Fabric love at first sight…

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I love Alison Glass‘s fabric. That’s a fact.

You know that the fabrics in any collection, by any designer or from any company, are designed to work together. I have found that even though I may like a collection, there are only a few fabrics that I actually use. It is a rare thing to find a collection of prints where everything works together as well as these fabrics do. Why is that?

  • In addition to being just luscious, there is a nice mix of values.
  • These particular prints add texture without being distracting. That works really well in both piecing and appliqué.
  • There are both clear colors and gray colors. When used together, clear colors come forward, grayer colors recede. In a quilt, the combination of clear and gray colors adds dimension to the design.

This is what I have right now: a mix of Alison’s Chroma and Handcrafted Indigo collections as well as a text print. It’s a great start but I know I’m going to be adding more AG fabric to this mix because more is obviously better in this case :-).

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If you’ve been reading my blog, you know I’m working on a foundation paper pieced quilt. The first quilt top is sewn and I’m now making variations of the pattern in AG fabric. I don’t want to ruin future surprises but this gives you an idea of how these prints work together in a pieced block.

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One last thing: When I was in St. Louis last week I picked up some give-away scraps of vintage fabric from the guild table. Too many quilters are nervous about mixing vintage-style prints with modern prints. Don’t be! This is a happy stack of fabric that would make a great quilt.

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I don’t often go on and on about fabric on my blog, but these prints are special. You should consider adding them to your stash.

Happy fabric shopping (is there any other kind?).

 

My color class…

After The Quilter’s Practical Guide To Color was published, people asked me to teach a class on color. I’ve been teaching this class for about a year and, judging from student responses, it is one of my very best classes.

This is a no-sew class. Students come with 4″ squares of white paper and 4″ squares of fabric in a variety of colors and values. I begin with a mini-version of my color lecture and then show how I organize fabric for a project. Students organize their own fabric squares and then the fun begins!

I choose a block from  The New Quick & Easy Block Tool and a color combo and everyone quickly mocks up 4 blocks. ‘Quickly’ is key. Thinking too much about color choices can stop a project from ever happening and it’s important to learn to trust your instincts.

Once glued, we put the blocks together on a table. They are flat and it’s hard to see a pattern, so I use my phone to take a photo. It’s always fun to hear the gasp as everyone sees the pattern emerge on the screen.

These photos are from a color class taught at Happiness Is… Quilting in McKinney, TX.

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Grandmother’s Choice Block

Everyone is working from the fabric they brought and it’s a stretch to imagine using them together in a quilt, but it is surprising how well the blocks come together.

We change the layout and take more photos:

Each individual knows what they like and what they don’t. We talk about why some colors/values/settings work better than others. My goal is to empower each student, to make color their friend and ally.

Here is the Homeward Bound block in complimentary reds and greens:

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It’s fun to put different blocks together, just to see what happens.

 

This was a 6-hour class, so there was time to mock up several blocks. As the day went on, everyone loosened up and color decisions come quicker and with more confidence.

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I love this class because quilters who begin the day nervous, leave knowing that color is their friend. Trust me when I tell you that color is your friend too!

PS: If you are a shop or guild and would like to have me come teach, email me. I’m usually booking about 2 years out.

 

Seen on my morning walk…

You just can’t beat a morning walk that includes the ocean. That may be one of the most rejuvenating parts of taking part in an Empty Spools seminar. 

I would happily live in this house…

There were people snorkeling this morning, in wetsuits. And fishing, and taking photos. 

Someday I’ll master the art of the selfie. As it is, at least my nose isn’t huge :-). 


Lots of purple/pink/blue flowers are blooming. Wish these would grow for me in north Texas. 


The quilting fun starts later today. I am looking forward to spending the week with 13 happily sewing women!

Weeding tips…

anudge asked for tips on how I weeded out my stash. Here goes:

I used to keep my linen, vintage, hand-dyes, etc., in their own separate groups. I realized that I forgot about them when I was pulling fabrics for a quilt so I decided to merge all of my fabric.

I emptied the top shelf in my closet. I worked standing up at the long dresser in the bedroom where my fabric lives. I worked with one stack of at a time. I touched every fabric and decided to keep it, or not. The ‘nots’ went into bags.

The keepers were sorted into stacks of solids, lights, mediums, or darks. Where it made sense, I grouped similar shades of a color together. For example I have yellow-greens in one stack and blue-greens in another. I know that my stacks are going to eventually get messed up so I didn’t spend a huge amount of time on this.

Next I pulled my ‘special’ fabrics, sorted them and added them to the cottons in the closet. 1-yard big print pieces that will be used for backings are still separate.

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Let me show you how it works with a much smaller group of fabrics. The back story is that I have been inspired by friends to work on a quilt using Liberty of London fabric. My friend, Kathy (hi Kathy!) sent me a fat quarter bundle from the Liberty shop in London — how cool is that! I do love these fabrics from the bundle…

I don’t love these 4 fabrics. If they were just plain old fabrics in my stash, they’d be gone.

But I’m going to make a Liberty of London quilt and can’t afford to be picky! Plus all the fabrics in the bundle actually do play well together. (It goes to show that you can make just about any fabric work, but that’s another story.)

And the bundle fabrics look really good with my other Liberties…

So what does this mean? It means that there are some fabrics I like and some that I like less. When I have too much fabric, I have to decide what no longer fits. Making decisions is hard and it can wear you out if you over-think it. So I don’t think too much as I’m sorting. I put the cast-offs in a bag so that I’m not tempted to bring them back.

If you have more fabric than I do (and that’s a real possibility) I would suggest tackling one color at a time. If you start with yellow, pull all of your yellows, from everywhere. Put them on a big table or bed. Work through them. Put your tidy stacks on the shelves, ignore the cast-offs, move on to the next color. Don’t give up (you’ll be tempted). Power through it, you’ll be glad you did

 

Christmas pillows…

My DIL, Celia, always puts the cutest Christmas pillows on her sofa and bed. I admit to being inspired! I often buy pillows but you know what? We can sew and pillows are EASY! I made these 2 blocks when I was teaching Pick-Up Sticks (from The Quilter’s Practical Guide To Color) with the idea in mind that they would make a good pillow.

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The four 8″ x 8″ blocks in each of the larger blocks are the same, they are just turned differently. I sewed the blocks together, being careful to leave an opening for stuffing. You could insert a zipper on one side and insert a pillow form if that suits you better.

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I turned the pillow right sides out and pressed with steam, using my new Laura Star iron. (More on that in a future post.) It did not take long to stuff it with polyfil and sew the opening closed.

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I love a fast project! I’m not sure which side I like the best.

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The Santa pillow came from Hobby Lobby. It didn’t look nearly as good in the store as it does on my sofa :-).

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A new look Thru Grandmother’s Window…

Linda has been busy updating our what was our very 1st block of the month, Thru Grandmother’s Window. Isn’t it beautiful!

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Linda also made the original 12-block quilt in 1995, below.

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Linda updated all 12 blocks for the pattern covers, even though she only used 9 of the blocks in her quilt.

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Each pattern includes new yardage, cutting, and border instructions. Color photos of both quilts are included in each pattern, along with a color photo of the new block.

The patterns are available individually or in a set of 12.  Click here to find Thru Grandmother’s Window Downloadable Patterns. I don’t have fabric kits but these colors are readily available in quilt shops and online. I encourage you to go on a fabric hunt.

You saw it here first! I’ll send a newsletter announcing the updated Thru Grandmother’s Window Downloadable Patterns tomorrow. Happy stitching!

Desert views…

Linda and Paul live outside of Buckeye, AZ, and the landscape is beautiful in a flat, dry, desert-y sort of way. The colors are intense and the sky is so big! I like the look of power lines running off into the far distance in the photo below.

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Sun City Festival, the community where Linda and Paul live, is planted with mostly native plants that don’t require a lot of water and can tolerate the heat. I’ve been walking this path in the morning.

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I had forgotten how green the bark is on a Palo Verde tree. They make me happy, especially against a blue sky.

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There are palm trees, but only where they get water.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been in such an open place. It feels good, more relaxed, but maybe that’s because I’m on vacation with my best friend :-).