Sew Together Bags and Random Thoughts





In real time, I'm facing the daunting task of basting my Moda Building Blocks quilt. (I've decided that I'm not going to call it 'Modern' Building Blocks, because in my humble opinion, a Sampler quilt is not really a modern quilt.  Am I the only one getting tired of everything being called 'Modern' just to sell it to us blogging quilters who supposedly will buy anything if we're assured that it is indeed 'Modern'.)

After that little rant, I'm curious.  Do you think the Moda Modern Building Blocks Pattern is modern?  The blocks are varying sizes, and the layout is not traditional, but the piecing methods and the blocks themselves are very traditional.  I have no desire to open a can of worms, I just find it interesting how we can all see the same item, but interpret it so differently.  I think that is one of the best things about being human, the fact that we can all have a different opinion.  I LOVE hearing people's opinions!  And I love to share mine!

So anyways...as I said above, I'm stalling on basting this massive quilt.  It's one of those tasks that I just have to dive in and DO it, or I could find a hundred excuses for the next month why I can't get it done.

Meanwhile, I remembered that I hadn't showed you these SewTogether bags that I made before Christmas.  I'd heard scary things about them.  I mean, there's four zippers and some fairly thick seams here and there.  I was amazed at how well they went together though!  And they're so nifty!  I think they'd make a great gift, although the recipient must be kinda special.  I think these took me about 2 hours each, so I'm not giving them out as door prizes!

57 comments:

  1. 2 hours is FAST and your fabric combos are awesome, as usual. I would agree that the Moda Building blocks pattern is not modern but I can see why it appeals to the "modern" type of quilter.

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    1. 2 hours didn't include the cutting, and there's a lot of pieces! You're right, I guess the word modern is used to describe most anything that's not traditional.

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  2. I could not make one of these in 2 hours. I think my machine would struggle go through all those layers too. It's a pretty basic model. Jolene, what kind of machine do you use?
    I agree with you and Laurie - I didn't find that quilt pattern to be very modern, more of an update on traditional block quilting.

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    1. I have a Bernina 153,, and yes it rarely balks at thick stuff, although the last step of sewing the binding on this bag was definitely about at it's limit!

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  3. Your bags look super!! 2 hours? I'm pretty sure they'd take me at least 4 each ~ thus my hesitancy to attempt one... Your fabric choices are fabulous (What is the name of that thin black stripe??)
    Maybe they think it's modern because it uses all solids? But, yes, I'm with you.... why can't we just quilt and sew and be happy? ;-)
    Happy stitching ~ Tracy

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    1. That thin black stripe! It's one of my favorite fabrics, and I'll go check the yardage I have left, hopefully it says on the selvege. Ok, it's Authentic by Sweetwater for Moda fabrics. And of course it's long out of print and rather hard to find! I so wish they would reprint this line!

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  4. I think that the layout and colors are modern. I would call this more of a traditional-modern quilt. That's what my style is at least. More traditional blocks used in new and modern ways. But I hate the idea of putting a label on something. I make what I love. I don't care if it's "modern" or not.

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  5. I'm with Jennifer, I make what I love.
    Do I think that would be accepted into quiltcon? (The unofficial arbiter of what is truely modern - ahem), No. (No negative space...) Does it matter? No. Will I make one? No, but I didn't like samplers when I started quilting 20 years ago, so slapping the modern label isn't going to change my mind. (I like secondary designs, so with the need for negative space, I may not be all that modern anyway.)

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    1. Funny, I've never liked samplers either, but they did something right on this one because I do like it!

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  6. I think it has a modern edge to it. Or it is on trend or something. It's just a nice layout for a sampler and I like it.
    I say it is what is, it ain't what it aint and stop making it out to be what it isn't. :)
    as far as those sew together bags.. you make me want to jump on that bandwagon!

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  7. Your bags turned out great and you are speedy at 2 hours! Took me quite a while to make one - they are a neat little bag though and definitely worth the effort. The Moda quilt, to me, is a sampler quilt and there are many, many antique examples of samplers with varying sizes of blocks out there. Making the large blocks extra large and out of solid fabrics doesn't magically make it modern. Of course, things modern quilters were labeling "modern" at the very beginning of the movement weren't so new and modern either :-) People need to label things I guess. Whatever - I'd never try an argue with anyone about it, that's for sure. I do think that modern is getting slapped on a lot to sell it though from fabric prints to patterns to magazines that aren't so different from similar things that aren't labeled as such.

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    1. I'm second guessing my timing on those bags! I guessed at two hours, but maybe it was longer? I know that time didn't include cutting...

      As far as modern or not, I'm with you on not venturing into arguing what fits into that category! It's just the use of the word as a descriptive term for anything slightly different than traditional that bugs me!

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  8. I'm currently making the modern building blocks quilt as part of my local quilt shops block of the month. I've never made anything like it... Oh my goodness lining up points and having everything turn out the same size is hard! That's said I would have just deleated the email from my LQS if it hadn't said modern. I've seen their sampler quilts in past years and they were VERY tradition with fabrics not to my taste at all. For me adding modern to the label worked in my favor :) and it's certainly making me try something I never would have before; both the quilt and joining in on the project with my local shop.

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    1. I agree on matching all those points! I think the fact that I'm not a stickler on perfect matching seams made it less hair raising for me. Interesting that you mention how the modern word grabbed your attention. Obviously the marketing department knows what they're doing, right?!

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  9. Maybe we should all start using a capital letter or quotation marks to distinguish the term "Modern Quilt" quilts from just regular modern quilts. I don't think "Modern Quilts" are necessarily all that modern anyway. They should have picked a better term! I use the the word modern for anything I find new, innovative or current.

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    1. I know! I like all the quilts, I'm just tired of the word 'Modern'!

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  10. your sew together bags look amazing. Love the fabrics you chose, perfection for sure :)

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  11. I would say it's "transitional' because of the lack of symmetry and use of the solids. I think it's hard to define modern, although I don't have trouble identifying what is traditional. I recently read a list of characteristics that determined just what a modern quilt is, and I thought that there were exceptions to every "rule". I guess some of it is in the eye of the beholder.

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    1. The definition is in the eye of the beholder. You are so right!

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  12. I think that's its a modern twist on a traditional sampler. The thing I like the best about it is the mix of different sizes of blocks and the layout of the quilt. I think the colors in the example quilt also helped Moda to be able to label it as modern. I love sampler type quilts--they challenge me to try a block that I normally might not otherwise make (Making one is much less daunting than a whole quilt). Also I love sampler quilts to make on a schedule--making one block a week or a month is a do-able task for me. I'm a procrastinator--if I have a huge project and the blocks are monotonous, I will put off sewing!!

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  13. Those bags are awesome! Love the fabrics you selected too. Nice binding choices! Sounds like a pattern I would enjoy trying too.

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  14. Thank you once more for actually saying something in your blog instead of simply being a mouthpiece for the marketing department. That Building Blocks quilt just makes me feel like the 18 month old quilter that I am, and although I'm keen to see yours it just makes me want to make a wonky cross quilt.

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  15. LOL modern has lost all it's meaning, or at least, its being defined and redefined so often that I think "modern" is whatever appeals to the mostly young newer quilters who are driving the blogosphere and newer fabric designs that are more on-trend and less reproduction. I actually worry that many bloggers are so busy providing free marketing for fabric companies and stores that they no longer have time to sew.
    This quilt is not modern by anyones definition that I know of. It does include solid fabrics and is made in trendy colors. I love modern quilts, I love traditional quilts, and I love this quilt too and am making it in cotton and steel fabrics. I doubt any of my quilts will ever make it into Quilt-Con but not because they aren't modern as the MQG defines them. But because I am only an online member. I'm feeling like you have to know somebody to get in. But I will probably keep trying anyway! Love your bags.

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  16. First off, beautiful bags! That AMH sundial print is a fave of mine. Secondly, when I first saw the "modern" building blocks I thought it was far from modern. I think a better word would be contemporary. I'm tired of the word modern for this current quilting movement/revival. I am happy quilting has reached a new/wider audience and younger generations will be carrying on the tradition but just because something isn't made with mauve and cornflower blue fabrics does it make it modern.

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  17. I think the solids used in the MBBQ makes it "modern" but the blocks themselves definitely are not. If you used 30's fabrics to make this quilt, it would be decidedly "un-modern".
    Love the SewTogether bags. Every time I see one, I get closer to making one.

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  18. Two hours! My first one took about 8; by the time I got to my seventh one, I was down to less than six hours. Guess I need to come visit and watch you make yours! As to the "Modern" building blocks quilt, I believe that refers to the fabrics they chose for the blocks, and the size differences and placement of the blocks. Even though the block patterns are traditional, I don't think of this quilt as traditional at all.

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  19. Well, I think one of the characteristics of "modern" quilting is that everyone gets to define it for herself. I certainly agree that it's overused, and I don't agree with all of its uses. But I hate to see the "modern" quilting limited as it is by the various definitions out there, too. I say live and let live--if you want to call something modern (or not), that's up to you.

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  20. I'm guessing also that it's the layout and the solids. I consider this "modern traditional" in the vaguest of senses - leaning more towards the traditional. This marketing thing is annoying, and I kind of feel a bit stifled by all of the *new* coming out all. the. time! New is great, but it's gotten so hard to keep up!

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  21. Please tell me what you use those bags for! I keep seeing them pop up everywhere and I adore them but I'm trying to think of a use that would justify me buying the pattern :) yours are stunning!

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  22. TWO HOURS? It takes two hours to interface the damn thing.

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  23. I do think the Moda Building Blocks quilt is modern. In any "transitional" quilt like this, I think you have to weigh the modern elements against the traditional ones. There are several modern elements here (solids, asymmetry, varied size blocks), and only one traditional element (the block designs). So I for one come down on the modern side. : ) I would hate to think that JUST using a traditional block automatically precludes a quilt from being modern! (But I agree with you wholeheartedly about the "modern" marketing machine.)

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  24. Two hours?I would like a massage on a massage bed~bonlife

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  25. They took you two hours? I've been procrastinating for months because of all the "these take days to make " comments out there. Ok, I have to try them now. :)

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  26. I haven't made that bag yet...I made the other one with 5 zippers...oy vey!!
    Modern. What I think is modern, others don't. Modern has become a generic title. I get worked up about it every once in a while (like you). But I also realize its subjective! Using solids doesn't make modern...IMO!

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  27. Love your bags, but I couldn't assemble one in 6 hours, let alone 2! Great fabric choices! Thank you for voicing what I've been feeling lately about the whole "modern" thing. I don't think anyone would call the Amish modern for using solids, I made a sampler with different sized blocks in the late 90's, and some of the original "art quilters" (remember everyone getting their panties in a bunch over THEM trying to crash the party) used assymetry to its best advantage. I agree that the label "modern" has turned into just another slick marketing gimmick designed to sell more fabric. Who doesn't have a line these days? I admit to being drawn to some of the brighter colors, as I quilt for young girls in the family, but I don't consider myself modern at all. I appreciate good design and use of fabric regardless of how you label it.

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  28. I love those bags! They look fantastic, with so many compartments for all the stuff.

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  29. I have no opinion on all this modern thing but these bags on the other hand... they are GORGEOUS. I think they are both my favorite amongst all the ones I've seen. I was not interested by this pattern but these might have sold it to me.

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  30. I love your Sew Together Bags - and can't believe the short amount of time you made them in. They are a challenge!! 5-10 years ago I noticed how few younger people were getting involved in quilting and so I have been thrilled with the movement that has brought them in and the infusion of fresh new ideas, fabric design, blogs and idea sharing, etc. I've grown tired of the word "modern" however, and even think we spend too much time trying to label it or put it in a box, and rather see what is going on today simply as "contemporary". What we saw 10 years ago was contemporary then and what we see 5 years from now will be contemporary then. Hopefully we will see a continuing influx of new ideas to generate interest for years to come. I feel like I have lots of choices today and can work with a number of different styles depending on my mood. We are so fortunate to have this craft and the community that is a part of it. And thank YOU so much for all your idea sharing. I have several things on my to-do list as a result of your inspiring work!

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  31. I agree, modern is overused and has been for some time now. I think something can be current, whether through fabrics or the sense of color play, and something can be a stylistic throwback, but "modern" is becoming ridiculous.

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  32. Love these! I'm a member of some guilds, both traditional and Modern with a capital M and just from the reading I've done the past year (gee's bend quilts, Roderick kiracoifes sorry I can't spell unconventional quilts, and Sujata shah's quilt fusion) there's not much new in the modern quilt movement that hadn't been done before. The only thing I can think of are quilts that are mixed media or incorporate lights--I've seen a few of those. I feel very opinionated about this topic. It is interesting that I so much wanted to be a part of modern quilting but the more I learn about the history of quilts, the more I think of design as a continuum, not divisible into separate categories. Sometimes I think
    Modern is more taste than actual design elements. Trisch Price's book is probably the best way to "see" all the elements of modern quilting employed in a quilt, but again, it's not as if any of those elements are completely new and never seen before in the past.

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  33. Gorgeous! But two hours? I think I might need two days!!!

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  34. I'm pretty tired of the whole modern-the-aesthetic-style vs modern-because-it's-on-trend thing. Or if it's not modern aesthetic its traditional and vice versa. I think the MMBB can go either way in feel. Maybe for Moda it's pretty modern-ish. Either way, yours looks so cool!

    Very nice bags, on the other topic. I recently got one as a gift so I must be very special to someone. :)

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    1. PS - I just posted photos of a wedding gift quilt for my WWII bride grandmother. The quilt is 70 years old and ALL SOLIDS. What's old is new again?

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  35. This reminds me of some of the spats I see on Youtube. Is it Drum'n'bass? House? Bass 'n' bass?Who cares what you call it. Your work is lovely whatever the label.

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  36. I've made some SewTogether Bags and was surprised at how easy they were to assemble when they look so scary! Your fabric choices take your bags to new heights, I say. As to modern vs. traditional....I'd rather spend my time creating a "modern traditional" quilt than debating which type of quilt is it. That whole "which camp are you in" is divisive and unnecessary. We all love quilting and we all have our own way of doing things. Get on with it, quilters. Quilt!

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  37. I love them! I love your gold zips and your fabric choices. You have inspired me to make one!

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  38. Are some of your thoughts missing? Everyone is talking about 2 hours' and the Sew Together bags but when I read your blog post it starts with four images of the Sew Together bags and then you start talking about the Moda thingy which is (in my book) not massively modern and I would agree with your 'rant'... Although it's not really a rant, just an expression of your own personal opinion which you should feel comfortable doing. End of my rant ;-)

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  39. I like the fact that there is a word for quilts that are modern. I tend to be inspired by this look much more than the traditional quilt. When I'm looking for a new idea/ pattern I'll type "modern quilt" in pinterest or wherever and get a lot of ideas.

    That said, the line is pretty blurry and I appreciate handmade things in general. Just the fact that people still take the time to sit down and make things in this day and age is great.

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  40. This was such an interesting post. I made three sew-together bags for my grandchildren, including one for a 3-year-old, which I'm sure he REALLY appreciates. Haha. The older two loved them and I knew he would feel totally left out if he didn't have one as well. While I can't say they were fun to make, I did enjoy the different fabric combinations and now would like to make another one just for me.

    I also completed the Moda building blocks quilt, all out of Ghastlies and Halloween-ish fabrics. And I'm not even a Halloween fan. I really love the quilt, though! And I just photographed it in the Fresno fog this morning. Ooh, spooky.

    That being said, I would not call the quilt pattern modern. Perhaps it was the solid fabrics that the first quilt was made in that "qualified" it for that designation? However, I find the so-called modern movement has an increasingly difficult time defining what and who they are, as well as an understandable definition of "modern." I'm going to QuiltCon next month (my quilt was rejected even though it had lots of negative space, was made in solids, etc.) so the quilt show will be interesting.

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  41. I agree that there is nothing Modern about traditional blocks put together in whatever combination to make a quilt. Maybe it should be called "Currently Trendy". I have had this same discussion with myself when I see a "new" pattern by a designer that is nothing more than a traditional block set in a particular way. Then the designer calls it their design. If you look through books that have lots of antique quilts pictured you will see many that could be mistaken for what they are calling "Modern" today. What I find to be Modern are some of the newer placements of colors on some of the traditional patterns. One that comes to mind that I have seen recently was a modern take on the Double wedding Ring. The fabrics were placed in a way that was just beautiful. I like all quilts. Old, New and Modern.

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  42. Kudos to all for being able to discuss this topic - showing respect for different opinions and for some reason I feel like we are really listening to each. Makes for informative, interesting reading!

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