More than 3,000 years ago the Chinese began using wooden lattice designs in their windows. The smooth inside of the lattice has traditionally been covered with paper, which is replaced each year on New Year’s Day. In the 1920s and 1930s, Daniel Sheets Dye collected over 1,200 examples of lattice designs, and these were later published by Dover Publications in two books: Chinese Lattice Designs (1974) and The New Book of Chinese Lattice Designs (1981). Using such diagrams, I have had a wonderful time making quilts from a 9″ by 9″ miniature to a twin bed size.
Many of the lattice designs can be easily drawn on graph paper and then strip pieced in fabric such as I have done in the following pieces: November, Oriental Fern Garden, and Garden of Happiness. This method requires a busy background print since some of the background sections are made up of several pieces of fabric. This piecing method is a good one for beginning quilters who want to work on their accuracy in cutting and piecing. In these pieces the lattice is finished 1″ wide. These pieces are all hand quilted.
With all the new fabrics with beautiful large scale prints that would be a shame to cut into little pieces, I wanted to develop a piecing method using lattice designs that would not distort the background image. I could have simply appliqued strips onto the background fabric, but decided not to for two reasons: I do not care for appliqueing and I was not sure I could get the consistently straight lines or sharp points needed to make the lattice look right. So I developed a method of drawing my lattice design on the wrong side of the background fabric, carefully cutting it apart, and sewing it back together with the lattice strips in place. The lattice strips are a finished 1/2″ wide, so all I am removing with the lattice strips is the seam allowances. This method uses a lot of insetting and is definitely an advanced sewing method. I used it to make Hawaiian Garden, Lilac Serenity, and Orchid Spree. These pieces are all hand quilted.