Saturday, July 10, 2010

Traditional modern quilting

The block that started it all. More photos below.

Before the long stretch of work travel, I read these posts about modern quilting. I had been thinking about modern quilting some before reading the posts. Seems to me that the current modern look is very much like old, traditional quilts yet I have the feeling the modern quilter doesn't want to have anything to do with traditional quilters. I find myself caught in the middle.

My mother quilted, starting in the mid-'70s, but I was never that interested until in my (early!) 30s when I was looking for a present for her and I wandered into a quilt shop. I was captivated by the fabric and the quilts and took a class. I've been quilting for more than a dozen years now.

I took lots of classes, learning as much as I could about different techniques so that I could make what I wanted the way I wanted. I've followed patterns, more so in the beginning, but I prefer to make up my own designs and pick my own fabric, which is the best part.

I look at the current modern stuff and it reminds me of my beginning quilting: simple designs, lots of white. I like it, but I don't want to make it. Nor do I want to make a Dear Jane quilt. And that's why I feel caught in the middle. Caught between too simple and too complicated. Current modern and traditional. Trying to find my own style by taking a little from this and a little from that, appreciating it all, but not feeling obligated to be one thing or the other.

I started this blog to document the things I was doing (so I could remember when, how, why) and so I'm taking the process pledge and will try to be more articulate about my choices.

Here goes:
Picking fabrics one block at a time.

That block at the start of this post started it all. I was working on the Sue Ross BOM and had ordered some Aboriginal fabric from Material Obsession. The fabric and the pattern came together in my head and I made one block. Liked it, and decided a bigger quilt was in order.
Normally my fabric selection process is to pull a bunch of fabrics, decide what goes together and use that pile. This time I made one block, and decided the background and corner squares would be the constants through all the blocks, and every block should have some Aboriginal fabric in it. Then I chose the fabrics for each block, pulling from my stash as I went, and not paying attention to how all the fabrics look together in a pile. They do seem to look OK piled together, but I'm not sure I would have pulled this particular pile of fabric if I had used my usual selection process.

Tools of the trade include a remote.

I make my half-square triangles bigger and trim them down. I'm a little anal retentive about accuracy.
Here's where I'm at: Six blocks made. Enough cornerstone fabric for 11 blocks. Enough background for 10. Wanting to make a much bigger quilt. Thinking of setting the blocks solid instead of the original vision for sashing.

So off to the quilt shop to see if I can find more of that background and cornerstone fabric.


Marls said...

That is looking great. I love the fabrics. Hope your trip to the quilt shop was a success.

Marit said...

Thank you for sharing about your process. I can relate to what you say, feel much the same way. I think the learning process of designing with fabric is so complex, it takes a lot of time to learn how to use different kind of fabrics. And it is fun to start with the colourful, modern designer fabric and easy pattern. As long as people have fun creating, I think many will want to move on...

And, most important part of this comment: your blocks are so beautiful!!!!
; )