Modern Quilting vs Traditional Quilting

Starburst at NW Quilters Show 2013

I recently spent three exhilarating days at the International Quilt Market in Portland, Oregon.  I spent half of my time in presentations and classes led by authors, pattern designers, fabric designers, and tool makers and the other half of my time wandering the unending aisles of vendors.  The presentations and classes were led by a “who’s who” in the quilting world.  My favorites:  Jinny Beyer, Angela Walters, Bill Kerr, McKenna Ryan, Jodi Barrows, Penny Haren, Tula Pink.  It was a hoot to see in person the “Sew-lebrities” that I’ve been following, in some cases, for years!  From my personal list of favorites, you might see that while I’m firmly rooted in traditional quilting, I’m also drawn to the modern quilting movement.

Where is the excitement?  Modern quilting!

What do I love about modern quilting?  Dense, texturizing quilting that forms an integral part of the overall effect, thanks to large amounts of light colored negative space in modern quilt designs.

Where is the opportunity?  Is there a place in the modern quilting phenomenon for the traditional quilter?  Can there be a melding of the modern and the traditional in a way that inspires traditional quilters with something new, while still honoring their traditional roots?  I think the answer is, “Yes!”

This is my “Starburst” quilt, inspired by “Spin Doctor” from In the Studio with Angela Walters, by Angela Walters.  The design is modern, because it is not created with identically repeated and placed pieces, though the general shape of each wedge is the same.  The fabrics, on the other hand, are traditional.  Many of them are Jinny Beyer fabrics and I used her book, Color Confidence for Quilters, to tie together burgundy, bright red, and gold (the colors chosen by my 13-year old son for his room).  This quilt allowed plenty of room to showcase my quilting in the large open spaces around the burst of colored fabrics.

How about you?  Do you think a melding is possible?  Please share an example!

3 thoughts on “Modern Quilting vs Traditional Quilting

  1. Thanks for writing this because I think a lot gets stuck in us quilters labeling ourselves! Rather than “modern” which I think people have attached such a specific aesthetic and type of fabrics to, I prefer to think of myself as an “Updated Traditional” quilter—modern in that I use modern fabrics and work in 2013 without being tied to a pattern, but with a clear nod to tradition in technique and inspiration.

    • Hi Christin! I agree completely. Every so often I detect animosity between “modern” and “traditional” quilters… I love parts of both. Sometimes “modern” fabrics actually remind me of 30’s reproduction fabrics…

  2. Pingback: Quilt Show Haiku | The Tromp Queen

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