QuiltCon – What’s Your Modern Style?

Contribution by Karen Aalders

There are many spectrums in modern quilting – the construction of the quilt top, the style of the quilting (stitch in the ditch, straight line, free motion), or on the artistic spectrum of eclectic (bold and scrappy) to minimalism. QuiltCon had quilts that represented all of these areas and were inspiring to people who are just starting out to folks who are diving into more advanced quilting techniques.

Many people come into modern quilting asking, “What is modern quilting?” and they get the gamut of answers – modern fabrics, lots of negative space, alternate grid work, improv, straight line quilting, free motion quilting that creates a picture in the negative space….

In my personal quilting journey, I started off as a traditional quilter (yes, there was Civil War reprint fabric in my stash), learning the traditional blocks and ways to finish a quilt. I did that for a while, until life happened and I took a break from quilting for about 10 years. When I was ready to get back into quilting, I found a quilt-a-long with Pile O’ Fabric and Carolina Patchworks, where the challenge was using solids and the pattern was made of bold, graphic lines. That’s when I fell in love with modern quilting.

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Groovy Movie Quilt pieced and quilted by Karen Aalders (pattern by Carolina Patchworks)

My journey moved on to trying wonky log cabins, using fabrics with more modern designs/colors, and experimenting with straight line and free motion quilting (can you say paisleys?).

By the time QuiltCon 2015 rolled around, I was ready to take the plunge into improv piecing, where you loose the rotary cutter and ruler. Now, that was scary. Then liberating and FUN.

This year, I’m dipping my toes even further – the Might Lucky Quilters Club is already stretching my comfort zone with using bias tape and creating a piece using minimalist methods.

Where are you in your modern quilting journey? How are you going to incorporate the sights from QuiltCon 2016 into your quilting journey?

Where ever you are in your journey, remember – there are no quilt police in Modern Quilting. Create and move along the modern quilting spectrums at your own pace.

Share your journey! We’d love to see your work – post your work with #quiltsofocmqg to share your experience with us.

 

Modern Star and Modern Log Cabin Challenge

The OCMQG holds a challenge once a quarter for its members to show off their creativity and have some fun. See the Challenges Page for our current challenge and challenge details.

For the first quarter 2016, the challenge is about taking a traditional state star block or log cabin block and making it modern.

Take 30 seconds and think about / write down what “making it modern” means to you.

Below are images from Google Image searches on “California Star Quilt Blocks” and “Log Cabin Quilt Blocks” – which are showing mostly traditional ways of creating the blocks.

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How can the modern aesthetic be brought to these blocks to create a modern quilt? Well, first – what the heck defines a quilt as “modern?” This question is hotly debated and is as controversial as “should you prewash your fabrics?”

Basically, modern quilting has no rules. The individual quilter decides what rules to follow or not follow. For example, in traditional quilting, there’s usually a standard sized block that is repeated in rows and columns, has one or more borders, and uses traditional fabrics.

What rules do you “break” or “bend” when translating traditional into modern?

One way to make the block modern is to use a solid “background” fabric to create negative space and to use modern patterned fabrics (right) or to use only solid fabrics (left).

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Made in 2013 by an OCMQG member

Another way is to super size the block and show off one block or a part of the block. The quilt to the right is a traditional block called Ohio Star. The OCMQG member who made this blew up the block to the size of the quilt and used saturated solid fabrics.

These three example all use precise measuring and piecing, but move away from the traditional in the fabric choice and block size.

Other ways to make it modern:

  1. Use only scissors to cut the block pieces (no rotary cutters or rulers)
  2. Make the pattern “wonky.” In a log cabin, the sides of each strip are usually parallel to each other – What would it look like if they weren’t? What happens when a star block made with 60 degree triangles now has triangles that vary between 45 degrees and 90 degrees?
  3. Use “found” fabric. Old jeans, ties, button down shirts, slacks, bedsheets, towels, curtains can all be used to make a quilt. How do different fabric types affect the look and feel of the quilt?
  4. Create blocks and align them so a large amount of negative space is created

Join the conversation – Tell us your favorite ways of making traditional patterns into your version of “modern.”

Follow our hash tags for this challenge on Instagram #ocmodernstar and #ocmodernlc