Friday, December 21, 2012

what is a modern quilt?

What is modern quilting?

Modern quilting is a new and rapidly growing movement in the quilting world. A group of quilters applied their current tastes and points of view to this traditional craft and shared their work online. Their fresh approach and new designs attracted sewers and quilters and the modern quilting movement was born.

Modern quilting, like all art, changes, grows and adapts from quilter to quilter as they find their own voice. Modern quilts reflect each quilter’s personality and personal style, and as the movement has grown, a modern quilt aesthetic, a set of principles that define and guide the movement, is beginning to emerge.

Modern quilts and quilters:

* 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

NNJMQG Profile... Rayna Gillman

Hi Guilders! Don't you just hate when life gets in the way of quilt stuff? I'm sorry to be late in posting another profile, this time of our own Rayna Gillman, author of Create Your Own Free Form Quilts and Create Your Own Hand-Printed Cloth. Please keep the submissions coming (email me at melintheattic(at)gmail(dot)com) -- they won't post until the new year, but we'll continue the process of getting to know one another.

Name and location
Rayna Gillman, West Orange, NJ

Me on Quilting Arts TV.

What do you do in your non-quilting life?
Do I have a non-quilting life??  If I’m not in the studio I’m blogging, marketing, developing workshops, sending out contracts and supply lists, getting on and off planes, teaching, and writing books or magazine articles.  Glamorous, it’s not!  I do manage to squeeze in a social life – believe it or not – and I find time for my kids and grands,.

When did you start quilting?

Fell in love an antique quilt and couldn’t afford to buy it so I thought, “I can do that.”  In 1974 there was basically one book, 101 Patchwork Patterns (I still have it and it is the best) and no such thing as classes.  I found a teacher at the Montclair Art Museum who was a real quilter and was very relaxed about seams and matching. She always said “do the best you can” and that’s all I needed to hear.  If I had had one of those self-appointed quilt police teachers I would never have taken to it!  After that, I was self-taught and just experimented.  I never took another quilting class.

How would you describe your quilts?
Free-spirited and original.  I stopped using patterns in 1984.

Do you have favorite colors, fibers, designs, techniques?
No favorite colors, although I hate pink (but you probably already know that). These days I tend to use a lot of acid green, purple, and orange in with everything else – but generally I am not a primary color person. I love working with 100% cotton. Designs?  My own, which evolve as I work.  I never plan ahead.  As far as techniques – I love printing with thickened dyes and screen printing with textile paints – printing my own fabric or improving some of the ugly ones.

What inspires you?
 Anything and everything: a particular fabric (one I’ve printed) is a good starting place.  I love an urban feel – New York City’s grit, graffiti and old buildings feed my soul.

Do you have a favorite quilt, or one that you are most proud of?
Two favorites:  I think these are two of my best pieces.
Early Frost 2006

Harvest 2011

What are your favorite fabrics to work with?
Uh – my own handprinted fabrics and the gorgeous Indian batiks from  Usha of Handloom Batik.

Where do you sew?
Mostly in my small, cluttered sewing room but sometimes in my studio in East Orange.

What is your workspace like?
At home – did I say small and cluttered? An understatement.  My studio outside of the house is mostly a print studio – it is a happy place in an old industrial complex. High ceilings, southern exposure, great karma.  I am always happy there.

What kind of machine do you use? 
At home a Janome 6500 which I bought used from a friend. I love it.  In the studio, my wonderful old Bernina 1020 that I bought used about 15 years ago. It is a workhorse and sews like a dream.

What is your favorite part of the quilting process?
Designing on the wall, as I go along.

What is your least favorite?
The actual quilting, although since I don’t try to free motion any more I hate it less.

What is your favorite quilt-related reading source?
Catalogs from Quilt National and Visions – and my own two books, of course!  I don’t really use books.

Do you have a blog or online photo album of your work? 
Yes, my blog is  and my website, where you can see some of my work is

What are you working on now? 
Putting the facing on my latest quilt and getting another one ready to layer and stitch.  Never enough time.

What if the Mayans are right? just a litle over 3 weeks left!

So, I just wonder if you have been thinking if the world as we know it will come to an end on December 21, 2012?  I am not saying it will be the end of everything, but I do feel a huge change is on the horizon and have to ask, what are you doing to prepare, if anything? 

If it were really true, how would you spend your last 3 weeks?  What activities would you make mandatory and which ones would you skip because really what would be the point?  For example, would you quilt?  Would you sew?  Would you write?  Would you tell everyone that is important to you how much you love them?  Would you make amends with those that may have grown distant for any reason?  What is really important to you?

What quilting projects would you be sure to finish, in order to leave your legacy behind in case you don't survive the big change?  Have you in fact made a list of who should get each of your quilts or pieces or artful creations should you cease to exist?  I think we should all do this regardless of what the Mayan calendar may predict.  Label those quilts friends, just in case.

Are you stock piling canned goods and bottled water?  Are you holding onto your treadle sewing machine just in case the grid goes black and you still need to sew?  (I admit, I have one of these, still, just in case!) Was Superstorm Sandy just a dress rehearsal for what is to come in December? Perhaps, or hopefully not, but what if?

And with the Mega Millions Jackpot at Half a Billion Dollars tonite, what would you do with the money if you won?  Remember you have to play to win! 

Comments welcome!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Post Dec. meeting catch-up

Hi Everyone,

Jessica and Margy have volunteered to take notes at our meetings and between the two of them, alternate posting to the blog afterwards. That way, if you missed the meeting you'll know what went on and if you need reminders of what we did, they will be here.  In the meantime, I am posting because I don't want to bother them right before Christmas. 

A wonderful collection of fabrics came from Michael Mille, courtesy of the national MQG and they sent enough for 28 members to have a pile of fat quarters, which I spent a couple of days tearing and putting together.  Madrona Road is the collection and Michael Miller sent us 7 of the 12 fabrics in the blue collection (worth almost $23 each bundle of fat quarters you received).
Since it is up to each guild to decide what to do with it, we decided that each of you should have the fabric as a gift. The challenge is to see how creative you can be in making a quilted item with it. 

You can make a quilt, a quilted bag, a couple of pillows - whatever you want.  But it needs to be quilted and is due at the February meeting.  The only rule of this MQG challenge is that you can only add either  Michael Miller solids (which Beth has in the shop) or the other fabrics from this collection, available on line at various vendors.  Most of us opted for the solids for a more modern look but you can also use the other colorway (pinks and oranges, I think).

We will take photos to send to Michael Miller and post on the MQG flickr website.  

Sixteen bundles were given out at the meeting. I left the other 12 with Beth and the first dozen of you who stop at Rock Paper Scissors to pick up your bundle, will be able to participate in this challenge. Please leave your name with Beth so we know who has the bundles.

Here are a couple of show & tells -- Jessica with her Modern solids quilt and Sue with her very modern Modern Quilt -- both from the newbies class at Rock Paper Scissors. These don't look like Newbie quilts to me!

I spent the day attempting to clean up/organize my sewing room.  ARGH - don't ask!  Still not done, but a lot better.

This afternoon, I finally got around to wrestling the giant roll of batting out of the carton and rolling some of it out on my hallway floor.  Good grief, it is big.  I plan to cut some pieces to fit the two charity quilts that have been sitting in my sewing room and hopefully get them to the shop for the January meeting.  

I won't be at the meeting - I will be in Arizona that week, teaching Print Original Cloth-Create Original Quilts, as will Peggy.   But I hope that some of you will plan to get together on a Sunday afternoon, sew a backing together, and start stitching. 

Finally, the first four (Jan-April) meetings will be on the 4th Thursday instead of the 3rd Thursday. Beth either has a class on the 3rd Thursday or will not be here. In Feb, she and Aleeda will be at QuiltCon so we can look for an exciting report and lots of info at the March meeting.

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and New Year and please post and participate in this blog!
hugs to all,