Spring Sonata border; projects update; “modern” quilts


Over the past 9 days I have managed to sew together all the pieces for the center of Spring Sonata.  This was labor intensive because, after sewing a few of the blocks together in the shorter rows with the paper still on the backs, I decided I needed to remove all the paper from the back of the blocks before sewing any more blocks together.  The paper, with blocks and rows sewn together, was cumbersome and making it very hard for the intersections fit together.   I had read that one should never take the paper off until all the pieces are sewn together and this is how I’ve done paper piecing up to now.  However, these palm leaf blocks have lots of intersecting parts to trap the paper.  Taking the paper off before sewing the blocks together turned out to be a good decision and I don’t think I’ll hesitate to do that in the future if necessary.  It took several hours to get all the paper off and several more hours to pin blocks and rows together.  It also took several hours to press the seams from the back.  That’s because I realized I needed to press the seams OPEN rather than to the side in order to avoid huge mounds at the block corners where, in every case, 8 seams come together.  Nevertheless, after all that work, the center of the top is completed!


Here’s a close up of one of the block intersections so you can see how there are 8 seams that come together ( sorry the pic is somewhat blurry):


On to the border!  I “auditioned” a few fabrics and decided that a gold colored background, rather than green or purple, for the main part of the border is what I prefer.  I tried a strip of purple to separate the gold border from the main quilt:


The purple seemed too wide and the gold not wide enough and maybe a bit dark.  I narrowed the purple and widened and lightened the gold:


Much better!  Unfortunately, I don’t have any more of this particular gold fabric or enough of anything similar – this will be a good excuse to go shopping for fabric soon!  Then I auditioned some fabric for vines:


Too dark.  I tried something lighter.


Too light. So I tried an intermediate shade:


Just right, I think!  I’ll need to shop for something this color, too, since I’m going to need a lot of vine.  I didn’t get to planning the rest of the design yet.  I’m sure there will be leaves, probably green and maybe some purple and I’d like to put some purple berries in there too.  Maybe some birds…it’s going to be fun to design this.  I have my graph paper out and ready for drawing.

In this next picture, I added a few circles to the purple strip since I thought the plain purple was a little too stark.  The idea would be too add these to the strip around the entire quilt:


At one time several years ago, I might really have decided to applique all these little circles by hand, but at this point in my life, I don’t think the effect is worth all that time.  I could fuse them, but I’d have to machine stitch around each one since I don’t like the “raw edge” look.  Not sure I want to do all that either.  I think perhaps I should look for a fabric with a little more texture in it instead.  Who knows, maybe I can find some purple and green polka dot fabric that would work!!

As for other projects, here is the latest on the newest hexagon doll quilt.  I have all the hexagons done and basted to the background fabric.  Half of them have actually been appliqued down.  The first picture shows the center of the quilt with the edges of the background fabric folded in.  The second picture shows the border fabric I’m planning to use.  Unfortunately, I’m going to have to piece the border fabric since I don’t have enough to do it any other way; I’m hoping this works and that I don’t have to order more.


I completed the background hand quilting for block #12 of the Baltimore Album and have moved on to block #13:


Thoughts on Modern Quilts:

Everywhere in the quilt world, one hears about “modern” quilts.  In recent issues of the Quilter’s Newsletter and American Quilter there have been articles trying to define what “modern” quilts are but I still felt unclear after reading them.  One of the blogs I read regularly, even though she only posts once a month, is Sue Garman’s blog.  It’s always a pleasure to see what she’s working on and hear her thoughts and see the many pictures she posts.  In her latest post for this month she tells what she thinks “modern” quilts are and shares many pictures she took at the Houston International Quilt Festival of the special exhibit of modern quilts.  I really like her definition and the pictures really help one understand what these quilts are.  Please google her name and go to her blog to enjoy her posts!

Here’s what she says about modern quilts:  “Modern quilting gives a voice to quilters who look at quilts as functional vs. decorative.  Modern quilting designs are not often based on traditional blocks.  They are often asymmetrical, have interacting motifs, and embrace minimalism and simplicity.  They are often inspired by architecture and modern art and incorporate negative space.  They often use solid fabrics and improvisational piecing… and are finished on domestic sewing machines (rather than hand quilted) more often than not.  They have no hard and fast rules, embrace bold colors, do redefine what is possible and allowable in quiltmaking.  The Modern Quilter often finds friendship and community on the internet.”

I took a good look at the 15 or so examples she posted and did not really care for the majority of them. (Again, please go take a look!)  The 2 or 3 that I kind of liked – I didn’t love any of them! – were more like art quilts than modern quilts.  I do think there is a significant difference between art quilts and what are being called modern quilts.  Even though I don’t care for this style I do think there is room for modern quilting and modern quilters in the “quilting world” of today.  To me this is just another style, another option – that seems good!  I just hope they don’t take over the entire quilting world and that we can co-exist peacefully.  

For myself, I am a committed “traditional” quilter, creatively challenged and invigorated by complex design challenges, often inspired by traditional quilt blocks, and fond of hand quilting and applique.  Most modern quilt designs are too simple for me and don’t capture me visually;  they don’t draw me in for more than a few glances; they don’t make me study them; they don’t seem very interesting.  Those qualities are all things I look for in good design in traditional quilting.  I feel differently re the definition in the previous paragraph in that I believe complex traditional quilts can very much be “functional” rather than just decorative.  I happen to sleep under 4 or 5 of them in the winter!  One of the quilts I sleep under was the best of show quilt at the Vermont Quilt Festival!  I’m not saving it somewhere – I’m using it every day!

Feel free to leave a comment any time – I’d love to hear from you.  Thanks for stopping by!


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