Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Ask Mel: What Does Modern Traditional Quilting Mean?

I've been asked to do a quilter's dictionary post and I'll get to that soon I promise.  Today, we are going to talk about my tag line.  I got the sweetest email asking what it meant and I figured she couldn't be the only person wondering.  If you have a question about the blog, making a quilt, sewing machines, or even me feel free to email me at quiltingroomwithmel at gmail dot com.

Dear Mel,

I love your blog and following along as you make quilts.  I don't understand what your tag line means.  What is a modern traditional quilter?  How are you different from other quilters?  


Dear Ann,

Thanks for reading my blog!!  It means so much to me to know that someone is out there reading the blog and wants to learn more.  Let's start by looking at what modern quilters do and what traditional quilters do.

Modern quilters tend to be very minimalist in their designs.  The beauty of their quilts is the actual quilting.  They are amazing at what they do.  If they aren't minimalist then they are usually very blocky, think just strips or squares.  They both have their place and I certainly appreciate the art of what they are doing.  It's just not my style.

Untitled by Kayli Taylor and Sarah Oviatt
Salt Lake Modern Quilt Guild
Found at Christa Quilts
  As you can see the quilting is what makes this.  Those are two very talented ladies.  I'm not sure my quilting skills will ever get to that level.

Found at
I love all the colors.  The randomness also speaks to me.  But it's not me and that's OK.

So we know what modern quilters do let's look at what traditional quilters do.

Traditional quilters make the type of quilts our grandmothers made.  The patterns have been around for 100 years or more.  That's what makes them traditional, they've been made for generations.

Coast of Maine blog has some great examples if you want to read a little about the history of the blocks.

Log Cabin Quilt
Found at
We certainly know the log cabin block here.  It was our first project.  Ours doesn't look anything like this though.

Pinwheel Quilt
Found at
Hopefully now you can see where I fall.  I'm right between the two.  I'm drawn to patterns like the log cabin and the pinwheel.  There's something that catches my eye with these quilts that aren't there with the modern quilts.  The downfall for me with the traditional quilts is the colors.  I love the bright colors of the modern quilts.

So let's look at two modern twists on those traditional patterns.

 If you look you can pick out the log cabin block in this quilt.  The block is the same.  The difference is the color choice and the layout.  In my mind I've made old new again.  The chevron is on trend for today's design world.  By doing this I hope I'm keeping traditional quilts alive.

This is my husband's pinwheel.  It's combined with the hourglass block.  It looks nothing like the pinwheel above but if you look closely you can see them.

And that is what a modern traditional quilter does in my book.  Takes those old patterns everyone knows and makes them fit in today.  Thanks Ann for your question.

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Melissa Shields
Melissa Shields

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1 comment:

  1. Well, I guess that I am a modern traditional quilter too!