American quilt revival 2: modern quilts (+ fabric giveaway!)

Detail of Jigsaw from Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe

Have you been bitten by the modern-quilting bug? Been curious about its development? Or have you simply brushed the bug aside? Regardless of where you piece yourself into the quiltmaking spectrum, the modern-quilt movement is big—and it’s quickly becoming known as the second American quilt revival (the first occurred as part of our country’s bicentennial celebration in 1976). Over a few short years, the modern aesthetic has trickled into traditional quiltmaking, blurring the lines between them. No matter if you prefer one style, the other, or land somewhere in between, most can agree that the transformation of America’s quilting landscape is fascinating to watch!

Modern Quilts from the Blogging UniverseAt Martingale, we’ve been bitten—and are smitten—by the still-developing modern-quilt movement. One of our first ventures into publishing a book of modern quilts was Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe. We were so excited about it that we launched a six-month-long blog tour that featured all 18 designers in the book! The blog tour has come to an end, but there’s certainly no end in sight for publishing modern-quilt books. Since MQBU (as we call it around the office), we’ve published Modern Baby, Modern Basics (books I and II), Modern Neutrals, Simply Modern Christmas, and more. But MQBU is and will always remain our modern-quilt baby.

Today our own Karen Burns is at Stitch This! to wrap up the blog tour and share how MQBU came to be—all with Karen herself as the newest acquisitions editor at the helm. Thanks for being here, Karen!


Kona Cotton Solids by Robert Kaufman FabricsFABRIC GIVEAWAY ALERT!

Our friends at Robert Kaufman have generously donated a mammoth stack of their all-the-rage KONA Cotton Solids from their Summer ’13 palette. It includes a rainbow of 28 fat quarters!

Learn how to enter to win this fat-quarter bundle, as well as a copy of Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe in eBook form, at the bottom of this post. And be sure to visit Robert Kaufman’s Swatch and Stitch blog for another special giveaway too!


Karen BurnsHi everybody! I’m acquisitions editor Karen Burns, and I’m the lucky person who gets to wrap up our Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe book tour. I am happy to talk about the book, the designers, and the creative process behind the development of such a successful book.

Before I go any further, I need to confess that I was new to the position of acquisitions editor here at Martingale when Jenny Wilding Cardon and I came up with the idea of finding some of the new and exciting modern-quilt designers out in the blogosphere. Not only was I new to this job, but I hadn’t really explored the blogging universe. (Gasp!) Jenny was instrumental in helping to establish the direction for this book and also wrote the introduction about modern quilting.

Once I learned what the blogging universe was, I jumped in with both feet. I began looking through dozens of quilting blogs in August 2011, and I reached out to a number of popular designers. I introduced myself and Martingale and talked about the concept for the book: to present a fabulous collection of projects but also to spotlight each designer’s personality. I then asked each of the designers to turn in a sketch (or three) of their proposed modern-quilt designs, along with fabric swatch ideas.

Tree quilt by Jolene Klassen
“Tree Quilt” by Jolene Klassen

The editors at Martingale looked through the many designs that were submitted. We narrowed it down to nineteen quilts, submitted by eighteen different designers. We created a schedule for the designers to follow, as the book was going to be released in December 2012. We needed finished projects, instructions, illustrations, author photos, and blog information all turned in by the beginning of December 2011. (Yes, it takes almost a year once we receive projects for a book to be released!)

Starflower quilt by Angela Nash
“Starflower” by Angela Nash

I think one of the fun things about a compilation book is how much the projects can range in complexity, color, size, and design. In Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe, the reader gets to learn about each designer because we highlight each of their blogs along with their projects. The designers also include their own tips for topics such as improvisational piecing, pressing, using negative space, working with solids, stitching curved seams, and much more.

Everything's Coming Up Rainbows quilt by Krista Fleckenstein
“Everything’s Coming Up Rainbows” by Krista Fleckenstein

This book was a joy to work on. I met many wonderful designing bloggers, and it has been inspiring to watch their careers continue to grow throughout the last couple of years. Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe was my first foray into the blogosphere, but it definitely wasn’t my last. I highly recommend that every quilter take a trip to the blogging universe soon.

More quilts from Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe:

Quilts from Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe
“Improv Color Blocks” by Kati Spencer; “Lanterns in the City” by Audrie Bidwell

 Quilts from Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe
“Knots” by Natalia Bonner; “Scattered” by Alison Harris

Quilts from Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe
“Jigsaw” by Amy Ellis; “Petal Pod” by Jessica Kovach


Thanks for sharing this special peek into the creation of MQBU, Karen!

What have you found most fascinating about the modern-quilt movement? Share your perspective in the comments and you could win a copy of the Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe eBook PLUS the beautiful stack of KONA Cotton Solids from Robert Kaufman Fabrics! We’ll choose a winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win.

Comments are closed for this post.

Thanks to all who entered the drawing! The randomly chosen winner is Joanne, who writes:

“I have noticed the benefits of the modern quilting movement. I was in my local quilt shop the other day and noticed the change in the customers. There seems to be an awakening in new and experienced quilters. The use of colors and negative space has given me a fresh perspective. It is important to keep qulting alive and interesting for future generations.”

Joanne, we’ll email you about your prize. Congratulations!

Visit each blogger from the MQBU blog tour to learn the inside scoop about each quilt:


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