Thursday, May 31, 2012

Book Review: Quilting Modern

Since this is a Modern QG, I thought I'd check out some of the books written specifically for modern quilters. I've seen some dynamite modern quilts - highly graphic and stunning, and some of them are on Katie Pedersen's blog.

Intrigued, I got a copy of Quilting Modern, the book she co-wrote with Jacquie Gering, published by Interweave Press.  This is the first of the "modern" books I've seen and I thought I'd review it here.

This book is clearly aimed at beginning quilters and covers the basics in the first four chapters. The early part of the book devotes space to tools and materials, preparing and cutting fabric, such subjects as "to wash or not to wash," pressing, matching seams making the quilt sandwich, backing, quilting, and binding.

The  book is loaded with beautiful pictures, diagrams, and instructions for making quilts that range from simple to more complex. There are also patterns for pillows and a table runner that illustrate certain techniques the authors want to cover, like curved piecing.

The subtitle is "techniques and projects for improvisational quilts" but wile the quilts look as though they have been improvised, the instructions for them are detailed and specific.  This is very helpful for beginners who need to follow a pattern, yet make quilts with a contemporary look.

The authors use lots of solids in the modern aesthetic, but to their credit, incorporate lots of patterned fabrics for a nice balance.  Some of the quilts are quite striking.  My favorite is the "Fractured Quilt," which is a riff on the traditional string-pieced quilt.

While color and value were discussed, the fabrics indicated for each quilt were sometimes predictable. The Urban Garden Quilt called for beige, brown, orange and green fabrics, and I would have liked seeing examples of other colors and value placements to show how else the quilt could look.  What if the background were black and the other colors were magenta, yellow, and turquoise?  What if the background were lime green with orange, purple, and electric blue? This would surely have encouraged people to improvise with color as they followed the pattern.

That quibble aside, the authors explain their construction methods clearly and give the newbies design wall guidelines as they design their quilts. This is really valuable information, since many of the quilts look more complex than they really are. 

All in all, a good book for beginning modern quilters.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

First meeting date set!!

Get ready for the first meeting of the North Jersey Modern Quilt Guild!! 
 Thursday, June 21, 2012
7:00 pm

15 Bloomfield Ave, Montclair, NJ

Please RSVP to so we know how many chairs to set up!

we'll be in touch with further details about the meeting.

we look forward to seeing you!
Rayna & Aleeda

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

modern or post-modern?

The official Modern Quilt Guild site has a definition of "Modern,"  which you can read here
  • Make primarily functional rather than decorative quilts
  • Use asymmetry in quilt design
  • Rely less on repetition and on the interaction of quilt block motifs
  • Contain reinterpreted traditional blocks
  • Embrace simplicity and minimalism
  • Utilize alternative block structures or lack of visible block structure
  • Incorporate increased use of negative space
  • Are inspired by modern art and architecture
  • Frequently use improvisational piecing
  • Contain bold colors, on trend color combinations and graphic prints
  • Often use gray and white as neutrals
  • Reflect an increased use of solid fabrics
  • Focus on finishing quilts on home sewing machines
There is a lot of flexibility in this definition -- and lots of room for everyone to follow his/her own path. But NNJ is expanding that definition to be more inclusive. Maybe we should call it "post-modern."
  •  We encourage a diversity of size/shape/purpose in our quilts, including art quilts for the wall.
  •  We love solids but also love combining solids with contemporary or vintage fabrics, hand-prints, and hand-dyes.
  •  Machine piecing, hand piecing, and fusing all work for us -- whatever works for you is great.  If you want to hand-quilt along with (or instead of) quilting by machine, do it! (It's very Zen and great for sitting in meetings or in a doctor's waiting room).
Here are a couple of post-modern experiments on my own design wall.  Not sure whether I will end up with either one, but it's fun to play.  Both combine solids with vintage fabrics from cut-up older quilt blocks.

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