I was initially unsure if I would join in on this challenge as I tend to work best when I can follow my whimsy and not worry about rules and deadlines. I was eventually wooed into taking part because
(1) we only had to use a small amount of the provided fabrics
(2) we were allowed to combine those fabrics with any solids we liked
(3) we were additionally allowed to mix in any printed fabric that was from Riley Blake (the fabric manufacturer who was sponsoring the challenge)
(4) Riley Blake put out a line of fabric called "Zombie Apocalypse" that filled me with enormous glee and desire to stitch.
Seriously, Zombie Apocalypse, it looks so adorable and the colors are cute and wonderful, but when you zoom in, it's lessons on zombies, destruction drawings, and the polka dots are heads...decapitated heads!
I knew I wanted to keep the Zombie Apocalypse fabric line together and it mixed fairly well with a couple of prints from the challenge and I also had an idea of what quilt pattern I wanted to use, so it all fell into place and I dove into the challenge.
The pattern I wanted to use is "Ocean Waves," this is a traditional pattern. I had seem a couple of antique quilts using this pattern that were really lovely, so I wanted to give it a try. I thought it would work well with the colors in Zombie Apocalypse and that the larger square blocks would be a great place to show off some of the larger scale prints from the fabric line.
When I first came up with this plan, I was on an airplane, with just a snapshot of an antique quilt sitting on my phone. I looked at the quilt and tried to doodle out the pattern...which was the half-square triangles go, etc...
I really didn't want to cut the fabric for the large squares because I wanted to preserve the scenes and figures in the zombie fabrics. Finding an Ocean Waves pattern that didn't force me to cut up my large squares took a while and I ended up making my own plan, with a little help from my friends, one which I will post about next week (well, hoprefully next week, I'm teaching full time this semester, so blogging has been tricky to find time for!)
Here's the quilt:
I love this thing.
it makes me so happy.
Also.... I don't think this is a modern quilt.
Part of the reason I made this quilt as my "modern challenge" was that I wanted to take the opportunity to explore this area of quilting--traditional patterns in modern fabrics--to see how I felt about it when the quilt in hand was my own quilt.
You see, at last year's QuiltCon there was a section of quilts called "Modern Traditionalism" and when I walked through that section of quilts I was a bit overtaken by confusion. Because the quilts don't fit my definition of "modern quilts." And while I could go on a bit about that, I think that what it boils down to for me is this: fabric choice is not enough.
I mean Zombie Apocalypse is really un-traditional fabric and I don't think it makes my quilt modern. So many so-called modern fabrics are brightened-up, recolored, and re-sized traditional prints--how can they be enough?
Why would we call traditional patterns in different colors modern? I think a lot of it comes down to liking the quilts and liking the people who are making these quilts. Because take, for example, the quilts in Vintage Quilt Revival: 22 Modern Designs from Classic Blocks. Those quilts are so baller. And they totally appeal to me and probably to you and to lots of folks who love modern quilts just a bit more than traditional quilts. Also, the women that wrote Vintage Quilt Revival are all lovely people, who are bloggong and instagramming and generally being a part of the stuff that modern quilters are a part of. But does that make their quilts or quilts in their style modern? To me, the answer is no. And I don't mean that as an insult, because to me "modern" is not a codeword for "good", modern defines a specific aesthetic.
I have been accused of creating confusion around the question of "what is a modern quilt" because I named my flickr group "Fresh Modern Quilts." Did I then create the idea that fresh = modern? Updated = modern? Here's my response: the title of the flickr group is "Fresh Modern Quilts" because it seemed to me, back in Feb 2008, that "Modern Quilts" didn't cover the range of quilts that I was looking to have collected in the photo pool. I specifically added the word "fresh" in order to cover those quilts that are like my zombie quilt--a tradional quilt with some fresh elements. Also, and I hope this is understood, I am just one person who likes and thinks about quilts and shares her thoughts, I am not The Decider, I'm just a quilter and someone who processes most of her experience through words.
I took up my own modern challenge in making this quilt--thinking about it as a "modern traditional" quilt and rejecting that category more and more as i worked. i think it is fresh, I love it a lot, but that's the end for me.
Details of the quilt:
measures 72" x 96"
Fabrics are: entire Zombie Apocalypse line from Emily Taylor Design with Riley Blake, two challenge fabrics from Riley Blake / MQG. Moda Bella Off-White, Moda Bella Zen Gray, Cotton Couture Gray, Kona Black, Kona Tangerine, Cotton Couture Tangerine, Kona Grass, Cotton Couture Kryptonite, Kona Capri, Moda Bella Robin Egg.
Binding: Riley Blake dots
Backing: Widescreen and fabrics from the front + a little Kona Curry
Quilted by Kathy Koch of Thread Bear Quilting LLC in a Zombie Panograph from Sweet Dreams Quilt Studio.
With thanks to Brenda at Pink Castle Fabrics for ordering Zombie Apocalpyse bundles when I requested them (Pink Castle is sold out, but the fabic is still avaialbel in a few shops on etsy); Debbie of Esch House Quilts for helping me puzzle out some piecing; Jenna of How to Be Jenna and Emily of EmmmyLizzzy for helping me realize my dream of a zombie quilting design when I had almost given up; Kathy of Thread Bear for amazing and quick quilting; and Accuquilt for the lovely cutter and dies that made this much precision pieceing possible (any imperfect seams come from my own laziness and lack of perfectionism, not faulty cutting).
As always, thanks for reading and looking and sharing your thoughts!