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Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Tips on Tuesdays! -> Fabrics

Welcome to Tips on Tuesdays.  This is a sharing post, so leave your ideas in the comments section.  Links welcome!  The red button on the side will connect you to ALL Tips on Tuesday posts FYI.  The theme I'm revisiting this week is Fabric.

One problem I seem to have on a regular basis is purchasing a piece of fabric without any coordinated... just because I like it.  Then once it's home, I cannot make a decision as to what it looks good with from my existing stash.  Now, I could get around that by never buying single fabrics again,  but that isn't going to happen.  I'm a sucker for prints that make me happy, which often puts practicality out the window.

Then one day, while removing selvedges (the thick side edges of fabric) I had a eureeka moment.  Those strips contain every color used in the fabric itself.  So what an easy way to match colors!

This birdie fabric is a prime example.  I keep trying to match it with red or green or light blue... boring.  I had never thought of color #12 or #10 or #6 or #3.  Looking at those dots gives me lots of options.  I have learned to take the selvedge dot strip over to my stash and match from there.  It seem really easy to notice the right coordinates this way.  Works like magic!

I'm often surprised how many colors are in each fabric quarter I buy.  If you still can't find a match, then take the selvedge to the fabric store.  It really simplifies the process.  Consider solids too.

Tip #2.  Have you ever done this:  can't find the right shade, so you use a fabric upside down?  I've done it blues, and also yellows before.

Elle in Manitoba recently made a terrific blogpost on color.  
 (Thanks Elle!)

I need advice.  One fabric issue I have is with VERY large prints.  I bought a bunch of this red & white print, and WOW it's large in comparison to my other fabrics.  I think it's AnnaMaria Horner.

I just love these colors together, and was planning a picnic blanket.  I think my polka dots are all gone now.  It became binding on the St. Nikolaus quilt.  How do you use small, medium, and large print fabrics?  DO you mix them?  Do you only buy from one line, or do you stick with charm & jelly roll sets?  Do you have the kind of stash where everything goes together?

Please share!  I would love to hear your thought on this.
Thank you!!


Louise said...

I recently organized my fabric stash by color and discovered that I have a lot of gold prints. I wondered if I'd ever use them all. A few of the selvedges you posted show golds and coordinates. I will use the gold print selvedges to find a few coordinates thereby increasing my usable stash.

Margaret said...

I confess...I don't buy many large prints. However, I am a sucker for red-white-and-black, and think your selection there is *stupendous*. You have 2 solids (or 'near' solids), the large print and the smaller one. You can make the large one a focus fabric -- such as in a large-centred log-cabin-type square with the other two as borders...maybe use what you do have of the polka dots as cornerstone squares. The key with large prints is to balance them, so I wouldn't use too many of them all in one quilt.

The other thing I was thinking is that you could cut the large print in half or in quarters and flip the sections, then re-attach to see what kind of effect you get (try this first with just a small section of the pattern...) Or you might do a weeny bit of redwork (a single blossom or bud, for example) in those large white centres...

And thanks for the reeminder about the dots...sometimes I forget about 'em...

felicity said...

Yes, I often mix large-scale prints with others. I like how it balances things out. With a geometric print like the one you've got, it's not *as* important, but if it's a pattern that doesn't repeat too frequently, make sure you're not using the large-scale print in pieces that are too small; otherwise, you'll lose the effect and possibly get some strange colour blobs.

Christie, Describe Happy said...

I think I am little more on the edge of what's acceptable when I am mixing. I don't follow any set rules for myself about what can and can't be used together. I don't fret about mixing batiks and crazy prints. I actually like the challenge of mixing and matching.

And now that I am thinking about it more, I'm not sure I have a method to how I do it. I have been know to pile a bunch of fabrics together to get an idea of how they will look all sharing the same space. I also am known to leave a pile like that in view overnight and remove or add as I look at it more. I also am a fan of mixing textures. I have used furniture and decorating weight in my quilts without batting an eyelash at it -- probably not a common thing, but I enjoy pushing the limits. I say if you like it go for it. That's part of the freedom we should enjoy as an artist. I also like the idea of using the selveage dots to stretch our imaginations! Fun topic!

Anonymous said...

When I began as a traditional quilter, I bought a piece of every fabric (calico, haha) that appealed to me. Unfortunately what appealed to me "before" doesn't appeal to me anymore. I now buy specifically for a project. This is not a hard and fast rule! I"ll still buy a meter or two of something that calls my name. I will confess to buying beautiful batiks in half meter lengths just because.
I admire scrappy quilts but I'm not fond of making them. I quess I'm a little to "inflexible" :(
I dislike having piles and piles of fabric in the cupboard that I've completely forgotten about.. My daughter began quilting a few years ago. When I was purging my stash I told her she could take anything she wanted before I put it in the garage sale or donated it to Serendipity. Many times I've admired a fabric in a piece that she's working on only to be told that she got it from me:) My motto is, the store has more room than I do. Let them store it and I'll go and get it when I need it.
My experience has been that no matter how much fabric I have, I'll always need to go and find that one piece that I don't have.
That's my story........

Jeane said...

Great topic and wonderful comments. I love that red piece of geometric fabric. For me, it would become a tote or a pillow. I buy too many pieces "just because" so now I have a huge stash, but I love fabric and will continue to buy it. When I can no longer use it, someone will love it. Using the dots does broaden our choices and I use them a lot.

Anonymous said...

I never noticed that before! Thanks for sharing. I too, buy a lot of fabric just b/c I like it! Just found your blog and signed up to follow. Come on over to kiki-itssewkiki.blogspot and consider following too!

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