Choosing fabric…

April 4, 2010

…is hard to do, especially when you’re doing it for a quilt-a-long! My blog friend Yahaira and I are embarking on a QAL (details to come), and we were supposed to choose fabric this weekend. I had wanted to do a green quilt, but when I got home from the quilt shop last night, I had to admit to myself that it just wasn’t going to happen.

I pulled out all my fabric (even though I just organized it on Thursday) and tried every combination I could think of. Pink, orange, and brown? Better than it sounds, but not that great. Navy blue, light blue, black, and brown? I’m bored.I tried unusual combinations and typical ones, and I just couldn’t get excited.

I fell asleep at 8:30 PM and still hadn’t come up with a solution. When I woke up, I was beginning to be frantic about it, and then I remembered this vintage cotton skirt that I bought last month at Garment District for tearing up into quilt fabric:

Lots of nice, bright colors…easy to match (this pattern calls for 17 fabrics, and while I won’t do that many, I still need a lot)…I began pulling out my fabrics again and came up with this:

I need a few more solids and prints that aren’t circular, but I’m feeling good about the combination!

I love sleeveless blouses. I wear them year-round, regardless of their seasonal appropriateness (and I do live in Boston, so they really aren’t appropriate). Usually, I try to find them deeply discounted at J. Crew and such, but it’s difficult because their discounts are still quite expensive, and they don’t wear well. I’ve worn many of them out, and I worry that it’s starting to show :(.

Unfortunately, the blouses at major pattern companies don’t feel quite right for me, either. Vogue does not have a single blouse pattern I like. Not one. So I began scouring Etsy and eBay for vintage patterns, but these too are hard to find. Luckily, I wear a common (in vintage patterns) size. This morning, I bought three gorgeous patterns:

1. Advance 6710:

2. McCall’s 8929

3. Simplicity 3358

I love the scalloped neckline on McCall’s 8929! It might be a little above my level for now, but I am armed with a library full of Adele Margolis and Claire Schaeffer books, so we’ll see.

I am in the process of designing a quilt (in my mind) for a charity called Wrapped in Hope (we are also doing one as a guild; it is a truly wonderful and worthy cause). Maia, the child for whom I am quilting, likes “pink, purple, and flowers.” Happy to know my tastes run like that of a nine-year-old. I think I am going to use a lot of Heather Ross fabrics, and I picked up a yard of this discontinued fabric from the Westhill Wildflowers collection:

Also…drum roll, please…I bought some Flea Market Fancy. I really want to know what the fuss is about, and it was reasonably priced ($4 for a half-yard). I wouldn’t have bought it if it was going for, say, $45 like some FMF fat quarters on Etsy (go look if you don’t believe me). It will blend well with my stash, which is increasingly pink.

I have another finished quilt to show you (and a new improv design project), but they’ll have to wait for another day.

…in a new, old incarnation!

This quilt top was kind of…a process. I bought about eight yards of fabric for it, in many shades of yellow, two black-and-white, two grays–and several Amy Butler, white-dominant, yellow and/or gray florals. I decided on 6″ squares, because some of the AB prints were large-scale and had such beautiful lines, I didn’t want to lose them in the finished quilt.

I got my fabric pile all lined up, turned it this way and that, hemmed and hawed, tried to surprise myself into looking at it in a new way by leaving the room and then returning to it quickly to make sure nothing really caught my eye in a bad way (that doesn’t work, by the way)…sewed it up into strips, tried to cover up some of the fabrics to see what happened, etc. In the end, and this wasn’t intentional because I find it kind of weird and robotic, I ended up using exclusively AB and Denyse Schmidt fabric.  I removed all of the bright yellows and the stark black-and-white, leaving only some prints from the DS Hope Valley line and the Amy Butler florals.  I even MADE several (we’re talking dozens) of squares that I ended up disliking strongly, and are now lingering in the stash. I tried it with the black, without (it looked flat and horrible)…with extra yellow, with less yellow…etc. Finally, I just sewed it together, somewhat randomly. My only intention was to have as few same-colored triangles touch as possible.

I wanted a twin-sized quilt, but I had to get rid of so many squares that it ended up being only about 60 X 65. But…I really love how it turned out:

In other news, I busted some of the fabric budget I set out for my trip to Purl on Saturday (eee!) on these two fabrics from Gorgeous Fabrics:

Daisy May cotton

This is for a new quilt I have planned, unless I think it doesn’t work, in which case it will become a dress (I bought enough to make one, just in case).

Those of you that know about my obsession with Liberty fabrics will understand my excitement over this fantastic cotton lawn at a truly amazing price:

I bought enough for a dress AND a shirt. Definitely worth spending a part of my Purl kitty!

…because that’s all one can usually afford, right?

I went to Waechter’s Silk Shop in Asheville, NC a few weeks ago and got myself some Liberty fabric, which I now remove and touch every night before I go to bed. Waechter’s is one of the few online and brick-and-mortar retailers of Liberty fabric in the US (the only other one I know of is Purl).

The buttons, of course, are from Windsor Button…where else? I hope I can find some use for the top two fabrics. They’re not very quilty, and I didn’t buy enough to make a garment…but for now, I’m happy to have them! I think I’ll use the bottom fabric for my Flying Geese quilt.

I’m off to Cambridge Quilts in a bit for the white fabric for the SIGGY SWAP. Have a good Friday!