Monday, August 10, 2015

Exciting News! ECMQG's first ever Sew Modern Quilt Lab

I have been so excited and couldn't wait to announce that our guild Emerald Coast Modern Quilt Guild will be hosting Sew Modern Quilt Lab retreat!!

September 11th and 12th there will be classes, demonstrations and quilts on display. 

For more information please visit List of classes and descriptions.  

More info and fun details to come :)

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Funny Thing About Life...

... it gets in the way!

And sometimes its not so funny.

A lot has happened since my last post - my father in law lost his battle with cancer, I fell and fractured my orbital bone (cheek bone), my mother had a massive heart attack and my Guils crossed over the rainbow bridge (she was my Yorkshire terrier and constant companion of 18 years).

I always have wanted to keep my posts here cheerful and happy, but lately it has been hard.

With every passing day it is getting better!

Love and quiltyness to all,

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Getting All Hot and Bothered - Defining Modern Quilt Fabrics

*****WARNING: Contains Adult Content and Strong Narrow Minded Opinions*****

Everyone has likes and dislikes, we all have a favorite movie star or lead singer that always makes you do a double take - you know like "Whoa, He's one smokin' hot piece of eye candy".

Well, hello there sweet heart!

There are those tall dark and handsome ones, the shy ones, stubborn hard headed, surfin' beach dudes, nerdy geeks, and many many more. Some of those types of guys turn you on and others might make you look the other way. We all know what makes us warm and tingly - if you know what I mean.

We quilters get all hot and bothered by fabrics - some more than others, we get all passionate and stuff - and yea sometimes cuckoo crazy!

There are Tula Pink 'Tula Troops', those that can't get enough 'Bonnie and Camille', batik aficionados, 1930's repro collectors, depression era fanatics, novelty print lovers  -  this list could go on and on. You know what I mean, come on admit it, there is a fabric that blows warm air up your bloomers!

Then when someone says "that is not a modern fabric" we get really offensive. Kinda-like - stay away from my man or I'll cut you bitch!

Everyone of us have our opinions, and the old saying 'Opinions are like ass holes - We all have one and they stink" can sometimes feel very true. On the subject of modern quilting fabric there is so much controversy and confusion, and the topic can make people down right nasty claws out kinda way. Well, I am not here to offend anyone, I want to get that out in the open right away! This is just my take on the subject and I truly love fabrics and all kinds. But.... (and here is that word that makes everyone cringe, they say never to use it because it sounds so negative and people automatically put up a defense).

BUT--- there is a difference between traditional fabrics and modern fabrics. Just the fabric laid out in front of you, NOT in a quilt - just like those sexy hunks, they are all so very different. There are more categories of fabric styles than just traditional and modern, and as a community we need to understand this!

I am not a believer of wishy-washy answers that can confuse a new quilter to the point they never fully understand the concept of modern quilting fabrics and could possibly cause them to drive over a cliff Thelma and Louise style, never to be heard from again.

So put your big girl panties on! And remember we are talkin' fabrics not quilts.

If the fabric was made over 15 years ago and is NOT a solid - It is not Modern! No way, no how! 

No apologies made here. I come from a traditional quilting/patchwork background. I have been quilting for over 40 (cough cough) years and have seen fabrics appear on the market in the last 5-10 years I have never seen before and some of it modern and some not. If I can look at a fabric and it reminds me of something I used 30 years ago (when there were limited fabrics and color palettes for quilters to choose from) I know it is most likely a traditional fabric or another fabric style - just not modern. I know new quilters do not have this advantage (or some might call it limiting) but it sure has helped me figure out when not to use a fabric.

Just because its was manufactured this year
does NOT make it modern.

This confuses a lot of new quilters - it may be pretty and you may love it, but just because it was made today it may not be modern. Lots of fabrics are being produced today and there are so many styles. This is wonderful for us quilters that we have such a diverse market to pull from, but when looking for modern fabrics never use this as one of your determining criteria.

Batiks are Not modern fabrics - it's ok, you can hate me.

To me batik fabrics are a form of textile art, many hours and so much labor go into a true batik. They are works of art! (this subject gets a lot of heat, and this is just my take on batik fabrics)

In the dictionary Batik is defined as: A technique of hand dyeing fabrics by using wax as a dye repellent to cover parts of a design, dyeing the uncovered fabric with color and/or colors and dissolving the wax in boiling water. The fabric is much tighter in weave due to all the heat the cotton is treated to and has a definitely different texture as compared to quilting fabrics. Usually batiks are not graphic but a repeated image and has many shades/colors.

*One exception is the newest line 'Handcrafted' by Alison Glass, these fabrics use graphic shapes and a limited color palette on each fabric. This line is sure to introduce more dyed and batik like fabrics into the modern quilting community.

Large Scale Means Nothing in the Way of Modern

This is also one that confuses new quilters. Just because the floral is a large scale print, it does not make it modern.
Not Modern

You know how I know-- Ok, let me tell you all about this person/company named Laura Ashley who was a fabric and home decor designer from the 80's (and still is). Large scale floral with such saccharine sweet prints they made me diabetic just looking at them. Those are not modern.

Examples of Modern Floral Prints
There are many floral prints on the market that are modern and some are even large scale prints. As the examples above they usually have a very graphic design, limited color palette, and strong clean lines.

Calico Fabric - Pure right out traditional fabric, if I ever did see one!

Not Modern

Calico fabric is usually small scale floral print in muted tones.

Are there small scale prints that can be modern? Ahh, yes. There are even some modern designers that have started making calico fabrics.  I believe this is so they can be mainstream and sell to both modern and traditional quilters.
Denyse Schmidt's Chicopee
Denyse Schmidt is considered a modern fabric designer, but if you look closely, her prints have a very depression era feel. They are some of my favorite fabrics and I have a nice sized stash of 'Chicopee', but it is a very confusing fabric line for new quilters. These are those 'Gray Area' types of fabrics.

Not all Tone-On-Tone is Equal or Modern

Not Modern

There are very few tone-on-tone fabrics that can fit in the modern category. Tone-on-tone fabrics are from the traditional quilting world. They have been well used and loved. I feel any smallish floral/swirl/paisley design in a tone-on-tone palette is not modern. Traditional TOT prints can not ever be substituted for modern low volume prints - Never No Notta No Way!

When looking for a modern TOT always stick with graphic designs or shapes (dots, chevron, squares all using the came color but in different tones).

A Modern Tone On Tone Print

Civil War Repro Fabric - Not Modern
Need I say more?

Civil War Repro Fabric

# 8

1930's Repro Fabric - Not Modern
They are what they are.

1930 Repro Fabrics

# 9

Novelty Fabric - Not Modern

Fabrics with Hello Kitty, Mickey Mouse, or any trade marked character is a novelty fabric.
So are these trains...
Novelty Fabric
Fabrics that have cowboys, pinup girls, fruits/vegetable fabrics and yes those sexy hunk prints are all novelty fabrics.

So now you are saying - Wow she said just about every fabric is not modern....

Not really, I am only telling you what I use to help me determine if a fabric is NOT modern.

What I can say about what makes a modern fabric modern is this...

Graphic Prints with clean lines.

Amy Adams Geekly TV in green

Carolyn Friedlander's line Botanics

Geometric Prints

Constellations by Lizzy House

High Contrast

Butterfly Bliss by Alison Glass

Scribbles by Carolyn Friedlander

Limited Color Palette.

Chemical Bonds Robert Kaufman

Most modern fabrics do not use more than 5 colors, some even less. When I see a fabric with lets say umpteen-million colors my eyes start to hurt. This can make the fabric read very busy or fussy. Not 'simple', 'clean' and 'graphic' like most modern fabrics are.

Let's talk about fabric and its uses in quilting.

Fabric is just a medium that you use to create textile art, whether it be a quilt, wall hanging, a garment, or whatever. Just like paints that an artist uses - oil paints, acrylics, watercolors, pastels or charcoal - fabric and the types, styles and even the different blends are our mediums. Once you understand that fabric is your medium and your palette from which you work this can open up a wonderful world of artistic opportunities. 

So many Brads, so little time!

Here's a thought - Brad Pitt is an actor, and he has played so many different characters. From the cute shy cowboy to the crazed fighter, he has explored many different roles in his career yet he is just him - Brad.

Now take this thought and use it with fabrics - what roles can a fabric play within your quilt?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Modern Low Volume vs Traditional Quilting Neutrals

Low Volume fabrics have become very popular in the modern quilting world and while there are many different opinions on what is or isn't Modern Low Volume, I thought I'd take a moment and talk about low volume prints and how they differ from Traditional Quilting Neutrals.

When I first saw a quilt using Modern Low Volume fabrics I thought "Wow, what a great idea. So fresh and modern". But as the wave of quilts and fabric bundles have come out I also have noticed that many new quilters are still confused as to what Modern Low Volume fabrics are.

From here on I will refer to Modern Low Volume fabric as MLV and Traditional Quilting Neutrals as TQN.

Traditional Quilting Neutrals

Photo credit - Keepsake Quilting Butter Churn bundle

I think I need to explain first what TQN fabrics are, or at least what I think they are. 

I made this quilt many years ago in Civil War Repros.

Back in the day (yuck that makes me sound old) - when I first started quilting I was a traditional quilter, I used Civil War reproduction fabrics, 1930's reproduction fabrics, muddy colors and lots of beige. 

A baby quilt I made as a gift in 1930's repro.

I used a lot of what was called Neutrals or now called TQN fabrics for backgrounds. I  loved them at the time, and the simple truth is that was all we had available for background fabrics other than the typical solid fabric or muslin.

Traditional Quilting Neutrals

Above is an example of TQN fabrics commonly used in traditional quilts as background fabrics. TQN are usually tone on tone prints ranging from off-white to beige with a warm tone to them.

Example of TQN used in the background. I made this quilt as a challenge to use all stash and scrap fabrics. 

Most TQN have little to no color other than the cream to beige range, although they can have a little color in them - small amounts and very subtle.

Mini Log Cabin Heart quilt made using TQN.

While the quilts above are beautiful, they say to me 'Traditional' as opposed to 'Modern'. I can appreciate a traditional quilt just as much as I can appreciate an 'Art' quilt or 'Modern' quilt! And it doesn't hurt my feelings if you call them traditional, because I understand the concept between Modern vs Traditional. (and those are my traditional quilts I am showing above :)

Modern Low Volume Prints

With the Modern and Modern-Traditionalism quilt movement came the use of modern prints for background fabrics and thus created the MLV trend.

MLV fabrics are often graphic prints with white or light gray backgrounds, and can contain color.

The MLV fabric use was slowly building until the book 'Sunday Morning Quilts: 16 Modern Scrap Projects' by Amanda Jean Nybery and Cheryl Arkison was published, then the quilting world exploded with MLV fabric bundles and projects.

Photo credit - Westwood Acres Inside Voices Club

MLV fabrics are bright and clean as opposed to the TQN that are more muted and warm in tone. When looking for MLV fabrics look for graphic prints on white or very light background.

Riley Blake's Geekly Chic Glasses on off-white
I try and stay away from fabrics with a cream or beige background that has very little contrast or no color. With the exception of graphic prints on off-white backgrounds. Sometimes you will come across MLV fabrics with a muted background like the example above. Riley Blake's Geekly Chic Glass fabric in off-white is a modern graphic print and an excellent MLV.

Tailored Key by Annette Tatum for Free Spirit

Annette Tatum's fabric 'Tailored - Key' for Free Spirit graphic print with royal blue on a crisp white background is a great example of a MLV fabric. Using a bold color in a tiny print that is toned down with the white background.

Posy by Aneel Hoey

'Posy' by Aneel Hoey is another example of a MLV fabric, a whimsical print with a white background and small doses of color. 

While just about any pale modern print fabric can be classified as a MLV, it is more about the use in a modern quilt for the overall visual effect.

Photo credit - Film in the Frig's quilt Marcelle Plus 

In the Marcelle Plus quilt by 'Film in the Fridge', Ashley Newcomb uses many MLV fabrics for the background and bold color prints for the pluses. The bold color prints stand out but play nicely against the MLV fabrics. Your eye is drawn to the pluses and the MLV blend into the background.

This lovely low volume quilt was made by Rita Hodge of 'Red Pepper Quilts'  she uses all MLV fabrics here. In this quilt she lets the low volume fabrics sing, and though some may stand out more than others, this quilt has a calming feel to it.

Mod Pop by Anne Sullivan of Play-Crafts

Mod Pop by Anne Sullivan of Play-Crafts is a wonderful example of MLV in tones of light gray and bright bold blue prints. Not only a very modern use of fabric but a very modern design.

Pillow Tutorial by Amanda of A Crafty Fox

Amanda from 'A Crafty Fox' created this pillow pattern and tutorial using MLV, bold colorful prints and Essex linen. Again a great example of using MLV fabrics to make the bold colors pop - the orange hexagons are the first thing you see.

Here in 'Her Light Within' a mini quilt, I used a few MLV prints in two quarters of the large sun to contrast the stark white, orange and aqua prints.

Both MLV and TQN have been used as backgrounds in quilts and both are equally beautiful, yet they have totally different aesthetics and create an overall different visual outcome.

Hopefully I may have helped you and not added to the confusion of the question 'What is a low volume fabric?'.

Will I make more quilts with TQN? Of course! Will I make more quilts with MLV? You can bet on that!!


PS - all the spelling and grammar errors are free of charge ;)
(I am a notoriously horrible English student)

Friday, September 5, 2014

Selfish Sewing Saturdays in September

September is National Sewing Month, to celebrate that and our creativity I am hosting a challenge. We as creators give so much of ourselves not only in sewing and art but in our lives, we often don't take the time to make for ourselves. This month I challenge 'YOU'  to sew something for yourself. Whether it be something small or large, simple or elaborate just spend some time on a Saturday in September to create for yourself and feed your soul!

Here the rules -

Post a picture of a completed item that you have sewn for yourself on a Saturday in September to Instagram and tag with #selfishsewingsaturdaysept2014
Entries must be posted by September 30th
Winners will be chosen at random - Winners will be announced on Oct 4th

More prizes to be announced

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