Monthly Archives: December 2021


I’m wrapping up 2021 with a throwback to tradition. What makes it neotraditional is the leaves, developed from a photo I edited and had printed by Spoonflower.

Untitled, about 32 by 40 inches

Each leaf is framed with solids from my stash, and hand dyed linen from the theater costume shop. The outer borders are Marcia Derse fabric. The binding is made from her fabric as well. Since I took the photos I’ve blocked the quilt to remove waviness.


I used three shades of red and a brownish gray to quilt swoopy curves meant to suggest wind blown leaves. The back is truly nontraditional, as I used hunks of very different fabrics that have spent far too long sitting in the drawer. I had planned to use the left stripe for binding, and it did finish the edges of a few quilts. Now, however, I mostly face the edges. The middle fabric could be used for measuring, in a pinch. The right fabric is by Paula Nadelstern and just shouted “look at me” too much for easy use.


For some reason I’ve been struggling to name this one. Possibilities I’ve considered include Sycamore, Found On The Path, and Ode to Autumn. There’s no hurry, as I won’t be entering it in any shows. My husband will be thankful there’s a quilt around the house he can “get.”


Filed under Completed Projects

More Ironed Collage

Apparently I was overly enthusiastic in coating magazine pages with gloss medium for ironed collages. I had lots of colorful pages left so I created a few more collages, using the technique I mentioned earlier from Gerald Brommer’s book, “Collage Techniques.” This time of year around the winter solstice I need all the brightness I can get.

I combined a fashion photo shoot (I have no idea why only the women’s feet show) with rugs, desert scenes, and bits of ads.
Stamped brown bag and painted scraps joined bits from outdoor clothing ads to form a rocky terrain.
An Armani ad with a quilt by Eleanor McCain, a travel photo, and bits left from other collages.

And I still have a few bits left, though my inspiration will have quite a stretch to make anything coherent from them. I realize some of you may think I’ve already reached incoherence in the above work.

Why make these? I find them helpful exercises in composition as colors and some shapes are predetermined. They also help me learn to step away from the original photo subjects to create a new context. Finally, they scratch my scrap itch, only with paper.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Friday.


Filed under collage, Completed Projects, Techniques

Out Of The Woods

As the sands in the hourglass that is 2021 run through to the bottom I want to finish a few pieces that have been in the fabric closet. So of course I began a new piece and finished it, jumping the queue on those pieces waiting so patiently. I promise to quilt one of them by December 31.

This early morning view from my kitchen window spoke to me, so I used it to give focus to my pink piece as the birds I originally thought to use weren’t working. I talk about it in the linked post.

I don’t make these colors up, you know.

That got translated into the following:

“If You Go Into The Woods Today” 24 inches wide by 34.5 inches high

I quilted it with a walking foot and free motion. Here’s the back for you folks who like that sort of thing. My backs are not works of beauty. The best I’ll say about them is I bury the thread ends. I use whatever bobbin thread color helps the front.

I’ve been using up large fabric scraps for backs, so they have been getting weird.

I hope to have more finished (well, quilted) work by the end of the year. I’m linking to Off The Wall Fridays.


Filed under Art quilts, Completed Projects, Inspiration

I’m Now Post Modern

For many years I’ve been a member of The Modern Quilt Guild, and was part of a now defunct local modern quilt group. I’ve watched a movement that began about 2009 go national in a big way; capture the quilt book and fabric markets; and launch many teaching, fabric and pattern design careers.

For a long time I was enthusiastic about this alternative to traditional quilting groups and made many quilts that to me had a modern aesthetic. I was always a bit puzzled about the exact definition of a modern quilt, which seems to have morphed a bit over time, as the definition expanded to include neo-traditional efforts. At first modern quilts were made of solid colors almost exclusively. Then, prints were added to the mix, especially after modern fabric lines were produced. Early modern quilts were often wonky. Nowadays, engineered precision is a hallmark of some modern quilts.

A big feature of the MQG is the annual QuiltCon. I gather there were over 2,000 quilts entered into the 2022 juried show. That means many, many “sorry, but” emails went out recently. I received one of them. Here’s my reject, “Calliope.”

Previous years’ rejects include:

“Not Quite Nancy”

The quilts selected for the 2022 show had better be great, as many of the quilts shown on Instagram under the #quiltconrejects hashtag are show-worthy to my eyes. I was surprised to learn that some quilters submitted up to 10 entries. Obviously I’m an amateur with my one measly entry.

Shapeshifting almost always comes about in a new movement as it matures. However, I’m at the point of wondering what are the differences between traditional and modern quilt groups, besides the kinds of fabric prints used and age ranges of participants. Both kinds of local guilds seem to have similar structures and activities; and books, magazines, teachers, notions, patterns, etc., geared to their interests.

For this discussion I want to separate modern quilting from the organization called the Modern Quilt Guild. I have learned much from early advocates of modern quilting, and had hopes that the MQG would be different from previous quilting organizations. Alas, I find that professionalization and marketing are increasingly important elements of the MQG. The freshness, the “wow, check this out,” seem overwhelmed with the marketing of stuff.

I have not found recent offerings on The Modern Quilt Guild website useful. Lots of patterns and basic sewing videos are featured. I understand this is what many members want. The number of webinars seems to have decreased, though a recent one on zippers was interesting. While the MQG is listed as a participant in the Textile Talks series, it has offered fewer programs than other groups. Of the 78 Textile Talks listed on YouTube, none are sponsored by the MQG. I find this disheartening, given the size of the organization compared with other more active Textile Talks participants like SAQA and the Quilt Alliance.

The proverbial straw? The day after I received my “sorry” email another one arrived announcing an annual dues increase. Talk about bad timing! I had kept up my membership so I would be eligible to enter QuiltCon. Since being juried in seems an unlikely event, I see little reason to continue as a member of the MQG.

That doesn’t mean I’m giving up on modern quilting. It does mean I’m out of sync with what the MQG offers. I think that over time I’ve integrated modern quilting with art quilting, and my focus is more on the art side. Of course I’ll check out the quilts on display at QuiltCon, and admire the many wonderful works, but I am bowing out of the modern quilting organization.


Filed under Commentary, Modern Quilting

A Peek Into My Past

Some art quilters seem to spring fully formed from the head of Nancy Crow (this makes sense only if you know Greek mythology.) Others have inched their way to the art part of quilting. I am definitely in the latter group. I was reminded of this fact as I sorted through photos of my old, pre-2014 quilts. Almost all were based on patterns, though I recall only one that came with already chosen fabric.

Since I had the photos up I thought I’d give you a show of my work before I became an “artist.” Most of the quilts shown below have been given away, so I can’t take better pictures of those that weren’t well photographed. Thank heavens for photo editing software.

Since making a bed quilt is a rite of passage, here are two I made. Both spent time on my bed, though not at the same time.

Made in 1989, this is still on my bed. I paid someone to hand quilt it.
I got the scrap quilt bug early. This one dates to about 2000.

I made a wall hanging to match the bed quilt above.

Donated for an auction.

I will try to present the rest of this special virtual exhibit in order of creation, but sometimes there was quite a gap between piecing and quilting.

From Mary Ellen Hopkins’ “It’s Okay To Sit On My Quilt.” I still love this quilt, especially all the different solid navies I used. Who knew there could be such variety. My fellow guild members were horrified.
One of the few flower quilts I’ve made came from a magazine pattern. The odd angle is because it hangs in a stairwell.
The most precisely pieced quilt I ever made. It was done in a Quilt University class called Press for Success. I dislike the color palette – too drab.
My first fused applique quilt, from a magazine. The bottom right umbrella was my touch. Also my first time quilting with invisible thread. Not pretty.
Farmer’s Daughter pattern made from family fabrics mixed with new.
Yet another magazine pattern, and very pastel for me. Major problems with alignment of blocks and quilting tension. I would have ripped out the stitching but it was so small. It needs much more quilting. The border was my idea.
I took a class on tumbling blocks and made this weird quilt. It was good practice in making a variegated background.
A Carol Doak paper pieced pattern I made up as a guild fundraiser. I cheated on the lighthouse with a striped fabric.
“Spooling Around” was made from a magazine pattern, again, and used a fat quarter batik pack. It hung above my work desk for a few years. I sure did like variegated rickrack.

The total absence of hand turned applique reflects my aversion to it. It takes far too long. I skipped other quilting rites of passage as well – no sampler quilt, no hand quilting, no red work or other embroidery, no quilted vest, no pumpkin and Santa wall hangings, etc. I see my color palette has remained constant. So has my love of scrappy quilts. I also see baby steps towards doing my own thing, with tweaks to patterns and unusual (sometimes downright odd) color/pattern combinations.

in 2008 I designed and made a piece I called My First Art Quilt.

I must have thought braid and bias strips were a must in an art quilt.

I continued to work in both traditional and nontraditional styles for a few more years, and still will not turn up my nose at a really good pattern, though I may take a few liberties.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Friday.


Filed under Commentary, Completed Projects