Quilting with a Modern Slant

by Nova on February 6, 2014

I was thrilled to be invited along on the blog tour of Rachel May’s book ‘Quilting with a Modern Slant’.


[image courtesy of Storey Publishing]

I really really like this book. I’ve read it twice already, cover to cover. It’s a book of stories & inspiration rather than a traditional quilting book. While it gives a comprehensive guide to quilt basics, supplies etc and includes lots of projects & tutorials from some of the 70+ (!) contributors, where this book won me over was it’s chats with designers from the modern quilting world.

Many of the names you will recognize & some may be new to you as they were to me.  There are a few of my personal quilty heros within the pages & to learn more about what inspires them is a treat. & the pictures! Oh the pictures are just lovely & like the contributors there are a lot of them which  is always a  winner.

The book is divided into 7 chapters including topics such as Play, Improv, Colour & Tradition – all music to these eclectic ears!

I noticed a common thread  that ran through many of the conversations with the quilters in the book.  That was to find your own style & make what you love. Be true to yourself – take inspiration from those around you and your surroundings but ultimately enjoy the make & find your quilty voice as it were. I love the whole ‘Inspiration Pay it Forward’ thing.

I also enjoyed the tips & snippets that are scattered in bite size bits throughout the book.

We quilt for all sorts of reasons; inspiration strikes & we are hooked. I’ve sewn for years but can remember discovering the world of modern quilting & just knowing it was going to be a good fit.

What inspired you to quilt modern? Maybe it was  blog you stumbled upon or a quilt magazine, an exhibition, a friends quilt, a gift or maybe it was some fabric that lead you on the path to modern quilting?

& what inspired me to quilt modern?  I remember back in the day discovering Amy Butlers Lotus fabric range, most notably the Full Moon Polka Dots & Wall Flower designs –  I have had a love affair with those dots ever since! I’m not quite sure what it was about that particular range – the designs, the colours,  the scale & most probably the nostalgia of them being the first modern quilting fabrics I owned.  Interestingly, in the book one of the designers cites this fabric as being a bit of a springboard for them too.

As I felt my way in this brave new (well, not so new but it was all new to me!) world  there were a few blogs I followed that I just couldn’t get enough of  & still read to this day, among them are – Tallgrass Prairie Studio, Film in The Fridge, Sew Katie Did  , Sew Mama Sew  (many, many more followed in quick succession!) …. all of whom feature in the book.  A while  later I was lucky enough to visit an exhibition of the Quilts of Gee’s Bend when they visited  Brisbane & I was smitten.

The very best thing though is that the inspiration sources are ongoing & that is the exciting thing about this world of modern quilting we are lucky enough to sew in :)

I’d love to hear  your story about what inspired you to quilt modern – whether you’re a seasoned sewer, a newbie or  you haven’t sewn a stitch yet! Leave a comment about what has inspired you for a chance to win a copy of this delightful book courtesy of Storey Publishing.  I’ll pick a winner this coming Sunday evening Brisvegas time. GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.

Catch up with more stops on the book tour at these inspiring spots:

29 Jan –  Patchwork Posse

30 Jan –  Inside Storey

3 Feb –  Craft Buds

9 Feb –  Dining Room Empire

11 Feb –  In Color Order

12 Feb – Pink Penguin

Quilting with a Modern Slant is available now at your local bookstore, library or online

eta: a sneak peek at some pictures from inside the book here!

Disclaimer: Storey Publishing invited me to participate in this blog tour & sent me a complimentary copy of the book. All opinions  within this book review are my own.

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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

audrey February 6, 2014 at 1:15 pm

I think it’s the fabric and the very fun vibe. I don’t do a lot of modern, but I’m slowly easing my way into it! Love all the wonderful bloggers who share their wonderful quilts and inspire us all! Thanks for a great giveaway.:)


Dittany February 6, 2014 at 5:03 pm

For me was the moment when I finished my first EPP quilt and put it on the bed. The scale was all wrong – too small and too fussy. Then I went and saw what was going on in the blogging world.


Becs T February 6, 2014 at 6:01 pm

Just starting out in the quilting world. I was inspired by friends to have a go and now loving every minute. I am experimenting at the mo and just beginning to find my inner quilty voice and it is definitely following the modern path! The book looks truly inspiring, thanks for the giveaway.


Tina Short February 6, 2014 at 8:28 pm

Hi, I think it was seeing the stunning designs that could be produced from solid colours after years of using ‘ditsy/twee’ prints. Also being ‘allowed’ not to have a border was a revelation to someone who religiously used to follow traditional quilt patterns.
The book looks great, it will go on the wish list.


Eva February 6, 2014 at 8:31 pm

For me inspiration has definitely come from the blogging world and flickr. I live in the middle of nowhere so the online community definitely makes me feel connected! I would love to win a copy of this book :)


Bec February 6, 2014 at 9:30 pm

My introduction to modern quilting began with a chance stubble upon Elizabeth Hartman’s blog, Oh Fransson. I can remember the exact blog post that caught my eye. I’d sewn for years and wanted to make a quilt, but this modern quilting was a whole new world of exciting! So I started quilting and I haven’t looked back… :-)
This book looks so exciting! Thanks for the chance to win!


Mary Ann February 6, 2014 at 9:32 pm

I just picked up a copy of this book as well–I do not buy many quilting books, as they are often just pattern filled–I like the additional stories about quilters themselves. This book had both eye candy and great little stories, I’ve also read through it at least twice so far. Nice to see it featured, thanks!


Alicia Merlino February 6, 2014 at 10:24 pm

I haven’t looked at this one in person yet but I look for it at the bookstore!


Monica February 6, 2014 at 10:48 pm

I think it was the quilting I was seeing on modern quilts that really got me interested. And the use of solids and lots of negative space appealed to me.


sharon February 6, 2014 at 11:23 pm

I have always been a sewer
but, I like to make something big. really big
so quilting was the way to go.
I have made quilts for all my nieces and nephews and I realize someday they will show their children and grandchildren — or at least their pets.


Meg February 7, 2014 at 12:01 am

I made my first quilt 5 years ago for my son. It was just simple squares I sewed together and I didn’t know a thing about quilting or sewing. Now I have many blogs I read on a regular basis. I get so much inspiration and help from these ladies. Modern fabrics, colors and quilt patterns are so much fun! And addicting!! There is always something new ‘arriving soon’ that is a must have. Thanks for the chance to win.


Allison C February 7, 2014 at 12:05 am

I started by wanting to make video game quilts. So I went searching for inspiration online and I ended up finding several modern quilt blogs instead (redpepperquilts, ohfransson, etc) and I fell in love with their blogs instantly. Now I follow lots of awesome blogs (like yours)…and I still make video game quilts AND now modern quilts too.


Fiona February 7, 2014 at 12:35 am

Great article!

What I liked too is your comment “…I noticed a common thread that ran through many of the conversations with the quilters in the book. That was to find your own style & make what you love. Be true to yourself – take inspiration from those around you and your surroundings but ultimately enjoy the make & find your quilty voice as it were.”

I often find that there are so many projects out there that I want to make and end up rarely making any of them that that comment above about your own style is very grounding and brings you back in line!

Thanks for this.

What inspired me to start quilting? A pay cut and thinking of a hobby that might help me, now it’s an obsession!



Carmen February 7, 2014 at 1:09 am

I definitely owe most of my sewing inspiration to Flickr, where I see so many beautiful projects every day!


Sheri T February 7, 2014 at 1:21 am

I started quilting 11 years ago with my Mum. She had just been diagnosed with cancer and we both needed a distraction. Our first class was a hoot, we used the same sampler pattern. Her fabric choice was so classic and suttle. Mine on the other had was bold and vibrant. At the end of class we all showed our quilts, as I looked around I was amazed at how different a piece could look from the same pattern. I was hooked, taking an old pattern and putting a modern twist on it. My Mum and I made a few more quilts together, but the first are and always will be my favorite.


Anne February 7, 2014 at 1:38 am

I grew up near Amish country in Pennsylvania and didn’t think I could ever make quilts like theirs, but I loved the lines. I was bored by traditional designs and started playing with batiks, then happened upon the blogs. Thanks so much for sharing! Such fun.


Becky Moyer February 7, 2014 at 1:56 am

I don’t remember specifically, but I think it would have to be a blog and it may even be Jaybird quilts. I had taken a traditional class at my LQG and was frustrated that I just couldn’t find colors/styles of fabrics that appealed to me. I think i searched modern quilting and philadelphia and came up with the PhillyMQG which was being started by Jaybird quilts. It was like one of Oprah’s AHA moments! That was what I was looking for! :)


Ruth Little February 7, 2014 at 2:08 am

Color, then form. I quite like a bit of chintz every now and then, or whimsy, but the graphic nature of modern quilts done well or an emotive color palette that gets me every time.
I’m finding a certain palette I love to use, and another that I love to see, I’m sure that’s not unusual.


Claudia February 7, 2014 at 4:46 am

I have sewed all my life long however the traditional quilts were not quite my taste and today I am happy to see all the modern quits popping up. Love them and feel greatly inspired.


Katy February 7, 2014 at 5:23 am

I started following quilting blogs when I found them on Sew Mama Sew giveaway day (which I had also accidentally stumbled upon, but that’s a whole other story!), but it was several months before I tried making one (I can vividly remember telling my parents not to worry, I wasn’t about to start another crafty hobby *ahem*) Initially I followed patterns, but getting to see more and more improv has liberated me to feel that I can just make anything up and go with it.

Thanks for the chance to win :o)


jo February 7, 2014 at 5:26 am

I think it is a combination of available fabrics and blogs, I would not say I am a very modern quilter but the more I quilt the more I tend to lean toward modern


Kelly February 7, 2014 at 6:20 am

I saw a quilt in a magazine when I was pregnant with my first son. It was so expensive ($120)so I decided I can make one of those. I proceeded with no book or pattern to hand piece a grandmothers flower garden top. That was 38 years ago and I was hooked!


Max February 7, 2014 at 8:17 am

I have yet to start my first quilt, but I am inspired by the blogs. I have begun sewing clothes for my kids, but I like the idea of creating something that I won’t feel obliged to wear. The fabrics too. Now there seems to be a great proliferation of beautiful quilting fabrics in designer series. It is all quite inspiring.


Erica February 7, 2014 at 8:47 am

I discovered a very inspiring baby-quilt made by Sonia Delaunay and made a pillow using that inspiration. It’s not nearly good enough… hope to get there someday!


julie February 7, 2014 at 1:37 pm

I haven’t had a chance to look at this book yet, but it sounds very inspiring!


Beth T. February 7, 2014 at 2:07 pm

For me, it was an appreciation of the “space” in modern quilting. All that breathing room. It reminded me of paintings that I find inspiring or refreshing.


Kat February 7, 2014 at 10:46 pm

I always knew that I wanted to learn to to quilt. I thought that perhaps after the kids had grown up and moved out that I’d find time. One day though when reading a knitting blog I found a link to a modern quilter’s blog, followed it and fell in love. I was drawn to the crisp colors and use of white fabric. The designs seemed do-able rather than intimidating. Improvising allowed creativity and took the pressure off the need to be perfect thus allowing my skills time to catch up with my ideas. I’ve been quilting for five years now and can’t imagine ever not quilting; there are so many quilts I’ve yet to make!


Kristy Daum February 8, 2014 at 7:13 am

While I had been quilting for 15+ years, my enthusiasm was drifting and I was creating less and less as all that I had known was super-traditional fabrics, blocks, etc. and they were no longer inspirational.

I remember coming across Red Pepper Quilt’s blog one evening and immediately being inspired by the colors and prints that I saw. It was then that I got lost in the abyss of clicking through link after link.

2010 is when I really started quilting modern and I haven’t looked back since.


Sandy Murphy February 8, 2014 at 8:13 am

Hi Nova, thanks for a wonderful review, I had not heard of this inspiring book and have added it to my wishlist (better than Easter Eggs). I can definitely credit the internet and blogworld for inspiring my love of modern quilts – Amy Butler, Anna Maria Horner, Elizabeth Hartman there are so many, all wonderful designers, so inspiring and so sharing. But the real delight was the lack of “quilt police” – it was all about the creative and design process and not necessarily about perfect points and tiny quilt stitches. As the daughter of a perfectionist who still advises that my “checks don’t line up” modern quilting allows me to find my voice. Camille Roskelley is a favourite who combines simple piecing and beautiful fabrics, and I have just purchased the Hex’n’more ruler by Jaybird and see so many possibilities. Thanks again for a wonderful review and a big thankyou to all the modern quilt designers who have so inspired me.


melissa February 8, 2014 at 12:47 pm

For me it’s a fresh vibe. It’s hard for me to put a finger on it.


Paula February 8, 2014 at 2:57 pm

So many inspirations! I’m becoming more modern … inspired by
– blogs, including yours!
– Instagram friends … got me going on the #scrappytripalong and I’ve done two now
– my friends in the Vancouver MQG
– going to QuiltCon – met amazing people there, took classes from some wonderful instructors …
Thank you for the giveaway! The book looks awesome!


Linda February 9, 2014 at 8:25 am

Hi, oh it’s the color and mixing of color values that first interested me. I am a watercolor painter and it seemed like fabric was another step toward color pattern creations. This looks like a very neat book; Thanks for the giveaway!


DeborahGun February 9, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Lovely blogs got me into modern quilting – it all just looked so beautiful!


katie pedersen February 11, 2014 at 1:58 pm

Thanks Nova. Your posts are delivered to my inbox too.


Krista - Poppyprint February 12, 2014 at 4:11 pm

The Quilters of Gee’s Bend were my launching point into a new kind of quilting as well. 10 years ago while flying to Toronto, my husband handed me the local paper that had made the trip out on the earlier flight. In it was a story about some quilts from a tiny place in Alabama that were on display at a Toronto art books store. I visited the exhibit, bought the book (and video!) and was smitten. Then, 2 1/2 years ago I actually got to meet 3 of the incredible quilters when they taught a workshop here in Vancouver. Spending two days in their company, listening to their gospel singing and just enjoying the process of cutting and piecing without a plan was truly remarkable. I spend a great deal of time trying to ‘let go’ of all the quilting rules schooled into my brain so that I may allow myself the freedom to create without a plan and just see what happens. I’m looking forward to reading this book!!


jodi October 10, 2014 at 12:59 am

Rachel May is coming to speak to us Rhode Island Modern Quilt Guild-ers this October 26 – so exciting!


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