Sunday, March 30, 2014

Can I make a modern quilt?

Now that I can sew a 1/4 inch seam consistently and have paper-pieced, chain pieced, and sewn curves, I’ve spent my sewing time concentrating less on learning how to sew and more on figuring out what I want to sew.


Last week the Modern Quilt Guild offered a free webinar for members by Heather Grant called “Design Fundamentals of Modern Quilting.”  She talked about negative space, scale, color, and grids.  Many of these aspects of design were totally new concepts to me—a little scary considering I’ve been quilting almost 6 years now!    My husband always asks  me to put into words why I like certain quilts, and now I have some useful vocabulary to help me do so.

One thing I learned from this webinar is that I’ve never made any quilts that are really, truly modern in design.  I definitely follow the modern quilter’s philosophy, but don’t necessarily follow the aesthetic when it comes to making design choices.  The most important thing I took away from this webinar is that I want to challenge myself to think more about what I’m sewing from a design perspective.

It was very convenient that I watched this webinar after reading this book.

book image

I ordered this book from Amazon about a month ago, kind of on a whim as it was recommended when I was purchasing something else.

I’ve thought about this book and the people in it so much over the past few weeks.  I read it cover-to-cover the day it arrived.  It contains 1-2 page interviews/summaries of/biographies of notable quilters who are part of or have influenced modern quilting.  While some reviewers on Amazon complained that the amount of information was not in-depth enough, I found it to be just the right amount.  If I wanted to know more, I could Google that person and find out whatever I wanted to know or resources to point me in that direction.  Many of the people in the book are important contributors to modern quilting and I had never even heard of them.  Since watching the design fundamentals webinar, I’ve read this entire book cover-to-cover again.

With all this in mind, hopefully my next quilt will be modern in both philosophy and aesthetic.  My friend CeLynn joined the triangle quilt along by The Sassy Quilter.  I’ve always wanted to make a quilt with triangles and already had the ruler, so I cut my fabric last night.


This triangle stack is made from the darker prints from Lizzy House Constellations and a few other fabrics from my stash, and then solid creams, whites, and grays.  One of the words Heather Grant used a lot in the webinar was “graphic,” so I chose fabrics keeping that in mind.

Whether or not this quilt turns out to be modern, quilt alongs are always fun!


  1. I've seen a few of the triangles popping up and they do look interesting. Your colors look fabulous and I can't wait to see your creations.

  2. Not sure if my quilt will turn out to be modern or not,but I am going to love it either way. I just might have to check into getting that book,as it sounds like it has a lot of useful information in it.

    Love the pretty stack of triangles you have cut and am excited to be sewing together again :)

  3. There were some interesting debates about the quilt judging after the last Quiltcon, and what exactly Modern Quilting is. I say, if you make something you like, which speaks to you, it is a success. I look forward to seeing your product!

  4. sounds brilliant Jamie. I'm looking forward to following along with your quilting journey :-)

  5. well put Jamie. I should have watched the seminar too. I have no terms to describe what I like, to me it's all sort of by "feeling" right now but I'm sure I follow the rules and such. I also don't make many modern modern quilts, looking forward to your triangle quilt.

  6. I watched that seminar, too! I think I fall somewhere in that modern traditional (I think that's what it was called). Can't wait to see your triangle quilt!

  7. I'm trying to make some modern quilts too, or at least learn more about them.

  8. Seems like you and I are in the same boat. I tend to keep to traditional patterns, but use modern fabrics. However, as I become more confident, I want to try more modern designs. Sounds like I need to add the book to my list of quilt books to buy/borrow! Best, Kate

  9. Whatever makes your heart sing as a quilter is what it's all about to me:) I have a modern piecing "think outside the box" book that I have had for quite some time now and still haven't made a quilt from it! I figure when the mood strikes I will try it out. I like patterns/structure for the time being.

    Have fun with your triangles! I have Constellations as well:)

  10. Hm. Maybe I am strange but I really don´t like rules that limit me when I design quilts. I even believe that concerning creativity rules are there to be broken. There is no right or wrong (as in truly modern or unmodern or traditional or whatever) when it comes to a quilt design you truly like.


Some days the only adult I talk to is my him keep his sanity by leaving a comment so I have another adult to talk sewing with:) I will make sure to reply!