You Inspire Me to Quilt…Dinosaurs.

This was a really fun project.

dino patch_1_carolyn friedlander

When Cheryl approached me about participating in her next book, I didn’t hesitate too much, because I was intrigued by the premise, which was to find someone to inspire you to make a quilt. My choice was easy–my 3-year-old (at the time, now 4 or “almost 5” when asked) nephew, Jacob.

Jake sews with me fairly often, and I knew it would be a creative challenge for me to be totally open to whatever his request would be. Coaching him into an answer wouldn’t have been interesting or a challenge, so there was no letting him in on the secret until we had our skype interview with Cheryl. At that point I asked Jacob what type of quilt he’d like me to make for him and without hesitation he said that he wanted a dinosaur quilt. Actually, I think he said Tyrannosaurus Rex, which seemed a little specific, but I was just glad he didn’t say something like the Green Lantern, which he’d ask me to draw a week prior to the interview. I had no clue who the Green Lantern was (still don’t really know now…), but my green stick figure wasn’t cutting it for him. Dinosaurs, we could handle.

So, we started off drawing and painting a couple of dinosaurs. It was a team effort.

drawing dinosaurs with Jacob_Carolyn Friedlander

Then I let him pick some fabric–orange and blue were speaking to him–which, whew! They speak to me too.

dino patch_fabrics_carolyn friedlander

It made me pretty happy that he was this eager for some Botanics

picking fabric with Jacob_Carolyn Friedlander

He helped me sew one of the blocks, but his attention span was wearing thin, so I took it from there.

But he (quite literally) jumped back in when it came time for the layout. (Or, quilt hopscotch?)

dino patch_block layout_carolyn friedlander

What I ended up doing was to take the couple of paintings and drawings that we created and use them as a starting point for some raw-edge appliqué. Originally, I had the idea that it would be a big dinosaur, single-motif kind of thing, but when we started drawing, I loved the idea of it becoming a collage of drawings–almost like a refrigerator gallery of blocks with plenty of personality, texture and color. (Not too different from my nephew or most kids…)

dino patch_4_carolyn friedlander

That entire process is outlined in Cheryl’s new book (found here), and this pattern would be very easy to adapt to any other motif. In fact, I would love to see other kids’ refrigerator drawings turned into some quilts.

Dino Patch quilt process_Carolyn Friedlander


You Inspire Me To Quilt_Cheryl Arkison

The downside to making a project for Jacob that would be in a book was that I knew it’d be tied up in the publishing process for at least a year before I could give it to him. I could only hope that he’d still be liking dinosaurs when I’d get it back.

I finally got the quilt back just before Quilt Market this year, and I decided to wait until after the show to give it to him. So last week I did. Jake was pretty excited about it, but mostly impressed that the quilt, he and I were in a book. (“How’d you do that?!” he asked.) The person who surprisingly showed more enthusiasm for the quilt by dancing on it before I could even fully unfold it, was Jake’s now 16-month-old brother, who was only an infant at the time of the first interview for the project. I guess I’ll be making one for him next…

dino patch_3_carolyn friedlander


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10 Responses to You Inspire Me to Quilt…Dinosaurs.

  1. Ivete @ Gotham Quilts June 9, 2015 at 2:16 pm #

    Love it! It is soooo cute and soooo you! Great job =)

  2. Brittany Taylor June 9, 2015 at 2:33 pm #

    I adore this. I think this would be an excellent way to create family heirlooms as kids grow older.

  3. Rachel June 9, 2015 at 3:00 pm #

    I’m always having to throw out my children’s art work, there is just so much more than we can store! I love this idea as a way to keep a record of their art and turn it into something practical and beautiful! Your quilt is stunning!

  4. Audrey June 10, 2015 at 7:20 am #

    This is the best quilt story I’ve read in forever! Maybe because I’m a fan girl of both you and dinosaurs. This couldn’t be better. ❤️

  5. becky m June 10, 2015 at 2:45 pm #

    Oh, I love everything about this. “how’d you do that?” – precious!! That quilt is so fantastic. I think you need to sneak some dinosaurs in your next fabric line.

  6. brigitdermott June 12, 2015 at 3:02 pm #

    I love the description of your collaboration with your nephew–and the finished quilt! The design works so well with the drawings–perfect!

  7. meagangracie June 14, 2015 at 9:59 am #

    My 4year old dinsoaur lover said “I want one!”

  8. Brianna June 14, 2015 at 10:27 am #

    What an awesome idea for a book. Modern quilts with great fabrics, yet still inspired by kids. Often you see people customizing a quilt to kids’ interests with novelty fabric, which is fine, but incorporating their interests into the quilt design itself is great. Making the dinosaurs as an outline gives a nice effect. It reminds me of fossils or maybe pictograms or cave drawings – in a good way! Looks like you had fun with the quilting part too!

  9. Marta June 20, 2015 at 1:00 am #

    What a cute story! You ARE the fun aunt! 🙂 I love how you took his drawings and incorporated it into the quilt.

  10. Wendy June 26, 2015 at 11:33 am #

    I have a 3 year old nephew called Jacob who loves dinosaurs! I’m pretty sure he’d love a quilt like this, auntie Wendy had better get drawing!

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