What is Modern Quilting?

Last week the Modern Quilt Guild blog asked the question “What does “Modern Quilting” mean to you? As a traditional quilter who is just beginning to dabble in what I consider modern quilting, here’s what I think:

For me, modern quilting is about a new generation of quilters putting their spin on the tradition of quiltmaking as a creative yet practical art. Through the years, quilts have been made for a purpose (warmth). They’ve also been a creative outlet and a way to add beauty to our lives. Some were made from scraps and others from found cloth (feedsacks, old clothes) or specially purchased materials. None of that has changed.

The biggest difference I see is color/fabric choices. Modern quilting leans toward clear colors rather than grayed colors. Solids are more prevalent. (Based on those two qualifications, modern quilting is very much like traditional Amish quilting.) Prints are either very large scale, graphic, or whimsical as opposed to traditional florals and calicoes. Modern quilting also pairs fabrics much more… um… adventurously. I also see a change in the patterns. Instead of representative blocks, like traditional stars, baskets and flowers, they lean toward geometric designs with less emphasis on symmetry (although there are also some very symmetrical modern quilts). I also see scale playing a greater part in modern quilting, either very large or very small. However, I think a traditional pattern with modern fabrics is more likely to read as modern than a modern pattern with traditional fabrics.


Let me try that again: If you use calicoes in hunter green and burgundy and cream and federal blue to make a Wonky Log Cabin quilt, it will look like a traditional quilt. If you use Amy Butler prints and whites and clear solids to make an Ohio Star quilt, it will be called a modern quilt.

Art quilts are a genre all their own, and I tend to think of them as more complex, smaller, and with more emphasis on different techniques. They may also be modern, but I think of them as overlapping styles, not one as a subcategory of the other.

As an aside, I believe that all quilters can benefit from learning the traditional piecing methods. I don’t think we should use ONLY those methods (or even any of those methods, once learned), but understanding them can give us a starting point for trying new things.


Quilting Day catch up

I neglected to post January’s quilting day photos, and we just finished February’s! Here’s a quick recap of January:

Pat played Vanna very well last month. She had a small sample of a project that she just started, using some fun fabrics to make a quilt she found in a book. She also showed off some of her Christmas gifts – more quilting books! (The last photo is my favorite – she’s demonstrating her hoot-owl look.)

Pat Vanna

Pat Night and Day

Pat Owl

Mickey was our show and tell champion in January. Look at all of her projects!

Mickey Cuddle Throw

Mickey Rag Quilt Back

Mickey Rag Quilt Front

Mickey Barns

Just take the damn picture already, Sandi!

Mickey Tree

Mickey Game Quilt

Mickey Placemat
This is a reversible placemat with chalkboard fabric on one side. Perfect for a small child!

Mickey Bag

Karen had just one project to show, but what a project! This is a Lone Star quilt that just came back from the quilter. She finished the top (mumble mumble) years ago for her son, and it’s finally quilted.

Karen's Lone Star Quilt

Lisa is our adventurous “beginner” – she’s been quilting for about a year and a half, and she’s great at experimenting with new techniques and styles.

Lisa Star

Lisa Snowman

Becky continues to be incredibly good at dodging the camera. I did catch a good photo of her in February’s group, so watch for that post! This is a little project she completed, but I have to get the other camera and find the photos of her incredible tumbler quilt. It’s just gorgeous!

Becky Face Mask

Pat is a friend of Becky’s. She joined us in early 2009, then went missing for several months. She’s back now, and she certainly livens up the group! She’s very prolific – here are some of her show and tell projects:

Pat Quilt

Pat Blocks

Pat Valentine

Basket Block Settings – Please Vote!

I’m working on possible settings for the Basket Block Quilt Along and I’d like your help. Check out the setting options below and then vote in the poll at the bottom of this post. I’ll leave the poll open for a month, to give me time to write up the instructions before we get to the last block. If more than one option gets a strong vote, I may write instructions for two or even three. If you have another suggestion, feel free to leave it in the comments.

I exported all of these from EQ6 WITHOUT patch or block lines. I think this makes it easier to see the overall look better, especially on some that I had to futz a little to make it look the way I wanted. By the way, the fabric line I used for all of these is from Moda – it’s called Berry Delicious, by Sew Treasured.

Setting Option 1
Setting Option 1

Setting Option 2
Setting Option 2

Setting Option 3
Setting Option 3

Setting Option 4
Setting Option 4

Setting Option 5
Setting Option 5

Setting Option 6
Setting Option 6

Setting Option 7
Setting Option 7

Setting Option 8
Setting Option 8

Setting Option 9
Setting Option 9

Setting Option(s) 10
(The last four are all the same setting, but the color placement makes them look quite different. All three options would be included in the instructions.)
Setting Option 10a

Setting Option 10b

Setting Option 10c

Setting Option 10d

Public Service Announcement

We have hot water!

My brother came over today and installed our new hot water heater, and I cannot wait to take a shower. We were very lucky because we were able to replace it ourselves – the unit itself (gas 50 gallon tank style) cost around $400 and we didn’t have to pay for labor. In doing some research about choosing water heaters, I came across story after story of people who spent $900 – $2,500 to replace their water heaters.

Public Service Announcement:

Go look at your water heater now. I can’t tell you anything about tankless ones, but if you have a tank style water heater, find the water shut off valve (probably a flower shaped turny thing above the tank), the electrical power or breaker that feeds it OR the gas shut off valve (depending on if you have a gas or electric model – the gas one is probably on the side near the bottom of the tank), and the drain spigot (near the bottom of the tank). See if you have any instructions on the unit. We had a tag hanging from the water shut off valve, and that saved us hundreds of dollars in service charges. The tag told us to shut off the water, shut off the electric or gas, and drain the tank using a garden hose screwed onto the drain spigot. Once we did that we no longer had to worry about leaking water, and could easily wait a day or two to replace it. Even if we’d had to pay a professional, we could have waited until a weekday, and shopped around for prices a bit. Face it, hot water is really a luxury, not a necessity. Sponge baths aren’t fun (well, I suppose they could be), but they won’t kill you. If you don’t have a tag, make one yourself and put it on the water heater so a year from now when it’s leaking water all over the floor you’ll remember what to do.

End of public service announcement. Quilting Day pics to follow.

Another “challenge”

No, this challenge has nothing to do with quilting, not directly, although we are having the monthly family and friends quilting day (aka “Stitch & Bitch”) tomorrow. The basement is all set up, and when I went into the back room I discovered water all over the floor. I traced it back to the water heater. Got Mom up, read the directions on the water heater (we’re women, we do that sort of thing), and turned off the water and the gas. I hiked out to the shed for a garden hose (snowboots required), and we’re draining the tank now. Mom’s wielding the shop vac to suck up all of the water.

Sigh. I really needed to wash my hair tomorrow.

Hard decision

My mom just took Amalthea to the vet. She won’t be coming back.


She is 20 or 21, and she’s had health problems for the past several years. We’ve battled bladder infections and failing kidneys. She barely weighs five pounds, despite all of the fluff. We’ve cooked hamburger and chicken for her (I’ve done it at 2 in the morning a couple of times because she was on the table, crying for food), opened five different cans of cat food hoping to find one she’ll eat. She hasn’t eaten much of anything for the last week, and she’s started peeing in the hallway again (we’ve been through THAT many times before, too). We decided that it’s time, but it’s the hardest damn decision. She’s alert, when she’s awake (about two hours a day). She’s affectionate. She’s comfortable when she’s asleep, thanks to the heated pad that Mom found for her just before Christmas. She can’t hear much, but the baby cats (now four years old) treat her with respect and affection.

It’s difficult to find the point where the negative outweighs the positive. I feel guilty giving up, even though the vet says we’ve gone beyond what most people do. But she’s twenty, and she’s not having a good life, and, well, we made the decision. Right or wrong.

Good bye, Miss Priss.