Sunshine and Shadow – The Shadow Part


When a person begins to research quilt patterns to any extent, it can be confusing, for you discover early on that many patterns have a number of different names. Much of the research I’ve done for my work-in-progress (WIP) story quilt began with lists of quilt names that seemed to me to symbolize respective chapters of my life. “Sunshine and Shadow” resonated immediately with me for one particular chapter, and may do so for most of us as we journey through our decades. I learned “Sunshine and Shadow” was a traditional 19th century Amish and Mennonite pattern. First I went to the online Metropolitan Museum and found what they call “the split-bars pattern,” shown here:

Very quickly I discovered the most popular Amish design of “Sunshine and Shadow” was much different: an abundantly colorful pattern I’d used decades ago to make a quilt for my son when he went to college. That pattern, named “Around the World” I’d found in a quilt magazine. My son and I had designed the color pattern ourselves and, in my recent research, I found this quilt with the identical color scheme we’d chosen.

Yet, because neither of the above linked patterns reflected the visual I was looking for, I continued my search, looking at literally hundreds of pattern variations quilters have created through the decades. At last, my eyes found one very unique pattern that resonated in an “Aha” moment.

The photo you see at the top of this post is the almost-assembled lower half of the square, the “Shadow” part. I hope to complete the “Sunshine” part this weekend and post the completed square early next week.

If you are a quilter, Happy Quilting!


About Mary Jo Doig

Mary Jo Doig was the first in her family to attend college and graduated from the State University at Oneonta in New York’s Catskill Mountains with a degree in Secondary English Education/Educational Psychology. There she fell in love with rural life, remained, and eventually transitioned from city girl to country woman when she married a dairy farmer and raised their three children on their small family farm. A life-long lover of reading and writing, Mary Jo has for nearly twenty years been a member of the Story Circle Network. There she has been an editor, a women’s writing circle facilitator, a book reviewer, and life-writing enthusiast, working extensively with women writing their life-stories while writing her own memoir. Presently, she is a three-time Program Chair for SCNs national Stories from the Heart conference and a board member. She also facilitates Older Women’s Legacy workshops and a women’s life-writing circle in her area communities. Her stories have appeared in Kitchen Table Stories anthology, Story Circle Annual Anthologies, and most recently her story “I Can’t Breathe” was published in the Anthology, Inside and Out: Women’s Truths, Women’s Stories. Her work also appears in varied blogs and periodicals, on her blog Musings from a Patchwork Quilt Life (, Facebook, and Twitter. Her son and two daughters grown, Mary Jo presently treasures her country life in Virginia’s Central Shenandoah Valley. She loves cooking (and eating!) healthy food, reading, writing, quilting, hiking, and spending quality time with her rescue cats, Button and Xena, and beagle, Addie, who each dream of being only children. Her first book, Patchwork: A Memoir of Love and Loss, will be published in October, 2018 by She Writes Press.
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2 Responses to Sunshine and Shadow – The Shadow Part

  1. Fascinating … hoping you’ll post the completed square also! Love your greens.


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