Tuesday, 12 August 2014

And Afterwards...

Heather and I at Festival of Quilts, before the Rush, and Heather's Greetings Quilt
Free downloadable pattern for this quilt here

I’ve been a maker of quilts and a teacher of patchwork and quilting for a long time.. I’m unashamedly an Art Quilter; what I make is for walls and is fancy and quite small.. What my students like is more practical, quicker, larger, and much more immediate..
In recent years this idea has become a Movement, and it seems to be called Modern..
I like this. The style tends to be clean, bright and graphic, with areas of negative space and a tendency to neutral ground colours.  It’s practical (and quick) but also bold and very good to look at. And it’s what I teach, to a greater or lesser degree, because it is what is requested.
I’m also pretty keen on Improvisational piecing (although I tend to say the word quietly, so that I don’t scare anyone). It’s much less trouble to make a block if nothing needs to match and there are no official points to cut off!  And if you improvise, your blocks are like your handwriting - personal, and not like mine.  I like this too

In January this year, I put forward the idea in The Quilter that we might want or need a new Specialist Group within The Guild.  I had a fair number of enthusiastic enquiries, and one or two rather dismissive suggestions that “this wasn’t needed”.  I ignored the latter and the proposal was offered again in the May edition. This time there was a more definite “yes” so I made plans to launch the Group at Festival of Quilts.

Now, you should know that I’m a full-time self-employed person with more than enough to do, so on the Thursday before the Festival I was sending my leaflet to the printers at 5pm, running around finishing quilts, and trying not to panic... And melting in the heat.

On Wednesday, I arrived at Festival with my friend and co-conspirator Heather, a few quilts and cushions, 5000 leaflets (very heavy) and absolutely no idea what would happen...

And for four days we talked, persuaded (not difficult) took email addresses, described, and actually found out for ourselves what a Modern Quilt is.  Lots of good people helped out, volunteered to do things, and a very gratifying number actually paid real money to join.. Lots of Guild members (some very Big Names) signed up; several joined the Guild to be a part of it, and some re-joined.. This is wonderful.

So, now all I have to do is run this.. What have I done..

If you would like to join in the conversation, you can join the Yahoo Group at
(this is free to join at present; you can try before you buy)
and we have a webpage on the Guild site at
We also have some free patterns, currently at
which you can download and use for your pleasure

Do come and play

Helen Howes
Modern Quilt Specialist Group of the Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles