Designing a Modern Quilt

I wanted to talk a bit about my design approach to a color blocked modern quilt by a wonderful person named Lyn Baker.  Lyn is the binding queen and personally responsible for improving my binding technique.  Lyn’s quilt may be purchased in kit form from High Sierra Quilters here.  If interested, call Doug at the store and he will help you.

Modern quilts beg to be quilted with a nice mix of geometric, patterns and fun texture quilting.  I see modern quilts as having a more masculine “feel,” though there are certainly some feminine modern quilts being made.  Here is a good visual for how I approached Lyn’s quilt:

modern quilt by Carla Barrett using both freehand and digitized quilting

modern quilt by Carla Barrett using both freehand and digitized quilting

With Lyn’s quilt, I wanted to maintain the color blocked areas and simply enhance this quilt with some fun and interesting texture.  I purposely chose the thread to match each colored fabric area, meaning I had LOTS of thread changing as I worked.  The reason for this is to provide texture and let the geometric visual in the piecing and color become the star of the show.  The quilting merely enhances the piecing and provides a layer of interest to the viewer as they see the quilt up close.   If I had chosen contrasting thread, it would fight the piecing- and in not a good way.  Choosing thread with intent is something I love to do.

Many of the designs you see above are also repeated throughout the quilt, too.  Repeating designs is a great way to bring cohesiveness to your machine quilting designs, especially with modern quilts.

All the quilts I do have a nice mix of freehand designs, usually an original design thrown in, and also some commercial digitized designs.  In this quilt are some wonderful modern digitized designs by a variety of artists, including Janet Lee Santeusanio, Jessica Shick, Krista Withers, Jodi Robinson,  and a few others.

quilting by Carla Barrett

quilting by Carla Barrett

Not every area has to be quilted with fancier texture.  Note the simple freehand quilting in the detail photo, above, in the red and blue areas.  There is also freehand quilting in the black area, light blue, and the green area, as well.

Notice that I also varied my quilting density, though the overall quilting is balanced.  This was done for added interest, as well.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing Lyn’s quilt and hearing some of my thoughts behind why I designed it the way I did.  In my mind’s eye, I see the quilt at a distance, with the bright colored blocks grabbing the viewer’s attention.  As the viewer walks up to the quilt, they see the interesting texture quilting designs in each space.   Happy Quilting!  Carla

8 thoughts on “Designing a Modern Quilt

  1. I love the different quilting you did on this. And thanks for some of your thoughts behind your selections. That really helps me organize some of my thoughts as I am selecting quilting and threads for quilts I am working on.

    • You are very welcome! By the way, my DH loves trains, especially steam trains. We have been to several train museums including the one in York, UK, and the CA Train Museum in Sacramento, Duluth, MN and Nevada train museum, too. I tease him that for every train museum or Dam Tour he drags me on, he has to visit a quilt or bead shop. 🙂

  2. The geometric quilting motifs are so much fun and so “freeing” to do!!!! For me, using a SS, they are very achievable resulting in extraordinary finishes. I agree with the color matched thread. To do otherwise would be a huge distraction destroying the quilt’s final color block impact! Thanks so much for sharing!!!!!!!

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