Modern Quilts and Traditional quilts

I love quilts, all quilts!  There are all types that really appeal to me and a lot has to do with how the color of the fabric works with the design.  I learned to quilt the very traditional way, everything by hand.  Everything?  Oh yes, everything.  We cut out each piece, traced each seam and stitched every block by hand and joined it all together by hand.  Naturally I then hand quilted it all and made two of them in one year.  I am amazed thinking about that, my productivity has gone down.  But I continue to like all quilts even though in the quilting world there is a bit of a division between so called “modern” and “traditional” quilting.

Traditional Irish Chain I made for my daughter

I have made many traditional quilts and they are great.  I posted a very traditional Irish Chain I made for my daughter, hand quilted. They tend to remake the patterns that were developed when quilting was something everyone did and the colors are traditional as well.  Many of them feature cranberry, navy, cream or dark green.  Some women make all of their quilts this way and they are terrific.  Some are hand appliqued works of art! When I made these types of quilts I used to hand quilt them all and I still hand quilt some.
Modern City Blue quilt - machine quilted
I also adore modern quilts – jazzy colors, big use of solids, simple designs, easier to piece.  Above I posted a quilt I made based on one in the book City Quilts.  This was hides the back of my storage wardrobe in my sewing room.  I have it on the back of the wardrobe and it is what you see in the sewing loft from the living room. They are usually then quilted by machine, in fact almost all quilts now a days are quilted by machine.  I am really lucky, I have a Gammill 12 foot quilting sewing machine.  I have owned it for 2 years and I keep working on getting better at it.  The last two quilts I have made were all solids and machine quilted and I could roll around in the floor in them I love them so much.  Here is the second one, it is is our bedroom hung on the wall above a very traditional Birds in the Air king sized quilt on the bed.
Modern City Green quilt - latest quilt I've made
But I don’t think it has to be all one way or all the other.  I appreciate the beauty in both types of quilts and both types of quilting.  Why do we always have to choose sides, hey, it’s not Red Rover in 5th grade recess.  We CAN have our cake and eat it too, well if it’s made of fabric.  I once went to a quilting store looking for solid fabrics and the owner looked at me suspiciously and barked, “You’re not one of the Modern Quilters, are you?”  Why yes, I am and I am traditional as well.  I am still learning about, making and enjoying all kinds of quilts.

Sometimes, you just have to choose.  In Chicago, it’s between the Cubs and the Sox.  But in many areas of life we don’t have to.  Have a scoop of chocolate and vanilla.  Read books on Kindle and between hard covers.  I choose modern and traditional quilts and in fact, I think I will go work on one right now.

Sew happy!

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    Kathy Mathews

    My passions are quilting and sewing. Add to that French, Spanish, books, swimming, travels, new restaurants, yoga and chocolate and you have me. All of these are best shared with family and friends. Except for chocolate, don't touch my chocolate. You can email me at

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