Modern quiltingModern Quilting BlogShowcase 5

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

Jo Avery

I spent a lot of my childhood sewing with my big sister Jane, especially soft toys. When I was ten years old Jane showed me how to sew hexagons together (what we would now call EPP). Much later when I started living with my husband, I remembered how much I had enjoyed stitching those hexagons and so I bought some templates and fabric and started making my first quilt. 30 years ago, when we moved from London to Scotland,I joined a local quilt group, the Abbey Quilters. They taught me what to do once I had finished my quilt top and introduced me to rotary cutters and mats. This was the start of a lifelong obsession.
My main inspiration comes from the shapes and colours in nature, but I also get inspired by looking at other people’s quilts, antique quilts and other art and craft mediums.  I find my best ideas come while I am out for a run or a walk, or in the shower! I try to always jot my ideas down when I have them and then later when I need to think of something for a specific project I will go back and look through them.  I always have more ideas than I have time!

I choose colour in a completely instinctive, emotional way.  I look through my stash and the right fabric calls out to me.  This will be the right fabric on that particular day and perhaps won’t be the right fabric a few weeks later when my mood is different.  I sometimes feel the fabric is choosing me rather than the other way around. This makes it sound like a magical, mystical experience but I do feel that colour is a magical thing and that my relationship with it is very special. My favourite colours are grass green, acid yellow, orange, pink, purple, and turquoise.  I also use a raspberry/watermelon red quite a lot. It is very hard for me to make a quilt using blue!
My usual style of quilting is a mixture of modern and traditional. When I go towards a more modern style it often has a traditional twist and when I design a traditional quilt it always looks a bit modern. I am not very good at minimalism, despite trying this a few times, I’m definitely a ‘more is more’ type of designer! I really love improv piecing especially curves, I have a technique called Freehand Foundation Piecing that I use and teach a lot. I used this for the Dandelion Clock Quilt and Journey to the Centre of the Earth (which I am teaching at QCT next year). I love hand stitching, especially applique, so I often add elements of hand work to my designs. I like to mix up techniques, adding needle-turn applique to improv piecing or FPP.  The Pinball Wizard quilt is from the ‘mix and match’ section of my New Patchwork and Quilting Basics book where I encourage quilters to mix up the techniques they have learnt in previous chapters. I also like subverting traditional quilt patterns to make them more modern.


Sherry Lynn Wood

I was inspired to make quilts after seeing the exhibition Who’d A Thought It, featuring improvised quilts by Rosie Lee Tompkins and other black makers. I’m mostly self-taught, but took a one-week workshop with Nancy Crow, her very first improv class in the early 1990’s. Nancy taught me that I could cut and piece any shape together without a ruler or a template. Doing away with the ruler and perfectionism was revolutionary for me. My students inspire me the most these days. My quilting practice has always been service oriented, and passing on my knowledge of improv patchwork as a liberating practice for personal growth and creative agency, gives me great joy. The improv process and the continued practice of harnessing one’s truth into the quilt space and story is much more important to me than the formalities of modern design. It excites me to see very different elements “belonging” in the same quilt story space because of their differences rather than their similarities, or how well things go together, or match etc. It’s a radical vision of belonging through honoring differences, which I also encourage and model in my workshops and the conscious community of improv quilters I’m building online.

Carson Converse

I made my first quilt shortly after graduating from college with the intent of making something better than what I could afford to buy at a home goods store (my first quilt was so ugly!!).  My mom started taking quilt lessons around the same time, and I was able to pick up a few techniques through her, but I mostly learned through trial and error and by watching Alex Anderson, Marianne Fons and Liz Porter on TV.  I’ve been a designer/maker for as long as I can remember and find inspiration everywhere.  I love most colors and often my initial inspiration is color itself.  I’m drawn to minimalist quilts and like the challenge of layering in visual interest through color, shape and texture while maintaining a sense of balance and simplicity. 


Karen Foster

I learned to sew clothes in school and used those skills as an adult to make a few quilts to gift to friends but they were few and far between.  In general, I am self-taught from books, tutorials and classes.  Most of what I make now are original or modified designs rather than from patterns like in the early days.  The painterly quality of solids is very freeing and I use them often.   I am also drawn to bold prints, floral and mixing vintage with new release fabric.  

Participating in swaps and quilt along events on Flickr beginning in 2010 introduced me to the online community and in 2011 @SBAMQG my local chapter of MQG was formed and connected me with in person opportunities in Capitola California.  After discovering Modern Quilting, my Scrappy Maximalist style broadened to include Graphic Minimalism and Improvisational.  I still love all of these styles and bounce around with multiple projects at the same time.    With a focus on technique and process, I feel there is extreme value in exploration.  Sew Days, retreats, shows and workshops where we all inspire and learn from one another is something that I am looking forward to doing once again, especially attending with my sister @itssewscottsdale. 

Although I like digital designing and find satisfaction when on occasion I sew them to reality, my usual path is to let the work evolve and develop as I go.  Making decisions constantly along the way is what I enjoy.  Playing with parts and possibilities is my creative sweet spot.   For me, collaboration has been a key factor in my journey.  Challenging myself when making blocks for my BeeSewcial #beesewcial mates since 2014 has undoubtedly enriched my experience.   I am pleased to have displayed my group quilts and honored to have contributed to their works of art.

There is something very special about having your vision interpreted in cloth.  I like to encourage fellow makers to set aside the need for perfection and predictability because it is that experimental approach that brings me joy. 


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