Break free! Go bold! Rethink quilting with Jacquie Gering.

“Break free! Go bold!” That’s what Jacquie Gering wrote in my copy of the book she co-authored with Katie Pedersen, Quilting Modern: Techniques and projects for improvisational quilts. Free? Bold? Yes, exactly! ASG Chicago welcomed Jacquie on Nov. 10 to speak on the topic of modern quilting, fabric choices, design, and techniques. Leaving her corporate job a few years ago, Jacquie took up quilting with a drive like none other. Hundreds of quilts later, she is a strong believer in improvising, trial and error, and using the quilts we make every day.IMG_1315

No stranger to needle and thread, Jacquie explained that she sewed the majority of her clothes growing up. Once she had a job and could buy her clothes, the sewing machine was packed away for year and years. She credits an exhibit on the Gee’s Bend Quilters for igniting the spark in her to dust off her sewing machine and learn to quilt. “I didn’t really know the specifics of how to quilt when I started, but I figured there would be some YouTube video or other online course to watch, and there was!” she said.

By trial and error, Jacquie developed a quilting technique that has earned her respect of modern and traditional quilters across the globe.  Her quilts are full of stories about her life, family, and unabashed fearlessness to look at a traditional pattern in a new way. “There are a lot of categories for quilting now. It’s like art movements. If I were in a category, it would probably be ‘improvisational’ because I respect the traditional patterns and methods, but like to put a new twist on them.”

ModernQuiltMagazineVoice of the Tallgrass Prairie Studio blog, Jacquie is a fairly recent transplant to the Chicago area (from Kansas City), but has made a name for herself within the modern quilting movement for the past few years. In fact, Jacquie and Katie’s book was highlighted in the current issue of Modern Quilting Magazine with a detailed article on their Stepping Stones quilt. For modern quilting, she explained that the technique or movement focuses a lot on solid fabrics and the use of negative space. Modern quilts often do not use borders, which is why bindings are so important. For example, in her tin ceiling quilt that used yards of fabric selvedge, she told the audience that she expected any color to work for the binding, but realized that a linen-cream solid was the only color that didn’t district from the rest of the pattern.

Personally, as a someone who is new to quilting, I found Jacquie’s lecture inspiring. Seeing her deconstructed log cabin quilt not only makes me what to make one, but also learn about the traditional log cabin pattern to understand how Jacquie pulled it apart. And now I am off, to be free and go bold!

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