modern quilting
February 7, 2013
bits and pieces
February 11, 2013
modern quilting
February 7, 2013
bits and pieces
February 11, 2013
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hummingbird or periwinkle?

Hello all, Mary Ellen again.

Yesterday I watched another video from Jenny Doan at Missouri Star Quilt Company where she made her version of the antique quilt that has hung behind her in many of her earlier videos. I absolutely love that quilt. I always knew of the pattern as the hummingbird, but Jenny was calling it the periwinkle. I wanted to find out if they are just two names for the same block, or if perhaps there are small construction variations or proportion variations.

Off I went to the site Quilt Index to have a look. I found quilts by both names and was able to take a good look. What I like about this site over some of the other wonderful similar sites is that one can pull up several photos of quilts side by side to compare them very easily. There also is a magnifying feature if you want to zoom in for a closer look. Try it out and see what you think about hummingbird and periwinkle.

To refer back to my last post, I think I might call Jenny’s version of this a “modern” quilt. 1) She used pre-cut squares, 2) lots of white space around it, 3)bright clear colors-nothing muddy or dusty looking in the fabrics, 4) played a bit fast and loose with the bias edges (at least for my taste) but ended up with a great looking quilt none the less. I think one of the things I enjoy about the videos Jenny makes is the enjoyment of the process that she projects. Sometimes we quilters take ourselves a bit too seriously, IMHO. We do this for fun, after all.

BTW I am drawing up a paper piecing pattern for a woman in my class who wants to make the quilt. I told her that even though I am a ruler fanatic, one doesn’t need Jenny’s wacky wedge ruler to make this block. Even Jenny ends up paper piecing it. If you’d like the pattern, just let me know.  hummingbird paper pieced pattern

What happened to that storm they scared us with? At least right now there is nothing (for a long time Buffalonian anyway) happening! Hardly a flake in sight! Snowing steadily now, and adding up!


  1. Marija says:

    I have to chime in and say that I just LOVE Quilt Index and the Quilt Alliance organization too. Just to let you all know that from recently they also have a great blog, and if you sign up to follow it by email – every day you get a wonderful post with one of those “On this day in history…” fun facts and a featured quilt and its information – I just love getting those! Here is the link for the blog: Mary Ellen, I too love Jenny and her videos! Oh and the snow storm – Marley and Rocky so enjoyed this morning walk with those beautiful, large, fluffy snowflakes falling – just another winter day for us Buffalonians! 🙂

  2. Judy R says:

    Hi, Mary Ellen, hope you didn’t jinx yourself about the weather! I enjoy reading your blog and have just started reading Missouri Star’s blog. I love the periwinkle quilt and would love to try your paper piecing method, too. I enjoy paper-piecing and this would be a pretty good way to make sure the bias edges come out good. Great idea! Judy from West Seneca

  3. Marija says:

    Oh its me again – had a few minutes to watch that video (Jenny’s) now and wow – that is a LOT of white fabric and just pure math/logic wasn’t working for me there…Then I see that the way she does it really wastes about a half (or more?) of that white fabric…I am all for wasting a bit of fabric for the ease of construction, but this just seems a bit too much. What do you all think? Another point – she uses the paper as a template to cut – but why not using is also to stabilize the bias edges while joining those 4 pieces and remove that paper AFTER sewing? Again – against my logic…How about the rest of you?
    Bottom line – Mary Ellen, please get that paper-pieced pattern! 🙂

  4. marie says:

    Love MQC videos and this blog .Keep up the great work. Jenny would make a great seminar instructor!
    Please post the pattern.

  5. Paula Foerder says:

    I really like that Periwinkle quilt. The white background gives it a more modern feel but to even make it more modern, I’d make the quilt without a border. Also I’d do it with solid fabrics. Actually, I would like to make this quilt! Just need to find some time. Thanks for the paper piecing pattern. I thought the method shown was very wasteful and agree that the paper could have been left in until the block was sewn.

    • Mary Ellen says:

      Hi Paula, over at the Quilt Index site in the search results for periwinkle I found one with a dark (I think navy blue) background and jewel toned “flower” points. It is not modern by its chronology but has a very modern look. I think one of the strands of “modern” quilting is taking us back to more clean and simple designs and away from some of the “clutter” of the complicated current designs. Actually that is more my style preference and I’m not modern in my chronology either!

  6. kquilt17 says:

    When Darlene Zimmerman came to our guild I bought her hummingbird pattern and triangle rulers. Her method is very simple. I still want to make this quilt in 30’s prints.

    • sewgreenm says:

      I haven’t been able to find her pattern. I did see the ruler though.

      • Mary Ellen says:

        Some quilt shops are now carrying the magazine that Jenny Doan’s company is publishing. It’s called “Block”.
        The pattern and commentary for the hummingbird quilt are in the first issue. If you can’t find it in one of your local shops, you could order it from the Missouri Star Quilt Co. online. That’s how I got my issues.

  7. Michele Milligan says:

    Also known as a modern “Arkansas snowflake”

    • Mary Ellen says:

      Thanks for ringing in, Michelle. Isn’t it interesting that the same design can have so many names? I find the history of these names to be so fun to learn about. Glad you joined the discussion.

  8. sewgreenm says:

    Thank you for this post. I just found out about a quilt my great grandmother made. I posted on facebook and was told the name periwinkle and also hummingbird. I would love to make my own version of this quilt (I will do mine by machine) and I am very appreciative of your paper pieced pattern!!

  9. Eleanor Coulson Heller says:

    I have had exposure to another hummingbird patttern. Now I think I understand why Mrs Bream ( Adams County, Pennsylvania) called it her hummingbird pattern. My mother was given instructions and pattern. by Mrs Bream. My mother asked me to make templates for her, which I did using the quilt she had. Those templates are now lost. My mother is deceased and I am trying to use four pointed “hummingbirds” she left for me. I am trying to find a good, true template set to use. Mrs Bream put her points together with diamond shaped pieces separating them. Hope you can picture this difference in appearance. I have a photo of the quilt mother made using my templates ( the quilt was then in my brother’s possession – he is now deceased also.}
    C. Eleanor Heller, Columbia PA

  10. Valerie says:

    I made this quilt top when I was 12 and the white was a solid piece with the triangles sewn around it. In my quilt the octagon was turquoise and the opposite triangles were the same fabric. The edges were bias taped and matched the backing.

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