Saturday, May 19, 2012

Bloggers' Quilt Festival: Spring 2012 - Floating Wildflowers

I thought that I'd enter my 2012 quilt Floating Wildflowers for the Bloggers' Quilt festival.

Floating wildflowers quilt finished and on display

I think of it as an exercise in 'traditional, yet modern' - the traditional fabrics in a modern layout. I wanted the coloured blocks to float across the mustard-cream background, the eye hop-scotching from square to square, helter-skelter across the blocks as they seem to wiggle from side to side.

As I posted while laying it all out - this quilt has JAZZ HANDS!

floating wildflowers: quilted

The quilt was made for my friend S, who got married earlier this year. They live out on a farm in western NSW, in a house that was new fifty years ago, eking a living off the land. Her new hubby, J, is good people - a farmer down to his toenails, and an honest larrikin to boot.

I thought the traditional fabrics would look good in their house, with a modern touch, because if S is a country girl at heart, she lived in the city for a good long while, partying and living it up before J and she got together.

Floating Wildflowers - finished

The fabric is Wildflower Serenade II and I bought a "charmed jelly cake" of it back when I first discovered the dangers of fabric shopping online. (So much fabric, so little room on the credit card!)

I love the richness of the colours - highly saturated, with a lovely depth. And the mustard-cream is a perfect foil for the darker colours.

tradit fabric, modern quilting?

While I was making this quilt, I considered the definition of "modern quilting".

My impression is that "traditionally", quilting was done with leftovers. Fragments. Scraps. Odds and ends. Bits and pieces. Leftover fabric from the bolt after clothes had been cut. Remainder fabric from old clothes and linens too worn through in some places but still usable in others.

Hexies and HSTs, pieced stars, triangles - large blocks made out of small pieces:

angled askew

Traditional quilting was, I imagine, a way to stretch the budget in hard times - to make big things out of the pieces of little things that were still good when other big things wore out at the seams.

Quilting in the current world is no longer the province of the thrifty. Quilting as we understand it nowadays is the hobby or business of a woman who has time, energy, and some form of capital for the initial investment of fabric, thread, and wadding.

Surely, by this definition, all quilting these days - done for fun, for entertainment, for creativity, even when the proceeds are sold - is modern? Perhaps so long as we're not quilting because we have to, we're all modern quilters?

Of course, there's the question of "traditional fabrics" vs. "modern fabrics". Yet quilts that everyone would term 'modern quilts' almost inevitably use traditional pieced blocks; it's only the fabric that has a clearly modern design and colours that would have made the quilters of yesteryears blink.

Does that then mean that a traditional-style fabric can't be laid out in a "modern" manner - the use of colour and space to deceive the eye?

the nature of cats

I suppose that, in the end, it doesn't really matter whether this quilt is traditional or modern, so long as the recipient likes it and finds it both beautiful and useful.

At any rate, it has the cat's buttstamp of approval! Maladicta likes it!


There are plenty of links up at the Bloggers' Quilt Festival Linky-Party - go check them out and comment on a few!

And I'd love to hear your opinions on what constitutes modern vs. traditional quilting. Conversation is always welcome!


  1. I like combining the "modern" fabrics with traditional blocks There is a rich history in quilting that we can build on and shouldn't ignore.

  2. Lovely quilt!

    And remember, cats only choose to lie, sleep, bask, on things that are really precious. ;-)

  3. Traditional to me is the "old" patterns used with repros or original era fabrics. I wonder what will people think/say when they see my work after I'm gone- I hope they will say I was traditional.

  4. nice quilt!

    Check out my blog if you can...

    Margaret Gunn

  5. love traditional and modern together! lovely quilt...

  6. great combination quilt. lovely fabrics and the design is fun. thanks for sharing and have a great day


I try to answer every comment made, but if I forget to respond to you, I sincerely apologise! Thanks so much for coming by and commenting!