I taught myself to quilt about 18 months ago. Having sewn all my life, I figured it can't be that hard to learn how to do. I mean it's all straight lines, no curves or darts or pleats to deal with. I had never been interested in quilting as I saw it traditionally practiced. It seemed fussy and precise and detail oriented in a way that had no appeal to me. Actually I disdained it all my life until I picked up a book called Block Party, The Modern Quilting Bee by Alissa Haight Carlton and Kristen Lejnieks. I'm not really sure why I picked the book up, but suddenly I found myself absorbed. Here were quilts I found lively, engaging, modern, beautiful and inspiring. I immediately wanted to start playing with fabric. Because that's what it was to me, playing with fabric. As practiced by Modern Quilters, quilts are an expression of the maker with all their quirks and idiosyncrasies. The website of the Modern Quilt Guild puts it into words better than I can.
"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."What I can tell you is, if you love playing with fabric and shapes and making functional objects, then take a look at Modern Quilting. It's liberated and fun and expressive. In Block Party, many quilts start just sewing together pieces of fabric in designs until you have a block that makes you happy. That may not make much sense in print, but it was the way my mind saw it. I am hooked. This is an incredibly accessible, playful, creative way to make quilts. I have dived into the world of quilts with both feet. I have embraced what is known as the wonky. I have taken it to heart and made it my best friend. I try and line my seams up as much as possible, but if they don't, hell, it still looks good! In fact sometimes it becomes an entire design element.
What you see above is a baby quilt in progress. Small quilts are a great way to try out this practice without committing to a overwhelming project. I love baby quilts. They allow me to try out new techniques and colors and fabrics. They go together quickly, so you can get some gratification quickly. I find myself drawn to fabrics that I would not likely wear on my body, either because of the color/design, or because they're too stiff for garments. Quilting allows me to play with those fabrics. Anything that lets me play with fabric more, makes me happy...