Stained Glass Quilts

“Artists are just children who refuse to put down their crayons.”   – Al Hirschfield

Quilt illustration from www Quilting Wedding Gift-Stained Glass Quilt

Quilt illustration from www Quilting Wedding Gift-Stained Glass Quilt


As a child, I never considered myself an artist. Coloring was an everyday event in our school, especially satisfying for those who owned the big box of Crayolas with the built-in sharpener. My mother found that sixteen crayons were enough. The teachers taught us to outline our space, then color it in. Many of us developed a propensity for needing that wax boundary. How did the educational system know that it was creating artists who would need to outline the pieces of their work?

Pablo Picasso recognized the artistic bent in children. “All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”  With a desire for outlining, two mediums open up quite naturally for that type of boundary regulated creativity. Quilting and stained glass.

To Stitch or Cane: That is the Question

Those working as quilters, stitchers, or weavers use textiles with threaded paths joining the cloth patches to express their artistic expressions. Stained glass artists utilize glass and caming.  Both artists consider color, design, meaning, expression and technique when working on a project. Allie Aller is a quilter who enjoys using the world of stained glass for inspiration. She believes that “Many areas of design can lend themselves to stained glass quilt work. If you think of stained glass quilting as ‘outlined’ art, any design based on simple line drawings or shapes can be transformed into a pattern.”

John Pietkiewicz’s Stained Glass

John Pietkiewicz’s Stained Glass

Several techniques are utilized onto fabric to mimic leaded edges. Some quilters get a stained glass effect by piecing a thin sashing strip between blocks. Others create the black lined edge by appliqueing fabric on a background. Sew-ers incorporate fusible bias tape on the edges to give the came look of stained glass to pieced fabrics. Any of the stylistic boundaries define the tolerance level of their creator for detailed work.

Copying an Icon

One dramatic application of the stained glass quilting technique is the creation of a Frank Lloyd Wright stained glass quilt. The colors that this architect utilized in his iconic work are bright and geometric. Using these two ideas, plus a lot of black bias tape, a reasonably close copy of one of his famous buildings’ windows could be sewn.

Quilt by Betty Bortnickschneider based on Wright’s stained glass

Quilt by Betty Bortnickschneider based on Wright’s stained glass

A talented and creative quilter, Betty Bortnickschneider stitched a stained glass quilt as a wedding present for a friend. She created a wall hanging quilt which is 5 feet tall by 3 ½ feet wide for the newly-weds. The design is from an original Frank Lloyd Wright window in the Charles Ennis house in Los Angeles. The simplicity of the concept and the quilting make this a piece that is cuddly and strikingly beautiful at the same time. Stained glass and quilting both rely on providing the eye a place to rest. Frank Lloyd Wright gives words to this technique when he states: “Space is the breath of art.” Betty’s gift to her friend breathes.


The title is starting to feel more comfortable. “The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul” according to Elder Uchtdorf. Some of us just like to outline the boundaries of our art with heavy lines.

Lines that fit on a stained glass quilt.


“We are artists, because God is.” – Peter Kreeft

Now, when I sit in a church or building with stained glass, my view will be different. Not only with the light effects on glass be noted, but my mind will make a leap and envision batiks and solid colors with a needle threading through the caning. Stained glass. Quilts.

One inspiring the other.


Cherie’s Quilting Journey, April 4, 2018

Allie Allers, Stained Glass Quilts Reimagined: Fresh Techniques and Design, C&T Publishing

Stained Glass Quilting from Boomerang Books

One Comment:

  1. Hi Cleo,
    Thanks for the ping back to my blog. Stained glass art has always fascinated me. You blog post was certainly interesting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.