Quilt Fabrics or Quilt Pattern; What Inspires You More? Part 1 of a 2 part Series

I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot lately. Is it a quilt pattern that we come across, and say, “I’ve gotta make that quilt.” 

Or do we come across fabrics, that we imagine in a future quilt?

For me, it’s both. 

I spend a lot of time looking at fabrics online. Prior to the online fabric boom, I would visit my local fabric store once a month. It went out of business in 2008, and I miss it so much. There aren’t any “nice-sized,”fabric stores with lots of beautiful bolts of fabric near where I live anymore. 

When we travel, I always check to see if there are brick and mortar stores to visit and shop at in a new city. 

Quilting is a very tactile process. Not being able to feel the fabric is an element of the process I really miss. The other missing element is taking the bolts of fabric out and lining them up next to each other, or on top of each other to audition what works together and what doesn’t. Many of the web sites for online shops have a board the user can copy and paste their choices onto for the audition process. It’s okay, and I use them. But for me, it’s still not the same as seeing those bolts of fabric in good light, in person

Let me get back to fabric inspiration. Often I will find fabrics, some traditional, some modern, where it is “love at first sight.” And, I know I will use those fabrics in a project very soon, or down the road. Here are some photos of these.


None of these were purchased together. This was my thinking process when I bought each.

1. Text fabric, and green fabric with yellow buds – They were “love at first sight” choices. The text fabric was something I was looking for as I began to collect modern fabrics. 

The colors in the green fabric with the yellow buds was so colorful, and the scale of the buds were not overwhelming. I knew I could use either of these as a focal fabric or a blender. But in this arrangement of fabrics, I would use them as focal fabrics.

2. Cherry fabric with green leaves and yellow background – Because I am currently working on a 1930’s reproduction quilt, I purchased that fabric because I knew it would work in well with the fat quarters I originally purchased for this project. And I have leftover to go with this group. Also the color and scale of this fabric are just right for this grouping.

3. Yellow-orange fabric with modern green, white and yellow designs in it. I have to admit, this was a “love at first sight” choice too. And I bought it in a few different colors. It’s a great blender with these fabrics.

4. Gray – Green fabric – Another, “love at first sight” fabric. Why? The simplicity of the lines and the two colors together in this fabric create a neutral that works so well as a blender.

5. Yellow fabric with green and red twig designs – Yes, this could be considered a holiday or winter fabric; or not. Because of the simplicity and scale of the small, repetitive designs against the yellow, it is a good blender that adds some extra interest in this fabric combination. The spacing between the twigs in this fabric design, in contrast to the other prints in this group is spacious, and has more negative space in it than the others, providing it with strong contrast.

As I mentioned, I’ve been working on a king size quilt that uses 1930’s reproduction fabrics. What I am going to use for the fabric on the back has been on my mind a lot. Originally, I played around with the idea of using the extra squares I made in a modern design for it. But then, I found this….

And the word PERFECT, came to mind immediately. Modern text design, with mostly food related words,and a timeless font.  Yup, “love at first sight!!”

In Part 2 of this series, I’m going to focus on those “Gotta make it,” patterns that have come my way and have probably come your way too.

In the meantime, please comment on your thoughts about what inspires you more, fabric, pattern or both, and tell me why.  Kind of interesting to think about those choices.

Have a great weekend, and happy quilting!!

The Many Lives of Selvedge Edges – Part 2

Selvedge Edges – Part 2 

Earlier this week I wrote about the importance of selvedge edges. One of the biggest reasons I save them is in case I need to track down out-of-print fabrics. 

For example, if you were looking for a Moda Fabric – Snowman Gathering. It has a code number 1080 11. You would google 1080 11 Moda Snowman Gathering, and your results would bring you to many shops. .                                                                                                                                                                        . 
1. As I mentioned part 1 of this series, I will call customer service at the fabric manufacturer with the information. They are often a wealth of information, and have provided me with some brick and mortar stores names and web sites they think still have the fabric I am looking for in stock. (More about brick and mortar stores and oop fabrics below). 

 2. Of course a google search is the fastest and easiest way to begin your search. Use all combinations of color code and manufacturer to search. See above. (I’m a part-time public reference librarian, and I can’t stress the importance of this enough). And different search engines do yield different results, so don’t discount google chrome, Mozilla, Internet Explorer, or any other one which is not your default browser. 

3. Amazon and Ebay are other great resources. One of my quilt group members found real vintage 1930’s fabric she was looking for on eBay. I am collecting 1930’s reproduction fabric for two projects, and just couldn’t afford the real thing. That said, I found enough for one of the quilts on Amazon, and another led me to an incredible brick and mortar story in Nebraska called Calico Annies. Annie had over 200 1930’s reproduction fabrics. I called her and told her what I was looking for and what I wasn’t, and I was pretty sure she nailed it. She said I could return them if they weren’t what I needed, as long as I didn’t take the packaging of the jelly rolls apart. GREAT. Again, thank you Annie. 

4. My local brick and mortar stores are very helpful too. They have often recommended online fabric stores such as fabric.com. I was looking through a recent copy of Quilty Magazine, and found Fabric Shack in Ohio, which sells online and is a brick and mortar store. A quick call was all that was needed to find the last 13 yards of a Kona solid, Hyacinth. 

5. One more word about brick and mortar stores before I plug online stores. Throughout the years, I have come across some great shops in the U.S., such as Little Quilts in Marietta, GA. I found them via a google search for a hand quilting template pattern I couldn’t find anywhere, but there. I was so impressed with their customer service and web site, that I subscribe to their newsletter which is full of great information and ideas. 

6. http://www.quiltshops.com and http://www.findmyfabric.com are two online fabric shops I haven’t mentioned that have served me well on my quest to find out of print fabrics. Others can be found by googling online fabric stores + out of print fabrics. 

7. A few of my quilting friends have had success at Esty. 

8. http://www.hancocks-paducah.com/ is another great web site and brick and mortar store. If you happen to be in Paducah, KY, you can also visit The National Quilt Museum. See http://www.quiltmuseum.org/ 

9. If you belong to a guild, send out an e-mail and attach a photograph of the out-of-print fabric. You never know who might have a suggestion. 

10. And we can’t forget the power of social media. If you belong to Flickr, Instagram, yahoo or google groups, by all means post what you are looking for. If you have a pinterest board, start a board, of Out of Print Fabrics that you are interested in. If you tweet or blog you can always upload a photo of the fabric. And of course, there is always Facebook. 

 I am sure there are many more sites and stores where you may have been lucky with finding that treasured out of print fabric. Please share your finds in the comments box below. In a month I will post all the finds of everyone who participates, and achieve it. I will also continue to add to it, much like I would for a wiki.

Out of Print Fabrics

I’ve been working on a 2 part blogpost about the importance of saving selvage edges and the relationship to helping find out of print fabrics. However, today I found the most amazing web site that helps locate out of print fabrics, that I decided to post an extra edition post today. The web site is http://www.findmyfabric.com/ I tested it with some of my old out of print Moda, Hoffman, Robert Kaufman, Windham, Kona; yes I could go on and on. They are growing, and are a hot site to keep your eye on for finding those lost treasures. Enjoy, and let me know about your successes or not. I generally don’t promote something like this unless I am super impressed.