Friday, September 9, 2011

Tile Quilt on Tour

I claim to be a modern quilter, because I am using modern materials - fabrics, threads, tools, and embellishments. Although I have been quilting for many years, I am always taking classes and looking for new techniques and tools to add to my work. To me, modern quilting is about picking and choosing which skills and techniques to draw from and giving myself permission to try new things. I do not wish to replicate the past, but neither do I want to break from it completely.

Tile quilts, a tradition dating back to the 19th century, presented a new exploration for me personally. I took a class on tile quilts and created this needle turn applique block. The pattern comes from a new book, Tile Quilts Revival: Reinventing a Forgotten Form by Carol Gilham Jones & Bobbi Finley. It was a new canvas to work in some bold new Kaffe Fassett fabrics and play with the effects of grays and brighter colors. In this way, it represents what modern quilting means to me, so I chose to use this block for my quilt.

In contrast to the traditional roots of my block, the graphic background is a new Japanese fabric I picked up at a recent quilt show. I liked the quiet, subtle shades that made the quilt "pop." To complete the effect, I have machine quilted with metallic thread.

The social aspect of quilting is important to me. I enjoy the collaboration of both quilters and non-quilters to help me put together design elements and celebrate the unexpected. I had originally planned to use the stripe fabric for a binding but wasn't happy with the effect it had. However, as I was showing my work-in-progress to my cousin and a friend who were visiting, they remarked on the similarity of the stripe swatch to paint chips or selvage color dots. That inspired me to include the stripe piece in my composition.

Although my quilts are a current expression of color and design thinking, they are a result of a long tradition. The quilting tradition is a continuum, and I now...


  1. Who knew that this would become this quilt! It turned out great!

  2. Lovely, Helen. Love the strip on the bottom!

  3. Beautiful, Helen ... amazing how you got from that one tile block to a work of art.

  4. wow- I was looking for anyone out there who had made a tile quilt. Came across this piece which is beautiful! I am in the process of making 21 of these , putting them on point and sewing in 1/4" sashing of a swirly lined bright deep pink fabric and then I will see what that looks like before I decide to add inner and outer border or who knows? It has changed a few times in the process. But I love yours and also the quilting!


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