I live in a sleepy little New England town perched on the Connecticut shoreline at the halfway point between New York and Boston. Living in this idyllic location has its perks. Just a 15-minute drive on the interstate and I’m at the world-class Yale Art Museum. Ten minutes in the opposite direction sits a gorgeous state park with miles of beaches and trails to explore. And, if I strap on a pair of muck boots, I can hike from my front door to an Audubon sanctuary and watch the birds. I am lucky indeed.
When my family moved here 15 years ago, I didn’t really know what to expect. Although I grew up in Maine, this was a new place for me. I was sure all of the homes would be colonial, all of the trees would be maples, and all of the quilts would be traditional. I had a lot to learn.
Within a few weeks, I noticed a beautiful farmhouse just a short walk from my home. Although it looked very traditional—maybe 200 years old—it had a contemporary vibe. The stone wall around it was definitely new, and, if I hiked on the hill to its north, I could see into the backyard—six acres of manicured garden, punctuated by large modern sculptures that were definitely not original to the property. With a little research, I learned that famed architect Philip Johnson had updated the house in the 1970s, and artist Alexander Calder designed one of the sculptures in the garden. What was so surprising is how seamlessly the traditional design worked with the modern sculpture. It was as if they were together all along.
I can’t help but draw a parallel to quilting. Just as the architecture and art around me have nuances of both historic and contemporary influences, so do the quilts. Having just returned from QuiltCon 2018, I am in awe of the innovation and creativity of modern quilters. They can take something as humble as a quilt block and reinvent it, turning it into something fresh and modern that would work in any contemporary—or traditional—home. The quilt that won Best of Show (“Going Up” by Stephanie Skardal) was a Log Cabin variation. Winning quilts in other categories were riffs on Drunkard’s Path, Hexagon, Prairie Braid, and other well-known blocks.
This issue of Modern Patchwork features several quilt designs that also use traditional blocks in new ways. Louise Wackerman creates an entirely new interpretation of the Flying Geese block with the addition of a tiny triangle that adds interest and sophistication. Malka Dubrawsky makes a large Log Cabin with a strong diagonal line that cuts the quilt in half. Stephanie Sheridan plays with scale in her simple yet elegant quilt. Once again, our contributors underscore the fact that good design, no matter its origin, is the basis for beautiful quilts.
I’ll be playing with these designs in my own studio using both traditional and modern fabrics because, as we know, they all go together.
Meet Andrea Tsang Jackson
“I see a lot of parallels between design and writing,” says modern quilter Andrea Tsang Jackson. “When you’re writing an essay you have a thesis, you have a point you want to make, and everything you do in that piece of writing is going to point to that thesis in order to support it. That’s the way I approach design. There’s a big idea and whatever you do—whether it’s the quilting or the piecing or the colors that you’re choosing—is supporting this larger idea.” Excerpted from the article by Abby Glassenberg
Connect, Share & Grow
“Instagram, Facebook, hashtags, and photo editing apps aren’t traditionally the first things that spring to mind when we think about quilters and quilting. But for a new generation of modern quilters, they’ve become an integral part of the creative process. Because, let’s face it: part of the joy of making a quilt is sharing its progress and journey, not to mention receiving constructive feedback, encouragement, and kudos from our friends. And social media is the perfect platform to do this!” Excerpted from the article by Sarah Ashford
Made Modern: On Process
“Between the show and tells at our local guilds and the ineluctable draw of Instagram, quilts are becoming something to finish rather than something to work on or a process to engage with. Quick and easy patterns abound to help speed us to our next finish; tips and tools proliferate promising to save time and guarantee a successful outcome.” Excerpted from the article by Thomas Knauer
“Recently I had the honor and pleasure to be asked to join the panel of judges for QuiltCon 2018. I knew it would be an incredible learning experience, and for those of us that love nothing more than to geek out on all things quilt related, I relished the idea of spending three to four days talking about nothing but quilts!” Excerpted from the article by Tara Faughnan
Begin at the Beginning
“True story. I asked a handful of respected and experienced quilters to give some sage advice to beginners. Experienced quilters are always happy to share tips and tricks to make your quilting better. I totally expected to hear things about ¼ ” seam allowances, bias edges, and pattern selection. What I got was something entirely different.” Excerpted from the article by Cheryl Arkison.
Don’t forget to download your templates!
Simply click on the pictures to download and print the full-size templates for these projects.