Quilts Made Modern / Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr. 2010
Authors Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr run Modern Quilt Studio and I am an avid fan of their work. They've published several books now, as well as a magazine. This particular book is the first one I ever purchased about modern quilting. While there are a lot of great patterns and ideas for quilts, it was the first book that helped me understand what modern quilting is and how to think about design. I'd been anxious to use the book and I ended up choosing a pattern from it when I was given this group of Amy Butler fabrics by QBFFT.
In my mind, those fabrics did not lend themselves to something traditional. With the exception of the one solid, they seemed to fight with one another. I had to find a way to get them to work together. As I perused this book, as well as other pattern books, I kept coming back to this one photo, despite how different my fabrics were from the ones used in the book.
This quilt is called "Improv." The individual blocks are pieced using an improvisational technique. There is a degree of structure to get you started, but then it becomes kind of random. I began by cutting my 10 fabrics into strips of several different widths. Then I cut about half of those strips into small pieces 2-5 inches long. I tossed all of the small pieces into a container, mixed them up, and then randomly sewed them to the longer strips. Like this:
Here's my container of small pieces:
I wound up with small units that I sewed to more strips. Then I began to randomly sew those units together to create larger units:
Until I had a stack of blocks:
The blocks were supposed to measure 6.5 x 6.5 inches. But I wasn't paying attention at first and I soon realized my blocks were nearing 8 x 8. So I made 35 7.5 x 7.5 inch blocks. It was easy to get carried away.
I loved being forced to just sew units together. This really put me outside of anything I had ever done before. After auditioning the squares against various solids, I settled on this purple.
And here are some close-ups:
It's randomly quilted with spirals.
I'm really happy with how this turned out. This book not only gave me a great way to use those fabrics, but it taught me to think very differently about the kind of quilts I want to make. It's a tremendous resource for anyone interested in modern quilting.