A Stripe for Every Season

Stitch your next quilt with a pattern of striking stripes.

When I was 18 I used to buy my clothes regularly at charity shops. I found a handsome bottle green and maroon stripe shirt that I felt suited me well. My mother agreed, saying, “I like men in striped shirts.” It stuck with me as I went on in life and I was always on the lookout for bold stripes in my shirts.

When I took up patchwork, my first fabrics were stripes hand woven in India and I’ve gone on to design painted stripes that I love playing with as much as any motif I’ve ever tried. I’m getting so pro-stripe I see them everywhere. I love to color bold stripes on streets and airports. Black and yellow, red and white; any contrasting colors get my attention.

For my next fabric collection I’ve done a series of bold stripes that can be cut up to produce several
possibilities from just one yard. My mind goes crazy thinking of all the uses for it. Diagonal cutting to create chevrons, layers of different color stripes in 2-inch strips, or just using a length as a border running through the various color combinations on the print. For my next Rowan book I’ve used a new stripe called Serape, inspired by the Mexican woven ponchos I grew up with in California. I’ve designed two exciting quilts using this serape stripe in its various colorways.

Seeing Stripes Everywhere

Now, I’m so into this pattern that I see plowed fields, corrugated metal stripes cladding, and even rows of containers in a train depot as stripes. Then there are vegetable gardens with neat rows of onions or lettuce and for a more visual drama, the tulip fields of Holland with their vast acres of flowers in columns of brilliant tones.

As I travel the world I love to see various cultures that have had an equal passion for stripes. I’ve found them in Japan, Africa, the classic folk costumes of Scandinavian countries, and finally the wonderful red/white and blue/white classical French linens. One of the most fabulous uses of stripes I’ve encountered was a blue and cream tent as a Swedish summerhouse made of tin, shaped to look like draped fabric. Even the English supply a gorgeous range of stripes on their deck chairs in London’s parks.