Tuesday, August 17, 2010

In A Bind....

First Off....my photo shoot on Friday with the folks from Kansas City Star was FABULOUS!! I had the best time and it was so great to get to know the people involved on that end of pulling these books together. You know, as they say....it TAKES A VILLAGE! (And that would make me the village idiot, but that's a topic for another time..)

It took most of the day, at least 6 hours or perhaps maybe a bit more to get 5 quilts staged for "Glamor Shots", the pics where they are draped artistically in a living situation be it on a wall, over a sofa, on the bed with pillows and decor...

The homes we used were VERY contemporary, and it was so fun to see my traditional quilts playing a part in the eclectic surroundings. I want my quilts to appeal to traditional AND modern quilters. It's all about color and geometric design, and any quilt can be "updated" or "toned down" by fabric choices.

I'm not so "into" this whole modern quilt guild rage....truth be told. I love geometry and small pieces, and graphic impact. I just want it "ALL". I don't want to have to pigeon hole myself under one description because sometimes I like working bright, bold and funky, and the other times, I'm perfectly happy to be stitching my 3/4" hexagons in a very traditional manner. I want to piece for the joy of piecing...and that means not all projects will be rushed through. I've made SO many quilts in my life that sewing big gigantic squares of designer fabric together for something that is done in a day just does not interest me.

It just seems to me that being a quilter should be all-accepting in a way, and all appreciative. I've had this thought that if I showed up to a modern quilt guild, and showed one of my quilts for show and tell, they'd show me the door because it wasn't "modern" enough. But then, take any pattern, make it out of "modern" fabrics, and it qualifies. It's a weird conundrum. I also feel that if I were to be trendy and making things out of strictly "new" "modern" fabric lines, that over time I'm going to end up with a quilt that looks very dated and kitted. I'd have to always be running and chasing after the newest release of something so I don't get caught with "last season's" colors or fabrics or designers.

I get uncomfortable when groups form an "us" vs "them" kind of category. I don't want to have to quilt by someone else's guide lines as to what is modern and what is not. It's a funny thing, because I enjoy looking at all kinds of quilts and appreciating them for what went into them and the stories behind them....

And I'm rambling on, not where I wanted to go, but this is flow of consciousness writing at its best at 6:43am!

Yesterday was a BINDING day for me! (Hence the title for this post!)

I was going to use an orange binding for Dreamsicles, but you know what? It didn't want orange! It didn't want lime, or turquoise...but it did want...PURPLE! Here I am squaring the corners and straightening the edges before applying the binding. I know some like to trim after. I like the straight edge that I get by applying a straight edge binding to a straight edge quilt.

It never ceases to amaze me how LIGHT a hand quilted quilt feels compared to a machine quilted one. I wish this quilt were big enough to really snuggle under. The combination of the hand quilting and the wool batting really do create a wonderful drape and feel. It takes two rulers to square my quilts, even my big ones. I use the big 15" square for the corners, and a long straight edge ruler for the sides....

See those stitches? That red thread played so well through this whole quilt! I just love the texture. You can see the purple binding being applied here.

And while I was at it, I put the scrappy blue binding on my Sister's baby quilt..I'm due with a nephew in September! I don't know what his name will be yet, but I've had this top made out of left over Blue Ridge Beauty blocks for years...only the last few babies have all been GIRLS so it hadn't been gifted away from Auntie Bonnie yet. The label is on, just waiting to be signed with a name as soon as I find out what that is. Oh...baby anticipation!

Last Night while watching "The Closer" and "Rizzoli and Isles" on TNT, I finished the hand stitching on THIS binding....I'm glad to have it done, it's a king sized ginormous thing, and is being sent off to Australia to be featured in an upcoming magazine....Anyone know the best way to get something there "Slow Boat" so it doesn't have to cost so much? It doesn't need to be there til November.....so if I send it now....(Or maybe it's safer just to send it airmail and eat the $$?)

I'm off to Texas tomorrow! Whoot! So that means today is filled with things like mail order, updating my calendar, tackling paperwork and laundry simultaneously, and repacking the trunkshow to include the samples I need for the crumbs workshop in Beaumont!

It also means I need some more hexagons for this trip! I was running short on neutrals, so I started cutting those. That lead to pulling out some 2.5" strips of greens and reds to supplement what was already cut in those colors, and I'm pressing the strips and hope to get time to cut some more variety today. I love how portable this project is, that is until it gets time to add the little satellite units to the "Mother Ship"....and it's growing! All the 6 large star points are on now, and I've got to piece 6 of these other diamond shapes to go in between the star points. And on it grows...

Since it does feel like fall is coming soon, it doesn't feel so bad to be working on a red/green/neutral thing. Most of the year, I can't make myself work in these colors, but this feels okay somehow, especially since this is now a 10 year old UFO and I need to see it THROUGH to DONE! I've thrown double pinks in with the reds in hopes that it looks just more "vintage" and less "Christmas".....but I'm not sure I've convinced myself. I had one lady at the last class ask me if I was making a "Tree Skirt" >_< well no, not exactly. I'm not cutting a hole in the center of this thing to put it around a tree....

Okay..enough rambling....gotta get this day moving!


  1. I believe that "Rebel Quilter's" are the best Quilter's - they're not afraid to step outside the box.

  2. I have decided that those labels - like traditional and modern are to describe a style of quilt, and I can make whichever style (or blend) I want. It takes 6 hours to photo shoot 5 quilts? No wonder my quilt pictures are so ugly. Are there any tips / tricks you can share on how to stage the quilts?

  3. Surface mail to Europe ended several years ago, I don't know about to Australia.
    I mailed a quilt to Illinois from Virginia using one of the boxes you can buy at the post office (not the prepaid). I kid you not, it cost extra because it was TOO LIGHT! I almost went and bought a few pounds of candy to add to the box, since the price difference was about $8. Something to do with the way Fedex load the planes was the reason I was given.
    Retreat this Friday, yay! Fun and sewing with friends just can't be beat!

  4. I'd recommend eating the money for the more expensive mail. I sent some stuff the cheapo way to Europe (to myself, the movers couldn't take it) and by the time that box got here, it wasn't recognizable as a box. It was crushed, and the glass container candle (the kind with a lid that fits on really nicely) was in smithereens. That glass isn't thin, either! It was really thick, and it still got crushed...

  5. I love your 'free-range' attitude to quilts - I feel exactly the same way. In fact, if I ever state that I don't like a style of quilt you can bet that I will very soon see one of that kind that I love and is irresistible. I've learned that I have strong preferences and strong dislikes but that there are exceptions to all these. My love of quilts is like yours - borderless.

  6. "Label-less"... I think it's possible to be that as a quilter. But then if you were, truly, label-less wouldn't that in itslef mean that you're labeled... hmmmm.... I'm pondering.

  7. Bonnie, I just sent to vintage cabbage patch dolls to Australia and used International First Class Mail. My buyer said he received the dolls within 2 weeks.

  8. I prefer the "label" of Versatile Quilter. I don't want to be pigeon-holed into any style or type of quiltmaking--I want it all! The quilts I make often don't even fit in my home decor. I don't care! I had the fun of making them and sometimes scraps just scream out, "play with me, I want to be ________" and I go for it. I like to try new techniques, push my comfort level, and just have fun! Wahoo! for Bonnie who encourages us all to be all that we can be!

  9. I have been mailing fabric home to Australia since I arrived in the US and so far all packages have arrived.It's not cheap though if it fits into a flat rate box it costs $55 USD to get to Aust.but a bigger box can cost $110 .
    The other option is to go to a Post and Pack business they send stuff by air via Fed. Ex.
    Christine from Bathurst NSW currently in Dallas

  10. I see your cutting template for the hexagons...do you use plastic/paper thingies to baste around?
    I have a hexie project going too. Seeing yours makes me want to go find the container. BUT....I am so enjoying quilting the FreeHand Baptist Fans.
    Adding the double pinks does ease the Holiday look a bit! Cut a hole in the center! NOT!

  11. More things we have in common: I don't fit the common quilter mode of modern is better, I love the Closer and Rizzoli and Isles, I like my bindings to make their own statement, I like to work on my UFO's at my own pace, I have a hexagon quilt in the works. Wow, it's like we're the same person. Except we're not. Have fun in Beaumont. It's hotter than blue blazes around Texas this month, so dress loose and light, especially for your walks. And bring mosquitoe spray. Lane

  12. I agree with you on the current labeling of quilting styles. I just finished a quilt that would be labeled modern and I enjoyed every minute making it, but I would hate to think that's the only path I could take. I enjoy quilting in all it's form and although I gravitate toward traditional, I want the freedom to do what I want. I agree with you on the big blocks of designer fabric...where's the challenge? I like to learn a little something with each quilt.

  13. Your quilts amaze me. You use colors I'm scared of. But every one of your quilts is beautiful. And I do love the scrappy look you get. I guess I just need more fabric! Your Dreamsicle quilt is beyond words and I totally agree with the purple binding.

  14. I really appreciate your thoughts on "modern" quilters, as I've been thinking much the same thing lately. I like a lot of what they are doing, but some of it really does nothing for me. But it does seem like a lot of them are making a clear separation between "modern" and "traditional". I say, why limit yourself? They are effectively cutting out a whole world of quilting possiblities by doing that. I agree with you that one day I might want to make a quilt with modern fabrics, and the next I'll make one with repros. The world is my creative oyster!

  15. I stay completely away from all guilds just for this reason. I did just start following another blog yesterday...the "Modern guild". Why? because starting in Sept they are going to have challenges. I didn't even know there were such things as modern guilds until I saw the blog. I'm still not joining, just following :)The challenge sounds fun.

    Sometimes I am very traditional, sometimes far from it. I won't put myself in a box, and I don't like it when others want to put me in a box. So, no guilds for me. No labels. Well, except that I'm a hillbilly. I don't mind that label--unless you call me a redneck. Then I will defend myself. Call me traditional or modern, I'll just grin and know that you really don't know me. Call me a redneck...and you've insulted me. LOL

  16. I tape both those shows and sat doing binding last night too! I want to enjoy the process and the finish, but why rush through one project to start another. I do have 5 pieces in various stages of hand quilting though! But I"m focusing on one to have a finish.
    I hope my pile of WIP's and UFO's never end!

  17. I was wondering when this "modern" quilt topic would be addressed. Again great photos of great quilts.

  18. Why does the quilt have to come to australia ... if you have professional photos in configurations that the magazine will be happy with - they may accept them - some magazines do I know - it may be worth talking to them.

  19. I have all kind of fabrics and all kind of projects. I like traditional blocks the best, but I have done all kinds of projects. I wouldn't want to limit the number of UFOs I can pile up...LOL
    Love the purple binding.
    I watched those two show too.

  20. I love Becky's label of "rebel quilters". I don't want my quilts to look just like everyone else's. That's why I love scrap quilts.

  21. I have a different take on the "modern" phenomenon. Instead of saying "modern quilt" + "guild" - put the emphasis differently, and say "modern" + "quilt guild" - as in, a different approach to the guild model.

    And to me... "modern" doesn't have to be about the fabrics & trendy colors, it is also about the techniques & fresh approaches - it's all about breathing new life into what each of us knows by sharing & learning from each other. I'm a "modern quilter" faithfully cutting scraps according to the ingenious system you devised so I can use them in one of your patterns!

    I can assure you Bonnie, as the Program Coordinator for the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild, we would welcome you with open arms any day, any time, and sit in rapt attention as you share your techniques & stories with us. So do tell when you're in Chicago so we can have you at a meeting!!

  22. I watch those two shows on Monday evening s now too. I wasn't binding though. I was just watching becasue I didn't want to miss a minute. You are very Traditional and that is why so many of us like your style. The Quilters who like the fabrics with BIG prints and wild colors will always be around. Our fabrics from the 70's were pretty bright too.

  23. Anonymous10:45 PM EDT

    cant wait to see your next book... how exciting to be at the photo shoot!!

    need to see if our VA mqg is active... i'm on the list..

  24. If I hear the word "FRESH" used to describe modern quilts one more time, I think I am going to scream..LOL!! There have to be other adjectives? The fabrics look a lot like those from the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s..how fresh is that when they are older than I am? :cD It's a design trend, and the next new thing will always be considered "fresher" and the old thing becomes "passe" and "out dated".

  25. I don't know about Australia but there is no more "surface mail" to New Zealand. It all goes by air. I guess the difference in timing these days is how long it sits in a terminal or warehouse somewhere.

  26. I think people put too many labels on things, How about just saying you are a human being who likes to make quilts whatever style or type they are.I do not go to guilds either. WOMEN judge by the clothes you wear,fabric ya buy,and car ya drive,PFTT..Them are the people I do without.I like your quilts for who made them and the love and care put into them.keep up the good work Bonnie..and forget labels and political correctness.

  27. Greetings!

    I sense, from the opening lines of your post, that there must have been some not-too-loving feelings being shown for traditional quilting from non-traditional quilters?

    What's funny is that it is usually the other way around. Specifically, traditional quilting has historically thumbed its nose at those who do not follow the "established" rules of "traditional" quilting. African American quilters, for example, experienced this disapproval prior to the acceptance of the Gee's Bend quilts, for example. Non-traditional quilts, i.e., "modern" quilts, have been shown this same type of rejection.

    Until now. I honestly do not believe that the idea of modern quilting is to be separatist, but to simply create an arena for those who cannot be categorized as traditional quilters, and have thus met with rejection. For those who are met with silence when they display a non-traditional quilt at a traditional quilt guild meeting. For those who honestly don't (because of work, children, obligations, etc) have the time to piece a quilt with hundreds, if not thousands, of pieces.

    Thank you SO much for raising this issue in your post, even if it is not the main point of your post! lol! It is indeed important for all of us who quilt to embrace ALL aspects and categories of quilting--traditional, non-traditional, modern, big block, pieced block, traditional fabric, modern fabric, etc.!

  28. What an interesting discussion going on ;-)) I have to admit, I WANT to belong to both worlds. I love traditional quilts, especially scrappy ones; that might be one of the reasons why I love your wonderful blog, Bonnie! As most quilters, I started with quilts that used patterns. One of them got me wonderful compliments for my handwork (it was handsewn) but the other comment I got I can still hear loud and clear after more than 10 years: "Lovely, but Frauke, you need to work on your colours!" That quilt was done in green, hot pink and offwhite; I still love it, and my colour choices became even wilder and stronger over the years.
    On the other side - I do quilts I personally would title as "Art Quilts". And I get that silence once in a while when I show off such a piece at one of my more traditional quilt guild meetings. Still, I can't help it, I have to sew them. The term "fresh" seems a bit funny to me, too, but that might be because my mother tongue isn't English. I like contemporary better; and when it comes to quilting, a quilt sewed today is - contemporary! So - what's my point? Quilting should be fun - and those labels aren't fun. Therefore, let's quilt and have FUN!

  29. I just wanted to tell you that I love, love, love modern quilts and making them too...but I also love making your quilts with all those itty bitty pieces (step by step, I can get them done!) and they have a different kind of appeal to me...I think that may be true for lots of us and I think there is no "us" vs. "them" or at least there shouldn't be!


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