe in the mean time I will find a great African print for the border and back.

  2. So excited! I'm going to go scrappy, and mix in some memory fabrics if they fit (and if I need a stretch.)

  3. I am so glad that you are including the meaning of the symbols. Also, thanks for sharing the history behind the making of this quilt.

  4. I too am excited -- have a small stack of African prints that I have been saving for a project just like this. Thank you!

  5. Love the blue/brown best. I have some African fabrics (acquired in the Caribbean and from online shops)and hope to use some in my version. Delighted to see meanings included with applique pattern. thanks Debby

  6. Thank you! I really like the one in Echoes, but I can't go fabric shopping right now. I have plenty of browns, but they are all Civil War and I don't have that shade of blue, so I guess I'll be doing the scrappy version. =)

  7. Thank you so much for this quiltalong. This quilt is so pretty. I have decided to quilt along with you. I have made my first block - will be blogging it soon.

  8. Can you tell me the schedule you are going to be using to release this BOM? I have made my first block and am really excited to make more. Thank you for this wonderful BOM.

  9. Muchas gracias. Me gustó este Quilt Adinkra (Africa). Lo seguiré.
    Thank you. The Quilt Adinkra is so cute. I will follow you.

  10. These are beautiful Quilts and the fabrics are equally fabulous. I am from Nigeria so maybe I am a bit biased or not! I have been following the Adinkra symbols for a while hoping to make a quilt with them, the days are finally here so I was led here via google search to see what has been done with those symbols Quilt wise so I don't end up copying another person's work. There are no copyright issues with using the symbols are there? was just wondering about that too. Nice work!


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