Monday, January 2, 2012

ABC of Quilting Post # 1

It is the 2nd of January today! A new year to begin, look forward to and triumph... It also happens to be my 34th Birthday! (I am always confused about this one - do you call it 33rd or 34th if you're completing 33 years?)

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How do I plan to spend it? No idea... I have no plans for today except that its a routinely normal day... I dont think DH even remembers its my birthday!

And for once I'm not going to remind him... The more guilty he feels, the better my evening will be when he realizes...

So moving on to the ABC of Quilting. Today is our first post in the series.

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A Beginning of a New Journey : Introduction to Quilting, History and Contemporary Scene

The first post in this series is by Alissa Carlton. She lives in Los Angeles and is one of the founders of The Modern Quilt Guild. Her work has been published in Stitch Magazine, Quilters Home and Quilting Arts' Quilt Scene. When not quilting, she casts reality shows including seasons 7, 8 & 9 of Project Runway. She blogs at  Handmade by Alissa

Me in my sewing space!
Image Courtesy : Alissa Harlton

Through out the ABC’s of quilting you learn the ins and outs of each step of making a quilt, but to give you a brief introduction, quilting the is process of making a blanket out of smaller pieces of fabric that you sew together into a larger piece.

First the quilt top is sewn by assembling fabric into the design of your choice.  Then the quilt top is layered with batting (or wadding), and the quilt back.  The three layers are sewn through (this is what makes a quilt a quilt!) and the edges are bound.  Through out all of the posts in the coming weeks, you’ll learn the details of each step so hopefully you’ll learn to love quilting as much as I do! 

Photo Courtesy : Alissa Carlton 

Quilting has been common in the US for decades (you can read a more complete history of quilting here (link:  on Wikipedia).  While quilters have a variety of styles, until recently, there have been two prevalent quilting styles.  Traditional quilting and art quilting.  Traditional quilting focuses on making functional quilts based on traditional quilt block patterns.  Art quilting focuses on making quilts that are wall hangings and feature a wide variety of design styles.  Some have abstract piecing, some feature landscapes or images of any thing else the quilter might want to show.  Pretty much anything goes with art quilting, but the connecting thread of all art quilts is that they are not meant to be used on a bed.  They are meant to be hung as decorative art. 

Recently, over the past five years or so, a new aesthetic movement has been developing in the quilting world.  This new movement is The Modern Quilting Movement.  Modern quilting has developed out of a desire to use the techniques of the traditional craft to reflect the tastes and aesthetic of our time.

Photo Courtesy : Alissa Carlton

The Modern Quilt Guild ( has a great list on their site of the traits one finds in modern quilts.

Modern quilters and quilts:
  • Make primarily functional rather than decorative quilts
  • Use asymmetry in quilt design
  • Rely less on repetition and on the interaction of quilt block motifs
  • Contain reinterpreted traditional blocks
  • Embrace simplicity and minimalism
  • Utilize alternative block structures or lack of visible block structure
  • Incorporate increased use of negative space
  • Are inspired by modern art and architecture
  • Frequently use improvisational piecing
  • Contain bold colors, on trend color combinations and graphic prints
  • Often use gray and white as neutrals
  • Reflect an increased use of solid fabrics
  • Focus on finishing quilts on home sewing machines

These traits give a concrete answer to what modern quilts looks like, but one also needs to consider how the Modern Quilting Movement came to be.  The simple answer is the Internet.  Through blogs, flickr and twitter modern quilters have found each other, providing inspiration and community.  The Internet has also allowed for the movement to grow at an incredibly quick pace.  Constant quick and easy access to inspiration from modern quilt blogs has created a huge number of new quilters diving into the craft when the see quilts that appeal to their tastes. 

Photo Courtesy : Alissa Carlton

This thriving online community of modern quilters grew to want to meet in person and The Modern Quilt Guild was born! In October of 2009 the first meeting of the Los Angeles Modern Quilt Guild was held.  In no time word spread of the fun they were having and now there are more than 100 Modern Quilt Guild all over the world. 

 Hopefully you’ll like what you see over this series of posts and you’ll want to make a modern quilt of your own!



  1. 33rd birthday, but you're entering your 34th year.

    Have a wonderful birthday!

  2. Happy Birthday Shruti. i hope you have a wonderful day. Great post to kick off the ABC of quilting.

  3. Happy birthday, Shruti!! I hope you enjoy your day! I would rather call it the 33rd birthday :).

  4. Happy 33rd Birthday, Shruti. You won't be 34 for another whole year :)


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