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Thread: Modern Quilts

  1. #1
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    Modern Quilts

    What makes a quilt "Modern"? Is it the pattern or the color & fabrics you use. Just wondering what the difference is.
    Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind see.
    mark Twain

  2. #2
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    There's a debate about that, even within the modern quilt guild (MQG).

    Often modern quilts have lots of negative space. Often they use bold colors. They may use traditional blocks, but in different ways, such as making them much larger. They tend to use a lot of solids and no borders. So far this sounds much like a traditional Amish quilt, right?

    This slide presentation tries to describe what makes a quilt modern. The most interesting line - "Modern quilting is like porn, hard to define, but you know it when you see it."

    https://community.themodernquiltguil...Quilting_0.pdf

    Some fabric designers have latched onto the modern quilt movement, and so quilts using those fabrics are often considered modern just because of fabric recognition, even though they do not fit any other definition of modern.

  3. #3
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    There is probably a difference between Modern and Contemporary as well, I use them pretty interchangeably. I call my style "contemporary scrap adaptations of traditional patterns". Basically I use modern techniques to make traditional blocks in modern fabrics, still it is mostly traditional. Recognizable blocks set in a grid of some sort.

    I'm trying to stretch myself out a bit and doing more modern designs, including my own. On the planning/work table I have a current "contemporary" quilt with a traditional theme. A few years back I was diagnosed with vision issues and had to come to terms with the idea that no, I wasn't ever going to use all this fabric and in the race for She With the Most Fabric, I had already placed. I started to purge and organize my stash, one of the organizations ended up with an entire box of "farm". The fabrics range from super realistic to super cartoony, crops, animals, farm scenes, etc. As I finish my projects, then I purge the rest of the box and set the fabric free to other people

    I'm calling it the Barn Quilt but the theme is Harvest in the Northwest. I am making a few paper pieced blocks (a technique I am trying to get better on but is not my best). I have a large original Barn Block already pieced. There will be a couple of tiny hummingbirds, and then a pig face, a horse face, going to piece a horse fence, a hen and some chicks, etc. The bulk of the quilt though will be largish pieces of fabric in a various sizes, no formal grid of squares. Since it is the Northwest they are crops grown in Washington, yes to apples and potatoes and no to pineapples and lemons. There will some roads/paths through the fields with a purchased applique tractor, a road of children's book style bunnies bringing produce to town, etc. The middle third will be the barn block (offset towards the left) and most of the pieced blocks. Most of the animal fabrics will be below the barn, the horse area will be to the upper right. Above the barn there will be a lake with wild ducks and trees, probably some eagles flying in there, and way off in the top right corner if I can fit it in well will be a distant farm scene.

    The quilt will be quilted all over in a chicken wire design with a slightly metallic thread. After quilting a bunch of embellishments will be tucked here and there, like bunny buttons hiding in the cabbage field and a large owl button to sit in the open upper window of the barn. I have a very clear vision of what I am doing, have my fabrics and embellishments, but the hold up is working on those paper pieced blocks! I keep putting off the project but I need to start over again. I think my problem is I started with the hummingbirds which are above my skill level. Going to do the pig and horse faces, the chickens, etc. and gain some confidence back. Once I have the blocks pieced I'll start playing with the fabric pieces for the crops and flocks.

    My other modern project is still much more conceptual. It will be very black with gold embellished fabrics. I have some fancy cat blocks (printed not pieced). They will be spaced apart in a column, around them will be an offset narrow long and narrow sort of a T shape from a heavily metallic geometric print. Spaced above the T will be some One-Block-Wonder type blocks, I had meant for them to be Hexes but I grabbed the wrong ruler and now they are Octagons, I really wanted that more walnut shape of the hex... so debating to start with a different fabric or keep the octagons and use the rest of that print which was going to be used for the big T. There will be more spacers and a 4-5" wide stripe of rectangles, probably Asian prints with gold accents. There will be a lot of space which in this case will be black. I have no ideas at all of how to quilt it, but I would like it to be pretty fancy and heavily quilted, maybe in sashiko patterns in comparison to my usual lighter quilting with fluffier batts.

    So the second one I would call modern. It is using a variety of techniques, no standard grid, and modern fabrics.
    Last edited by Iceblossom; 05-05-2019 at 06:14 AM.

  4. #4
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    I think the answer is, both pattern and fabric give a quilt a modern look. I think of modern fabrics as having bright colors and a clean look, and modern patterns as using larger pieces of fabric, or going outside of the traditional format of repeated blocks. I agree with the idea, you know it when you see it.

    I have used old-fashioned fabrics with modern (big piece) patterns and gotten some odd-looking results. Using modern, large print fabrics in a traditional small-piece pattern can be difficult, because you don't know what color will end up in your smaller piece.
    Lisa

  5. #5
    Super Member KalamaQuilts's Avatar
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    On one of the modern guild sites I had to laugh when one of the descriptions was "we use sheets if we want".

    What is old is always new again.
    Each generation always thinks it invented sex too.

    I think modern at shows when I see geometric, solids, and straight line quilting.

  6. #6
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I just make quilts that I like. Same with using patterns I like and colors.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  7. #7
    Super Member Watson's Avatar
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    I joined the area Modern Quilt Guild out of curiosity and I am really enjoying it.

    I see a lot of solids, a lot of negative space and surprising elements, rather than the very balanced and repeating elements you see in traditional quilts.

    That's what has stuck out to me so far.

    Watson

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    Thank all of you for your input. I was thinking along the same line as most of you. I asked the question because yesterday at a quilt shop someone showed her quilt and said it was modern because she used bright colors. I asked what modern was because to me her quilt was a sampler with all blocks that have been around forever just done in bright colors.
    Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind see.
    mark Twain

  9. #9
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    I also do my own thing but I lean towards scrappy, contemporary using fabric I already have (mostly).

  10. #10
    Super Member ekuw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zennia View Post
    Thank all of you for your input. I was thinking along the same line as most of you. I asked the question because yesterday at a quilt shop someone showed her quilt and said it was modern because she used bright colors. I asked what modern was because to me her quilt was a sampler with all blocks that have been around forever just done in bright colors.
    To me a sampler is not a modern quilt-even one with bright colors. I am sure there are talented quilters who can make a modern sampler, but I would call that the exception rather than the rule. To me modern quilts are achieved through both fabric and pattern.

  11. #11
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    One thing I often see is many are asymmetrical. Fabrics can be modern or just bright solids.

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