Sunday, February 16, 2020

Love of Quilting March, April 2020

I've been writing a series of articles for the magazine Love of Quilting about recent quilt history to celebrate their 20th anniversary. In the March/April issue I have a short article comparing trends 40 years ago to what is happening today.

We've seen a couple of significant changes in techniques and design. One is the use of rotary cutters, introduced 41 years ago.
Castle Keep by Jinny Beyer, 1979-1981

Another is the shift in emphasis on the quilt block. I showed quilts by several influential people from the 1980s and how they developed secondary patterning, looking outside the square.

Colorado Log Cabin by Judy Martin, 1985

The articles are short so I get space for just a few pictures.
Here's another by Judy Martin.

Card Trick by Jeff Gutcheon, 1973 

I remember very well taking workshops from these innovators as we explored secondary patterning,  repeating seam lines but not shading. What happened when you alternated darks and lights? Shaded the lightest blocks in the center and darkest around the edges? Fragmented blocks into borders?

Goose Junction by Kimberly Sandberg

Today: The Block rules in isolation as you can see from this currently fashionable quilts patterned in the same issue.

Another by Denniele Bohannon. Pinafores & High Tea.

Bonnie Leman, editor at Quilters Newsletter Magazine, 1982
with an interconnected two-block star quilt by Judy Martin, Daisy Chain
Hard to find the star.


  1. What alway gets me about that era is the thick polyester batting vs. the move back to cotton more currently. I hadn't really thought about the way the blocks make a secondary design or stand on their own. You always have such insightful info.

  2. I know I'm getting old when I remember all those things ... and my first rotary cutter was 41 years ago. =) But it's great to look back at all the quilts in that time. I started quilting about 1970, in earnest, though I'd dabbled a little as early as 1965. How nice to see these intermediate steps between where I started and where things are today. So many wonderful brands of things available now that weren't then! So many shortcuts and rulers and patterns made easy. Thanks for this article.

  3. It is indeed fun to look back. I remember resisting the temptation to buy a rotary cutter for way too long. I finally gave in and they immediately came out with a larger size. I think it was another 5 years before I gave into that temptation as well. I don't subscribe anymore, so I will look for this issue.

  4. I've enjoyed your articles very much. My only complaint would be - you need to be given a couple more pages! I pick up old QNM issues as I find them. It's so fascinating reading the older issues (1970s-80s) and seeing how things have changed. And yet in so many ways, other than tools like rotary cutters & rulers, there's not much new in the quilting world.

  5. I recently acquired a Quiltmaker Magazine printed July 1979, volume 81. That is earlier than any others that I KNOW that I have. It is interesting to look through and see how quilt making has changed: available to send for are metal templates, or card stock ones, to trace around onto the fabric with a pencil … then add seam allowances, before cutting and piecing them together. SEW much has changed. And the new techniques are so much easier and quicker now than just those few years ago.

  6. What a great read. I recall being too nervous at first to even buy a rotary cutter as that thing looked lethal. Thanks for this. However what got me the most excited was when I read this (blog post) heading and initially thought it meant there was to be a "Love of Quilting March" in April 2020! I was ready to book a flight so I could join in!

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