Modern Traditionalism

Sometimes the idea of a modern quilt can be overwhelming, especially with so many variations of modern out there! I’m so glad to be a part of the quilt along hosted by Simple Simon and Company. Today I have some examples of Modern Traditionalism from my work, and I was inspired to make a new quilt just for this quilt-along! I think it’s great the way that they have structured the quilt-along so that you can make what inspires you in each category.

I’ve designed lots of quilts, and love to take inspiration from our quilting heritage to make something new that suits me and our home today. There’s not much that doesn’t inspire me, different fabrics, or just the play between blocks. I love it all, and look forward to starting the next project every time!

Hyperspeed by Amy Ellis -
Chic Mania from Modern Heritage Quilts by Amy Ellis -

The quilts above, l-r, Hyperspeed, Chic Mania, and Dimensions.

Hyperspeed is made up of traditional nine-patch blocks, but they are all varying sizes. I designed this quilt very purposefully, with a grid of big to small blocks. The centers are darker in the center of the quilt than they are on the outside of the quilt. This gives the quilt the effect of going into a tunnel. It just happened to be snowy when I finished, and I loved the open backdrop.

Chic Mania is from my fifth book, Modern Heritage Quilts. The goal of the whole book is to make traditional blocks in fresh, scrappy fabrics, and update the layouts for a modern feel. This quilt uses three sizes of the same block, in a medallion layout.

Dimensions is simple hour-glass blocks repeated. The color arrangement adds depth and movement to the quilt, making it special.

The Comfort Quilt from Modern Heritage Quilts by Amy Ellis -
My Wonderland Quilt -
Turnstyle quilt pattern by Amy Ellis in Moda Cross Weave fabrics -

The quilt examples above, l-r – The Comfort Quilt, My Wonderland Quilt, and Turnstyle

The Comfort Quilt is also from my Modern Heritage Quilts book. The cross blocks are made in two sizes, in a scrappy variety of fabrics, adding a bit of whimsy to the quilt. The blocks are then set in rows with large bands of negative space between some of the rows.

My Wonderland Quilt is made from a collection of precut fabrics. Wonderland is one fabric line that I collected and hoarded, and finally made a quilt from! I started with a charm square in the center then added a round of a honey bun or jelly roll strips, then alternated with the final round. The bold colors and sometimes improvised logs give this quilt a modern feel, even though it was inspired by one of the most traditional block patterns.

Turnstyle is based on a traditional block. I enlarged the block and gave it a few new piecing techniques. Each block uses one fat quarter, making it a great project for the fat quarter collections we all have.

Off The Rails in progress by Amy Ellis -
Off The Rails in progress by Amy Ellis -

Off the Rails

I’m calling my new quilt “Off the Rails”. It’s using a traditional rail fence block unit, but taking it to a new extreme! You can see my layout guide for the quilt on the right – the rails are six different sizes and cut at a variety of lengths.

Off The Rails in progress by Amy Ellis -
Off The Rails in progress by Amy Ellis -

So far I’ve cut all the pieces and sewn most into a row, when possible. As I cut, I labeled each piece with the spot that it’s meant to fit into on the layout guide. So far I only had to re-cut two pieces and had enough leftovers in my strip sets to do so. Small victories!

On the right is the top third of the quilt. The rest of the rows are waiting for me to get back to them! I’ll be working on it more this week and weekend with and I can’t wait to share more with you all! I’ll also be sure to add it to the linky that liZ and Elizabeth have set up once complete too.

I hope I offered some inspiration for you, to try your own Modern Traditionalism project! Big or small be sure to add it to the linky over at Simple Simon and Company!

Happy Quilting –


PS – Follow me on Instagram for my current projects!