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Up Close: Traditional vs. Modern Quilting

What makes a quilt modern? Are there aspects of traditional quilting found in the modern quilt movement? Can modern and traditional quilters coexist? 

Who better to ask to compare modern vs. traditional quilting than modern quilter, Jacquie Gering. Jacquie taught classes at Road 2014 and served as one of the judges for the new Modern Quilt category.

Jacquie came in to quilting following a career in education. She taught elementary through high school, where reading was her specialty. She was also a high school principal. It was while researching the ladies of Gee’s Bend that quilts first appealed to her. From reading the ladies’ books, hearing them speak and sing, she felt their “spirit” and wanted to be a part of the quilting world. That was 6 years ago. Since that time, she has developed a sense for modern quilting

Jacquie believes modern quilting is just traditional quilting mixed up. They differ by how they use

Clean Linesclean lines

 Negative SpaceBest Use of Negative Design

Grid WorkModern Piecing

Traditional quilting aims for balance while modern quilting gives the feeling of balance. There is definite structure to traditional quilting with its rows and columns. Modern quilting has structure that is hidden. It is disguised through its asymmetry.

In the end, Jacquie differentiates the two styles by saying with modern quilting, “imperfect is good.” Her goal as a modern quilter is to be “perfectly imperfect.”

Whatever you preference, traditional or modern, there is a place for both techniques in the quilting world.


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