Defining Modern Quilting: Negative Space & More!

As modern quilters we are always defining ourselves in our quilts in method, fabric and design.  This fluctuates as our learning curve increases and as we grow as a person so do we grow in our quilting. The roots are that we Quilt!  At our last executive meeting we were discussing the many ways that Modern Quilts are interpreted and defined, as Tara’s presentation from last month showed us,  there are so many facets that we decided to  centre on Jacquie Gering and her definition. Every month for the next few meetings we will be talking, discussing and challenging members with these definitions. 

At our June meeting Tara talked of Negative Space and how important that is to a quilt. * note: not all Modern Quilts have negative space * 

Negative Space Elements of Modern Quilting:

Focus on negative space, i.e. background which can be any colour, take advantage of doing “fun” things, the shape pops out, can be a big chunk of the quilt or peppered all over. You can write a message, include images, go crazy with the quilting and can be “swiss cheese” inside piecing so background pops through. Quilts can have both modern and traditional components. Both are good but not the same, like hot dogs and hamburgers. Solid negative space blocks within modern blocks are still modern, just not expansive. Planned elements, not empty space, take planning as empty space should be part of the design. Negative space is effective with dense quilt. Negative space can be made up of multiple low volume fabrics using similar tones/hues.

Here are some members quilts for example:

Defining Modern Quilts: Negative Space

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In other exciting presentations this month’s Features Quilter was Heather. She started quilting in 1991 in Sudbury and the progression of her quilts is amazing. Her first class was in 1991 at the Board of Education quilting where she got hooked ( or quilty should we say ? lol ) . She showed us 25 quilts that she has made over the years including an antique quilt and a prize winning wall hanging.

Not all of them are featured here yet the ones that are featured are WOW!!!

Heathers Trunk Show


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The front of the quilt and the back of the quilt. Very innovative!


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During Heathers presentation she talked of Flange binding and there was a lot of interest from members wanting to know what it is and how to make it. Hopefully we will have a mini presentation during our September meeting on how to make a flange binding!


In other business we do not have a Featured Quilter for July, September or October. It was suggested that instead we ask each member ( for the July meeting only) to bring in a modern quilt that they’ve previously brought in. Quite often at meetings, especially if you didn’t get here early to see what is on the Show & Tell Table, you did not get to ask questions to the Maker on their technique or to look further at a quilt during break time. We figured this was a good way to see something that piques your interest again and perhaps your progression of Modern Quilts will mean that you are ready to try something new!!! 

It was really nice to see a table at the entrance to our meeting. On this table you will find your badges, paper work for quilts you may be showing at the meeting, either Challenges or Show and Tell. Also tickets can be purchased for our nightly 50/50 draw. 

Also at our meeting it was announced that in December your yearly fee to be a member of the Modern Quilt Guild will go up to $45 a year for 2019. Since  the MQG raised their annual fees it was needed to offset that cost to our Guild. We don’t do major fundraising within our Guild and would prefer not to go that route. The general consensus is that this is fair. The surplus from the Libs Elliott workshop/cancelled trunk show is being used towards the expenses for this event. It is the executive’s intention to have workshops as revenue neutral. 

Megan gave us the comments she received for her quilt that was juried into Quilt Canada 2018. These comments were 75% positive and 25% constructive criticism. 

Dorothy had 3 pieces accepted into Quilt Canada including “Highway of Tears” which won 2nd place and was made by the Material Girls. Heather read the judges comments. 

Our Cheryl Arkinson workshop on Friday Nov 9th was discussed at great length as we are triple hosting her with Ancaster MQG and Burlington’s Sewing Etc. store. Registration was taken at break time and we have a healthy number of people signed up! There are still some spaces available to sign up for our workshop. Our members are also welcome to take a workshop with either Ancaster and/or Burlington and should talk to Lorna at the next meeting to discuss the details. 

Challenges:* Note: Thank you to Barbara for pointing out that we do not have a special place for Challenges to be posted. If you notice at the top of this page that lists Home:About:Membership:Meetings:Contact Us, there is now a tab that lists Challenges * 

July – Buttons 

September – Negative Space

October – House Block challenge 

Finishing off our meeting was Stephanie doing a fantastic slide presentation of some Negative Space quilts to give members some visuals too. It was super to discuss these too. Thanks Stephanie! 


Triangles Challenge


Tori: This is a Kate Spain jelly roll pattern “Hopscotch” by Thimleblossoms. I made this quilt in 2014 for my daughter Kaitlyn’s “big girl” bedroom. 



Sharlene: This was made for a teacher that my girls have had for 4 consecutive years. Most of the sewing of the top was done by my girls since they wanted a great of involement in the construction. It is made with wovens. I quilted it in a general dot to dot format!



Lindsay: Prismatic Medallion. I made this as part of a Tula Pink Swap. It’s a pattern I’ve wanted to try for awhile and finally had a reason with this month challenge. Love it was the Rainbow!



Lorna: This is my own design for Niagara Heritage Quilters Guild community quilt challenge. 


Stephanie: This was made with Cotton & Steel fabric and the pattern was free online. I bought it as a kit from Modern Bee. 


Margaret: This quilt is called Island Tattoo and is made with crazy triangles. 




Janie: I’m teach quilting classes at my home and one lady – a beginner – came with a triangle pattern that she wanted to make. This is the quilt I made to demonstrate the technique. I pulled red, golds and blacks from my stash to make it and using 6″ and 12″ triangles. 176 of THEM !!! 

Show & Tell




Ann: This grey quilt was designed by me using fabrics dyed by me for a challenge with the Grimsby Guild. Using crayons to match the fabric.  The baby quilt ( shown above ) was designed by me using a min-charm pack and I stretched the fabric to make a decent size by adding the grey. Both were hand quilted by me. 


Suzanne: Embrace the Chaos from Libs workshop. Libs pointed out how to turn one unit to make a heart!



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Karen: I took Lorna’s lovely Limitless Class at Kindred Spirits and was it was inspiring. I tackled big stitch quilting, walking foot “Shattered”, appliqué and matching stick quilting for the first time. Thanks Lorna!


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Megan: Megan made 3 tiny appliqué houses on a purse and also 2 hand quilted coaster/mug rugs * note: we will miss Megan. This was her last meeting with us as she is moving away but we hope she comes back to visit often and brings some of her amazing unique quilts to show * Good Luck with any new Guild that you join Megan, they will be lucky to have you * 


Barbara: This quilts name is Downtown Underground. It’s an original design and is machine quilted by me. It has cottons, metallics and was a guild challenge for Niagara Heritage Quilters. I don’t know if it’s modern. 

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Marilyn: The first quilt is Let Er Rip and was a fabric challenge. 8 pieces of various sizes, the largest being 1/2 metre and the smallest 4″ square. The 8 participants had different quantities of each fabric. Improved piecing inspired by Ricky Tim’s convergence Quilts. Appliqué on the flowers and shadows.  The second quilt is called Feed Me and was a 3 dimensional challenge. Trapunto trunk and branches, coiled nest was stuffed and a painted Mother bird and babies. 


Lorna: This is a Sew Kate Sew pattern and is a gender neutral quilt. 






Kathleen: The Quilt name is Downtown via the Burgoyne Bridge. Designed and Quilted by me for the Niagara Heritage Challenge. 



Leigh: this is McCalls Pattern with blue and beige batiks. It’s a gift for a friend in Nova Scotia  and the blues remind me of the ocean waves. It was long arm quilted by Susan Therrien





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