I Ching Modern Quilt-along: Week 1 ~ Researching


For years I have turned to the I Ching as an oracle and aid for making decisions during times of transition, challenge, and growth – posing personal questions about love, work, creativity, relationships, and more.

Join me over the next several weeks on this two-fold journey – 1) of creative self-discovery and 2) exploring randomness, synchronicity and improvisation – through the process of making your unique I Ching Modern Quilt.


The I Ching (Chinese pronunciation: ‘Ee Jeeng’) also known as the Book of Changes is perhaps the oldest of civilizations’ wisdom literature dating to the 2nd or 3rd millennium BC. It is at the heart of early Chinese philosophical thought influencing both Taoism’s emphasis on effortless effort and the flow of nature, and Confucianism’s emphasis on ethics and relationships.

The I Ching is both simple and complex. The oracle divines through eight trigrams based on the attributes of nature – earth, water, wind, thunder, lake, mountain, fire and heaven.

These eight trigrams combine in pairs to make 64 hexagrams representing the energy of human life divided into 64 situations, dilemmas and relationships.

The I Ching reflects the universe in miniature. It is also mathematical and geometrical, a book of patterns and space. As such I have fancied for years to make a quilt based on my I Ching readings.


Your task this week is to become more familiar with the I Ching. Skim the Wikipedia entry, the  Introduction to the I Ching by Richard Wilhelm, and the other links scattered on this page. Google the I Ching and see what you discover. There’s a lot of info out there – some of it pop culture, some of it scholarly. You don’t have to understand it all. Just have fun!

Next week we will be TEXTING… choosing the I Ching translation that’s right for you.


Step 1: RESEARCHING ~ you are here.
Step 2: TEXTING ~ resources for choosing the an I Ching text that right for you.
Step 3: GATHERING ~ a supply list of materials and tools.
Step 4: ASKING ~ how to ask the right questions of the oracle.
Step 5: CASTING ~ how to cast coins for the hexagram and document the answer.
Step 6: READING ~ how to look up your hexagram and interpret the reading.
Step 7: TRANSLATING ~ designing/choosing a quilt form/pattern for your hexagrams.
Step 8: CUTTING ~ pre-cutting the shapes for your I Ching block.
Step 9: SEWING ~ bringing all the previous steps together and finally sewing!
Step 10: CONTINUING ~ more of the same… don’t rush this process.
Step 11: IRONING ~ tips on ironing seams and reviewing the lessons of the I Ching.
Step 12: ACCEPTING ~ the benefits of sewing mindfully.
Step 13: SEAMING ~ its time to begin sewing the columns together.
Step 14: ADVANCING ~ slowly incorporating the wisdom of the I Ching.
Step 15: REVIEWING ~ an overview of the questions and hexagrams received.
Step 16: QUILTING ~ the rewards of hand-quilting.
Step 17: COMPLETING ~ view the finished quilt!

Value, Intensity, Quantity ~ clarification on how to pick dynamic color sets

I’ll be posting new segments of the quilt-along on Mondays. Subscribe to the RSS feed here: I Ching Modern Quilt-along.

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27 Responses to I Ching Modern Quilt-along: Week 1 ~ Researching

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  5. sako says:

    I started the researching yesterday of the “I Ching”. Looking forward to the process.

    • sako says:

      Block 6 Block 10
      ___ ___ ____ ____
      _______ ____0____
      ___ ___ ____ ____
      _______ #5. ____0____ #5
      _______ _________
      _______ _________
      Would you say that both blocks are #5? Both are my first hexagram. I know they will look different.

      • sherrilynn says:

        Hi Sako,

        Block 6 has no changing lines. So you have only one primary hexagram to read. It will be made with three solid dark lines, a broken dark line, a solid dark line, a broken dark line.

        Block 10 changes into the same hexagram as block 6. That means the secondary hexagram is the same but the primary hexagram is different. You will read two hexagrams for this block. It will be made with two solid dark lines, a bright broken line, a dark broken line, a bright broken line, followed by a dark broken line.

        You always make the primary hexagram into a quilt block, by indicating the changing lines with the bright colors it also contains the secondary hexagram. Does that make sense?

        Best wishes on your progress!

  6. Bianca says:

    I have the exact same book you have there (the Hillay Barret one) and therefore I want to know which book is the other one you have?

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  9. Peter Hart says:

    We have been doing work with the I Ching and came upon this project. Every site we go to that has dialogue from people working with “The Book of Change” has stunned us. The intelligence of the conversations, the quality of the posts, and the positive energy communicated by all is so refreshing compared to most of the banality we read everyday.

    This quilt project is most brilliant. Keep being with the I Ching and making those quilts all. I’m pretty sure those of you on this journey are having some major “wow” moments. Hooray!

  10. Sonia says:

    WOW!!! I need to do this! I am so grateful to have found you. Your spiritual inspirations is today’s greatest gift! Now I need to go and add another color to my mood quilt :)

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  12. shannon says:

    wow! this is amazing. i don’t even know what to say. the latter half of last year hit me with a bunch of life changes that i’m still adjusting to. (partner with friend in new business, husband starting a new business, a move) since our move, we still have yet to unpack and set up the house. my schedule is so radically different now that it leaves me with little time to do much else but get through the day! my sewing stuff is still packed in boxes but i have a such a yearning to sew!

    i have been feeling that i need to reconnect and ground myself spiritually. i feel so all over the place.

    then, i see this post! and wow! i can’t believe that i have been away for so long! ha ha ha! this post has excited me and put some energy into me! :) i have been wanting to learn the i ching for a while now!!! to combine two things that i long to do into one…wow! it just floors me how much i think the two will complement each other so well!

    i hope i am not too late to join in on this! :)

    i’m a little sporadic on internet. my internet is down at home and will be for at least two more weeks. i’m sneaking in this post at work. eeeps!

    • It sounds like this is for you Shannon. I’m happy you will be joining in! The best thing about an online quilt-along is that the steps will be available to follow whenever the timing is right for you.

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  14. Connie says:

    What an amazing idea – I can’t wait to read, learn, and quilt…….

  15. Janine says:

    Thank you for visiting my blog. Your calling me a trusting soul twice is making me a touch nervous! Actually I’m looking forward to this :)

  16. Amanda says:

    I love this idea so much. I have never encountered I Ching; it looks like you are combining some very separate ideas to make a really creative project. Yet the trigrams look so much like the beginnings of a design for a quilt… now that you mention it! This will be fun!

  17. blandina says:

    How interesting, I had forgotten that I had a book about I Ching when I was in my late teens and I used it quite often to make decisions. I am sure it wasn’t the proper way to use it, but it helped me nevertheless!

  18. Janine says:

    I’ll give this go – it sounds really interesting:)

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