Modern Designs for Classic Quilts


I’m a big fan of logic. Now I’m not saying I’m all Vulcan like Mr. Spock, but there is certainly a little bit of Sheldon (from Big Bang Theory) in me. Any of you out there who have ever met me have probably figured this out. Now, what the heck does this have to do with Kelly and Andie’s new book Modern Designs for Classic Quilts, you know outside of the odd mechanics of my brain? Well, here it goes…

This book feels like a logical necessity, a book that almost had to exist. What at first blush seems like it is going to be an exercise in translation, transforming traditional elements into modern quilts, turns out to be something at once far grander and smaller than that.

The book is grander in that it extends beyond the aesthetics and technique of traditional and modern quilting in an effort to explore the common essences of each school and extend our understanding of the quilting tradition. While both words—Modern and Traditional—have become excessively loaded as of late, Andie and Kelly really strive to get beyond and behind the terms to get readers into their studios and make quilts.

At the same time this seems to revel in the details; so many of the quilts expose a real joy in thinking about and understanding traditional elements for what they are and then finding those elements a new home, which brings me back to that whole logic thing. My favorite quilts in this book stem from playing out a certain logical consistency inherent to the traditional blocks themselves.


In the Clouds, is a wonderfully logical extension of the nature of Flying Geese; to me it has always seems an odd block to pen in or use as a border. In this quilt Andie lets the geese fly. In giving the geese plenty of space the fundamental negative spaces between the counter-directional geese really get some attention as well—yay parallelograms!!!


And with The Dresden Files the addition of the simple stripes connecting the Dresden plates transforms those iconic blocks into yo-yos or beads. These decorative blocks act almost like ornaments, delicate baubles. Any fussiness that I might have associated with Dresden plates recedes as the plates are transformed into playful objects.

The thing about Modern Designs for Classic Quilts is that all of these transformations truly do make logical sense even as they are playful, elegant, and/or expressive. That is the point of this book, it seems to me; it is thoughtful even as it relishes the simple act of making. This book engages the intellect and the eye; the art and craft of quilting. It is a book to grow with, both as a maker of and appreciator of quilts. At its core it is a genuinely honest look at making quilts, an honesty that seems best summed up in what may be my favorite line from the book:

Our points aren’t always perfect, sometimes our seams are not a perfect quarter-inch, and occasionally we want to throw our sewing machines out the window and take up badminton.

I like badminton too, but I like quilts even more. And I’m glad Kelly and Andie do as well. Thanks for writing this book and not trading it all on for a sew of ruffled shuttlecocks…

Yay Andie and Kelly!!!


Oh, and I almost forgot. I have a copy of Modern Designs for Classic Quilts to give away!!! Yay!!! To enter the giveaway just comment below and I’ll pick a winner next week (I’m always terrible at sticking to a schedule).

Also, check out the rest of the blog tour (note that I am a day late, as usual)…

Monday, Nov. 5 (Andie and Kelly, AndieJohnsonSews and Stitchy Quilt Stuff)
Tuesday, Nov. 6 (Lindsay, CraftBuds)
Wed., Nov. 7 (Jill, Darling Jill Quilts)
Thursday, Nov. 8 (Faith, Fresh Lemons)
Friday, Nov. 9 (Tracy, Generation Q)
Saturday, Nov. 10 (Angela, Quilting is my Therapy)
Sunday, Nov. 11 (Shannon, Stitch Craft Create)
Monday, Nov. 12 (Laurie, Scarlet Fig)
Tuesday, Nov. 13 (Lindsay, The Cottage Mama)
Wed., Nov. 14 (Jessica, A Little Gray)
Thursday, Nov. 15 (Mary, The Tulip Patch)
Friday, Nov. 16 (Deborah, Whipstitch)
Saturday, Nov. 17 (Kaysie, KZJo’s Studio)
Sunday, Nov. 18 (Jenny, Sew Kind of Wonderful)
Monday, Nov. 19 (Carla, LollyQuiltz)
Tuesday, Nov. 20 (Thomas, Thomas Knauer Sews)
Wed., Nov. 21 (Brenda, Pink Castle Fabrics)
Thursday, Nov. 22 (Lindsay & Liz Rea, CraftBuds, Inspire Me Grey)
Friday, Nov. 23 (Andie and Kelly, AndieJohnsonSews and Stitchy Quilt Stuff)

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