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If you go by reading quilting blogs (as I do, because I have very little real life contact with other quilters) you would think that there is a bit of a rivalry between Modern Quilters and Traditional Quilters.
The quilting (stitching joining the top, back and wadding/batting) is often the same (whether hand or machine-stitched), it’s actually the patchwork that is different between the two groups.
Modern Quilters like to use bright punchy colours, geometric designs with a plainer background (including white), just do an image search (see this post from a little while ago if you don’t know, or can’t remember, how to image search) for “typical modern quilts” and you’ll see what I mean.
Here are some of my favourite modern quilts (see more on my pinterest boards here) as ever, hover on the photos for info about them, click on them to see the original blogs/websites
See what I mean about bright colours including white?
Traditional quilters are a bit more of a mixed bag. You can see a lot more muted, earthy tones, a lot more use of patterned fabrics, more symmetrical quilt blocks. Although they have been made recently with modern fabrics, I see a more vintage look to them.
Here are some of my favourite traditional quilts, some of these are antique:
For a more in depth discussion of traditional/modern quilting I going to refer you to Piecemeal Quilts and to the Modern Quilt Guild‘s website.
By the way, in case you are wondering why so many quilting blogs out in blogland are written by US bloggers, quilting is part of the US national psyche. Back when the USA was a British colony, the Brits banned cotton imports from the Old World to the colonies in any ships other than UK registered ones. This meant that wool and linen had to be used for everything and were in short supply. Clothes would be worn until they fell apart, then cut down to make children’s clothes which were worn until they fell apart, and were then cut up and used to make or stuff a quilt.
Winters were cold, blankets were hard to get hold of and expensive to buy, and a quilt made from old clothes and stuffed with paper, leaves or bits of fabric too small to sew would be the difference between a family surviving the winter and not. Little wonder that quilts and quilting bees became popular. In case you never heard of a quilting bee, it’s when female neighbours would gather together and work on one quilt at a time during the warmer weather (like a barn raising but without the barn or the dancing) so that the quilts would be really for use when the temperature dropped.
Curiously enough, if you look at the history of African and African-American Quilting, a lot of the quilt tops produced by these ladies would qualify as modern quilt in their use of colour and pattern. I guess there’s nothing new after all.
These are some of my favourite African American quilts (when I saw some of these I realised that Modern Quilting might not be that modern after all):
If you look at my quilts, you would think (as I do) that I’m a modern quilt kinda gal. So, what do I want more than any other quilt, and I know I won’t ever be good enough to make one for myself?
A Double Wedding Ring quilt.
About as traditional a pattern as you can get. To me the double wedding ring pattern always has a traditional and vintage look to it (which I adore) no matter how bright and funky the colours.
An old one,
a new one,
a borrowed one (well I'd borrow it!),
a blue one.