Modern Quilts and Quilt Guilds

October 27, 2011 § 7 Comments

Am I leaping in where Angels fear to tread here? The topics of modern quilts seems to divide the quilt world with acrimony on both sides of the divide. At the extremes there are those who have been quilters for many years and who contend that there is really nothing new about modern quilts and regard them as an excuse for poor technique. At the other extreme of the spectrum there are those who feel modern quilts are liberating quilters from the thralls of a perfectionism that stifles creativity.

Where do I sit in this spectrum

Right smack, bang in the middle. (You could say on the fence if you wanted to be unkind. 🙂 ) I like traditional quilting and I think a grounding in technique is important. It’s like anything, you need to be able to do the basics well (not necessarily perfectly) before you can use it as a springboard to more exciting things. Every pianist who performs their own variations has had to play scales for hours and quilting is no different. Poor technique, I think, detracts from a quilt whether or not it is traditional or modern. It takes your eyes away from what should be the main feature – the overall visual impact.What’s more good design principles can be absorbed from Traditional Quilting. However,  I do like modern quilts. When done well they have an exuberance that is uplifting and exciting.

Modern Quilt Guilds

The Modern Quilt Guilds started in the USA a while ago and then moved to Australia. Melbourne has had one for a while and several of us have tried to start one in here Sydney on more than one occasion. Now it looks like it really might happen. A small group of women – Claire and her friend Suzanne –  decided to have another go at establishing one and we had our first meeting last Saturday.

I must say they did a great job of organising and bent over backwards to be inclusive and friendly. We had a friendly and lively discussion about what we all think Modern Quilting is – straight line quilting, solid blocks of colour, grey and yellow fabrics, modern fabric designs? In the end we pretty much agreed  that it’s not so much the quilts that are modern – after all solid colours have been done by the Amish for years, some of the other colour combinations now touted as modern were around in the 70s and 80s and all quilters have used the “modern fabrics” of their own times – as the attitude of the quilter to her art/craft.

If you’re interested in joining the Sydney Modern Quilt Guild the next meeting will be at the Blue Gum Hotel, 55 Pacific Highway, Waitara. Future meetings will be held by rotation throughout Sydney to allow as many people as want to, to attend. You can find further details here.


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§ 7 Responses to Modern Quilts and Quilt Guilds

  • Annette in NC, USA says:

    I am hopeful that “modern quilting” (fabrics and techniques) are inviting to the “younger” generation so that they can learn the joys of quilting. Precision and technique will come over time. I say “go for it”!!

  • I would love to quote your blog on this subject on my blog if you would allow it. Your explanation was very concise and exactly as I feel. Would love to join you in a Modern Quilt Guild one of these days.
    Ruth (in Canada)

  • Marcie says:

    About time! I belong to a guild in country Victoria – lovely women, and good friends. But almost without exception they are stuck in the 19th century, making very traditional quilts – often beautiful, I grant you, but oh, how I wish for some adventure and innovation!
    I’ve long been a fan of Weeks Ringle and Denyse Schmidt, who have shown us how to use all the wonderful modern fabrics in simple, yet stunning designs.

  • Suzanne says:

    Thank you for the wonderful writeup. I really enjoyed the meeting and meeting everyone. I am looking forward to our next meeting and hoping more will decide to ‘give us a go’. I believe if you love quilting modern or traditional getting together with other like minded women (and men) makes for a wonderful day. Throw in some great food and what could be a better way to spend an afternoon. See you next meeting.

  • Julie Fukuda says:

    Oh I wish I did not live so far away. Any quilt group that speaks my own language, even with a twist, would make me so happy. I don’t know where the quilt police came from but the truth is, if it works for YOU, it is the RIGHT WAY. I have two younger sisters that quilt. One makes five to seven for every one I make. She uses a machine and her corners are less than perfect but she never has trouble finding someone who will treasure them. The other takes about double my slow time, works by hand as I do, makes her own patterns as I do, and turns out lovely heirloom pieces…even her baby quilts. We are all happy quilters even though we might get our satisfaction in different ways. If I were to go to a group where everything was done by machine and all the talk was about machine stuff and all the patterns were designed to be done by machine iI might enjoy the look-see but probably wouldn’t find much in common with the rest of the group.

  • Joan says:

    I, too, think if one gets enjoyment from one’s work, it is fine, no matter what “quilt police” or others may say. I machine embroider and piece quilts, as well as by hand. I find the hand work relaxing, and convenient to take out, but then, there are so many projects I would like to make, I need the speed of the machine to get there. I find both methods enjoyable, but even by machine, I am very pedantic. They have to be accurate and have at times spent as much time reverse sewing as forward sewing, just to make sure they are. I have been told even by “conventional” quilters, “aren’t you being a little too fussy?” But I have to be, whatever the method, or I am NOT happy. lol Wish I lived closer so I could come to what sounds like a great group. Good luck with it.
    There is room for all types of quilting/sewing, and the need for acceptance as to whatever method one chooses to use. It is all about sharing and caring and being happy. Sorry this is a bit long. I will get off my soap box now!

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