Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Millard Quilt Top - A Design Process

As a kid, my Mom and I took a bunch of road trips (just the girls), to visit different cities and buildings of historical / architectural significance in those cities.  I grew up in Buffalo, NY - and before you say it, I know, I know, armpit of America yadda yadda yadda. Anyway, all jokes aside it was a really good place to grow up - great schools, lots of good people (and my huge extended family), and a ton of history, affordability, diversity. There's a lot more I could get into, but I won't - because this is a quilt blog, right?

OK, where is this going... oh, Frank Lloyd Wright, right. So I visited a LOT of his buildings as a kid / teenager and really grew to love and appreciate his style, and what it means to be in a "designed" space. It's something you feel, and you'll never get that feeling from a typical suburban (or even most urban) home(s).

I still thumb though my architecture books from time to time. (I spent 6 years in Architecture school, so I've acquired quite a collection.) Frank Lloyd Wright's work is still very meaningful for me. I came across this house recently, the Alice Millard house, it is one in a series of his "textile houses" made from concrete blocks designed by him.

This is the "block", concrete by design but I thought it would lend itself well to a quilt block. I did a quick sketch in AutoCAD, and came up with this:

It's made from 9 large (24"x24") blocks. Yes, there are many ways this could have been interpreted and constructed, but I chose the way that interested me the most. Here you can see the simple block construction:

Here is the whole top put together:
(I know I need some serious help in the photography department!)

I really like the way this top came together, it's so simple yet has a real visual impact - for me at least :)

Now comes the hard part...  There's no way I can quilt this baby on my teeny tiny Janome, so I'm going to have to bite the bullet and head into Modern Domestic to make use of that quilt frame class I took. Why I'm so terrified of it, I have no idea. It was a great class, fantastic instruction - and I used it in the class with a certain degree of success for a first timer. Just do it Jill!!

OK, enough words for now, Cheers all!


  1. So, so beautiful! I love your interpretation of Wright's design and color choice!

  2. Gorgeous! Glad I'm not the only one nerding out and using autocad for quilting!

  3. I LOVE it! I have a feeling with you will do great at Modern Domestic. Now how about me quilting a twin on my little Jenome?

  4. I remember you working on this at our sew day ~ your quilt turned out fabulous! It's so great to be inspired by this that are not quilt related and you've interpreted this wonderfully!

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  6. Love it! Can't wait to see it in person!

  7. STUNNING! You'll do fine (no fretting)! :)

  8. Gorgeous. I wish I had the talent and the patience to create something like this. Those colors are perfect for a gray Portland day like today.

  9. Stunning, Fabulous interior and then your inspiration from it.