Breaking Amish

MBD_bloghopWelcome! I assume if you are visiting you are here for the Mirror Ball Dot Blog Hop. If not, well, “Hi Mom.” I’m kidding.

I got really excited when Mark contacted me to participate in this hop since I’d been a fan of his for years and well, I love a good challenge. My mind started racing just thinking about what to make. I formulated a plan, deciding to make something off The List, thinking I would use some of the new issue fabrics plus MBDs from my stash.

I emailed my fabric order to Mark telling him my plan. His response, “Sorry Elisa, I am making this very rigid in that I would like to use only 4 Mirror Ball Dot colors – all of which are current – and the 3 solid colors Michael Miller Fabrics Couture Cotton.” The idea here being we want to show a range of what can be done with a very limited palette.

For those of you who are good at math that is 7 fabrics. Seven. I don’t really count but I would say I typically use at least 20 fabrics in a quilt. Back to the drawing board.


I quickly came up with another plan and put in a request for MBDs in Clementine, Twilight, Starlight, and Celestial and Couture Cotton in Midnight (with the request: 1/2 yd if possible, but I can make do w/1/4), Royal, Peony, and Indigo (not necessary but would add depth, 1/8 is fine). And yes I requested and used more fabric than allowed. Challenge rules be damned. Stitch Outside the Ditch, indeed.

So my project–I’ve admired Amish quilts for years and have collected and read books on the subject for a while now. That being said, I have never made an Amish-style quilt, perhaps because I don’t have a huge solids stash, although I would like to change that.

DSC_0307There is a sub-category of Amish quilts that I find particularly interesting—kinder quilts—small quilts made especially for children. The proportions are smaller and their shapes can be more unique—quilts for a youth-sized bed for example. I’ve been particularly attracted to a One Patch quilt in Amish Crib Quilts from the Midwest: The Sara Millier Collection by Janneken Smucker, et al. The quilt below is full of the most common colors worn by Amish families were I lived in Indiana and served as my inspiration.  Well, all except for that striking red-orange!

DSC_0309Early on I decided I didn’t want the dots in the print to be randomly cut, or rather, cut off, and so I decided to fussy cut my squares. This led to a little problem as I went to piece the quilt as all my MBD squares weren’t the same size due to minute differences in the screen print. The first two rows weren’t a problem. But by the time I did the next two rows (I was piecing in 4-patch units, don’t ask me why) I new I was in trouble.

DSC_0200At this point I changed my piecing to a single row method and made the teeniest adjustments along the way so that all my seams were lining up.  I thought that I would ditch the top two rows, but they were important to the layout so after piecing the rest of the rows I went back and tweaked them so they would work.

I added my borders and incorporated the MBDs into the outer border in a random way, something I new I wanted to do from the beginning. This may be my favorite part. I quilted with black thread, typical of Amish quilts and used wool batting, again, traditional Amish.


Meet Breaking Amish—Amish country meets big city MBD pearlescence. It’s like an Amish disco party dance floor, if the Amish listened to disco.



Size: 33.5” W X 38.5” L

Fabric: Mirror Ball Dots by Mark Hordysynski for Michael Miller Fabrics, Couture Cotton by MMF

Batting: Hobbs Wool Batting

So, your turn—where do you find your quilt inspiration? Do you look at books of old quilts, buy pattern books/patterns, find ideas online, or just make it all up (I love that approach)? Leave a comment and share your sources—I’m always on the lookout—and I’ll draw one lucky winner on Tuesday, May 28 (It’s blog hop week so of course I am on vacation :)) who gets to pick a bundle of their favorite MBD colors PLUS a fantastic color card from Michael Miller Fabrics. I have to admit, that while I am not an orange girl I find the Clementine a bit  irresistible.

23 thoughts on “Breaking Amish

  1. I love your quilt – the orange pops are perfect!!
    I get inspiration from everywhere and anywhere! this time of year it’s mainly from my garden!!

  2. I really love your little quilt – especially the touches of MBD in the borders. For inspiration, I like to start with an existing picture/pattern whether from a book or a magazine and then tweek it to my own skill level and preferences. But one day I would like to design one from “scratch”!

  3. This is fantastic, Elisa! I love your design, and I love the added pieces in the border. I get inspiration in a variety of ways, but often from trying to apply an idea or technique in a new way. I always get inspired from seeing others’ work as well.

  4. I’m with Mark on this! I love what you’ve done with the border design. Great quilt! A modern take on an Amish tradition. Great job! (P.S. I’m one of the bloggers, don’t include me in on your drawing).

  5. Very nice quilt. I agree the orange is that little bit of touch to make it unique. I get a lot of my idea from books and magazines and now from the blog. To many idea sometimes and would love to make them all.

  6. well done Elisa! love that clementine pop…and of course the border is just perfect. I do find inspiration in quilt books…in fact, someone posted a pic on flickr of some quilts and referenced Treasury Of American Quilts and I just had to have the book…found it cheap and poured over it when it arrived…upon putting it on the bookshelf…I found I already owned it! flickr is also a place I go for inspiration…and lets not forget Gwen…im itching to do a medallion quilt. are you heading back to MI for another retreat with Gwen this fall? im a huge fan of mirror balls and I love how you used them with such limited variety of fabrics…great challenge, lovely outcome.

  7. Beautiful quilt. Thank you for sharing. I tend to look to pinterest and blogs for inspiration. I love books, but I don’t have very many in my collection right now.

  8. Elisa – your work shines – or glitters in this case – once more! I love how you have come through the challenges you faced along the way and produced an amazing quilt and not a UFO!

    Do you love the Hobbs Wool Batting as much as I do?

    I seek inspiration from lots of places – I love to take photos of buildings, shadows, flowers and landscapes. Sometimes a color palet inspires me, sometimes it’s certain fabrics, sometimes it’s the personality of the person receiving the quilt. I love texture and feel that will sneak into future quilts.
    For me, a quilt is something you live with for a long time. You must Love It! It must be soothing and practical. This influences my color choices and designs.

    Happy quilting!

  9. That is a fun quilt. For inspiration, I love to look at the photos on blogs. My only problem is that sometimes, I spend TOO much time on the computer, and not enough in my sewing room.

  10. Your quilt is gorgeous! The pop of orange is perfect. I don’t design my own quilts but for color combos I love looking online at blogs, Pinterest, magazines and of course my LQS.

    Thank you for a super giveaway and a chance to win.


  11. You did a great job! I love that little bit of orange. I like to look at books and magazines and then add my own colors and maybe change the pattern a little bit.

  12. I get much of my inspiration from other people’s blogs. I find myself rushing from the computer to the sewing room, because I just have to try something.
    I am not really an orange girl, either, but that orange just hit the spot (pardon the pun).

  13. Pingback: Hop around the Mirror Ball Blog Hop | Meet the man {and the super-fans} behind Mirror Ball Dot | worthygoods textile

  14. Your quilt is beautiful , I love Amish quilts too ! I find inspiration in many places , books , magazines and now pinterest . Thanks for the chance

  15. Pingback: Blog Hopping #5 – NanetteSewZ

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