What is “Modern” and more on the Louisiana Traveling Bee…

So a little more on the Louisiana Traveling Quilt Bee.  Here in Louisiana, we have a very strong traditional quilting presence.  As we prepare for the traveling bee, I expect to hear the question, “What do you mean by modern?”

Modern Quilt Guild does a great job describing the modern quilting movement.  Here is one small part of the discussion that I thought might help us as we begin thinking about our traveling quilts:

Modern quilts are primarily functional and inspired by modern design. Modern quilters work in different styles and define modern quilting in different ways, but several characteristics often appear which may help identify a modern quilt. These include, but are not limited to: the use of bold colors and prints, high contrast and graphic areas of solid color, improvisational piecing, minimalism, expansive negative space, and alternate grid work. “Modern traditionalism” or the updating of classic quilt designs is also often seen in modern quilting.”  (For more, see this MQG page.)


The Modern Quilt Guild also has a photo gallery that may give you an idea

I consider myself a ‘modern traditionalist’ and feel the fabric really adds a modern feel to a quilt.  I had planned to pull from my stash some examples of what I consider ‘modern’ and ‘traditional’ fabrics.  Of course, I haven’t gotten to do that yet!  I’ll try to get on that.  If you have an opinion of what makes a quilt ‘modern’ and would like to share with the group, please leave a comment below.

In the meantime, I will post a few of the questions I’ve had and try to answer them here.

1.  “Are we creating individual blocks or adding them as we go.”  Definitely the second.  The first person will begin by creating a square, rectangle, etc.  The quilt will go to the second person, and they will add a square, border, or whatever fits their inspiration.

I did have one person comment that they might add something but also create something to be added at a later date.  As an example, say the quilt isn’t at a size where your addition can be added, then you might do that.  Be aware that when those blocks go to the next person, they may add it and they may not.  It may be that that block gets sliced and re-pieced at some point on the quilt’s travels.

2.  “Are we supplying fabric or using stash?”  “What about postage?”  I decided to handle this one together.  The bee as a whole needs to agree on whether they are providing fabric in order to keep the playing field fair.  One of the questions on the upcoming questionnaire is whether you want to provide all the fabric, background fabric, or have everyone pull from stash.

If there is a bee that chooses to send fabric, be aware that postage will remain higher throughout the bee.  For those bees stash busting, the postage will start smaller and grow as we add to the quilts.  We should all be paying the same approximate shipping, so it should be a fair system.

3.  “Are we pre-washing our fabric.”  Since most quilters I know do not prewash their fabric, I’m going to say we are not pre-washing fabric.  A lot of us use fat quarters and I can imaging washing those could be a challenge.  Personally, I have not had problems with shrinkage or color bleeding.  I do wash my quilts in Retayne, so that may be part of the success.

4.  “What size Quilt?”  and  “How much to we add to each quilt?”  Very good question!  We were discussing this at our guild meeting Saturday and though a lap quilt approximately 50 x 65, would be a good size.  That means we each need to add approximately 1/6th to the quilt each round.  We will have to do that in square inches.   That’s approximately 542 sq. in. each.  To give you an idea… 12×12 block = 144, 14 x 14 block = 196.  So if you’re working by a square, rectangle or border, multiply height x width to reach sq. in. total.  If you’re adding multiple pieces, you may total the sq. in for all.

These are approximate measurements and guidelines.  It just gives you an idea if you are contributing enough to the finished size.

As I have questions, I will try to post them.  Feel free to leave questions below.  If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up here.  I will follow up in a couple weeks with a questionnaire and start assigning bees.

I’m in the process of setting up a Flickr group and will posting all that sort of thing soon as well.

Talk to you soon,



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