Modern quiltingModern Quilting BlogShowcase 15

In this new showcase I’m featuring four Modern Quilters that you will love!

Natalie Skinner

I live in Victoria, BC, Canada where I am a stay-at-home mom. When I’m not looking after my family and home, I am quilting.
I started quilting in 1997, when my boyfriend and I were moving in together and I wanted to make a quilt for our bed. That summer, on a semester break from university, I went home to my parents’ house and announced that I would be making a queen sized quilt while I was there! My mom had a sewing machine, but neither of us knew anything about quilting. We muddled through, using fabric remnants that my mom had left over from home decor projects, and made a quilt. We broke a lot of “quilting rules” (because we didn’t know any of them!) but we made a cozy quilt that I still have to this day (and that boyfriend is now my husband).
Since then I have continued to make quilts, learning and making it up as I go. I would describe myself as a curious, brave and restless quilter. Curious because I am constantly looking for new techniques to challenge myself with. Brave because I don’t let the fear of not knowing how to do something stop me from trying it anyway. And restless because once I’ve explored a particular style or technique, I get bored and need to move on to the next thing. 
When it comes to my use of colour, I trust my eye and instinct, and don’t put too much thought into colour theory. I believe that all colours can play well with each other, and that it is very hard to find two colours that actually clash. I do have a particular fondness for blue though, and love mixing blues with warm reds and oranges.  
I find inspiration in the nature the surrounds me, antique quilts, and non-quilting art forms.
I usually bounce back and forth between improvisational piecing (no rulers or matching seams) and more precise piecing (straight lines and perfect points). Sometimes I crave the freedom of improv, other times I enjoy the satisfaction of a perfectly matched seam. Even when I am practising precision piecing, though, I will still design the quilt improvisationally. This means that I don’t have the quilt fully planned out before I begin piecing it. I start with a vision, but that vision always changes as the process moves forward. If I let the quilt decide what it wants, it always turns out to be a stronger piece than if I had made the quilt I had originally planned. And it is so much more fun to work this way! It’s why I don’t work from patterns: There is little room for creativity, problem solving and discovery – which is what I love most about quilting!


Ann Feitelson

I inherited a passion for needlework from my mother. Like her, I was always sewing or knitting. Our projects weren’t just about the feel of fabric, the ritual of stitching, the excitement of a new undertaking, or the satisfaction of doing something yourself. They were really about the thrill of color. Thinking I was doing something different than the crafts I did at home, I majored in painting in college.

I also have an MFA in painting and an MA in Art History. I taught painting at two colleges. But I stopped painting in 1983, having somehow set standards for myself that were too high, or closed off avenues with a misdirected stubbornness. I wasn’t patient enough with myself. Turning to other interests, I wrote a book on knitting. The Art of Fair Isle Knitting was in print for 16 years. I had, or so I thought, reframed my capital-A Art ambitions into a small-a, less freighted, more folk-oriented art. I had seen the seminal exhibit, Abstract Design in American Quilts at the Whitney Museum in 1971, and had made a few simple quits int he 1970s. Quiltmaking, which I started in earnest in 1999 in classes with Michael James, allowed me to realize that I could finally fulfill my art school ambitions to make complex dynamic structures with vibrant color—to make, at last, Big Art.

Color still is my big thrill. My favorite color is turquoise, but really, all colors are good colors—it depends on how you put them together. What I like about modern quilting is the emphasis on original creation, graphic design, and vibrant color. See my website for more quits:

Sheila Frampton Cooper

I never had an interest in sewing other than making a few halter tops in the 1970’s. My mom sewed our holiday outfits every year when I was young and she is also a traditional quilter, so there was always a sewing machine in the house. Surprisingly, the thing that brought me to quilting was an organization called Project Linus. This is a large organization of volunteer quilters that make quilts for babies and children who are either in the hospital, or experienced trauma. 

One day in January 2009, I answered a call to give either donations or time. It was a day of service in honor of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Because sewing wasn’t my thing, I brought some fabric with the intention of leaving it and moving on with my day. However, I ended up spending the whole day there drawing on freezer paper backed fabric. The table was set up for kids, but since none were there, I sat myself down and started designing blocks. As I was leaving, a little voice inside of me urged me to return to one of the regularly scheduled meetups. I listened and that first year I made 35 small quilts to donate, and this is how I taught myself to quilt. In January 2010, I started my first quilt as art, and the rest is history. 

So without a doubt, my first love is improvising. This is the most exciting for me, but it is not a process I can rush. It’s very slow and my brain tends to overcomplicate everything, so I need time for solutions to come to me, naturally. I really enjoy the most basic technique of piecing, as this provides me with so many opportunities to problem solve! And when you add in the curved shapes, it’s not really a straightforward process when it comes to construction. It often requires thinking a few steps ahead, and a great deal of trust. Most of the time I can only remember where I started because I tend to get lost in the process.

For me, improv is an organic unfolding that I could never plan in advance. It is a moment in time; a period of my life; and all of that is infused in each creation. I cannot duplicate or try to do something else like it. Believe me I have tried! However, each time it goes in the direction it wants to go, and I go with it. I do not put an idea of what I think it “should be” or what it represents, etc. There are times when I can see the story of a particular piece half way through, or when I have finished. Other times, someone else, often one of my sons or another person close to me sees it. 

As far as color and inspiration, I definitely love bright bold color, and my favorite color is blue. Many of my quilts are inspired by oceans, gardens, fantasy and nature in general. 

Quilting is a labor of love. I enjoy the challenge of bringing my visions into form using fabric. It’s one thing to paint on a canvas, but this medium requires a lot more problem solving, at least when you work like I do. I enjoy every part of the process; dyeing my fabric, choosing my palette, witnessing what comes through, and finally, the quilting. But what I appreciate most is the community, and the fact that there is a unity between quilters, no matter if you consider yourself traditional, a storyteller, modern, art or whatever else.

Saija Kiiskinen

I’m Saija, a quilter from Finland. I started to quilt over 25 years ago. When my sons were little, I wanted to make a quilts for them. I had no idea how to quilt so I joined a quilting course for beginners. I was hooked from the day one. My first make was a Log Cabin quilt. The Log Cabin pattern is still one of my favorites.

Even though it’s traditional pattern it’s possible to make very modern versions by choosing modern fabrics.I have many sources of inspiration for my own designs. Art exhibitions, interesting buildings and nature are the most important ones. Also beautiful fabrics inspire me to try different patterns.When I see something interesting for example exciting shapes or good color combinations, I take a photo for later.I use various colors but shades of blue and especially turquise are my all time favorites. White and grey backgrounds are my go-to color choices. I use prints and solid fabrics. Sometimes I mix them and the final result is fresh and prints bring softness to the solids .

I have done a lot curve piecing lately. It’s interesting to sew something else than just straight lines. My curve and oval ruler sets have seen hard use.A diamond shape is my big favorite. It’s very versatile and gives a contemperary look. I have made several different diamond quilts. The latest one is my own paper piecing design and it is one of the quilts I like the most.I would like to learn more improv quilting in the future. It’s fun way to quilt because there is no pattern and you never know what the final result will be. You don’t need rulers, just a rotary cutter, fabrics and touch of imagination.I love quilting and playing with fabrics, it brings so much joy to my life.


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