31 July 2014

Modern Quilts Exhibit - Writing About Modern Quilts (part 2 of 2)

I spent a fair amount of time earlier this summer working on descriptions for the quilts that my guild, the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild, had selected to hang in our special exhibit, "Modern Quilts." at the GAAQG's biennial show.

Today's post is to share the quilts and the writing with you.  There's an earlier post with the introductory essay, click through here to read it.

I have permission from each quilter to share my photos of their quilts with you.  I've also watermarked each photo with the quilt maker's name, to minimize confusion in this age of Pinterest and screen shots. 

Where did these descriptions come from?  For the most part, the first paragraph is straight from the quilter, it is their explanation of their quilt and its inspiration.  In some cases, this was lightly edited by me for space or clarity or to include more information about the pattern used.  The second paragraph was written by me, but was informed by the discussions that the jury had while putting the show together. Since our mission was to try to educate folks about modern quilting and all the things it can entail, we discussed, as a group, adding this to each description.  All text was then approved by the quilter and run by the jury.

I've added, for this blog post, in 
italics, links to the quilter's blogs, Instagram accounts, and other social media beneath the quilts so that you can get to know and perhaps follow these amazing quilters! 

A bit about the guild:   The Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild was founded in 2011 and is a non-profit organization, our goal is to create a positive community where modern quilters can share knowledge of their craft, learn new sewing techniques, engage in charitable activities, and discuss topics relating to the quilting community. We are members of The Modern Quilt Guild.  Our members range from beginning quilters to professionals, everyone is welcome to come and join in on the fun!  Read more about the guild on our blog: The Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild.

The quilts were selected by a jury pulled from our membership.  As it was an educational exhibit, we tried to represent the range of modern quilting with the best possible examples of different trends and ideas.  As a member of the jury, I couldn't believe how spoiled for choice we were, there were so many beautiful quilts that we didn't have the space to hang.

Due to limited space and time, these photos are far from perfect, but I think you'll understand the beauty of each quilt.

The ordering of the quilts is not meaningful, it simply corresponds to the quilt frame originally assigned to each quilt by the jury and so it is the order that my notes are in!

Curried Fraction Quilt by Rossie
Curried Fraction Quilt by Rossie


1.
Curried Fraction Quilt
Made by Rossie Hutchinson
Quilted by Bernie Olszewski

Based on a similar design by Cheryl Arkison, I made a gray fraction quilt for my cousin as he graduated from high school.  The popularity of that quilt online led to requests for a pattern.  Thus, with Cheryl’s permission, I wrote a pattern and made the Curried Fraction Quilt.  Both fraction quilts and a pattern for making your own appear in Quilting with a Modern Slant by Rachel May (2014).

This quilt was chosen by the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild because of its disappearing grid structure, its use of solids, and its improvisational piecing.

I blog at www.r0ssie.blogspot.com  and am on Instagram at r0ssie_fmq. My pattern for this improvisational quilt can be found in Quilting with a Modern Slant by Rachel May (2014).



Modern Pickled Relish by Pam
Modern Pickled Relish by Pam
2.
Modern Pickled Relish
Made by Pam Kleinschmidt
Quilted by Pam Kleinschmidt

This quilt was made by Pam as part of a challenge within the guild.  Pam used the "Modern Pickle Relish" pattern by Modern Quilt Relish. 

This quilt was chosen by the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild because of its use of negative space and solids.  The dense and varied free-motion quilting is typical of many modern quilts.

Pam served as the tireless chair of our committee for this exhibit.  You can follow Pam on Instagram as pamyjam.



Firestacks by KathyFirestacks by Kathy

3.
Fire Stacks
Made by Kathy Koch
Quilted by Kathy Koch

I saw this pattern on Jacquie Gering’s blog and just knew I had to make it. I loved the fabric showcased and the simplicity of the design—a perfect first quilt for my new RV.

This quilt was chosen by the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild because of its simplicity and asymmetry.

Kathy is a professional long-armer (you'll see her listed as the quilter for many of our quilts!)  You can find her online at www.threadbearquilting, or www.facebook.com/ThreadBearQuilting, and she is on Instagram as librkat.



Woodland City by Rebekah
Woodland City by Rebekah
4. 
Woodland City
Made by Rebekah
Quilted by Rebekah

Looking for a mid-century feel, I made this quilt by adapting Elizabeth Hartman's Rapid City pattern.  I fussy cut the fabric to feature the bird and squirrel prints from Charley Harper and improvisationally pieced around them.

This quilt was chosen by the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild because it is improvisational, mid-century inspired, and has an unconventional layout.

Rebekah is a long-time blogger, you can find her at Don't Call Me Becky. On Instagram she's rebekah725 and her flickr account is jrcraft.



Otis the Owl by Kathy
Otis the Owl by Kathy

5.
Otis the Owl
Made by Kathy Koch
Quilted by Kathy Koch

I made this little owl for my daughter.  It is a pattern from one of my favorite designers: Shape Moth.  

This quilt was chosen by the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild because it is paper pieced—a technique that is gaining traction amongst modern quilters.  The mixed neutral prints used in the background are typical of many modern quilts.

(I already told you this, but...) Kathy is a professional long-armer (you'll see her listed as the quilter for many of our quilts!)  You can find her online at www.threadbearquilting, or www.facebook.com/ThreadBearQuilting, and she is on Instagram as librkat.



Comma Link by Debbie
Comma Link by Debbie
6.
Comma Link
Made by Debbie Grifka
Quilted by Debbie Grifka

Rather than line these blocks up into a perfect grid, it was more interesting to turn them around and break them up. The result reminds me of a broken chain link fence. The pattern is my own — Chain Link by Esch House Quilts. 

This quilt was chosen by the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild because of its use of alternative grid work.  It is a good example of appliqué being used in a modern quilt.

Debbie is a professional quilt designer and a blogger.  You can follow her blog Esch House Quilts and she's eschhousequilts on Instagram.   You can buy Debbie's pattern for this quilt here: Chain Link by Esch House Quilts. 



Indian Summer by Jen and A2MQG Round Robin
Indian Summer by Jen and A2MQG Round Robin
7.
Indian Summer
Made by Jennifer Bernstein and Members of the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild Bee
Quilted by Kathy Koch

This quilt was made as part of the round robin bee at the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild. Each month a different guild member took home the quilt and added to it.  This quilt was made for and inspired by Jennifer Bernstein. Jennifer choose Essex yarn dyed linen in sand as the background fabric and specified the color scheme for the patchwork to reflect the feeling of late summer days.

This quilt was chosen by the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild because it is improvisational and contains a lot of negative space.  We also wanted to showcase the collaboration that is an important part of the modern movement.

Jennifer is a lawyer and a quilter who blogs at Brave Little Chicken and she's bravelilchicken on Instagram.



Kelp Quilt by Rossie & Mid Mod Bee
Kelp Quilt by Rossie & Mid Mod Bee
8.
The Kelp Quilt
Made by Rossie Hutchinson and members of the Mid Mod Quilt Bee (Yahaira Ferreira, Cheryl Arkison, Amanda Carestio, Debbie Grifka, Rebekah C., Robin Ferrier, Lauren Hunt, Blair Stocker, and Jacquie Gering)
Quilted by Bernie Olszewski

I made this quilt as part of an online quilt bee--The Mid Mod Quilt Bee, a group of quilters that use mid-century modernism as a touchstone as they create quilts together.  I drew up a design, dyed a bunch of red and orange fabric, pieced a sample row, posted pictures, mailed out fabric, and then the members of the bee each pieced a row for me and mailed it back. 

This quilt was chosen by the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild because of its use of solids and minimalist design.  It also showcases the collaboration that is an important part of the modern movement.

You kind find a tutorial for making a quilt like this on my blog: Kelp Quilt Tutorial.  (I already told you this, but...) I blog at www.r0ssie.blogspot.com  and am on Instagram as r0ssie_fmq



9.
Just Passing Through
I think this quilter may be on vacation as I haven't heard back on my request to post her quilt and information on my blog.  Hopefully, I'll be able to share it soon!



Single Girl by Rebekah
Single Girl by Rebekah
10.
Single Girl
Made by Rebekah 
Quilted by Kathy Koch

I purchased this Denyse Schmidt pattern in 2008 and spent 5 years staring at it and mustering up the courage to make my own version.  This pattern is an updated version of the Double Wedding Ring Quilt-- which makes it a modern twist on a traditional pattern.

This quilt was chosen by the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild because it was made using a pattern that has become absolutely iconic for modern quilters.

(I already told you this, but...) Rebekah is a long-time blogger, you can find her at Don't Call Me Becky. On Instagram she's rebekah725 and her flickr account is jrcraft.



Atomic Pinwheels by Lynn
Atomic Pinwheels by Lynn
11.
Atomic Pinwheels
Made by Lynn Harris
Quilted by Lynn Harris

Atomic Pinwheels was inspired by an old tile design.  I was interested in the challenge of piecing the interlocking rectangles and squares that allow the pinwheels to spin in opposite directions and I loved being able to show off large pieces of this large scale retro fabric!

This quilt was chosen by the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild because of its use of bold colors and graphic print.

Lynn is a blogger, quilt designer, and professional long-arm quilter.  You can follow Lynn on her blog, The Little Red Hen  and on Instagram at thelittleredhen_lh.   You can buy Lynn's pattern for this quilt here: Atomic Pinwheels Quilt Pattern.  



Twisted by Pam
Twisted by Pam
12.
Twisted
Made by Pam Kleinschmidt
Quilted by Pam Kleinschmidt

I made this quilt following the  “Twisted” pattern by Carolina Patchwork.  This quilt is a gift and my fabric choices were influenced by a desire to match the modern, cool lifestyle of its intended owners.

This quilt was chosen by the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild because of its use of alternate gridwork and highly geometric look.

(I already told you this, but...)  Pam served as the tireless chair of our committee for this exhibit.  You can follow Pam on Instagram as pamyjam.



Daisy Chain by Lynn
Daisy Chain by Lynn
13.
Daisy Chain
Made by Lynn Harris
Quilted by Lynn Harris

I saw this reverse appliqué block in an antique red and white quilt. I wanted to try it out!  My son influenced my color choices and childhood memories shaped the placement of the blocks.

This quilt was chosen by the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild because of its use of minimalism and expansive negative space.  It is a good example of reverse appliqué being used in a modern quilt.

You can see far better images of this quilt iMinimal Quiltmaking by Gwen Marston and buy Lynn's pattern for this quilt here: Daisy Chain Pattern   (I already told you this, but...) Lynn is a blogger, quilt designer, and professional long-arm quilter.  You can follow Lynn on her blog, The Little Red Hen  and on Instagram at thelittleredhen_lh.  


Boats! Boats! Boats! by Brenda
Boats! Boats! Boats! by Brenda
14.
Boats Boats Boats!
Made by Brenda Ratliff
Quilted by Kathy Koch

This quilt is the July 2015 pattern for the national Modern Quilt Guild.  It features alternate grid layout and negative space to create a modern take on a half square triangle. 

This quilt was chosen by the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild because it is improvisational, uses solids, and contains a lot of negative space. 

Brenda is a quilt designer, blogger, and owner of Pink Castle Fabrics.  She's also the President of the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild.  Follow this busy lady on instagram (justabitfrayed) and on her blog: 
Just a Bit Frayed. The pattern for this quilt will be available to the public at a later date!



Zephyr by Debbie
Zephyr by Debbie
15.
Zephyr
Made by Debbie Grifka
Quilted by Debbie Grifka

Simplified leaves have enduring appeal for me, as does a beautiful blue sky. Creating this quilt helped me endure this long winter. I was honored to have my quilt pattern for Zephyr distributed to all of the members of the Modern Quilt Guild in February.

This quilt was chosen by the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild because of its use of negative space and solid fabric.  It is a good example of appliqué being used in a modern quilt.

(I already told you this, but...) Debbie is a professional quilt designer and a blogger.  You can follow her blog Esch House Quilts and she's eschhousequilts on Instagram.   



Lotta Plusses by Debbie
Lotta Plusses by Debbie
16.
Lotta Plusses
Made by Debbie Grifka
Quilted by Debbie Grifka

I've long admired the work of Yoshiko Jinzenji and the way her background fabrics and blocks sometimes meld. This fabric by Lotta Jansdotter was the perfect opportunity for me to play with this idea. The pattern is my own: Think Positive from Esch House Quilts.

This quilt was chosen by the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild because of its use of negative space and alternative grid work.

(I already told you this, but...) Debbie is a professional quilt designer and a blogger.  You can follow her blog Esch House Quilts and she's eschhousequilts on Instagram.   



Lyric Quilt by Emily
Lyric Quilt by Emily
17.
Lyric Quilt
Made by Emily Schildhouse
Quilted by Emily Schildhouse

This is a wedding quilt I made for my sister.  I chose a stanza of lyrics from the musical Rent - a favorite of my sister and I, and fitting for a wedding quilt.   The piecing technique is from Word Play Quilts by Tonya Ricucci.

This quilt was chosen by the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild because it is improvisational and uses text.

A vintage sheet aficionado, garment sewer, and quilter, Emily spends most of her days parenting her lovely family.  You can follow her glitter- and bubble-filled adventures on instagram emmmylizzzy  and on her blog emmmylizzzy.


Somewhat Herringbone by Dorie
Somewhat Herringbone by Dorie
18.
Somewhat Herringbone
Made by Dorie Schwarz
Quilted by Dorie Schwarz

This quilt is an interpretation of a braid or herringbone pattern. It was inspired by the Improv Chevrons tutorial on the blog Six White Horses.


This quilt was chosen by the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild because of its use of improvisational piecing and negative space.  The use of white and the limited color palette are typical of many modern quilts.

Dorie is computer whiz who writes patterns for quilts and handmade toys.  You can find her on her blog: Tumbling Blocks and on instagram: tumblingblocks 

Modern Lily by Ginia
And, this story seems like it would be incomplete without mentioning that A2MQG member and GAAQG President Ginia Forrester won the "viewer's choice" award for her quilt "Modern Lily," which was hanging in the larger show.  Here's a picture of Ginia with this beautiful quilt, which she made for her nephew.  

I was not surprised by this win, as every time I was near this quilt in the show, I could see visitors gathered around it, marveling at the artistry and workmanship.  You can find Ginia on her blog Early Morning Quilter and on Instagram as earlymorningquilter.


26 July 2014

Writing about Modern Quilts (part 1 of 2)

This weekend is the Greater Ann Arbor Quilt Guild's biennial show.  This is an enormous show put on by the big guild in town--a guild that has all kinds of quilters--traditional, art, modern, et cetera.  There's some overlap with the membership of GAAQG and our modern guild (in fact, their President, Ginia,  is a member of A2MQG) and so communication has always been pretty free flowing.  Last year, they approached our guild and asked if we'd put together a "special exhibit" for their show.  They called it "Modern Quilts."

Modern Quilt Show Poster 2014 We talked about it as a guild, did a rough count of the number of quilts we thought we might be able to have on hand, and then agreed to put together a show.  A committee was formed from volunteers and we slogged through a TON of organizational stuff.  We had to get quilt submissions, figure out a smart and fair way to jury them, organize drop offs and pick ups and working shifts, etc.  The chair of the committee, Pam (Instagram: pamyjam), did a huge amount of work. THANK YOU PAM!!

I helped where I could.  My main contribution was in making posters to promote the show (see left) and in working on signage within the show.

Since I worked PRETTY HARD on my short essay to introduce the exhibit, I wanted to share it here.  Also, importantly, this essay benefits from the input of many blog commenters over the years, and particularly from the conversation that and I had with  Sarah @ No Hats  in the comments of my post on my ocean waves quilt (and my feeling that my quilt isn't modern.)  I learn so much from my community here on this blog (and on flickr and instagram, at events and so one!) It seems like the essay belongs here as it is the continuation of a conversation so many of us have been having.


= = = = = =

What is a modern quilt?

There is no simple, singular, agreed-upon answer to this question.

For me, a modern quilt is one that matches a particular aesthetic. There is probably some expanded negative space, heavy use of solids, something simple/minimal/stark about it. And these quilts can be from any time. I have seen many vintage quilts that have the modern aesthetic. Utility quilts from decades past look just like the improv quilts so many modern quilters produce today.
For others, modern quilting is less about the actual quilts and more about the people making them--people who came together online before they came together in person, people who are all about making things for themselves, to suit themselves, without worrying overmuch about rules and labels and aesthetic categories. For these folks, modern quilting is a movement, it's a community, it's a trend within the general renaissance of the handmade, it's something that seems new and yet traditional. Blossoming and rooted.

This exhibit is of quilts made by members of the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild. We're a group that started meeting in 2011 with a few women sitting around a table at the library. Slowly, we've grown, with new people arriving all the time (you are welcome to join us). We meet to share our projects and our skills and our enthusiasm. And we were asked to exhibit some of our members' work at this show. We tried to select quilts that illustrate some of the aesthetic trends in modern quilts, but you will also see quilts that represent the movement more than a particular aesthetic--we've got a couple of collaborative quilts here. And some that show how traditional patterns have been interpreted with a twist or that simply show a particular method or look that has been popular.

I hope you leave our exhibit with some understanding of what people mean when they talk about modern quilting. If you'd like to know more about the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild please talk to one of our members (at least one will be hanging around the exhibit) or check out our blog a2mqg.blogspot.com or email us a2modernquiltguild@gmail.com

Enjoy!
Rossie Hutchinson
VP of Membership, A2MQG

= = = = = =

Tune in next time for pictures of the quilts in the show and the text I wrote to accompany them!

22 July 2014

What I Stash

While keeping my stash organized is important for my creative flow (see my post about stash management here), another consideration is making sure that my stash actually contains the fabrics I am going to use.  Or should I say the fabrics I need?  Fabric sometimes feels like oxygen!

While, of course, making do with what is on hand can lead to discoveries and explorations and growth, I try to keep the fabrics I'm going to want nearby so that my improvisations are guided by my design decisions most of the time.  I also make a lot of quilts and go through a lot of fabric, so a continual restock is essential.

At this moment, my studio is located next to Pink Castle Fabrics, and I can pop over to grab a fat quarter of this or a half-yard of that, but due to an increase in rent, I'm relocating my studio.  It looks like I'm going to end up about 30 minutes away from my favorite fabric store (more details on that once the move happens!)  I will survive, but it means I have been reflecting on when and how I buy fabric.

The first time I thought seriously about this was in 2011, when Jeni Baker did a brilliant blog series called "the art of choosing" on her blog.  The final post in that series was called Building a Well-Rounded Stash.  What I remember thinking at the time, which occurred to me again as I re-read it, is that I personally don't need a "well-rounded" stash.  My fabric needs are decidedly lop-sided and so my stash should be as well.  Jeni prescribes a lot of basics for stash-building, and I agree, but when I look at her pictures of her basics, they really don't look much like mine.  She's way more into brights than I am!  I have very few bright fabrics in my stash.  In fact, I think the only bright I consistently use is bright green.

In the last few years I have learned to spend the bulk of my fabric budget on replacing what I'm actually using.  In doing so, I have discovered my own personal basics.


RossieStashAdvice

The above picture is a selection of fabrics from my stash that I think represent the stash as a whole.

My basics are...
blues and greens that are fairly pastel, sort of pure + a touch of dustiness
dusty or dark yellows, oranges, and pinks
light dusty gray or medium gray + white  prints
darker reds that are rich but not preppy
low volume prints that aren't too cute or fussy

Other stash observations...
I almost never use two-way prints, geometric prints, stripes, polka dots, zig zags, chevrons, or tossed prints, so I don't stash them.
I'm extremely picky about brown, blue, and black prints, so I have LARGE cuts of the few that I like
I haven't been stashing solids because for the most part they are always available and can be bought on a project-by-project basis. 
I have a serious fondness for using prints that combine any shade of white + one or two other colors.
I don't have very many tone-on-tone prints.  
I really like to use text fabrics, but not all text fabrics...size and color matter.
I go through a lot of low volume prints and tend to add some of these to almost any fabric order I place to try to keep up with my use and need for variety.
The more multi-colored and novelty-esque a print, the harder I find it to use, so I have to truly love it to stash it. Of course, these are lovely when you do find the right way to use them!

My point here is that my stash suits me and my needs...and yours should suit you!

Some of my stashing is simply a response to what is regularly available and what is scarce.
I have learned over time which of my favorite colors are used by designers less often, which means I buy a bigger cut of a rare color when I see it in a new fabric that I love.  Of course, fabric trends change, so while gray and mustard used to be harder to find, now its fairly easy!  Right now, a cerise or magenta print that I like is a bit harder to find, so I buy bigger cuts of those.

What about fabric lines?
Instagram and the blogosphere is full of excited talk about new and upcoming fabric lines.  I do get excited about new fabric myself sometimes, as with this picture of me with Rashida Coleman-Hale's Koi line when it arrived at Pink Castle Fabrics.  I love that line so much! However, I don't often buy entire fabric lines.  And I almost never use an entire fabric line all together; I prefer to use pieces of it across different quilts.  This largely comes down to personal preference: I tend to find quilts that use all one fabric line plus white or a few solids just look too polished and promotional to me.  However, when I really love a fabric line, I can find it hard to resist buying the whole thing, or using the whole thing together.  Therefore, sometimes I challenge myself to buy JUST ONE PRINT of a big fabric line.  I find that this helps me to use the fabric in a more individual way and it helps with staying on target with my fabric budget!

Thinking about my stash has helped me to discover my voice and I think careful stashing can help any quilter to cultivate their own aesthetic while saving money and making awesome projects.