Flourishes…

I’m home from vacation feeling refreshed and ready to go which is good because my desk is buried under things to do. But I can do it! I’ll begin sharing photos and stories tomorrow. Today I want to give you an opportunity from another quilter.

Renee Arnett was cleaning out her stash and came across a fabric kit, with each block pattern, for our Flourishes quilt. (The border pattern is not included but you can download it for free here.) 

Renee has sold the kit shown below. If I hear of another one, I’ll let you know. 

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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?).

 

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

 

Weeding out your stash…

My color lecture always includes the suggestion that it’s important to weed out your fabric stash. This idea is often met with skepticism, but it’s something I learned from Linda long ago and I stand by it. I usually weed out my stash once a year and/or when there is lots of fabric stacked on the floor.

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There’s more fabric on the floor than you can see here.

The shelves inside this closet are about 5′ wide — you can’t see the far ends of the shelves unless you are in the doorway. There are shallow shelves inside, to the left of the door that face the main shelves that also held fabric.

I arrange my fabric by color and value. Over time, however, the values get mixed up and the colors don’t always end up in the right place. The fabric is squeezed between the shelves so tightly in places that it was hard to get to it.

With the unicorn quilts finished last Friday, I turned my attention to this project. Over the course of 2 days, I removed 44 lbs of fabric from my stash.

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Here’s my newly-clean stash:

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I didn’t stop with the closet. I also cleaned out drawers with hand-dyed and hand painted fabric, vintage fabric, silks, and more. I found appliqué blocks that I don’t have any idea what to do with, and more. So much more that I’m going to have an online Studio Sale next Tuesday morning, January 10. I’ll send a newsletter* reminder. I’ll also put a Studio Sale link in the menu bar that Tuesday morning at pieceocake.com.

*If you aren’t on my newsletter list, go to pieceocake.com, scroll to the bottom of the page, and sign up in the newsletter box.

Now that this job is done, I get to think about what’s next. I’m excited!

I’m in American Patchwork and Quilting!

Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2015 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2015 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

My wool eyeglass project is featured in the December 2015 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting magazine! See my project, as well as other featured projects from this issue, here: http://www.allpeoplequilt.com/december

This issue will be on newsstands October 6, subscribers will be getting their copy any time now. Look for this cover:

Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2015 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2015 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

These eyeglass cases are quick and easy, and they make a great gift! In addition to glasses, they will also hold a rotary cutter—great for traveling quilters.

Fabric note: I used Pepper Cory‘s Brushstrokes line (not Peppered Plaids) for the background fabric in these projects. The colors I used are Tangerine, Horizon Blue, and Sprout. They have a good hand, they are neither too thick nor too thin.

I also love her Peppered Cottons. The warp and weft threads are different colors which gives the fabric depth. These, too, are a very nice weight to work with.

For lots more information about wool applique, please do look at our book, Wool Applique the Piece O’ Cake Way.

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I came home with fabric!

Now, isn’t that a sentence that makes a quilter smile? The Northern Star Quilters put on a very nice show. The quilts were impressive—and so were the vendors :-). I bought fabric that I don’t usually find—but not too much because space in my suitcase was limited.

I stopped at Quilters’ Express to Japan where I bought the print on the right. The print on the left was a gift from students in my class at Empty Spools that I’ve been meaning to post for weeks. Both were designed by Yoshiko Jinzenji for Yuwa.

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I love her fabric and was sad to learn that she may not be designing any more. So, if you like her fabric, I suggest you hunt it down and buy it now. I also bought this kimono fabric—some vintage, some not. And a really cool Japanese panel print not pictured.

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I stopped at Handloom Batik. The owner, Oosha (whose name I may be misspelling) remembered me from years back—and she remembered that I bought a mustard-colored gauze scarf. I admit to being seriously impressed.

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These fabrics are all hand stamped (or woven in the case of that central blue fabric). They have an attitude that is both casual and stately. I love them. (FYI: all of the fabrics pictured in this post have been washed in the washer and dried in the dryer.)

I bought another gauzy scarf. It is big, more like a sari. In fact, it could be a sari. I admit to not knowing. My new scarf is blue with accents of red and white. The fabric is light but also warm. Oosha says she uses one at home as a light cover when she’s chilly in her chair.

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As Oosha was (carefully) folding my scarf, she realized that she had not ‘cleaned’ it. Women tie the fabric with fine thread to make that dotted pattern, before it is dyed. There are hundreds of thread wraps on each scarf. Oosha said that the women do this work while gossiping, thus making it both a productive and fun time.

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She was going to take the time to pull the threads off for me but I said, no, I’d be happy to do that myself. In fact, I did enjoy it! It was sort of like peeling a sunburn, except that I wear sunscreen so haven’t had that sensation in years. (Funny to imagine that the day may come when people have no idea what that phrase means.)

You have to find Oosha at a quilt show and I hope you do find her. Handloom Batiks is not currently online.

None of these were bargain fabrics. I’m as happy as the next quilter to find a bargain but I’m also willing to pay the price for unusual, interesting fabric. I don’t want to encourage crazy spending, but it is true that I have never regretted this sort of purchase.

New fabric, big prints…

If you haven’t looked at the fabric page at pieceocake.com lately, you have missed seeing the big prints that I’ve recently added, along with some interesting smaller-scale prints…

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There are BIG numbers in 4 different colorways, flowers, dots, and more…

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While I put these together into fat quarter bundles, you can buy them separately. If that’s the case, go to the fabric page and click on the swatch that interests you.

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This is probably the oddest of the fabrics I’ve added. It’s called Junebug, by Alexander Henry. I suspect I will use it on a quilt back, but it could also show up on t a quilt front. In fact, it would be fun to use in the free Really Simply 9-Patch pattern (click here, scroll down, click the link).

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I put Junebug with a black print and with the saffron Numbers… I have no idea why I like these together, but I do.

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I only got one bolt of each of these new fabrics and won’t re-order. If any of them make you happy, order while I have plenty. I’ll send a newsletter in a week or so and there’s no telling how much of any print will be left :-).