Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Modern Quilt Guild

Project Modern

Is There Anything New Under the Sun?

Have you heard about The Modern Quilt Guild yet? They are GOOD NEWS for quilting!

I ran across them shortly after the New Year and emailed the founder, Alissa Haight Carlton. Alissa emailed that she and her friend Latifah Saafir had just formally organized the group in October!

(Click on highlighted or underlined words and you will be taken to additional sites for more of the story!)

Alissa had been quilting on her own and communicating with quilters on-line for a couple of years but had very few quilt friends in the "real" world, only the Internet world.

This is a much younger generation of quilters. In fact, from the photos I have seen so far, most appear to be under 40. Yippee! Quilting is alive and well as a new generation once again "reinvents" its take on quilting!

I ask Alissa how they differ from other guilds and she admitted that it is hard to quantify. For the most part they are more "improvisational" than "traditional", yet there are those amongst them who use traditonal patterns but prefer very modern looking fabrics.

Many among them are especially very inspired by Amy Butler, Heather Ross, Anna Marie Horner, Denyse Schmidt and Valori Wells but their love of fabric is by no means limited to just these designers. Valori Wells also has a blog. Keeping up with all these    gals is a real challenge!

If they have one thing in common, though, it is their obsession for fabric! Does that sound familiar or what?!!

I found one statement particularly interesting. Alissa mentioned attending a quilting convention in Long Beach in 2009 and not finding the kind of fabric that she had been seeing on-line. That seemed to be one of the catalysts that spurred she and Latifah to finally get their on-line quilt community organized in a "formal" fashion in October 2009. Eight months later some 73 groups have formed around the globe, including Canada, Australia, Switzerland, the U.K. and Germany!

Let's hear it for the Internet that has brought this younger generation of quilters together to kick-start the next quilt renaissance!

Do take some time to explore their network of websites and see what the younger generation is doing!

Karen in the Islands


Quilter's Home magazine just did an article about this modern quilt movement in their June/July issue.


The Modern Quilt Guild continues to grow by leaps and bounds in many areas of the country.  Click here to read a report about a Kansas group.


Yep, they're still growing!  I asked the following question on the AQSG discussion list last week:

The Modern Quilt Guild (founded 2009) is holding its first international
Modern Quilting conference in Austin TX Feb 2013.  

How do you think this conference will differ from other quilt conferences?  Perhaps it is like the machine quilters who eventually had their own conference separate from "regular" conferences -- like Houston or Paducah?>>

The blurb in QNM also states that the  conference will include a juried "modern quilt show".  Does that mean they will "exclude" certain patterns and styles?  Remember the big controversy in the 1980s about not allowing machine quilted quilts? In the end, instead of excluding the show organizers simply added a new category for judging "machine quilted".

How very interesting for the study of changing quilt history.>>

As a result of my question, we  learned that Pepper Cory had written an in-depth column about this new network of quilters for FabShop Magazine about 18 months ago. 

In addition, Ellen Rushman, a recent graduate of the UNL Quilt Studies program wrote:

I just graduated from the UNL Quilt Studies program after completing my thesis project on...the Modern Quilt Guild!  The aim of my project was to understand what draws people into the group as well as how they contextualize the quilts they make in terms of the art/craft debate.  I interviewed 26 women from seven different guilds across the country.  I concluded that modern quilting is both an attitude and an aesthetic.  The attitude of modern quilting is related to a lack of rules, abundance of personal choice, and desire to make functional quilts.  All the participants in my study embodied this attitude.  The aesthetic of modern quilting - minimalism, improvisation, etc - was not embraced by every participant in my study.  So, the community aspect of the group outweighs the aesthetic of modern quilting for many members.

Also, it appears to be a misconception that the MQG is a predominately young group.  Both the demographic information from my participants as well as they results of a 2011 MQG online survey with over 1000 respondents suggest that modern quilters are a bit older than everyone thinks.  For example, many of the participants in my study were in their 50s, had been quilting for decades, but wanted to try something new. 

If you are interested in reading more about my study, you can download it here: or copy and past this link into your search engine:


  1. Thank you for your link to The Modern Quilt group. Although I do not fall into the young category. It is nice to read and see what young coming through with their own young fresh ideas.

  2. Hi Sue, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to post a response! Alas, I no longer fit into this age category either but just seeing the enthusiasm of these new quilters brings back very happy memories of my own excitement and wonder when I first began quilting and researching quilt history in the early 1980s. My enthusiasm for quilts has never worn off! In fact, I just ordered new license plates for my car which reads "4QUILTS"! The state's name is right at the top of the plate so it looks like its meant to read "WASHINGTON 4QUILTS"