Sunday, September 6, 2009


So, I've been thinking. I've been thinking about quilting. I've been thinking about what drew me to quilting and what continues to draw me to quilting.

I love the use of geometry and color in a quilt. What continues to bring me back to quilting over and over is the slow transformations of shapes into a wide and general pattern. How can all those tiny pieces of fabric come together to make one large graphic piece? What pre-planning and spatial knowledge does it take to know what your final product will be?

All of these fascinations come directly from a love for traditional quilt blocks. I love to spot a quilt, to attempt to identify the block. To look at the patches and break them down and determine how the maker constructed the blocks and then the entire quilt top.

Sadly, traditional quilt blocks are not getting much face time right now. Improv quilting has really stolen the show, much to my chagrin. Modern quilting hasn't quite fallen by the wayside, but it is definitely living in the shadow of the wonky log cabin block.

What's a girl got to do to get traditional quilt blocks back in the game? And how many idioms am I going to use in this post?

Stay tuned for answers. I think I'm cooking something up.


  1. You know how I feel about traditional blocks like cathedral windows or dresden plates. :)

    Unfortunately, I have a short attention span when it comes to making the same block over and over to create a big quilt. And since I don't like "sampler" quilts, I'm sort of stuck doing improv quilting these days. That doesn't always mean wonky log cabins but sometimes it does. And they're fun to make but as a person who likes order and right angles, I've been trying to take my improv in another direction.

    Also, most of the traditional quilts I've seen have been made with, what I think are, boring fabrics. I'd love to see some traditional quilts worked up in bright colors that are more my style.

    If you come up with some way to add a little excitement back into traditional blocks, please let us know! :) I'm excited to find out what you have cooking!

  2. My scheme is going to take some time and planning. Maybe it needs a sidekick. How would you feel about scheming together?

  3. ooo intrigue! ;0) Can't wait to see what you come up with!!

  4. I've made my share of wonky log cabins in the past, but I was just thinking today about how I don't have much interest in making them anymore.

    For me, the alternatives are not so much in traditional patterns - instead, I've been thinking about different geometries besides the square.

  5. Hi Jennifer...sorry I didn't check this thread sooner...I should really start "following" comments.

    Anyway, yes! If you decide you want a sidekick, I'm always up for some scheming. I'll send you an email from the account I check most often and if you want to scheme or just bounce around some ideas, feel free to email me.

  6. Jenny--

    Me, too! I'm so interested in circles right now.

  7. Jennifer, this is so fascinating. I, too, have been thinking about this as I have spent hours and hours reading quilting blogs and looking at quilting photos on Flickr. I've just returned to quilting after a 17 year hiatus, and it's been so interesting to see how fashions in the quilting world have changed (the internet has been the biggest change, lol). I recently uncovered my stash, which has been in the basement the whole time - in perfect shape, thank goodness - and I found many fabrics that I remember loving but now find ho-hum. Things change.

    I love the modern quilts and bright fabrics that many - mainly young - women are making. But I also really like the traditional blocks because it links us historically to women's craft, and because they can be so visually complex with that figure-ground switch depending on colour choice. I recently had a long conversation about the modern quilting styles and fabrics with the owner of a quilt shop as I was buying up fats of Kaffe Fassett and Amy Butler. She said she thought they would look dated ten years from now. Actually, I agree, but I find it oddly compelling. The same way the quilts of the '30s are evocative of their time, the modern quilts today will signify today.

    I just posted my old quilts along with my newer works on my new blog. They're quite different, but after 17 years, so am I. You're welcome to have a look:


  8. SM&A- Thanks so much for your thoughtful input. I think you're exactly right about what's currently modern-- in the future it's definitely going to look dated and of this time period. However, in all art, what's currently contemporary will be seen as a "movement" in the future.

    Love your outlook and thank you so much for stopping by.