Island Batik Challenge – Modern Quilts

fullsizeoutput_1179.jpegI am pleased to show you my first modern quilt – designed and executed by me. The fabric and Hobbs thermore batting and some Aurifil threads were given to me by the Island Batik company – thank you very much!

So, the challenge was to create a quilt that was modern, which should include some of the following properties:

 the use of bold colors and prints,
high contrast and graphic areas of solid color,
improvisational piecing,
expansive negative space, and
alternate grid work

I took to EQ8 to experiment and loved this little drawing I came up with. I didn’t have quite enough of one purple, so used two…no harm done.  The quilt as designed met quite a few of the \ the requirements:  graphic, negative space, high contrast and minimalism.


Testing out the green strip

I knew there was a reversal, but kept convincing myself that I could make the same block and twist it around the center. NO NO NO. That was absolutely wrong. So, I remade two blocks, one the right way one not. What can you do?

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I thought about changing the design and asked for some opinions – you can see the options above. One was off center, one was adding more space between the blocks and the last was just continuing on and that is what I did.  I choose to stick with as designed, however, I liked some of the other options so will try again.


Thank you DH for holding my quilt (check out the clear Maine sky!).

What did I learn? I loved the block and the design process.  Constructing the block presented more trouble than I expected.  I carefully measured and marked things to keep the lines together.  I was using a bigger block because they were 2.5″ strips.  What I found was that  I have to learn how to understand the reversed blocks! The other thing I learned is that pondering makes a project that was designed in May stretch out until the end of June.


Close up of center quilting

The quilting was fun. I secured the blocks with in the ditch sewing, using Superior Mono-poly.  Then I started from the center out, using an Aurifil 50 wt. #1148. I really liked doing the intense quilting in the center, but, didn’t want to call attention to the one block that is off.   Next,  I quilted the purple a little more intensely than the green would be quilted.! wanted to emphasize the green strips but not in such a dense motif.  fullsizeoutput_116fThen, the binding.  I could have done a facing, but this may be used a baby quilt, so I wanted to have a binding.  There wasn’t quite enough of anything for a standard or traditional binding.  Well, the materials dictate the result sometimes, and a pieced binding it is.  The teal was my favorite color so I had enough of two kinds to almost get around.  The purple was the second favorite, so a smidge of that would work (lower left in this picture)!  Voila – it is finished.


I still love the pattern and have an idea about a different, and maybe easier way to do it.    Dreaming about other ways of doing things, or easier ways to create a design, is part of the creative process.  I am pleased with the result – different from the plan – but enough like it to make me smile.

Thanks to all who commented and encouraged me and special thanks to Island Batik, Hobbs and Aurifil.  I loved the challenge and look forward to revisiting this effort in the near future.

Linking up:

Tish n Wonderland – UFO Busting

Mmm! Quilts – TGIFF

Disclaimer: *Links with asterisk indicate an affiliate link and as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Your price is not any different, but a small percentage of the sale will go to supporting my blog.


  1. June 30, 2018 / 9:31 AM

    You definitely should be pleased with the outcome! I love the quilt, as well as your description of the process. Isn’t it fun to see a quilt go from design to fabric? And oh, that clear blue Maine sky makes me want to go back!

    • June 30, 2018 / 1:52 PM

      Thanks, Wendy. It has been blissful here – cool breezes and nights. The heat is rolling in for this week. I am pleased with it and had a good time. Learned a couple of things about me and keeping things going during this! I am loving having more time here, this summer. Hope you have a lovely 4th – ours will be a quiet one on the island. No parties, but fireworks in Portland, across the harbor. I walk to the end of the street to watch them….

  2. June 30, 2018 / 10:49 AM

    Hi Kathleen,
    I just LOVE how this turned out. I does look very modern, and it looks rather simple and difficult at the same time. I also LOVE how you quilted it! I find it daunting to have so much negative space and how to fill it, and I think you did a fabulous job. Happy Saturday! ~smile~ Roseanne

    • June 30, 2018 / 1:54 PM

      Thank you, Roseanne. I so appreciate the love, and yes, it was bth of those things. I agree about being daunted by negative space – especially when I am not on the machine that quilts the best. Enjoy your weekend!

  3. June 30, 2018 / 1:36 PM

    Wonderful, Kathleen! I love how you made the purple bars go out into the borders. The quilting really emphasizes the right parts of the quilt, too. BTW, that sky is beau-tea-full!!!

    • kathleenquilts
      June 30, 2018 / 1:59 PM

      I liked the quilt much better when the bars were extended. Figuring out the quilting was fun, and challenging, as I am not on my best sewing machine in Maine. Yes, the skies are gorgeous here, and the weather is quite lovely.

  4. June 30, 2018 / 6:47 PM

    It’s a great result and I love the way you quilted it. It looks awesome on that chair

    • June 30, 2018 / 6:59 PM

      Thank you, Lisa. My husband really loves it so it may go in our cottage.

  5. July 1, 2018 / 2:20 PM

    I think the finished quilt is amazing, Kathleen! I think that it came together to make a really lovely design and I’d love to see you explore the idea more.

    • kathleenquilts
      July 1, 2018 / 4:00 PM

      You are so sweet, Yvonne. I am pleased with it, and do want to work a little more with the “alternate method” to see if I can get closer to what I wanted. Its funny, I am pretty good at math, and some things don’t bug me but I got totally flummoxed by the reversal! And, had I been using a smaller block and more fabric…it would have been easier… Thank you again for your encouragement.

  6. July 2, 2018 / 3:30 PM

    Congrats on finishing this very cool, very modern little quilt! I especially appreciate that you shared so much of your process with us. It’s fascinating to me to hear how other quilters approach things, and what they like and dislike. That’s what makes for a blog worth following :)

    • kathleenquilts
      July 2, 2018 / 9:04 PM

      I am glad you like my first attempt. It was a struggle in ways it shouldn’t have been, but I am pleased with the outcome. Good to know what people like – I try to always learn something and share something about it with each project.

  7. July 3, 2018 / 5:20 PM

    Love seeing this up close! The way you quilted the centre is awesome and I think this is an excellent modern baby quilt which would sell in a blink if you were leaning that way. Yay for a brilliant design brilliantly executed from drawing to fabric!

  8. July 5, 2018 / 8:41 PM

    Love the modern design! It really turned out well.

    • kathleenquilts
      July 5, 2018 / 9:07 PM

      Thanks, Sandy. I really enjoyed stretching my ideas and coming up with something that was mine. Its fun thinking of what the next step on the design can be too – working until you get what you want and can share.

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