Modern Quilts at AQS Phoenix 2014

I had the great opportunity to attend AQS Phoenix last week and check out all of the awesome modern quilts. Click here for the list of all AQS winners.


Unraveling #2 by Judy Tescher, Pendleton, IN
3rd Place

It’s inspiring to get up close and personal with so many bold and graphic quilts, something that’s hard to do by just looking at pictures online, or in books and magazines.

Honorable Mention

Thoroughly Modern Millie by Karolyn Jensen, Tucson AZ
Honorable Mention

Throughout this post, I’m sharing modern quilts from the show that really spoke to me and engaged my attention.

Modern Quilts

Bookcases by Jane Bromberg, Kansas City, MO

Whether they were awarded ribbons or not, they are certainly winners in my eyes.

1st Place Modern

Cycles 2 by Leanne Chahley, Alberta, Canada
1st Place

I’m loving that fact that more and more people are taking the plunge and entering their modern quilts into shows because I think it’s having a huge impact on the quilting community.

2nd Place Modern

Fissures by Debra Jeske, Lynnwood, WA
2nd Place

Modern quilters are proving to the world that functional, “made it myself” quilts can be just as beautiful as over-the-top bedazzled pieces.

Be Yourself

Be Yourself – Everyone Else is Taken by Meg Cowey, Western Australia

As quilters embrace the organic beauty of crafting their own quilts rather than opting to pay for computerized perfection, I believe this movement will continue to explode.

Quilterly Realism

Quilterly Realism by Amanda Ruden, Albuquerque, NM

I like to compare quilts show to fashion shows – you can see an amazing amount of diverse talent all in one spot.

Modern Quilt Challenge

Moons Over Bars by Susan Garrity, Wilson, WY
Modern Quilt Challenge

Depending on your own personal aesthetic, the quilts can be soul-inspiring and engaging, or they can be overwhelming and perhaps a little outrageous.

Modern Quilts

Quilts from the Modern Quilt Challenge Exhibit

Whatever the case or your opinion, large national shows certainly generate excitement for the craft and help shape the conversation of quilting.

Modern Quilt Challenge

Quilts from the Modern Quilt Challenge Exhibit

Over time, ongoing trends seen at quilt shows trickle down and permeate throughout the entire quilting community.

More Modern Quilts

Quilts from the Modern Quilt Challenge Exhibit

I for one am glad for the proliferation of quilting events and shows – and I can’t wait for the next one!

Best Modern Quilt

Keep it Simple by Jodi Robinson, Enon Valley, PA
Best Modern Quilt

Book Review and Blog Hop – Vintage Quilt Revival

Today I would like to tell you about some fabulous friends of mine who put their brilliant minds together to create an amazing quilting book that actually has something to say!

QuiltCon Dinner

Dinner in Austin, TX, 2013
From Left to Right: Katie, Christa, Faith, Holly, Lee

At QuiltCon last year, I got a chance to chat about quilting over dinner with Vintage Quilt Revival authors Katie Clark Blakesley, Lee Heinrich, and Faith Jones (plus their fantastic friend Holly who’s on the hop later in the week).

Even though I didn’t know they were writing their book at the time, their passion for modern quilting was quite contagious! In fact, when I arrived home from QuiltCon last February, I was ready to take on the modern quilting world, in part due to their enthusiasm for it!

Vintage Quilt RevivalSo let me tell you a little bit about their book, Vintage Quilt Revival. In addition to an extremely well written volume that is beautifully illustrated, they have included mini history lessons for each block, plus design notes and tips throughout.

It’s a whopping 159 pages full of creative inspiration and instruction including sections on tools and techniques, new settings and color approaches, and re-imagined blocks that will take your breath away!

The book is organized block by block, with instructions on how to make each of the twenty 12″ finished blocks, followed by a full-sized project to make from each and every block.

Sugar Snow Quilt

Sugar Snow Quilt by Lee – one of my favorites from the book!

And this is where the creativity really comes in. Adapted projects include fun accessories like totes and pouches, to full sized quilts using a variety of settings. The icing on the cake is the included sampler quilts, made by each of the authors showcasing a different way to combine all of the blocks!

Vintage Quilt Revival

Faith’s Sampler Quilt – I absolutely love this setting!

Many of the blocks utilize paper piecing techniques, and the book comes with a CD so that you can print out as many full-sized foundation templates as you need. They’ve thought of everything!

I also give Katie, Lee, and Faith extra credit points for quilting a vast majority of the quilts themselves, including tidbits of inspiration on how they chose the quilting designs. I love it when authors show that it is possible to make amazing modern quilts yourself from start to finish. 🙂

Cut Glass Quilt

Katie’s Cut Glass Baby Quilt – I got to recreate a couple of these amazing blocks!

Vintage Quilt Revival is worth reading and perusing as a coffee table book, even if you never make a block – but make a block I did! Each of the 20 bloggers on the hop got to construct a different block from the book using our own colors and fabric choices. Such fun! My block was the Classic Geometric Star Block – the one Katie chose to make her Cut Glass Baby Quilt, shown above.

Geometric Star Block

My version of the Geometric Star Block

Even though this particular block was listed as an “advanced” skill level block. I had no problems following the clear-cut instructions to make my block.

Just for fun, I also made another block with the points going the opposite way and added a little sashing border around it, to demo how fun it can be to mix things up!

Geometric Star Block

Geometric Star Variation, with Border

I’m very touched that the authors have chosen to incorporate all of our sample blocks into charity quilts which will be revealed at the end of the hop. It will be fun to see how they all come together.

Updated – See The Finished Charity Quilts!

I was so thrilled to see the three charity quilt finishes put together by Katie, Lee and Faith. I am impressed with how they were able to take all of the blocks and combine them into three cohesive quilt designs. Remember, the participants had free reign when it came to fabric and color choices. Aren’t they just wonderful?

Katie's Charity Sampler

Katie’s Charity Sampler

Lee's Charity Sampler

Lee’s Charity Sampler

Faith's Charity Sampler

Faith’s Charity Sampler

To see more Vintage Quilt Revival inspiration, be sure to check out the entire blog hop schedule below. I feel truly honored to be included among such talented people!

January 13th (Monday):
Crazy Mom Quilts – Amanda Jean
Don’t Call Me Betsy – Elizabeth
Film in the Fridge – Ashley
Happy Quilting – Melissa
Noodlehead – Anna

January 14th (Tuesday):
I’m A Ginger Monkey – Katy
Quilting Is My Therapy – Angela
A Quilting Life – Sherri
Sew Mama Sew – Kristin
Tall Grass Prairie Studio – Jacquie

January 15th (Wednesday):
Christa Quilts – Christa
Diary of a Quilter – Amy
Quilting Gallery – Michele
Sew Take a Hike – Penny
V and Co. – Vanessa
West Coast Crafty – Susan

January 16th (Thursday):
Bijou Lovely – Holly
Don’t You Know Who I Am – Sukie
Lily’s Quilts – Lynne
One Shabby Chick – Amber

January 17th (Friday):
Swim, Bike, Quilt – Katie
Freshly Pieced – Lee
Fresh Lemons Quilts – Faith

Modern Neutrals Blog Tour

Modern NeutralsWelcome to all of those swinging by my stop on Amy Ellis’ Modern Neutrals Blog Tour.

I first met Amy when I participated in her fabulous Blogger’s Quilt Festival that she hosts twice a year. I was beyond thrilled to be one of the Spring 2013 winners and even more so with my prize – 4 quilting books of my choice from Martingale.

My first pick was Amy’s book Modern Neutrals – A Fresh Look at Neutral Quilt Patterns and now I’m happy to tell you about it – be sure to scroll to the end for a giveaway!

I absolutely adore the cover quilt with its striking geometry and “pod” looking blocks.

Another favorite of mine is Prism. I have a thing for Kona Solids and Amy has artfully combined solids with tone on tone neutrals in shades of black, white and grey to create a very bold and beautiful quilt. I love it!


Prism by Amy Ellis; Pieced by Trish Poolson; Quilted by Natalia Bonner

Placid Curves speaks to my need for order amid chaos. I love the illusion of curves, even though this quilt is made completely from squares and rectangles. The careful placement of color creates quite a bit of contrast in this warm neutral quilt!

Placid Curves by Amy Ellis; Pieced by Audrie Bidwell; Machine Quilted by Natalia Bonner

Placid Curves by Amy Ellis; Pieced by Audrie Bidwell; Machine Quilted by Natalia Bonner

There are a total of 15 full sized quilts in the book, each thoughtfully illustrated with clear diagrams and instructions. The photography is very well done, too. You can see details of the beautiful quilting on each quilt, which for me is a plus since I love pouring through books for quilting inspiration.

I especially like it when authors take the time to add just a little bit more to their books, in the way of interesting things to read about the quilts. There’s a section in the front about working with neutrals in neutral spaces, plus several pages of quiltmaking basics at the end – a great refresher or reference for those relatively new to quilting.

Helpful tips are sprinkled throughout the book, along with some options on making a few of the quilts in different sizes. I would definitely recommend Modern Neutrals as a great inspiration manual for making beautiful neutral quilts!

Piked Peaks

Piked Peaks

Shifting Sands

Shifting Sands

Circuit Board

Circuit Board


Happy blog hopping! 2013 Blog Tour Schedule:

Christa’s Soap Box – Modern Quilters Make Quilting Cool

Well, actually, I have always thought quilting is awesome, but I love that the modern quilting movement has made quilting seem hip, urban, and ultimately cool. 🙂


Untitled by Kayli Taylor and Sarah Oviatt, Modern Quilt Shown at HMQS Exhibit 2013

In my recent blog posts here and here, there have a been a bunch of discussions about modern quilting. In fact several of my blog followers have asked me how I would define modern quilting, so I thought I would try. Remember, these are my opinions and of course you are also entitled to your own, even if we disagree. 🙂

Jumbo Star

Jumbo Star by Kati Spencer of Salt Lake MQG, Shown at HMQS 2013

To me, modern quilting is part attitude, part aesthetic. If you think you are a modern quilter then you are, no matter what “style” of quilts you like to make. I think technology plays a huge role in the spread of quilting in general because we are no longer limited geographically. I have sewing friends all over the world, and what one blogger may discover in the Netherlands, her fellow blogging buddy in Japan may carry over to her sewing friends in her (or his) country. How cool!


A-maze-ing by Karen Atkinson, Desert Quilters of Nevada Quilt Show 2013

As far as aesthetics, the look of modern quilting runs the gambit from highly traditional to very artistic. You can make hand pieced, hand quilted modern quilts as well as machine pieced, quilted, and bound modern quilts.

In Defense of Handmade

In Defense of Handmade by Thomas Knauer and Lisa Sipes, QuiltCon 2013

And whenever someone comes up with a “rule” for what modern quilting is, someone else is sure to break it. I have seen modern quilts with borders, made from low-contrast fabrics and small scale calicoes, the use of feather quilting and batiks; all characteristics that just a year ago modern quilting “wasn’t”.

Modern Traditionalism, Large 1st

New Star Rising by Ben Darby – Modern Traditionalism from QuiltCon 2013

I think modern quilting is very inclusive rather than exclusive. Sure, you can have wonky piecing and improvisational styles, but that is not an excuse for poor workmanship. Modern quilts are meant to be functional rather than being seen as priceless heirlooms, but that doesn’t mean a beautiful quilt hanging on a wall has no purpose – its function is art.

ModernFor those of you that would really feel better with a concrete definition, here is how the Modern Quilt Guild defines modern quilts. Notice that it is not an absolute, but rather an evolving definition.

“Modern quilts are primarily functional and inspired by modern design. Modern quilters work in different styles and define modern quilting in different ways, but several characteristics often appear which may help identify a modern quilt. These include, but are not limited to: the use of bold colors and prints, high contrast and graphic areas of solid color, improvisational piecing, minimalism, expansive negative space, and alternate grid work. “Modern traditionalism” or the updating of classic quilt designs is also often seen in modern quilting.”

Skillbulder BOM

Modern Quilt Blocks by Christa Watson, Pile O’Fabric Skillbuilder BOM

Not everyone is going to like all modern quilts, just as not everyone will like all quilt styles in general. The important things to remember is that there is room for everyone, and modern quilting is such a boon to the entire quilting industry which I, for one, am truly grateful for!

Christa’s Soap Box – An Anniversary Of Sorts…

I know everyone loves to celebrate their blogging anniversary or quilting anniversary or what have you. Today I’m celebrating my 1 year anniversary of officially considering myself a modern quilter. (Granted, I’ve been actually quilting more or less for the pass 18 years, but the 17 years prior to discovering modern quilting was just “practice!”)

It was just a year ago that I discovered the modern quilt movement, decided to attend QuiltCon and started blogging on a regular basis. I recently joined the Modern Quilt Guild and it’s so exciting to be part of such of a vibrant community.

LVMQGMQGI’ve been in love with quilting from the moment I picked up a needle and thread. But there’s just something about the clean lines, bold colors, and sleek aesthetic of modern quilting that really appeals to me.

Sure, I still love traditional quilts, art quilts, practical quilts, show quilts… heck ANY quilts! I love the stories behind the makers and the art of the cloth. Over the years I always had this inner voice telling me to “find my niche” with my quilting.  Was it paper piecing? Decadent multi-pointed star quilts? How about retro and repro quilts? Easy quilts? Novelty quilts?

I liked them all, but none of the styles ever beckoned to me in such a way as modern quilting has done. Sure, my tastes may still lean a bit toward the “modern traditionalism” side of things, but even that is evolving.

Modern QuiltingModern QuiltingModern QuiltingModern Quilting

I literally get a pounding in my heart when I think of all the possibilities of modern quilting. Part of the reason for me putting on the designer’s hat is because I just have to get all these ideas onto paper and made into cloth!

In fact, I’ve probably been more serious about my quilting in the last year than I have in the previous nearly 2 decades of sewing. Part of me wishes I had discovered modern quilting earlier. In the last year I’ve been able to tick off many of the quilting goals I set for myself and I can’t wait to accomplish more of them over the next year. 🙂

String of Pearls QuiltingPress Seams Open

If I had known about modern quilting longer, just think what I could have accomplished the last few years! My solace is that modern quilting as a recognized movement is relatively new so I feel like I’m still on the cutting edge of something fantastic.

Where will it lead next? I’m not quite sure but I will definitely enjoy the ride!

Angela Walters Textures Fabric and a Winning Quilt

One of my quilting heroes, Angela Walters, recently launched her own line of fabulous fabrics modern fabrics. When I met her at QuiltCon I told her that I planned to carry them in my store.

Angela WaltersNow that plan has become a reality. I just received the wonderful 10 piece collection of Textures, her debut line from Art Gallery Fabrics.Angela Walters Textures

The modern textural look of these prints really appeals to me. I especially love the panel print which was recently featured in a contest sponsored by Art Gallery fabrics.

Textures PanelIn fact, my friend Kelli from Seriously I Think it Needs Stitches won the contest with her fabulous Mod Geocruiser Quilt. Isn’t it great? You can read about her inspiration here.

Mod Geocruiser

Mod Geocruiser by Kelli Fannin
Make it Right Winner

I think Kelli did such a fabulous job with the textural quilting, too. 🙂 You can find more inspiration here to see how others creatively used the Right Angles Panel.

I’m way excited because I also preordered Angela Walters’ next collection, Legacy, due out later this fall. Here’s Angela’s Legacy Quilt, shown at market this past spring. Fabulous!

Legacy Quilt

Angela Walters’ Legacy Quilt

HMQS 2013 Part 2 – Modern Quilts

I was very pleased to see a nice showing of modern quilts at HMQS so I decided to share with you a few of my personal favorites. Most were either part of the QuiltCon exhibit, the Salt Lake City modern quilt guild, or part of the HMQS modern category. A few were entered into some of the other categories, but I still think they had a modern flair.

Click here for part 1 of my HMQS wrap up. I’ll post more amazing quilts tomorrow.

Coloring Outside the LInes

Coloring Outside the Lines by Mary K. Price
Oswego, Oregon, Embroidery

Fractured Pi

Fractured Pi by Lisa Chin
Salt Lake City Utah, Art Innovative


Trigonometry in Bloom by Ellen Stallard
Watertown, TN, Mixed Technique

Log Pyramids

Log Pyramids by Liz Havartine

Jumbo Star

Jumbo Star by Kati Spencer
Salt Lake Modern Quilt Guild


Untitled by Kayli Taylor and Sarah Oviatt
Salt Lake Modern Quilt Guild

5 HTP Squared

5 HTP Squared by Jen Carlton Bailly
Portland Oregon, Modern Category

Modern Coins

Modern Coins by Dawna Sanders
Thornton, Colorado, Modern Category

Green 2.103

Green 2.103 by Stephanie Zacharer Ruyle
Denver, Colorado, Modern Category

Fire and Water Under the Bridge

Fire and Water Under the Bridge by Debbie Neilsen
Mapleton, Utah, 2nd Place Modern


Simple by Ellen Stallard
Watertown, TN 1st Place Modern

Roller Coaster Fun

Roller Coaster Fun by Jana O’Brien
Fort Collins, Colorado, Modern Category

Aren’t these such beautiful quilts? They have inspired me to go modern!

DQN Quilt Show 2013 Modern Quilts

After attending my local guild’s quilt show this past weekend, my daughter is thrilled that I am giving her my Hugs ‘n Kisses quilt.

Hugs 'n Kisses

Jenna’s Hugs ‘n Kisses by Christa Watson

While there was a “modern” category at the show for the first time ever, there were quite a few quilts entered into other categories that I would also classify as modern. Here they are for you to enjoy (and you will notice many of them won ribbons as well):

Cranes in Octagon

Cranes in Octagon by Ruthie Kerr
3rd Place, Hand Quilted


Heat by Lorraine Allers, Quilted by Sheilah Crum
1st Place Wall Quilt, Professionally Quilted


Enso by Rickie Seifreid, Quilted by Linda Natale
2nd Place Mixed Technique, Professionally Quilted

Fast Triad

Fast Triad by Bobbie Stoner
1st Place, Modern Quilt, Small

A Little Bit Modern

A Little Bit Modern by Marcella Peek
1st Place, Modern Quilt, Large

X Marks the Spot

X Marks the Spot by Michael Coughran, Quilted by Lin Zhao


A-maze-ing by Karen Atkinson
2nd Place, Machine Quilted Wall Quilt

Optical Illusion

Optical Illusion by Kathy Williamson, Quilted by Dana Stauffer
2nd Place, Large Quilt Professionally Quilted

Modern Circles

Modern Circles by Ann Pugh
3rd Place, Modern Quilt, Small

Aboriginal Suns

Aboriginal Suns by Lorraine Allers, Quilted by Brenda Alcorn
3rd Place, Mixed Techniques

Baby Bricks

Baby Bricks by Christa Watson, Baby Quilt

Charming Chevrons

Charming Chevrons by Christa Watson
2nd Place, Modern Quilt, Small

You can read some excerpts from last year’s quilt show here, here, and here.

Happy Quilting!

QuiltCon Here I Come! Charming Chevrons Juried-In

I just got the best news ever! I just found out that my Charming Chevrons quilt was accepted into QuiltCon, the modern quilting conference taking place in Austin, Texas in February.

I am practically speechless and beside myself with joy! I am already registered to attend the conference, and in fact just booked my plane ticket today.  This is like icing on the cake! 🙂

Here is the front of Charming Chevrons (you can click to enlarge):

Charming Chevrons Front

And here is the back (which I think is just as much fun as the front):

Charming Chevrons Back

One of the quilting goals I made for the new year was to get a quilt accepted into a major show. Well, now I can cross that one off the list. (Or maybe I should say I’ll add to it?)

I will update the goal to read, “Win a ribbon at a major quilt show.” I’m sure this new goal will take much more than a year to accomplish, but I believe anything is possible with enough patience and perseverance!

Holy Cow I Finished!

I finished quilting my Busy Hands quilt this weekend. I feel like it was quite an accomplishment because I quilted the heck out of it! This quilt is my first official “Modern Quilt” and I have to say, I enjoyed it immensely.

Busy Hands Quilt

(My poor little chevron blocks are just piled up in the corner, patiently waiting their turn on the design wall so they can get turned into my next modern quilt.)

I tend to be a little more “organized” with my piecing rather than embracing the “wonkiness” that is also a hallmark of this quilt genre. But I love modern quilts because of their bright, clear colors, bold geometric shapes and clean lines, with lots of negative space for machine quilting.

Busy Hands Quilt Detail

My favorite part about this quilt is all of the different free-motion designs that I tried. I originally was going to stick to one background fill but after quilting a few blocks I got bored very quickly.

FMQ Detai

One of the things I love about modern quilting is that there are no hard and fast rules, so I was free to switch up the designs whenever I felt like it. I can’t tell you how liberating that was!  I didn’t plan them ahead of time but quilted them serendipitously. I counted a total of 53 different quilting designs when all was said and done!

FMQ Detail

I still have to soak the quilt to remove all of the blue lines around the hands, then block it and bind it. I’m really toying around with the idea of trying to enter it at QuiltCon if I can complete these final steps in time. It’s a juried show and they are accepting entries through November 30th. I’ve never entered a quilt in a “big show” before so I don’t even know if it would get in, but what the heck – I might as well try. It can’t hurt, right??

FMQ Detail