Old Quilt,Modern Look

By: Mickey Beebe
Santa Cruz, California

I knew I had found my inspiration quilt for the AQSG Solid Fabric Study as soon, as I saw it on my computer. It was powerful in both design and color. How could a simple Log Cabin block look so bold and modern?

In a sense, I have been “researching” the new Modern Quilt Movement and I am a member of the local Modern Quilt Guild (MQG). “Modern” is a very slippery word. Does it mean the Modern Movement of the early twentieth-century, is it the quilts being made by members of the MQG, or is it what is happening right now?

MQG members like working in solid colors and I have had Modern quilts in solids accepted into QuiltCon. After searching for inspiration at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles with Nancy Bavor, I approached Florence McConnell at Seminar. She generously emailed some suggestions from her Pennsylvanian German collection. Pennsylvania Barn Raising Log Cabin knocked my socks off.

While other quilters in the1890s were making dark/light scrappy Log Cabin quilts, this quilter from Lebanon County, Pennsylvania saw she could make a dramatic quilt from a two-color Log Cabin block. She bought enough new fabric to make her quilt in a hot color/cool color palette of red/orange and teal/navy – a very Modern almost clashing color choice. Then she set her blocks on point, so her Barn Raising was concentric squares instead of diamonds. Charting the quilt, I was surprised to learn her complicated design is made up of seven different block configurations and colorations. She also had to deal with half blocks to finish the edges of the quilt. I honored this unique and original quilt by making a miniature version (both quilts have no batting). I hope my quilt conveys that even a 130-year-old quilt can look Modern.