Thursday, January 23, 2014

fabric selections and a word about ds

 all strips are cut for the newest simple strips baby quilt - boy version. the three on the right end are even sewn together. i like the effect the added navy blues, turquoises, and oranges are having. there is a lot more depth and play in this quilt now.

this quilt started with some leftover strips of riley blake's superstar collection. there were the paisleys, a few solids, some dots, those large stars. the paisleys had a definite cowboy vibe to me, so i opted to aim for a subtle western theme in this quilt meant for a baby named Weston, after his great grandfather, my husband's grandfather. but i wanted to keep it modern-ish and not too cutesy.

the colors in the original strips i started with from the line were faded navy, orange, yellow, deep tan, pale grey. but i wanted to add the turquoise/deep teal stars strip in because 1) it had stars and looked mod western, 2) i liked the dimension the color added, 3) it's a favorite print right now that i love to use whenever i can (from riley blake's sasparilla collection).

 however, nothing i had in my stash helped tie the color of the sasparilla star print in with the other strips. some more navy and orange was also desired for further overall contrast. i carefully selected a few quarter yards of some denyse schmidt fabrics i found at 40% off at jo ann crafts. (if youre here from the fabriholics anonymous, my explanation follows later.) the ds fabrics had just the right vintage vibe to blend well with the western theme of the quilt. and i found one with a navy blue field (background) and turquoise dots - my perfect blender to tie in the sasparilla stars! it's also going to be my backing for the project.

here's the deal with me and denyse - i realize that she is hugely popular, almost to a cult level, among quilters, but i never see her designs as an entire line and think "i have to have that!" usually, there are one or two prints that i like, but i don't get giddy over her the way i do about a few other designers (SH, JD, HB, AMH, AB). now i realize i just committed some sort of quilter/fabric lover sacrilege with that statement, but - and there is a but here - but whenever i approach her fabrics with a specific project in mind, i almost always find the perfect print or two which really bring that project together. apparently i just like her mixed in with everything else and not as one great whole. really, she's brilliant for that in my work. (my work? like i'm some sort of professional or real artist here? ha, ha, that's funny! i'm just a girl playing with fabric for kicks.)

even after finding the great ds prints, i sort of wanted to see if i could locate one really cool retro western novelty print to slip in the mix. thus, when i was at my local scrapbook and quilt store (double deadly temptation) for some project life supplies, i looked for a cowboy print. i did find one print in just the right colors from sasparilla, but it had girls in it, too. i got a fat quarter with the intention of fussy cutting a few horses or saddles out of it. after putting all the other strips up together, though, i don't think it has the right feel for the project, so it's stashed instead. i also located four more prints that had just the right feel and colors that would round out the quilt.

 above are all the fabrics i added in: the navy with turquoise dots is for strips and backing, the pile on the left is some other prints that added the right touches of color and a bit more of a modern but western feel, and the pile on the right is my ds prints.  the two fat quarters are the pieces i culled after consideration.

the whole time i was at the cutting counter, i kept thinking, "after my public fast declaration, i'm going to have to confess to this purchase, even though it's allowable. i have to be honest about this." ugh. i am really happy with these additions to the quilt, but also feeling the guilt of making some purchases. despite the fact that i gave myself permission to buy specifically for projects in progress, i really had hoped to go the whole six months, or at least a couple of months, before spending on fabric. if i'd quit starting something new and stick to my pile of wips maybe i'd do that! what i can say for myself is that these purchases were very intentional, not in excess, and i did not get sucked in to any "gotta have" item of the moment. this is certainly more responsible than my previous purchasing habits. it's a step in the right direction, for sure.

i'm finding that as huge as my stash is, because the majority of it was impulse buying before i had actually quilted much, it has several holes in it when it comes to color, variety of style, low-volumes, and blender fabrics. it's not very useful for the way i actually quilt or how my quilting is evolving. i have a whole lot of fabric, just not a whole lot of the "right" fabrics. for this reason, it's going to take me some time to work through the stash. this is teaching me about how to purchase in a mindful way.

i guess i could have either not made this last minute baby quilt or just made it up with what i had. however, as one fellow faster said, "i'm not going to make ugly quilts just to use up what i have." ditto. i quilt because i enjoy it and i want anything i make to be enjoyable to me. especially if i'm going to gift it. i'm not going to gift a quilt i don't like just to give away a quilt. i could buy something else instead. really, the aim of fasting was to find ways to use what i had (which i did with those leftover strips here) and stop impulse buying exciting new fabrics or sale items. perhaps what i'm really doing is more akin to "fabric dieting".

also, i've realized i really prefer to work with 1/4 or 1/2 yd cuts. they are so much more manageable when it comes to cutting than anything bigger. i despise trying to square off big cuts! however, i find working with smaller cuts has improved my accuracy and my attitude about cutting, too. thus, lately i usually only purchase 1/4 or 1/2 yards, unless it's for a backing or it's a versatile or favorite print i know i will be using a whole lot.

now it's time to go sew, sew, sew those strips together and get this baby done!


  1. Love the mix of fabrics - great choices! Navy and orange look so great together. And as for the DS commentary, to each their own. No sacrilege there :) I think a number of her prints are great to round out projects, but I too (gasp from other quilters) don't get super excited about her overall collections. And the cowboy print might be cute on the back!

  2. It looks great and it's good you could pick up a few fabrics with just this project in mind.

    If you learn nothing else from the fabric fast, it will be worthwhile if you learn to curate your buying and be selective and fill holes. This is one of the things I'm hoping for too!

  3. Beautiful fabric picks and strips! I agree with everything you say (except the ds!). Whenever i use fabric just because it's there and to use it up it never works as well. I just got some of those yummy domino dots too!

  4. I don't get the DS thing either but I did like the leaf shapes in chicopee and a couple of others. To be fair though there aren't many designers I have to collect as I tend to have favourite lines (OK so most of them are by Basic Grey, whatever;) ) by different people.

  5. I never know what designer made the fabric I'm working with or the name of the collection it came from.

  6. Beautiful fabrics and have fun playing with them!

  7. You're going to laugh at my Sunday Stash post on Sunday. It's pretty Denyse-heavy.

    I actually agree with you though, it just might not seem like it at first. I LOVE Denyse, but in a completely different way than some of the other designers. It's not in a "special shelf" way. I keep some designers all together and can't really bring myself to separate their pretty stacks. Denyse, on the other hand, is integrated with my stash. But I almost never make a quilt without her. That'd be an interesting thing to test actually: have I ever made a quilt without her? I don't think so.

    That said, I've recently discovered Katie Jump Rope (thanks to #thegreatfabricdestash) and that WILL have a special shelf. ;)

    Sorry for the blog-post-in-itself comment. :) I've had a lot of coffee this morning.

  8. I think you did a great job finding coordinating fabric for the new baby quilt and making very specific fabric purchases is never a waste. BTW, I won't mention the large stack of DS fabric just waiting to be pieced together in my fabric cabinet.

  9. Love the colors for this! It's going to look great! I totally agree with you on the DS. I don't usually gravitate to the collection on a whole but I always seem to find that one print that pulls a project together.

  10. I'm with you on the DS fabric. I especially love your colour combination on this soon-to-be quilt

  11. I'm with you on the DS too - the lines don't always grab me, but the more I see quilts made from Chicopee the more I love it! And I think some of her lines for Jo-Anns are beautiful too.

  12. Love the quilt. And I understand the guilt of your purchase, but completely understand. I had to do that myself last week. I needed a flannel to finish off a gift for a baby and had the same reason as you. I didn't want to make and give something away that wasn't as perfect as I thought I could make it. Good luck! I'll be excited to see what you come up with next month.

  13. Love the quilt. And I understand the guilt of your purchase, but completely understand. I had to do that myself last week. I needed a flannel to finish off a gift for a baby and had the same reason as you. I didn't want to make and give something away that wasn't as perfect as I thought I could make it. Good luck! I'll be excited to see what you come up with next month.


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