Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"The More Things Change..." - Quilt Expo Entry

I just finished my mini-quilt for the Quilt Expo!

Title:  "The More Things Change..."
Size:  15" wide x 20" tall
Fabrics:  Cottons, velvet, satin, silk, suede, lace
Techniques:  Foundation piecing, free piecing, hand quilting and machine quilting

Quilter's Statement (this will be included with the displayed quilt):  

When I started thinking about modern quilting and how it differs from "traditional" quilting, I became interested in the history of quilt techniques.  I wanted to create an evolutionary chart showing how a traditional quilt block changed over the decades and transformed into a modern quilt block.

I focused on the log cabin block, which is one of the most classic blocks in quilting and is considered distinctively American.  Each block is made in a 5 or 10 inch size, includes a classic red center (symbolizing the "hearth" of the log cabin home), and features a traditional half-dark, half-light layout.

For each block, I have incorporated fabrics, patterns and quilting from a specific time period or style:  (i) Civil War era; (ii) Amish style; (iii) Victorian era; (iv) 1930's Depression era; (v) pineapple technique (a classic variation on a log cabin block) and (vi) modern "wonky" style.

While I intended to show a simple evolution of quilting, I soon discovered that each traditional block included touches that we call modern!  The Amish style uses bold, large swaths of solid colors, the 1930's era features an offset center square and novelty fabrics, the Victorian era uses varieties of fabric, decorative stitches and "wonky" block placement, etc.  The final modern block is actually a striking combination and reinterpretation of all of the aspects of the various "traditional" blocks!  The modern techniques that we currently use are not so modern after all.

After exploring this link between traditional and modern quilts, I feel even more connected to the history of quilting.  Over the centuries, quilters have added their unique style and creativity to quilt techniques, which may have been considered modern or radical to their fellow quilters of the time.  Over many decades, those radical ideas become considered "traditional" techniques.  It will be interesting to see how quilting evolves over the next century, and whether our current "modern" techniques will be considered "traditional" a few decades from now.

I am happy to see that the old adage is true:  "The more things change, the more they stay the same!"

Click HERE for more photos of the quilt! 


  1. Really nice, Nicole! I really like your connection with the historical and how you took one classic block and told a story. Great job!

  2. Neat idea, Nicole ... & I loved looking at your detail photos on your blog ... beautiful!


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