Batiks – Love Them? Or Not??

Batik Quilt patterns

It seems to me that quilters either love batiks or they really DON’T love them. I’m in the first category.

Let me tell you a few things I really like about batiks.

  • Batik colors can be so intense. There are pastel-colored batiks but the deep rich colors that they can achieve with batiks are truly pleasing to me.
  • Most of the time, there is no right and wrong side to the fabric.
  • Batiks have a firmer hand, so if I’m working with bias edges, the fabric is more stable.

My friend, Karen Gibbs at Banyan Batiks by Northcott, said this when we were emailing about batiks. “Every part of a batik is hand done, from the sketch, to the painstaking process of bending copper to duplicate that sketch, to the application of the color, to the application of the wax with the tjap, to dragging it out into the sun to dry. Lots of someones made that piece of batik. Lots of hands coming together in a centuries old art form. Kind of reminds me of quilting. Each batik is not like anything else. I love that. Just like I love wandering around art shows, looking to purchase a unique find, I see each batik created in that light.

“I love batiks for their saturation of color, their unabashed celebration of vibrancy. But look into those colors for a moment. A lot of color combinations were created for those tourists or westerners that associated batiks with the brightness. What about the dark rich moody combinations? When you delve into batiks, you will find certain color combinations have different meanings, could be where you are from, could be your station in life, could be you are having a celebration. Certain colors are more associated with certain regions, so Color Masters in the factories of that region may be experts on mixing up any color purple I can dream up. And, just a note on mixing…remember, nothing is automated. These colors are mixed by hand, in buckets, achieving all the nuances of color we as quilters have found we adore.”

Karen is so knowledgeable about batiks. I’m always inspired when I talk to her.

Nancy Mahoney wrote a blog for us a couple of years ago about working with batiks. It’s worth your time to read what Nancy has to say.

Here is one of my favorite batik quilts designed by Nancy Mahoney.

One of my favorite quilts that I’ve made using batiks is this crazy quilt. It’s pretty simple with lots of crazy blocks and lots of decorative stitches in different colors. I couched some pretty yarn all over the surface and added a few bits and pieces of lace. Some of the lace was purchased; some was machine embroidered on my personal machine.

Still Crazy After All These Years

Still Crazy After All These Years

Here are a few of my favorites from

This is Dog Patch. Do you see the cute little dog bones all over the quilt? The designer, Krystal Jakelwicz, gives one of her dogs homemade treats that are colored by the ingredients; blueberries, sweet potatoes, green beans, watermelon, etc. so her quilt has multicolored dog bones too. And the “bones” are made with pre-cut 2½” strips.

Take a look at Celestial Song. It will go together in a hurry; the circles are cut from pre-cut 10” squares and attached with fusible appliqué.

Kanaloa designed by Angie Milligan is twin-sized and so very bright and colorful.

Greek Wedding designed by Colleen Tauke is another quilt that will go together quickly. It uses 10” squares cut in a clever way.

Oh my, there are so many. I could go on and on. But why don’t YOU check out this bundle of patterns that we’ve put together. They all are made with batiks and the possibilities are endless. It just makes me want to go home and sew. (I do say that a lot.)

I just looked at one more from the bundle and now I really DO want to go home and SEW. Sprinkling of Stars was designed by Liz Porter. Look at the three different sizes of stars. This is a throw-size quilt and I would love to make it!

Do you think anyone will notice if I go home and start sewing Liz’s Sprinkling of Stars?

Happy quilting!




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