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

At the turn of the millennium, I arrived at a cross-road that brought me to a splendid, if unforeseen place, almost as if I were a traveler on Robert Frost's The Road Less Traveled. I was single again, my three children were grown and building their lives, I'd experienced a health issue and was working on an improved lifestyle. I also ached to do two other things: (1) change my long human services career in upstate New York's Catskill Mountains, where winter seemed to be at least seven months out of every year, and (2) move to a warmer place in the universe. My decision: did I want to continue on the path I'd been following pretty much all my life, or could I gather my then-fragile courage and start life brand new somewhere else? These were scary thoughts for a single woman in her late 50s. Five hundred miles away, though, I fell in love with a new mountain range, Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains, where I knew not a soul except my daughter who was attending college in the Shenandoah Valley, and I moved. I rented a tiny cabin on a mountain in the woods and lived there in solitude for two years, working in a new career by day and, when home, communing with the incredible natural beauty that surrounded me. There I also began to write my life stories, which were aching for release. I joined the Story Circle Network in early 2001, a rich place in cyberspace for women life writers, where I strengthened my written voice and began sharing my stories. I found so many opportunities to grow: 10 year facilitator for an online writing circle of women writers across the country; thirteen year editor of the "True Words from Real Women" section of the quarterly Journal; a reader and reviewer of women's memoirs for the SCN Book Review site; program chair for two Stories from the Heart national conferences in Austin, T. Presently I'm teaching Women's Life-Writing and Older Women's Legacy workshops in my part of the world in Central Virginia and facilitating the ongoing Circle of Memories Writing Circle (formerly an OWL workshop that continued on) at the Crozet Public Library. I am blessed with three wonderful children, a son and two daughters; a small, huge-hearted family; dear friends; my beagle Addie and cat Button. My hobbies include reading, writing, editing, cooking, gardening, quilting, knitting, biking, and simply being with the profound beauty of the mountains that embrace my small two acres in the Blue Ridge. The life stories I began writing in 2001 have grown deeper with time, re-writes, and personal growth. All these years later, I'm scheduled to publish my memoir, Stitching a Patchwork Life, in 2018.
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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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