Print, Paint, Sew // A Quilt for Jo

IMG_9040Print, Paint, Sew. My new mantra in life, and maybe the title of my new book (jk, but now that I’ve said it I think I need to make it happen). This quilt was the first time I thought to marry my two favorite art mediums together, and I’ve been on a roll since (my entire #100daysofhieroglyph project is based on this idea, see my instagram if you have no idea what I’m talking about).


*Through a small misfortune I lost the process photos I took for this project, and was only left with my Instagram shots to cobble together the post. There wasn’t a whole lot of content lost, just mainly cohesive photography and some process photos, but I’m hoping I can still walk you through the project clearly! 

The concept for the quilt is simple, and I’m going to talk more about the process than lay out a step by step tutorial, because I think in the end that will be more useful to any of you kindred textile renegades. I wanted to make a quilt for my daughter incorporating both hand printing and textile painting, creating a one-of-kind, almost kantha-style piecing that would have small yet graphic sections of hand printing using hand-carved stamps that represented her current interests, and large watercolory brush painted sections that would use large scale motifs that make for relatively quick work.

Before I even got near fabric or paint, I collaborated with my daughter Josie on a few specifics, namely, what blocks she wanted me to carve, and what colors she wanted me to use. After some intense self introspection, she came up with some ideas, and I then got to work on coming up with a detailed sketch for the overall layout and design. This was by far the hardest part of the whole project, and took me several attempts to achieve a balance between printed and painted sections.  It also involved way more math than my heart wanted to do. Boy Howdy was it a real head-scratcher figuring out the exact dimensions of each piece, but then, I’ve always been equally bewildered by long division, so don’t let my mathematically challenged assessment scare you off. Some tips for sketching and mocking up a similar quilt-design:


-Use graph paper, duh.

  • -Sketch your layout first ignoring measurements initially, THEN decide what dimension you want to quilt to be and work backwards to work out the dimensions of each piece. Don’t forget to take seam allowances into account.
  • -Keep your painted sections pretty large, and your printed sections fairly small. my smallest sections are 4″ squares). Painting goes quick and printing takes time, so that’s your best bet to keep this a weekend project!
  • -Shade your printed sections and loosely sketch in your painted patterns to get a good idea of what the quilt will look like and to achieve balance.
  • -Draw or paint a mock up with the different patterns and colors you plan to use (I did this in addition to the graph-paper mock up; it served as my color/pattern map, whereas the graph paper sketch kept me straight while cutting).
  • -Make a detailed cut list of each pattern, and label each section with it’s dimensions. Now you’re ready to get crackin’.

First things first, you gotta cut your fabric, sorry to be such a downer. Muscle through this boringness, as exciting things are on your horizon. I went with a lovely Kona cotton, and cut each piece within each pattern, and then kept each patterned section in it’s own stack, pinned together and labeled so I wouldn’t die of confusion. On to fun stuff…

As per her ideas, I carved some very Josie-ish stamps (using my favorite ever EcoKarve Printing Plate). In no particular order: Candy, glasses, calculator and math, bike riding, art, and reading. I’m sure you could find stamps to represent various interests at your local craft store, but carving these were incredibly fun.


Then after carefully referencing my mock-ups, I hand printed my small sections using speedball block printing ink, which is wonderful (custom mixed color). IMG_5769Now switching gears to textile painting. In my last post I taught you everything you need to know about brush painting on fabric, but as a review, I used Dye-Na-Flow fabric paints exclusively, mostly custom-mixed colors. I love this stuff so much, it has the consistency more like highly saturated dye than paint, very much like using watercolors.

In this pink ikat-like pattern, I was able to create the ombre look by always freshly dipping my brush and for the three center stripes, brushing from the top down..

Stripes are easy, fast and fun. I created the thick and thin stripes with the same wide brush, just switching the angle. IMG_5799The triangles here are printed (I just painted the dye-na-flow onto my block), and then carefully brush painted around them.

This here’s the main printed/painted section, the flower is a large block (I printed with screen printing ink actually), and I did it first before painting in other details. IMG_5796

Here you can see how I painted the white space in a couple more of my printed sections (the bike and glasses sections).  IMG_9417

Once I was finished with all the painting and printing (which went so much faster than I thought–a couple evenings is all), I was ready to sew it all up, carefully referencing my painted mock-up. It went quick–maybe and hour and half. Here it is all laid out in my living room, you can tell I wasn’t anticipating using this photo I texted my sister, check out my upside down side table #keepingitreal.IMG_5815Jo loves it a lot. IMG_9416I wish I could tell you I’ve quilted this bad boy, but I’m ashamed to say I haven’t. I don’t want to pay $100 bones to have it quilted, but also really don’t want to quilt it myself. I’ve considered just making it a duvet cover, but I think that might be a mistake. At any rate, I’m going to try and get this all done by Christmas, realistically. That gives me enough time to work on the boy’s…#cantstopwontstopIMG_9040Have you tried hand printing yet? Textile painting? Would you ever attempt a project like this or this a “you crazy” type of situation? I do feel like a handmade maniac sometimes, but whatevs. It makes me happy. Shortly (like within a week), I’ll post/show-off the other painted/printed project bedding project I did, My Tiny’s duvet cover. It’s my fave!



This quilt is 100% fabulous! I love the layout of the different fabrics and of course the fabrics themselves. What a neat idea to combine printing and quilting. Everything works so well together, you’ve truly made a masterpiece.


Claire thank you so much! I was really inspired by a quilter named @alecisdeise on Instagram, the very asymmetrical layouts really spoke to me.


Wow I love it! You did a marvelous job, and I bet your daughter really does love it.

(PS I love your style and would happily buy any book that you write…)


Kieran that makes my day!! Writing a book has been on my mind this past year, and I can promise you that I intend to do it someday (hopefully within the next couple of years). That seriously means the world to me, thanks for your kind words about my work!


I haven’t tried painting or printing yet, but it is one million percent on my future-once-my-crazy-DIY-kitchen-is-done to-do list because it looks super duper fun and awesome! The top is awesome. I could straight-line quilt it for you! I love straight line quilting. Another thing that’s on that future list is to make duvet covers/quilts. It would be a quilt with an extra piece of material on the back that would make it into a duvet cover. That way, it can be used by itself in the summer when it’s hot, and then in the winter, you could stick a duvet in it. I don’t know if my explanation makes any sense, or if it would even work, but that idea’s been running around in my head for way too long without me having done anything about it. Darn kitchen.


Heidi that makes total sense, and I have been considering just making it into a duvet cover actually. So much easier!!! That’s what I ended up doing with Tiny’s whole cloth “quilt” that I did, and I really love it. Plus it worked really well to add tassels to it, which was such a fun detail. Also, I really don’t mind straight line quilting either! I just need to make it a priority, you know? I did the “fun” part, now I need to do the boring part so that she can use it!!


How Inspiring! Great Artwork, Miriam! What a treasure for your daughter! And go on and quilt it! It’s actually not that difficult and won’t take too long, if you choose to quilt it more “loosely”.


YES yes yes. I need to just DO IT. It won’t be that bad, and I would absolutely keep it simple, because I’m not a quilter and don’t know how to do anything else! Thanks so much for your kinds!! xo


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