Piece and comfort for the eyes, heart, and soul.


My Tiny Nine Patch Challenge

60.5″ x 55.5″
Pieced and quilted by Sue Hickman Berryville, VA 7/2024

20 weeks (5 months) in the making, I’m thrilled to have finished #tinyninepatchchallenge quilt! It has been such a joy to create this piece!
I began work on it on February 29th. I finished piecing the top on June 14th, and July 18th, I finished hand stitching the binding to the back.
Finding fabrics enough to only have a handful of repeats within the blocks was a challenge. I’m truly grateful for the extent of my ‘stash’, 40+ years in the making!

To the best of my calculations, throughout, it contains:
5710 scrappy 1″ squares of fabric (in blocks and borders)
528 (finished) 1 1/2″ pieced blocks
483 (finished) 1 1/2″ squares of background fabric
4 corner triangles
88 setting triangles
Around the pieced blocks in the center, is a 1 1/2″ inner border and a 2 3/4″ outer border of background fabric.

When it came time to quilt it, I began stitching a few straight lines like the vintage quilt that inspired this challenge, but then I took those out. Yup! And, I do not do that often!
Seeing stitching across those tiny ½” squares of fabric that had been so carefully chosen and fussy cut to showcase their beauty and designs… I couldn’t do it. Instead, I free-motion quilted arcs that crossed every block’s corners, The result reminds me of the first quilt that ever caught my attention… a Cathedral Window doll quilt. In the inner pieced border I stitched cross hatched Xs. Matchstick lines fill the inner background border. And lastly I free motion stitched circles and arcs to fill the outer background border.

I think my Grands will have fun playing ‘I Spy” with this quilt since there are so many fun things hidden among these tiny 1/2″ squares of fabric. In addition to the eclipse and churn dash conversation blocks, there are plaids and stripes, a wide variety of flowers and leaves, chicks, doe and buck, hearts, circles, oars and anchors, stars and other patriotic and holiday blocks… etc..

Since I do sell some of my quilts I’ve been asked if this one will become available for purchase, and the answer is firmly, no. The time invested in making this one, and the little bits of my fabric stash that represent my lifetime of making quilts make this one too personal. No, with this ‘finished’ picture taken, I’m looking forward to washing it (with LOTS of Color Catchers since bleeding colors in some of these older fabrics is inevitable) and snuggling under it often for years to come.
Heartfelt thanks to Taryn Faulkner, @reproquiltlover who put out this Instagram challenge inspired by an antique quilt in her collection.

Roxanne’s Baskets… A Real Treat!

16.5″ Square
Hand appliqued, pieced, and quilted by Sue Hickman Berryville, VA 7/2024
Even though hand applique isn’t among my favorite types of quilting, I couldn’t resist picking up Roxanne Brown’s (Glenmore, LA) challenge to join her in making these sweet “Trick or Treat” baskets (designed by Barb Adams of Blackbird Designs). While she is making 291 of these blocks for a large quilt, I chose instead to make 4 blocks into a doll quilt. Afterall, if you can’t make them all, why not make some small?
In the center of it all is a tiny nine patch made with 1″ pieces of the fabrics used in this quilt. The tiny nine patch block reminds me that it was through a tiny nine patch challenge that I met Roxanne online earlier this year. To add a complex element to this otherwise simple design, I chose to miter the corners of the border.
My fabric colors were inspired by the leafed vine. I used Appliquick paper and tools to prepare my baskets for hand appliquing.


21.25″ Square
Pieced and quilted by Sue Hickman Berryville, VA 3/2024
Years ago I’d found a set of 23 red and ‘white’ (muslin) cross blocks at an antique store. They tugged at my heart because as a young girl my Mom had taken me to visit the house in Antietum, owned by one of her relatives, that Clara Barton had lived in while ministering to the wounded on Antietum’s battlefield. It is said that Clara’s acts of love and mercy there had subsequently led to the birth of the American Red Cross.
I did wonder why these blocks, with each maker’s name hand written on a slip of paper basted to the center of their block, hadn’t become a quilt. Were they intended to be red crosses (+) or X’s? Why were there 23 and not 24 blocks? Was one missing?
Sadly, they weren’t well constructed. I tried numerous times over the years to ‘do’ something with them, but only one of the blocks had adequate seam allowance on the outer edges to be incorporated into a quilt. Ultimately, I decided to carefully copy each of the ladies signatures onto and surrounding this one viable block. I always knew I wanted to surround this block with other red cross/X blocks, but couldn’t decide how big to make the final quilt until I began this year’s Tiny Nine Patch Challenge.
The original block’s design created what appeared to be four diagonally placed red crosses (Xs) in the corners. I put this block on point (so those center Xs now looked like crosses or +s) and surrounded it with 60 tiny (1 1/2″) cross blocks also set on point (so they now look like Xs) and offset by white/muslin squares. Between the center block and the outer smaller blocks I inserted a red dotted inner border. When the top was completed, I quilted ‘in the ditch’ so as to not detract from the Xs / crosses. Surrounding it all is a thin red binding.
It feels wonderful to have finally given these ladies’ project a quilt of their own.

Poison 9-Patch

14.75″ x 10.75″
Pieced and quilted by Sue Hickman Berryville, VA 2/2024
I’d decided to start the ‘2024 Tiny Nine Patch Challenge’ and recalled I had some 9-patch blocks among my orphaned blocks on my design wall. When I found these poison green blocks I decided they’d waited long enough to become a quilt of their own. This quilt has joined the other doll quilts in my collection.

Myrtle Beach Hibiscus

18″ Square
Collaged and quilted by Sue Hickman Berryville, VA 2/2024
This quilt was my project when I took a Zoom class with Phyllis Cullen, a collage quilt artist living in Hawaii. Most in the class used a kit she had prepared, but I was delighted she created a pattern for me from a picture I took of a hibiscus in Myrtle Beach, SC.
Many of the areas in my pattern were quite small, which made it very challenging to use only her method, and she noticed. She commented, “I love that you combine techniques you’ve learned from different sources and made them your own.”
Yeah, I’ve long embraced Picasso’s quote that says, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
I have created a number of collage quilts before, but I’m a lifelong learner, and it was fun to give Phyllis’ techniques a try!

Scrappy Tea Party

16.5″ x 15.5″
Pieced and quilted by Sue Hickman Berryville, VA 2/2024
This scrappy medallion doll quilt features 134 colorful pieces (finished at 3/4″ square), a fussy cut toile teapot, and 5 borders. These pieces include a few of my favorite things, such as: tea, sheep, an acorn (for autumn), a snowman, an artist’s palett, a Maryland blue crab, a patriotic star, and flowers galore on small scale reproduction fabrics.

Teacups and Toile

28.5″ Sq
Pieced and quilted by Sue Hickman Berryville, VA 2/2024
I do love a good cup of tea! I’d started these blocks years ago, and it was time to finally give them a home with a bit of toile. The soft yellows and blues make for a lovely wall hanging.

Spectacular Scandinavia, A 25th Anniversary Adventure

90″ x 70″
Pieced and free-motion quilted by Sue Hickman Berryville, VA 1/2024
Some travelers buy trinkets to bring home from their travels. My husband and I are more likely to bring home wood or fabric.
When we visited Hawaii in honor of our 15th, he brought home a piece of Koa and turned us a large bowl, so on this trip in honor of our 25th, I brought home fabrics from Stockholm, Sweden to make us a quilt. I found a fabric store close by our hotel and chose four cotton fabrics that reminded me of Sweden, from where my maternal Great Grandparents had immigrated in the late 1800’s. In honor of the Swedish flag that has a yellow cross lying on its side in a field of light blue, I chose the yellow stripe and solid blue fabric. The florals on white and red fabrics were chosen to represent the beautiful flowers we’d observed everywhere on our travels and painted on the traditional carved wooden Dalecarlian/Dala horses, a good luck symbol that often represents Sweden. Dala horses painted red symbolize passion and energy. After learning more of the history of these horses in The Wooden Horse museum, I suspect my grandmother’s horse collection began with a Dala horse that reminded her of her parent’s Swedish homeland.
When purchasing fabric without a design or pattern in mind, it is hard to know how much to get. European fabric is measured in meters, not inches, so I guessed and bought a meter of each of the four fabrics.
Not long after I bought the fabric I caught a glimpse of the American Quilter’s Society’s free “Marigold Days” pattern, first published in their member’s newsletter 11/1/2022, and thought if I substituted fabric colors it would work to remind me of the Swedish flag.
To those four fabrics I added a green from my stash to represent leaves in the flower blocks, and to my delight I had just enough of each fabric to make the full quilt as designed.

Bears Chasing Geese

23″ x 16.5″
Pieced and quilted by Sue Hickman Berryville, VA 1/2024
Because more cut pieces remained, I couldn’t resist making yet another doll quilt for my mother’s doll she called Duncany. (I was having such fun and hoped to finally wrap up this 13 year old UFO.)
When it was finished I asked my husband what he would call this one and he noted (looking from across the room) that he could see Bear’s Paw blocks beside the Flying Geese, and thus it earned its name.

Artist’s Private Collection

Abigail’s Gowns

25″ x 19″
Pieced and quilted by Sue Hickman Berryville, VA 1/2024
Since I’d recently handed my mother’s 90+ year old porcelain doll off to a restorer, I decided to make myself some of these doll quilts. I found the perfect backing fabric featuring ladies in their gowns, so I decided to name this one after the pattern that inspired it.

Artist’s Private Collection

Doll Quilt #2

24.5″ x 18.5″
Pieced and quilted by Sue Hickman Berryville, VA 1/2024
Having found pieces already cut and prepped to make more of these blocks, I couldn’t resist starting another doll quilt immediately. As with my ‘swap’ doll quilt, after making the blocks I added complementary borders.

Owned by Nancee Groh of Carlisle, PA

Doll Swap Quilt

23.5″ x 17″
Pieced and quilted by Sue Hickman Berryville, VA 1/2024
After working on 5 challenge quilts last year, I was more than ready to start this year with some traditional quilting using reproduction fabrics and Linda Collins’ (a.k.a. @quiltsinthebarn) Doll Quilt Swap was the perfect opportunity! This year she allowed 105 participants and I’m delighted to number among them!
As I pondered what pattern and fabrics I’d use, I went back to my stash and found complete sets of pieces all ready for me using Carol Hopkins Abigail’s Gowns – a Civil War Legacy pattern.
In 2011, I’d used this pattern to make my ‘Quilt of Many Colors’ that has hung on my family room wall ever since. I then cut and prepped fabrics to make many more, and what a surprise to find those sets all ready to piece!
The way the swap works is that I make a quilt for someone all the while someone else is making a quilt for me. I checked out my recipient’s Facebook page to get a sense of her likes and preferences and was not surprised at all to see we had much in common. I’m so pleased to report that I received the sweetest thank you note from the recipient when she received this little quilt.

Owned by Holly Crowder of Monroe, NC

Moody Blue Laments-Nights in White Satin

24″ x 30″
Designed and free-motion quilted by Sue Hickman Berryville, VA
An AVNT ‘Harmony of Color’ Guild Challenge, designed in 2022, started in 2023 (my year for challenges), and finally finished early in January 2024.
When challenged to create a quilt based on a color featured in a song, this is the song that kept coming back to me. It was one I remember listening to on the radio and dancing to in high school in the early 1970s. Not only does the song title contain the color white, which is actually a combination of all colors in the color spectrum, but it was performed by a band that has a color in its name and listening to it can certainly give one the blues.
Written by Justin Hayward at age 19, Nights in White Satin was inspired by a set of white satin sheets given to him by a past girlfriend. The song speaks to his not having recognizing beauty when it was right before his eyes, his unrequited love, and how he expressed his feelings in letters he never intended to send, all things universally experienced by teenagers at one time or another.   
I included a white dove in this piece for two reasons. First, white doves are often seen as symbols of hope, and love and can also represent compassion and kindness shown to others during difficult transitions. Secondly, a white dove is prominently featured on the cover of The Best of the Moody Blues album.
Released in 1967, this progressive rock song is considered the Moody Blues most famous song.

Truly honored to earn the vote of viewers at the 2024 Northern Shenandoah Valley Quilt Show in the AVNT Challenge category.