Fractured Jewels with Windham Fabrics

My first Fractured Jewels quilt
I created 8 patterns for Windham Fabrics based on Gee's Bend quilts. This was a partnership with the individual Gee's Bend quilters (see the links to these quilts on my sidebar). I designed a class to teach based on the improvisational approach that I discovered in the original quilts, but of course, I had to make it so my students could both improvise and follow a sewing sequence that made it look like they were just winging it!

The Fractured Jewels quilt above was one of the quilts I made for the class. It is a loosey-goosey Log Cabin with little snippets of color between the logs. These fabrics are from the Gee's Bend solids collection by Windham (now retired) and I enjoyed so much working with them. They were a hand-dyed batik with a sueded look and feel.

When Windham asked me to design a quilt using their new Colonies Collection by Nancy Gere, I immediately thought of this design. I upsized it (so it could make a dramatic statement at Quilt Market next week). And what did I come up with?

I began here:
Center of my Fractured Jewels quilt
 Now for the whole quilt:

There will be a pattern released on the Windham web site soon. How do I know? I just finished writing the pattern yesterday and sent it to Windham to put into pattern format. It is a combination of structured cutting and sewing and some improvisation (fitting the larger logs in with the fractured jewels insets). It was fun to work with a solid palette. Not something we do very often, but when you do, you can use any and all colors because the patterns don't get in the way. All you see is contrast and a saturated group of color.

Here are a few pictures of the quilts I made in the first class I called . . .

No Sneaky Peeky
No Sneaky Peeky using every single Gee's Bend color
It was called No Sneaky Peeky because each student began with a brown lunch bag filled with strips, scraps and 12 fat eighths - STAPLED SHUT. They had to begin by opening the bag - no peeking allowed - and pull out 3 pieces (not the fat eighths). Throw one back in the bag and then sew the two together. Put their hand in, pull out another piece, sew it. And so on. After a half hour of this nerve-wracking exercise, I allowed them to pull out their fat eighths and we cut, swapped, traded and improvised with what we had. Honestly, it was fun for everyone. But who sweat bullets the most? Architects, accountants, nurses. You can figure that one out!

Improv Adventure
Improvisational Adventure
This is the second class. Again, the combination of improvisation and guided cutting and piecing. Fun!

Hope you enjoyed my adventure in solids. I'll announce when the Windham Fractured Jewels pattern is available. I will have it free on my sidebar as a "Quilt of the Moment."


  1. Beautiful! I love the fractured jewels and LOVE the idea of improvisation -- I've made a few blocks that way and they are among my favorites.

  2. Very pretty! This makes me want to make a quilt from solids. Thank you for sharing.

  3. I love the Fractured Jewels!

    I have done some improve blocks and hot I do struggle with letting go of control, they end up being some of my favorite creations.

  4. Now those are "modern" designs I can enjoy! I loved seeing your pictures and will definitely take a look at that pattern. The class you describe with the bag of fabrics, No Sneaky Peaky, sounds like a wonderful afternoon for any quilt guild to try! The Improvisational Adventure definitely has the look of the Gees Bend quilts. I saw the exhibit at the DeYoung Museum on a trip to San Francisco, and they were wonderful - mostly. =) Thank you for this out-of-the-box-thinking post.

  5. I luv all these quilts-they are right up my alley! Cannot wait for that pattern!


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