Thursday, May 23, 2013

Come On, At Least Give Me Time To Shove My Other Foot in My Mouth Too

In my last post I inadvertently opened up a can of worms.  Here's a copy of what I probably shouldn't have said quite so bluntly 'The sashing fabric in the picture is a Sweetwater print (oh I hate it when people go on and on about WHAT and WHO the fabric is).
Back pedaling furiously
Can I please get a quick clarify before I really, really need to concentrate on stuffing my camp trailer with all the goodies necessary for survival in the woods?

Here's the thing.  I personally adore quilts made with fabrics from years worth of collecting.  I have great admiration for quilters who can incorporate very broad ranges of prints and styles into a single harmonious piece of work.  It still amazes and inspires me when I see quilts that have a combination of prints that I would never, ever have thought could peaceably coexist together!  Makes me want to immediately dump all my fabric out on the floor to play with in mysterious new ways.

Do I drool over certain fabric lines and naturally gravitate toward particular designers efforts?  You betcha.  I think we all do consciously or unconsciously.  I just get a bit weary of the adulation towards the new, latest, greatest fabric line.  When I see a quilt made up from fabrics in only one fabric line, I am briefly intrigued.  No question.  But my own love is not that kind of quilt.  You won't find me making a 'one designer' quilt unless it's representing about five, seven, or even ten years worth of their fabric. (Now that sounds kinda interesting!)

So, no, I am not a reverse snob about fabric and no, I will never sneer at your efforts to make the best ever (insert famous fabric designer name) quilt possible.  

My scrappy, utilitarian, frugal, make-do theory has always been this:

  • Make it hard on the historians to date your quilt in the years to come. Why not? One fabric line quilts are instantly dated to the year the fabric line was released.  Mixed fabric quilts require finding the absolute newest fabric used in the quilt. 
  • Use as much old fabric as you can with the new.  Surprise and charm whenever possible, even if only for your own personal benefit. 
  • Take advantage of the changes in fabric color through the years. Chocolate brown from 2005 is not the same chocolate brown of 2013.  Some of these unexpected combo's of color are fabulous and give a quilt wonderful depth and interest.
  • Challenge the status quo. There isn't anyone who could possibly be in lockstep with a fabric designer forever.  You should feel perfectly free to substitute better (in your eyes), more individual fabric choices.
  • And last but not least--I think it's important to find your own voice through personal fabric selection.  A one fabric line quilt is kind of like free advertisement for the designer and at least half of the quilt then becomes their voice.  Hard to deny when things like THIS happen.
So there you have it!  Not so quick after all, but totally from the heart.  Am I forgiven?


  1. LOL - I just love that - confuse the quilt historians!! :) I really had a laugh over that one. Sometimes I use one fabric line but most of the time I mix them up - I might use several that are somewhat the same but seeing as I normally only buy fat quarters a lot of time I run out and have to throw in other things as well. Have a good camping trip hope the weather is good.

  2. My fabrics date from the late 70s through today's purchase. Intermixed in nearly everything I make. When I start a new quilt the stash closet is always the first place I pull fabrics. Didn't know that everybody doesn't do that! Great post - now go have a great weekend!

  3. Have a wonderful time camping! I really like your "theory". Good stuff.

  4. Nothing to forgive... I too, chuckled with "make it hard on the historians!" Enjoy the great outdoors!!!

  5. Live and let live is what I say... let's spend our time QUILTING! Yeah!

  6. Enjoy your camping, like your theory.

  7. Oh dear, I can't imagine why anyone would bash you for your statement. But I DO like your theories. Mine are pretty much the same, but yours are very well articulated. Thanks!

  8. I'm a blatant promoter of my favourite fabric designers, and no, I'm not sponsored in any way. I think its really quite amazing that I can use a fabric designed by a real person. Someone who I can get to know through their blog or that I can email/twitter if I want. That's just my opinion. Each to their own, that's what makes quilting fun.

  9. I just buy fabrics that I like no matter who designed them. I try to base it on the use of the quilt and who it will be for. I have recently discovered making quilts out of thrift store sheets. What a bargain! I like to look at the designer fabrics, but I do get tired of all the "name dropping," too. Let each quilter do her own thing where fabrics is concerned.

  10. Nifty Quilts said it for me: I saw nothing wrong with your statement yesterday, because I understood you. Sometimes I drool over coordinated designer collections, but that's not how I shop. I like your personal guidelines. I've gotten better at combining "oldest, older and old" fabrics, partly out of necessity and partly by choice. I can't buy as much new fabric anymore, so I use what I have and am usually pleased with my simple quilts.
    Thanks for your interesting blog.

  11. I didnt even give your statement a second thought.

    Sometimes I mention the fabric Im using and sometimes I dont (more often not because I think Im quite lazy !) Each to their own I guess.

  12. I'm with you 100%! I use what I have and I'm always incorporating new fabric along with the old. The scrappier the better! As a designer, if I stick with a quilt made out of a single line of fabric, the patterns do not sell as well.....I speak from experience of lost sales.

  13. love it, yes, I'm with ya there. I throw in fabrics from everywhere and love knowing no one can ever make one just like it.


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