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Beautiful Thrift: Coin Quilt Patterns in Mosaic

Chinese Coins Quilt Block Mosaic by Margaret Almon, with frame by DAMI.
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Chinese Coins Quilt Block Mosaic by Margaret Almon, with frame by DAMI.

I have mosaics in a new pattern, Chinese Coins.  Coin quilts go by many names, including Roman, Chinese and Stacked coins, and I fell in love with the variation in widths of the strips and the rhythm this creates.  Gwen Marston, author of Liberated String Quilts, considers them the “Jackson Pollock” of quilt pattern.

In this pattern, coins are made of strings of fabric, and are a way to use up scraps that are too small for anything else.  I was interested to read an article by Kimberly Wulfert describing string quilts as a product of economic depression, a form of utilitarian thrift.  The first time I saw a string quilt in a display of Amish quilts, I was fascinated by the dynamism of lights and darks rippling through vertical lines.

Most of these quilts had a hard life because they were used intensely, and they filled a need.  Some that have survived are in the quilts of Gee’s Bend.  Auburn University’s Women’s Studies department put together a very cool project putting the Gee’s Bend quilts in context of history, geography, and complete with activities for kids and ideas for teachers.

I was looking for a new pattern to do in mosaic, and kept looking at Chinese Coins, and thinking I couldn’t find a way to translate it into glass, but then one day I decided I wanted to find a way.  It was fun choosing different types of glass, and like the quilters, I had many strips already cut from other projects, just waiting to be used up.

Related Posts:

Ann Hermes Miniature Quilts

Quilts of Glass: Log Cabin

Over at Stratoz’s Blog:

7 for the weekend–celebrating a 2009 quilt show


My Quilt, Textiles and Fiber Art Board on Pinterest

INTERVIEW with Gwen Marston on Crafty Planner Podcast


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