What to do? Please help!

Remember this fabric I was thrilled by?

I thought about how to use it for several weeks and finally decided on Turning Twenty Again. It’s an old pattern, but I’ve seen it made up in many different fabrics and it’s almost always spectacular and modern-looking.  The fabric I bought was 8 fat quarters, and Turning Twenty Again is a pattern developed for efficient use of fat quarters, so it seemed a good match.

I needed a little more fabric and found this dot in my stash–it had the same appearance of linen texture as the original fabric and I thought it went perfectly with the others.
The next question was what else to add. After auditioning several options, I decided on this cat fabric. The eyes are sort of of dots, too, and the color coordinated well. I made the blocks and put them on the design wall, and…Eek!  Is it too busy?  And when I see it overall, I do not like the tan fabric I added, even though it is similar to the beige-green that came with the fat quarter set!

I’ve had it on the design wall for a week trying to decide what to do. One option is to put the squares together with sashing and a border to kind of calm things down.  I auditioned a dark blue fabric and a turquoise fabric for that–both are Moda grunge, so they have the same linen-look texture.

Another option is to take the blocks apart in order to add these birds from the same collection, giving a greater variety of prints.  I think if I take it apart, I will remove the tan fabric I don’t like, so the birds could add variety AND get rid of the tan!
From there we go into the wild options. They are legion, and include the possibility of cutting the blocks randomly and inserting solid strips. Or I could replace some pieces with the birds and some with the turquoise grunge.

And of course there is the perennial option of putting it away for a month and then looking at it again to see what comes to mind.

Suggestions, anyone?

You may be a modern quilter if…

I’ve always thought the Amish were the original modern quilters, with their solid fabrics and striking designs.

Amish design quilt

I made this quilt when we lived in Pennsylvania

Still, there is a lot of discussion of the definition of modern quilting, and there are some financial issues at stake because there is (a little) money to be made in quilting.

There are lots of definitions that I like, including the one offered by the Modern Quilt Guild website. Individual modern quilters have their own definitions, too.  I’ll tell you mine at the end, but meanwhile, here’s a list to consider:

You may be a modern quilter if

…you’ve ever said, “This is the LAST TIME I’m making a quilt with a lot of blocks exactly

36 patch block

I’ve seen quilts like this defined as modern–no kidding!


…you like to design quilts inspired by the mid 20th century aesthetic

…you like the look of quilts with a variety of different size blocks

…or you like your quilts with no identifiable individual blocks at all

…you like quilts with lots of negative space

improvisational blocks

Improvisational blocks made from scraps of the quilt shown at the top

…you enjoy working with solid (or almost solid) fabrics

…you often use improvisational piecing

…you like to challenge yourself to create something new rather than following a pattern …you are drawn to “low volume” fabric with a lot of background showing

Here’s my first stab at a definition:   Modern quilting is about good design first.  Many traditional quilts are good designs, but the emphasis is too often on how many tedious piecing techniques can be used perfectly.  Modern quilts are more like “modern” art–technique must be good, but design is paramount.

Finally, of course, you’re a modern quilter if YOU SAY you are!  You get to define yourself.