Going post-modern

I didn’t get to go to Quilt-Con, but I eagerly read all the blog posts about it and also enjoyed the lectures on Craftsy. I remember it got a lot of people talking about labels and in particular the Modern Quilt Guild’s definition of “modern quilting.” I don’t think it was long until all the hullabaloo caused the MQG to adjust the definition to be a lot more inclusive.

This is the definition right now:

Modern quilts are primarily functional and inspired by modern design. Modern quilters work in different styles and define modern quilting in different ways, but several characteristics often appear which may help identify a modern quilt. These include, but are not limited to: the use of bold colors and prints, high contrast and graphic areas of solid color, improvisational piecing, minimalism, expansive negative space, and alternate grid work. “Modern traditionalism” or the updating of classic quilt designs is also often seen in modern quilting.

The thing is, I’m not sure this definition goes far enough yet to include quilters like me. I’m not inspired by minimalism and negative space and solids. I admire it, but I don’t enjoy doing it. Clearly that last sentence tacked onto the end of the definition is supposed to make me feel included. They’re trying. 🙂

I want to make it clear that nothing I’m saying here is meant to be controversial or negative in any way. I recognize the tremendous contribution the Modern Quilt Guild has made and continues to make to the quilting community. I just find this topic really interesting and fun to discuss. Truthfully, this is more about me finding my place in the community than about me making judgments on the kinds of quilts others are making or should make.

One reason I find this so interesting is that I’ve been searching for my own style and I think I’ve been able to narrow it down this year. My goal is simply to make really educated decisions about what quilts I choose to spend my time making. I want to love my quilts when they’re done. Here’s what I’ve learned:

  • For me, life is too short to use solids, even for backgrounds. Why use plain white when you can use polka dots or a subtle text print? A huge part of my enjoyment of the process has to do with how absolutely stunning printed fabric can be.
  • I prefer scrappy quilts – the more fabrics the better. It’s too repetitive to make the same block over and over in the same prints. I love to vary the background fabrics too.
  • I think it’s really fun to “deconstruct” large scale prints by using them for piecing and not just large borders or backings.
  • I like low-contrast quilts that need to be really examined for the design to come out. High contrast is good too but not necessary.
  • I like really elaborate quilts that take a long time to make: true modern heirlooms. On the other hand, I always like square patchwork- especially when it’s really scrappy.

So the question I’m asking is this: are we going post-modern? I feel like I’m seeing less of the truly minimalist super-modern quilts. Maybe I’m just more likely to follow the blogs of people who make quilts like mine. But I’m really curious whether you guys think the tide is turning back to more traditional designs.

And just because I know you don’t want a post with JUST WORDS here are my latest Penny blocks:

DSC06505 DSC06501 DSC06494 DSC06490 DSC06486 DSC06483

Apparently I was in a bit of an Anna Maria Horner mood.

Apparently I was in a bit of an Anna Maria Horner mood.

Thoroughly post-modern if you ask me!

Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday  and Thursday Threads since I’m never ready in time for WIP Wednesday lately! Oh, and this new one. Check it out.

Finish it up friday: celebration giveaway

Whew, I gotta tell you, those Your 1st Quilt tutorials were a lot of work! I didn’t get a chance to post any final pictures of the mini in the tutorials because I wanted to leave some binding unsewn for demonstration purposes at my class, but I can show you now:


Cute huh? I can definitely see a poinsettia on top of that this Christmas. Ooh, or maybe a bowl of red and green M&Ms. Or my Mom’s peanut brittle! (Hi, Mom).

To celebrate finishing all 6 tutorials, I’m going to offer a very special giveaway. I’ve got a pretty pile of neatly starched and pressed coordinating fabrics that I am pulling from for my Penny Sampler. I am going to cut 2 charm packs from those fabrics for 2 giveaways. This will be a pretty exciting little set of fabric because I’ve been using only my absolute (of-the-moment) favorites for this quilt: plenty of Denyse, Anna Maria Horner, the new Alison Glass text prints, some Violet Craft Waterfront Park, Leah Duncan Tule, etc. You can see these fabrics at work in my sampler so far here.

To enter, I’m asking you to in some way spread the word to your beginner or non-quilting friends that I have these tutorials available on my blog. I’d love it if you’d mention it on your blog, but you can have an entry for any form of spreading the word – even an old fashioned face-to-face conversation. We’re on the honor system here people. Just leave a comment telling me you did it. I’ll leave the giveaway open until midnight next Friday, October 11.

Yes, I will ship internationally. It isn’t a real celebration without all my quilt friends around the world!

The 2nd giveaway is for beginner’s only! The first 10 people to email me a picture of a finished quilt they made using my tutorials will be entered to win the 2nd charm pack. I’ll also feature a picture of the quilt on my blog (if they don’t mind). I’ll leave this giveaway open until I receive 10 entries.

Oh, and if you’re wondering, the class I had at my house last Saturday was an absolute blast! 9am – 2pm was the perfect amount of time for them each to sew their own mini. When they left they were all about half done turning their binding.

I provided these cute little bundles:


Each one contained nine 5-inch squares, an appropriately-sized piece of batting, a fat quarter for backing, and a length of binding I prepared in advance. They were all so enthusiastic. One in particular has already gone out and bought fabric for her next quilt! I could see the fire in her eyes. She’s totally hooked. (Hi, Vicki).

I will say that I’m glad I had the tutorials to refer everyone to. It took the pressure off to know that they have something to go back to later if I didn’t make something clear enough or completely forgot to say something important.

Celebrating my big finish (the tutorials, really) by linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts and Fabric Tuesday!

It’s starting to look like a real quilt

I laid out all my penny sampler blocks on my bed today.


Pretty super exciting. I love this quilt.

Here’s what’s new:


This one caused me to break my general “it’s not fun anymore if you sew it twice” rule. I had to sew the first diamond 3 times before I got it right. The other 4 were easy-ish after that. I’m not sure I’m a huge fan of working with diamonds!


I’m proud of this one though! That’s a lot of HST (half square triangles) to get right. They line up pretty well! Not perfect but definitely enough that I smiled when I opened that last seam. And I only used my seam ripper a little. (You can’t really tell in the picture, but the white fabric is a white on white text print with a bit of shimmer to it. It really adds to the ribbon effect the block is supposed to have.)


Kinda spooky? Appropriate for Halloween I guess. That green didn’t photograph well. It’s a nice emerald green – Lizzy House Jewels.


This is my new favorite. There’s just something about it. Rachel (our teacher) has been encouraging us choose a light, medium, and a dark fabric for some of these blocks to add dimension. I’m really liking that strategy.

Come back tomorrow to hear about my next giveaway!

Linking to Thursday Threads and Needle & Thread Thursday.