Q&A with Modern Patchwork Artist Ashley Newcomb

12 Sep 2012

I always love to hear how people began quilting. Did they make their first patchwork quilt at their grandmother's knee? Did they get bored and take a class that led to a passion? Did a friend drag them to a quilt show, and they were hooked?

Ashley Newcomb
For Ashley Newcomb, blogger at filminthefridge.com, creating modern patchwork-style quilts began when her fabric collection got so big she realized she had to do something with them. Does that sound like anyone you know?

Ashley and several other self-styled modern quilters shared their thoughts on modern quilting and how they got started in Modern Patchwork magazine. Today I thought I'd share Ashley's Q&A, which is part of an article by Alissa Haight Carlton on the modern quilting movement.

Q: How long have you been quilting and how did you start?

Ashley: I learned to sew at the end of 2007, when I discovered designer fabrics and started collecting them. I realized that I had better figure out some way to use these fabrics! I spent time browsing Flickr.com and started seeing gorgeous quilts that were unlike any I had seenbright, colorful modern quilts. I made my first quilt top without a pattern. It's colorful and fun.

Q: How has your blog affected your quilting?

ashley newcomb
ashley newcomb patchwork
Samples of Ashley's modern patchwork quilts (detail).
Ashley: Having a blog is such a great way to connect with so many people that I'd never have a chance to meet otherwise. When I began quilting, there were many blogs that opened my eyes to a whole new world of quilting. Without these blogs, I'm not sure I'd have realized this passion of mine. Now it makes me happy to think that my blog can help inspire new quilters.

Q: What do you love most about modern quilting?

Ashley: I love that the sky's the limit in terms of what I could dream up and turn into a quilt. There's freedom in not relying on a pattern and letting the quilt evolve as I make up the various blocks.

Q: What makes you a modern quilter?

Ashley: I describe my quilting style as modern because it's an easy way to distinguish my style from traditional quilting. I like to make quilts that mix and match great fabrics, use a lot of white (or some other solid color), are improvisationally pieced, include some quirky aspects, some wonkiness or small pieced details, and don't necessarily follow any set pattern.

Whether you consider yourself a modern quilter, a contemporary quilter, or a traditionalist with a twist,
you'll find 37 patchwork projects in Modern Patchwork to make using your own favorite fabrics and personal style.


P.S. How did you learn to quilt? Tell me your story below!


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Comments

LAaland wrote
on 13 Sep 2012 6:24 AM

The first quilt I sewed was a "compromise".  I wanted to use the stacks of fabrics left from the high school sewing career of myself, my sister, and my Mom's sewing for my youngest sister. To get Mom to agree to let me use the fabric, I agreed to cut out 3 sets of blocks, 1 for each of us.  My middle sister and I sewed our quilts quite soon after that.  We found the last set of blocks cleaning my Mom's house as she moved to assisted living MANY years later.  Let me think; I might have that set of blocks still waiting to be assembled....Hmmmm.

Lorraine

quiltingG wrote
on 13 Sep 2012 8:00 AM

I HAVE ALWAYS LOVED TO SEW - MY MOM MADE MOST OF OUT CLOTHING WHEN MY SISTERS AND I WERE YOUNG - SHE EVEN TOOK APART AND REMADE CLOTHING TO FIT US - WHEN I WAS PLANNING TO RETIRE 15 YRS AGO,I KNEW I WANTED TO DO SOMETHING ASSOC W/SEWING - MOM MADE QUILTS THE OLD-FASHIONED WAY - BUT WANTED ME TO LEARN THE 'NEW' WAYS TO QUILT - I TOOK A BEGINNER LESSON AT THE LOCAL QUILT SHOP W/A FRIEND OF MINE AND WE HAVE BEEN QUILTING SINCE THEN - TO ME IT WAS LIKE OPENING A BAG OF CHIPS,YOU REALLY CAN'T STOP AT JUST ONE ! - QUILTING HAS BEEN SO MANY DIFF THINGS TO ME - CONNECTIONS,SERVICE AND YES,AT TIMES THERAPY - COULDN'T DO W/O MY QUILTING!

sueqt wrote
on 13 Sep 2012 8:28 AM

MY sisyer Jane & I took our first class in the 1980's from a friend,  I am the oldest, Jane the youngest uf 3 girls. The middle sister did not quilt until she retired. We are all three still quiltimg, very much different in our approaches....... I have one foot firmly in the ART of quilting & the other foot equally firmly in traditional quilting.  I leave it to Jane & Cookie to define their own styles. The first quilts I made for my children were all tied ones, & I made all of the children, boys as well as my daughter, help me tie them.

the funnest thing I am currently working on has dryer lint as batting.

Sue

Karen Amelia wrote
on 13 Sep 2012 9:46 AM

I am mostly self-taught in sewing and quilting. When I was ten and making doll clothes by hand, my father taught me how to use the sewing machine my mother never used. I quickly took to it and sewing was a major part of my life. Many years later (50), I joined a quilting group as a way to make some friends in my new location. I was just crocheting Linus blankets then and soon got hooked on quilting. I had made a quilt for my bed years ago with polyester fabrics and now discovered the great variety of good cotton fabrics now. I made my first new quilt using a pattern from a book by my friend Mimi Dietrich. I now focus on contemporary art quilts and dyeing my own fabric, stamping, screening, etc.  Quilting is now a way of life!

on 13 Sep 2012 9:48 AM

I am 67 years old and 6 children and 9 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren later, I decided I had the time to learn.  I am trying to teach myself as this is a small town and no quilters I know of.  I have completed one quilt top and have 4 cut and ready to sew.  I am hoping before I go to have one made for all my family before I go.  I am short on material and knowledge but I am persistant and I just love to do every phase of quilting.  I do make mistakes, its hard teaching yourself but I am having fun.  

Sonjia

Meg Singer wrote
on 14 Sep 2012 7:01 PM

I learned to quilt at a class at the Franklin Mill Store in Franklin Massachusetts. I made pillows.  I went on to make two quilts for my family reunion. One was everyone's handprint and signature with the different generations in different shades of green. The children like to put their big hands up to their little hand prints. We are glad to have the prints of the people who have passed on. I also made one of photos of everyone at the reunion one year with names underneath. The new comers like this one because it helps them to learn everyone's name! I am exploring art quilting now and love Quilting Arts magazine. thanks,

Meg

madelief2 wrote
on 15 Sep 2012 7:05 AM

The first quilt I made was about a year after I found the whole technique in a book. I was always browsing paper-hobby books in the bookshop when I first saw a quiltbook. I bought it instantly then I started searching for books in the library and only after learning all the books by heart I dared start with fabrics :-) In Holland there is not a real (visible) quilthistory so I don't think I saw (or noticed) a quilt before I saw that book.

Fun Question, I hope a lot will share their story.

neojones wrote
on 15 Sep 2012 9:26 AM

I made my first quilt last year. I had just bought a new sewing machine and was wondering what I could make with it, when quilts caught my eye. At first I did not like the look of traditional quilts and dismissed the idea then I landed on some amazing blogs with modern quilts. I was instantly taken by the idea. I took a beginner quilting class at my LQS, bought Elizabeth Hartman's book on patchwork and made my first quilt using jelly rolls from a tutorial on http://www.purlbee.com Since then I have been hooked.

Lynn Czar wrote
on 15 Sep 2012 10:25 AM

Having been married for a short time, I started quilting due to a tight budget. I wanted a new bedspread that cost $100.00 ( that was a lot of money back in the '70's and the shams were $15.00 each!!!) I went to a fabric store(Joann Fabrics) and looked in the back of the pattern books ( home decor) I think it was Butterick that had a pattern for quilts.  I was hooked! My 1st quilt had very little quilting, in the ditch only. Inspired, and with the leftover scraps from my 1 st project ( you don't throw anything away!) I decided to make my 1st pieced quilt. Again, self taught, this was a present for my husband for Christmas, I wanted to keep him really warm, I doubled the batt, yes ladies, I put TWO batts in this quilt and I hand quilted it!!! The stitches were toe snaggers!!! LOL !!! That was thirty + years! I have learned a lot and enjoyed and am still enjoying the ride of playing with color and design. L.

jvoss wrote
on 25 Sep 2012 9:35 PM

My grandmother and great grandmother made wonderful handmade quilts that I admired from an early age. In 5th grade I made an apron in Girl Scouts and began sewing. It wasn't until much later that a friend talked me into going to a quilt class where I made my first quilted wall-hanging. Not having the patience to finish a large bed quilt, I found small quilts and quilted jackets were a match for my interests...