Journey of Quilting + tradtional quilting

A {Modern} Discussion

one of my Dear Jane blocks... So, I've kept my fingers off my keyboard long enough to form some level-headed opinions... {hopefully}

Have you seen the discussions flying around blogs as of late referring to the dumbing down of quilting? I'm not going to bother linking to the original posts because linking to me is a sort of virtual high-five and I am not on board with the thought process.

But Google "dumbing down of quilting" and you will certainly find at least a cup of coffee's worth of reading.

The gist is this whole traditional vs. modern quilting thing that has been batted around for at least the past year. My initial response to somehow associating modern quilting with dumbed down left me thinking "really??..." and something along the lines of trouble making and at worst plain old jealousy.

I have seen beautiful traditional quilts with techniques that take years of practice to master. I have also seen some really poor traditional quilts that need some more... umm... years of practice.

I can say the exact same two things for modern quilts. So who's right?

This is my very first quilt. I made it completely by hand. I even hand-stitched the double fold binding to the front and back. My fingers still hurt a little from stitching through all those layers!

The design is very, very simple. It's actually a kit that I bought from Joann's *gasp*. The traditional quilter would probably turn her nose up at this quilt but you know what? It sparked a dormant creative gene and I have never looked back. Anytime that a new quilter joins our beloved craft, that has to be good for the art of quilting.

This is my second quilt ever. Again, it is made completely by hand. My seams were frighteningly perfect and if they weren't I nearly had a panic attack until the stitches were picked out and re-done. I obsessed over the hand quilting and I remember taking out a ruler to make sure that I had 12-14 stitches per inch.

Are you annoyed with me yet? It's OK if you are because I'm annoyed with me just typing this!

A traditional quilter would probably love this quilt but you know what? This quilt deepened my perfectionist streak and I almost quilt quilting. And not that I'm not anything special to the art of quilting but a quilter quitting is never a good thing.

Traditional or modern? Who's right? I tend to think that there is room for both...

There is nothing wrong with tradition and yes, there are "modern" quilts that actually have quite traditional roots and aren't all that modern. And then there are modern quilts that while they may not employ traditional techniques, the amount skill and creativity that go into the quilt can stand all on their own... even against the harshest of critics.

Am I crazy about seeing a quilter make the same quilt over and over? Not really. But if it makes her {or him} happy and the pictures on their blog draw a few new people into quilting then I'm good with that. I sure hope that they will eventually step out of their comfort zone and take on a challenge because growth is a good thing but it's really not up to me to police their hobby.

So what's the deal then?

Exclusivity. More and more new quilters are making their first quilts. Blogging has exploded and these blogs are a huge resource for the beginning quilters. Modern Quilt Guilds are popping up every where and I can see where traditional quilters might feel like their hobby is being taken over.

Traditional quilters have skills while modern quilters do not... modern quilters are more creative while traditional quilters are content to make the same traditional blocks that have been made for years... and so on and so on.

But the truth is, no one group has the corner on the quilt market and both have their strengths and weaknesses.

Is there a middle ground? I sure hope so!

Those who have been quilting for years have so much that they could share. And there are crazy talented younger quilters who have much to share as well. So even if we might have different styles there is still plenty to accomplish for the art of quilting without pointing fingers and making "dumb" accusations.

And BTW, I'm raising Chaney with the notion that the words dumb, hate, stupid, etc... are ugly words and there are much more intelligent alternatives to express an opinion. It's OK to have an opinion but nice almost always wins. Just a little extra food for thought... ;)


My version of Cherri's I Do Too pattern There are fabulous modern pattern designers. Cherri House is one of them. Her quilt patterns have clean lines and typically don't stay within the quilt block box but the technical skills are still there. See all the circles in this quilt? They are made using reverse applique; a perfect example of a modern quilt that uses traditional skills with a twist. Definitely not dumb.


Dresden Plate + Linen These days I would consider myself closer to a modern quilter than a traditional quilter. However, I began more traditionally when I learned to quilt. I happen to like making more modern quilts but that does not mean that I have less skill or that I have "dumbed down" a wonderful hobby. Traditional techniques are still very interesting to me, especially when I challenge myself to tweak a traditional block and put my own spin on it with modern fabrics, etc. Now that doesn't sound very dumb does it??

Different, yes... dumb, no.
Have a wonderful weekend!

modern quilting, Quilting, and more:

A {Modern} Discussion + tradtional quilting