Today I’m pleased to be a part of the blog tour for the brand new book published by The Modern Quilt Guild and C&T Publishing, Modern Quilts: Designs of the New Century.
It’s a beautiful coffee table book presented in hard cover with images of over 200 modern quilts.
I always like to give a little behind the scenes backstory about how I end up being featured in collaborations such as this one. Sometimes it’s luck, other times it’s tenacity, and most of the time, it’s a bit of both!
When I attended the first QuiltCon in 2013, I knew right away that the time had finally come to start getting published and raise my professional quilting profile. One of the lectures I attended was on publishing a book, given by the editor of C&T, with panelists such as Angela Walters, among others. I came home from the show on fire and ready to get to work! Although I ultimately went with a different publisher for my own books, I’ve always been impressed with the quality of books published by C&T (and will be a small part of another book of theirs coming up in 2018 – so stay tuned).
An early “profile” image of me with Modern X back in 2014.
As soon as I could, I starting participating in Modern Quilt Guild events, submitting quilts to their shows each year, teaching at QuiltCon, giving webinars, and being one of their designers of the month (back in 2014-the first year they launched that program.) In other words, I got involved!!
When the MQG had a call for entries for this book, I eagerly applied. They looked through images of all the quilts that were submitted along with entries into all previous QuiltCons and I was pleased to end up with two quilts in the book!
Check out #modernxquilt on instagram to see many amazing versions of this quilt!
Modern X was featured as one of the quilt patterns of the month created by and for MQG members. Here’s a fun fact: It was my suggestion that the MQG feature the quilts of the month as a special exhibit at QuiltCon which they’ve done every year since 2015!
Modern X on display during the “special exhibits tour” given by Bill Volckening at QuiltCon 2015
This quilt has gone on to win an award at a local quilt show and has been in a couple of traveling exhibitions of modern quilts. This is also the quilt I talk about when I share the importance of batting and basting in my lectures. (Originally I used a polyester batting for Modern X which created all kinds of puckers because it’s so slippery. I un-quilted, re-basted, and re-quilted this quilt using a cotton blend batting and was much happier with the results!)
HST (The Original)
The original HST quilt. My photography isn’t great since this was taken before we got good equipment. However the photos in the book are top notch!
HST (Half -Square Triangle) was originally patterned way back in issue 5 of Make Modern Magazine. When I originally made the quilt in 2015 I knew I had created a special design and wanted to enter it into QuiltCon for 2016. However, when I went to wash the quilt, I used a “gentle” wash powder that ended up bleaching parts of the quilt!
The quilt now has random bleach stains throughout. 😦
Needless to say I was devastated. Since I’m always one to try and turn lemons into lemonade, I was pleased when this quilt was still able to be selected for the book. With some clever photoshop editing, you can’t see the bleach stains in the book photography and I’m glad it was able to be included.
Quilting Detail on HST
Since I love making functional quilts, I still use the quilt every day and it’s nice and warm because I used super thick cotton batting. I quilted HST with a lot of straight line quilting, and I created a woven texture in the background by alternating the direction of the lines. I threw in a few random spirals in the lighter gray blocks.
HST Backing – I love making pieced backs from leftovers!
The only thing I wasn’t happy about HST (besides the bleach stains) is that doesn’t hang well because I used a woven textured background fabric. Because of the looser weave, the background ended up stretching too much as I quilted it.
So even thought it was painful to accidentally “ruin” a quilt, I decided that if I remade the quilt, I’d be able to create an even better version and try out some different quilting ideas.
I was pleased to sneak in a little of my Modern Marks fabric for the binding!
And now there’s another happy ending to this story. Because I loved this design so much, I knew I had to remake it and submit it for QuiltCon 2018. I almost cried when I received my acceptance that it made it into the show!
The background of the HST remix is all pieced from regular cotton solids so they were nice and stable and didn’t stretch. In both versions, the negative space is made from individually pieced background squares to add a bit more dimension rather than using large chunks of fabric.
There are some slight differences from the first version. Because I ran out of fabric, I had to do some improv piecing to get enough triangles. I also decided to make them slightly bigger so that it would fit my bed. I also kept the idea of random pops of yellow and lighter gray but tried not to duplicate the layout exactly.
A draft “quilting plan” for HST remix. I obviously went in a different direction, but kept some of the elements in my final version. It often takes me many tries until I get a design I like.
The hardest part was deciding how to quilt it! I went through dozens of iterations of quilting plans until I could find something I liked. To make a quilting plan, I’ll print a copy of the design from EQ8 and will try sketching out different ideas until I’m pleased with how it looks. (You can do something similar by printing a photo of the quilt top.)
Although this takes time, it saves me hours of time ripping out a quilted design that looks great in my head, but doesn’t actually work on the quilt!
Another quilting plan in progress – it’s getting closer to what I actually did!
I think my favorite part of the quilting was quilting some irregular chevron designs in each of the HST blocks and adding a bit of “embellishment” by randomly quilting a different free-motion design in a few of the blocks.
I gave a nod to the original HST with a touch of straight line quilting and modern spirals.
Overall, I’m happy with how it turned out and I’m pleased that the original HST is preserved in the book, and folks will get to see HST remix “in the cloth” at QuiltCon next year!
I loved using Alison Glass handcrafted batiks for this quilt!
Click here for a list of all the stops on the Modern Quilts blog hop, and to see more of the beautiful quilts in the book! There are no patterns in the book, just hundreds of pages of beautiful modern quilts for you to explore. I highly recommend this volume for anyone interested in modern quilts!