Tag Archives: Akron Modern Quilt Guild

Fun While It Lasted

With QuiltCon West underway in California it seems a good time to declare that I am over modern quilting, as defined by current modern quilt practitioners. Back in 2012 I had high hopes for a bolder, less pretty, more personally defined approach to quilting. I read and was inspired by many of the blogs that sprouted daily, and joined a local modern quilt guild. I made several quilts in the spirit of modern quilting.

Now, four years later, I say goodbye to all that. My local modern guild limped along on life support for two years, and finally vanished without even a whimper. Many of the blogs I enjoyed have ceased publication or have devolved into advertisements for fabric collections, patterns, and other items for sale. I gather it’s called branding, which I always associate with cattle ranching. Certainly there are outstanding exceptions, but many modern quilting books either lack substance or recycle “traditional” quilt book topics like half square triangles with new fabrics. Modern quilters jump from one “must have” fabric line/pattern to another. The owls, the deer, sheesh! What happened to the originality? I see a lot of “me too.” And the workshop lineup at QuiltCon West features a lot of traditional topics – hand applique anyone?

It may be that I’m holding modern quilters to higher standards than I do traditional quilters. Yeah, probably. I just had such hopes for self-determination – design your own quilts, make them with less expensive solid fabrics/vintage sheets/whatever, learn to sew and FMQ in a month. Then, the marketing juggernaut struck. And who wouldn’t be tempted by the chance to make money from your hobby? BTW, I’d be interested to learn of quilters who support themselves on modern quilting.

I do treasure what I’ve gained from the moderns. The bold, off kilter designs were a shot in the arm. The exuberance of new quilters who had no idea something might be hard was a spur. The sheer thrill newbie quilters got from their first efforts reminded me how fun quilting can be. You can see from the winning quilts at QuiltCon West that plenty of great quilts are being made; not all has been drowned out by marketing. I still think, though, the definition of modern quilting remains as slippery as ever.

Here’s some of my modern quilts that were most directly inspired by the modern quilting movement. One, Breezeblocks, is even very close to the original in Quilting Modern. I still treasure that book.

Curves Ahead 2Curves Ahead (based on Pinterest pin)

Spring@60MPHSpring @ 60 MPH (layout by Timna Tarr)

Where did all the hexies goWhere Did All The Hexies Go? (from my head)

107 pyramids107 Pyramids (based on a drawing by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr)

boxed-trianglesBoxed Triangles (from scraps)

Color SlideColor Slide (my own invention)

Impact 2Impact (concept from Terry Aske)

tipsy_lampshadesTipsy Lampshades (concept from Quilting Modern)

WPMWPM (layout based on Esch House Quilts design)

Breezeblocks_quiltedBreezeblocks (based on Quilting Modern)

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Filed under Commentary, Modern Quilting, Snark

The Big Stitch

Since I’m on vacation someplace I hope is warm, I’m revisiting past posts that were popular. I’ve continued to use hand stitching on my work since I wrote this post on big stitching. Thanks to Felice Troutman,  I even learned the pekinese (or pekingnese) stitch. It’s the bright blue stitch below.

WoolFeltEmbroidery

Original Post:

Recently I talked up big stitches for quilting and embellishment to my MQG. I am on record as a resolute embroidery avoider, so I realize this this an about face for me.  In my defense I’ll say that big stitch embroidery isn’t dainty and doesn’t use those blue stamped patterns.

What are big stitches?  In my definition, they are quilting and embroidery stitches on steroids, done with multiple strands of embroidery floss, perl cotton, crochet cord, or 12 or 30 weight thread.  And the stitching is often improvisational, made up on the spot, rather than pattern specific.

The photos below show parts of a pillow I made with techniques from Craftsy’s Stupendous Stitching class.  I used french knots, lazy daisies, fern stitch, and lots of running stitch combinations. These are nestled between decorative machine stitches and couched trims.

big_stitch1big_stitch2So, what about big stitch quilting?  I can tell you it goes a lot faster that “regular” hand quilting.  I use it as an adjunct to machine quilting to add texture and color, as on Neutrality and My February Fantasy below.  Here’s a short video made by Tim Latimer that shows how he does big stitch quilting.

neutrality_closeupMy-February-Fantasy-closeupI’ve been hesitant to use it as the only quilting for fear the perl cotton wouldn’t be strong enough to hold the layers together for the years I hope my pieces last. Also, even though big stitches take less time than conventional hand quilting, the technique still takes more time than machine quilting.

Here’s the way a friend used big stitches to add an intriguing border to her work.  It’s just weaving another color of thread through the existing stitches but it provides a great contrast.

Ks_ladiesI shared a few embroidery books with my guild that show all the cool effects you can get outside the world of traditional embroidery.

embroidery_booksbig_stitch_projectJenny Hart shows how flowers and leaves can be enhanced with some quick stitching. I can see using this to embellish a quilt.

Aneela_Hooey_workI’m in love with the leaves and cherries Aneela Hooey conjures up with lazy daisy and french knot stitches.  And the grass is done with a fern stitch.

Have you found ways to use big stitches on your quilted stuff, or some great thread/floss, etc.?

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Filed under Techniques

Akron MQG’s New Blog

Thanks to our indefatigable member Stephanie, Akron’s Modern Quilt Guild now has a blog. You can check it out here and subscribe to the posts.

We usually meet the fourth Wednesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at the Marshall St. Akron Christian Reformed Church. However, we won’t be meeting in December or January due to the holidays and old man winter. You can contact the group via its blog.

Here’s a photo of Stephanie’s latest work in progress.

Stephanie's_flying_geese

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Filed under Modern Quilting

The Big Stitch

Recently I talked up big stitches for quilting and embellishment to my MQG. I am on record as a resolute embroidery avoider, so I realize this this an about face for me.  In my defense I’ll say that big stitch embroidery isn’t dainty and doesn’t use those blue stamped patterns.

What are big stitches?  In my definition, they are quilting and embroidery stitches on steroids, done with multiple strands of embroidery floss, perl cotton, crochet cord, or 12 or 30 weight thread.  And the stitching is often improvisational, made up on the spot, rather than pattern specific.

The photos below show parts of a pillow I made with techniques from Craftsy’s Stupendous Stitching class.  I used french knots, lazy daisies, fern stitch, and lots of running stitch combinations. These are nestled between decorative machine stitches and couched trims.

big_stitch1big_stitch2So, what about big stitch quilting?  I can tell you it goes a lot faster that “regular” hand quilting.  I use it as an adjunct to machine quilting to add texture and color.  Here’s a short video made by Tim Latimer that shows how he does big stitch quilting.

neutrality_closeupMy-February-Fantasy-closeupI’ve been hesitant to use it as the only quilting for fear the perl cotton wouldn’t be strong enough to hold the layers together for the years I hope my pieces last. Also, even though big stitches take less time than conventional hand quilting, the technique still takes more time than machine quilting.

Here’s the way a friend used big stitches to add an intriguing border to her work.  It’s just weaving another color of thread through the existing stitches but it provides a great contrast.

Ks_ladiesI shared a few embroidery books with my guild that show all the cool effects you can get outside the world of traditional embroidery.

embroidery_booksbig_stitch_projectJenny Hart shows how flowers and leaves can be enhanced with some quick stitching. I can see using this to embellish a quilt.

Aneela_Hooey_workI’m in love with the leaves and cherries Aneela Hooey conjures up with lazy daisy and french knot stitches.  And the grass is done with a fern stitch.

Have you found ways to use big stitches on your quilted stuff, or some great thread/floss, etc.?

4 Comments

Filed under Techniques