Friday, March 6, 2020

Past Perfect: Kim McLean

Autumn Leaves by Kim McLean

This month's Past Perfect quiltmaker is Kim McLean, chromatic queen,
who's had great influence on the look of 21st-century quilts.

Kim drew her pattern from a quilt by Charlotte Jane Whitehill in the collection of the Denver Art Museum. Whitehill was inspired by Mary Hilliker's prize-winning quilt in the 1933 Chicago World's Fair. Hilliker's original inspiration was a pattern by Anne Orr, which she elaborated upon. 

Orr's pattern for Good Housekeeping
A perfect chain of inspiration

Kim, a former pharmacist who lives in Australia, began making quilts in 1990 and after a year won Best of Show at the prestigious Sydney Quilt Show. On her webpage she writes:
"In the early days I designed and made quite a few quilts based on the antique ones I saw, using the reproduction fabrics available at the time. That all changed when I discovered the Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics. Although my quilt designs still have the antique feel to it, they are done in these bright, cheery, happy fabrics that I love."
Princess Feather

Mariner's Compass Medallion

New York Beauty (all solids)

Pine Trees detail

Glorious Hexagon

Stars & Sprigs

See her patterns and quilts at her webpage. It's a great gallery of her work and you can click to buy the patterns.

Lollypop Trees

Here's Kim's Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/kimmcleandesigns/

See Mary Hilliker's 1933 Autumn Leaves here at the Quilt Index:

And the original Princess Feather quilt from Ohio here:


  1. serious drool here...i absolutely love her patterns and coupled with kaffe fabrics...aaarrrrgh...wish i was 25 and not 70 but absolutely must make at least part of one...the leaves have always been my fave...well, i think so anyway

  2. Hi Barbara,
    Many many thanks for posting about my quilts!
    I dropped my cup of tea on the table and myself this morning when I opened your email, I can’t believe it!
    I have enjoyed reading your blog posts and have certainly learnt a lot from them.
    Many thanks again, I will print it out for posterity,
    Cheers, Kim McLean

  3. Wow! Those leaves are gorgeous. Also love the little birdies around the Princess feather quilt - pretty colours indeed.

  4. I am amazed at the detail and intricacy of Kim McLean's work, and that she's so productive! Thank you for profiling this fantastic artist / quiltmaker.

  5. Kim's quilts are Gorgeous! So much color, so much applique, so much happy inducing, so much inspiration to do your own thing.

  6. Am I flattered that Kim McLean reads this blog with her morning tea. As you can see I am a big fan, Kim!

  7. I do indeed Barbara, a lovely way to start the day!

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