Modern Amish by Laureen Bedell

A Study in Modern Amish, or What Laureen Did Next

I'll send photos so you'll see how right I am about the magical allure of Oakshott fabrics, promised Laureen Bedell. True to her word, Laureen sent not only images but an entire guest post for our blog. (If you missed her earlier piece, catch up now: Modern Amish Magic.)


Here are four more quilts in my Modern Amish series. I must say that without Oakshott, none would have been possible - they give a modern twist to these classically Amish patterns. Intended as wall hangings, these quilts are all 30" square. The first two are riffs on the Amish pattern that I used for the first in the series - see Modern Amish Magic. I'm especially taken with this pattern because it's a palindrome: each of the lines of small squares reads the same, to and from the center, both horizontally and vertically. Equivalent to Bach's Crab Canon in musical terms. 

I think of these quilts in musical terms because for me, the Oakshotts make them sing gloriously. They lend a modern twist to the classic Amish pattern, bringing it into the 21st Century, without distracting an iota from the original, austere intent.

Modern Amish #1 Laureen Bedell

The first of these palindrome quilts is composed primarily of Longshott Stripe with touches of Silk Taffeta and Scandinavia Herringbone. Whilst arranging the fabrics, I introduced an element of fun, placing the slightly paler orange and purple stripes on the left of the quilt, with the darker shades on the right. This introduces a subtle color dissymmetry into the strong centering of the Amish pattern.

The second iteration of this classic Amish pattern is joyful and lighthearted, like a lark singing. Here, the Oakshotts are radiant and luminous, happily coming together in the palindrome pattern like a bejeweled Fabergé egg! The Grayshott Basket Weaves set the stage - imagine the fun I had turning over the weaves from left to right, using both sides of the fabric to add just a touch of dissymmetry to the design once more. The effect is pleasing to the eye and intriguing to the mind: I love this combination of classic Amish pattern with modern Oakshott cottons.

Modern Amish #2 Laureen Bedell 

My next foray into classic and modern involves Amish nine patch designs. The first features a deep purple Grayshott Basket Weave as the background for the nine patches, with a violet Windowpane Weave as the wide border. The nine patches are composed of similarly colored pairs of Longshott Stripes alternating with Scandinavia Herringbones. Don't they shimmer against the deep background!

Modern Amish #3 Laureen Bedell

Notice that I have only lightly top-quilted the Grayshott Basket Weave squares as this allows the lushness of the weave to show nicely, without detracting from the austerity of the Amish design. 

In my last quilt, a classic Amish nine-patches-on-point design, the Oakshotts make the patches dance against the deep aqua background of Grayshott Basket Weave. Even I was surprised at how lively the nine patches became, composed of Longshott Stripes balanced against Scandinavia Herringbones, paired off to add a pleasing symmetry to the design. Once again, the top-quilting is minimized to highlight the texture of the weaves. Yet this seems only to reinforce the strength of the classic Amish design.

Modern Amish #4 Laureen Bedell

One small but rather pleasing deviation: the deep aqua Windowpane Weave switches to Basket Weave for the side triangles created by the twirling-on-point nine patches. The textures of the weaves and silk play off so beautifully against one another, all set off by a soupcon of Colourshott solid bright pink.

I'm so pleased with the marriage of modern Oakshott fabrics with classic Amish designs that I intend to continue with this series... wherever it might take me! I quilt entirely by hand, painstakingly piecing each of these small squares, hour by hour by hour. Yet working with Oakshott is a heart's delight for this quilter.  

Thank you Michael for making my Modern Amish series come to life with your fantabulous Oakshott fabrics. I hope you'll enjoy seeing these quilts as much as I've enjoyed making them.

Fabrics used: Longshott StripeGrayshott Basket Weave*, Grayshott Windowpane Weave*, Colourshott, Silk Taffeta*

* Limited Editions, available while stocks last

Scandinavia Herringbone: only a few shades remaining


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