Wings Quilt

Wings Quilt by Amy Friend

I just finished this quilt that I am calling Wings.  While designing it, I found myself referring to the elongated triangles as wings, and the black triangles that are present in some of the triangle sets as “beaks.”  I then arranged the triangles in flocks of birds flying in the same direction.  There is a slight change of course in the second row (the watermelon colored block 4th from the left).  Where that bird turns and pushes through the wind heading in the opposite direction, the quilting changes too.  From the tip of that bird out, the quilting is a diagonal grid.  To the left of that bird, the quilting is only on the diagonal.

Wings by Amy Friend, quilting detail

You may be able to see the quilting detail better in this picture.  When planning the diagonal grid, rather than starting at opposing corners, I followed the lines of the wings so that the shapes produced would be elongated diamonds to correspond to the elongated triangles that form the wings.  The prints that have strong directionality were carefully cut to echo the wing shape and enhance the feeling of motion. You can see that most clearly with the Cotton + Steel black and white stripe, but also the AGF Squared Elements print to the left of it and the Heavy Metal print in to the far right in the center row.

I was speaking with my former colleague, architectural historian Victoria Solan, about this quilt. She pointed out that the suggestion of motion, that I worked to include in this quilt, is characteristic of mid-century modernism in America.  She cited Eero Saarinen’s TWA Terminal from 1962 as an example. What I love about this example is that it too was intended to suggest flight in an abstract manner.

spaulding dinner ware set mid century melamine pace setting

1950’s Melamine Set, photo used with permission from CollectibleCorner.

The color palette that I used is reminiscent of mid-century modern melamine. My grandmother had a set of these dishes that my mom grew up using, and then we used them for years when I was a kid.  I will confess that this association was not purposeful when I selected the colors. I was going for a particular feeling, which I can now see was very mid-century modern in color as well.

The quilt has a certain feeling of whimsy due to the simplified palette and the fabric choices. I included a quirky Japanese print with little bunnies sitting on the moon as well as a Cotton + Steel print with smiling clouds.  Vicky said that it appears that, “Charley Harper seeped into your conscious.”  I love that association.  His American Modernist designs were inspired by nature but pared down to their simplest form; bold shapes like triangles, squares and circles. His work is often described as colorful, bold, minimal and whimsical.

Wings Quilt backing by Amy Friend

I used Caroline Hulse’s To Live by Love text print for the back of the quilt, from her Happy Home collection for Art Gallery Fabrics.

The finished quilt measures 48″ x 54″.



  1. Nancy Peach says:

    Great story to go along with your cute quilt. Quilting and an art education all at the same time, it’s fabulous! Charley Harper would be proud!!

  2. that is really beautiful. Every element works together. A perfect piece of design art.

  3. There such a feeling of motion in this quilt! I must say that the pallet is way more appealing in your quilt than I ever thought it was in the djshes.

  4. I like this quilt very much and enjoyed reading about the process as well. Thanks!

  5. Pattern, please!!!

  6. I love the Wing quilt! The pattern and colors are fantastic. I love how you changed up the quilting too! Very nice! Oh, And really like melamine too!

  7. oh my goodness! So much more than I had anticipated! I love hearing your thought process & reasoning behind this stunning quilt. bravo!

  8. Beautiful quilt and very artistic as always, so simple, calming and yet I can feel the movement just by looking at it! I love it.

  9. Awesome! All your quilts have such a good feel to them. You just don’t walk away from them that’s for sure!

  10. Love it!

  11. This is such a fantastic design! I also thing what you did with the quilting is brilliant. I hope you enter this into some shows.

  12. Beautiful Amy! I love the colors and all the symbolism behind every aspect of this quilt!

  13. What a lovely quilt – and thank you for walking us through your thought process (both during and after) making the quilt. Looking at your beautiful quilt brought to mind a shelf full of vibrant Aboriginal fabrics I’ve been hoarding for years (collected since I lived in Australia over 40 years ago). With a simple few variations I also see boomerangs with those lovely fabrics. One of the many reasons I love our art form!

  14. Love this quilt. It is beautiful. I understand your vision of birds in flight but I also see very stately Angel Fish.

  15. Susan Jonsson says:

    Another beautiful quilt! Original…with a touch of whimsy…..the choice of backing fabric is just right….Once again, you make me feel like heading to the fabric store….:)

  16. Chris Peterson says:

    Love your design! Reading your work process adds so much insight. Thank you for sharing. I hope you enter it.

  17. Oh My gosh – it is stunning!

  18. Wow, beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing your design process — very insightful. I learned a few things!

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