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Quilting Terms: Characteristics of a Contemporary / Modern Quilt

A lover of arts and crafts, Shasta Matova enjoys making artistic, applique, pieced, traditional, miniature, modern, and crazy quilts.

Modern quilts use simple shapes, and focus on color, balance and technical skills.

Modern quilts use simple shapes, and focus on color, balance and technical skills.

Modern quilts are hard to define because there are actually two types of quilts I think of when I think of modern quilts. One category is named for a particular time period, and one for a particular style of quilt. Modern means new or recent, so any quilts that are made recently, say this century, would be considered modern quilts. I like to call these contemporary quilts to distinguish them from the modern style of quilts. I will write another hub to discuss contemporary quilts in the future. This hub is about the modern style of quilts.

There are some quilts that are recently made that are easy to spot, but simply fall under the modern category. They don't seem to have their own category, and I think they deserve one. A modern quilt is very easy to spot, but it is hard to define. Not all modern quilts will fit this definition, but I hope that my definition comes close.

Modern Quilts on Amazon

What features do modern quilts have that sets them apart from other quilts?

A modern quilt tends to have the following characteristics:

  • simple designs made with simple shapes such as squares, rectangles and half square triangles
  • simple quilting designs
  • coordinated fabrics
  • clear crisp colors with a lot of white
  • attention to detail and well executed
  • open space
  • frequent use of solids

Most modern quilters tend to also be very competent in photography, and are able to present their quilt with beautiful photographic imagery.

These modern quilts are patchwork quilts that use simple patterns and simple quilting designs, and are beautifully made to look very sophisticated. Even though they are simple, they do not look like beginner or charity quilts. Modern quilters pay attention to detail, to render their quilt to the best of their ability. They trim the half square triangles to make them the exact size for sewing. They put their blocks and shapes on a design wall, and arrange and rearrange them until they are satisfied with the layout. They pay attention to balance and color and aesthetic appeal. They are careful with their sewing, and will take the time to correct any errors. They will choose a simple quilting design that goes well with the quilt and execute it superbly. Then they will take photographs and present their quilt on their blog. These photographs will also be beautifully executed, with wonderful lighting and great props and Photoshopped to present the quilt in the best light.

This modern quilt uses modern fabric with bold graphics and colors.

This modern quilt uses modern fabric with bold graphics and colors.

Modern quilts also tend to focus on fabrics. Most modern quilts contain a great deal of white. The colors chosen for the patchwork quilt are clear, bright colors. Paisley, stripes, and stylized flowers, and the like are often chosen. The combination of fabrics in the quilt is well coordinated. The colors match. You are not likely to find humble patches, where a piece of fabric was patched together to make a block, or fabric that had been added because the quilter had run out. Modern quilters will either purchase sufficient fabric for their quilt, or order more of the same fabric if they run out. If they do make a substitution, it will be very close to the original fabric and it will not be obvious that a substitution has been made.

Modern quilts use simple shapes, and are carefully executed for balance and design.

Modern quilts use simple shapes, and are carefully executed for balance and design.

Some Modern Quilters

Some quilters who make modern quilts are listed below:

Modern Quilt Relish

The Modern Quilt Guild

Alissa Haight Carlton - checkout the QuiltCon information for February 2012 in Texas

Nancy Crow

Kathy Doughty

Malka Dubrawsky

Kaffe Fassett

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Sarah Fielke

Jacquie Gering

Elizabeth Hartman

Rossie Hutchinson

Bill Kerr and Weeks Ringle - subscribe to Modern Quilts Illustrated Magazine

Kim Kight

Gwen Marston

Sarah Minshall

Freddy Moran

Tonya Ricucci

Denyse Schmidt

Ami Simms

Angela Walters

Mary Lou Weidman

Jean Wells

Modern quilts add a beautiful clean feel and would go well with any décor. Because they use simple shapes, they are the easiest patchwork quilts to make. And because they are executed well, you can perfect your sewing and quilting abilities and let them shine.

© 2011 Shasta Matova


Shasta Matova (author) from USA on August 19, 2012:

Thank you mvillecat, I really enjoy modern quilts as well, although I tend to like just every quilt I see, and want to make all of them!

Catherine Dean from Milledgeville, Georgia on August 19, 2012:

I am a modern quilter! I love the modern easy pattern and freedom to create. I voted up!

Shasta Matova (author) from USA on November 13, 2011:

Thank you both for visiting and commenting on this hub.

Stephanie: Thank you. Quilting is an addictive hobby. It is fun to see how cutting up pieces of fabric and sewing it together changes the look of it. There is a mystery to it all.

Homesteadbound: Thank you as well. For Texas, you could make quilts without a batting or use a lighter sheet as a batting. People really enjoy receiving quilts as gifts. Also consider charity quilts - there are many opportunities to make quilts even if you don't need any!

Cindy Murdoch from Texas on November 13, 2011:

I really like to quilt, but I have so many and it doesn't get that cold in Texas. But you sure are tempting me.

I really liked the first picture of the quilt you have in this hub.

Stephanie Das from Miami, US on November 13, 2011:

These modern quilts are beautiful. I've never seen designs like this, but I see how people can get so into quilting.

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