The more I create quilts and quilt them the more I get a feeling for the power of fabrics. My quilting room has lots of small quilts on the wall, some big ones hanging (to hide working tools like thread and accessories) and one in particular that I enjoy regardless of the day or time. It is a child's quilt The Hungry Caterpillar. I guess I am a child at heart as I just love the colours. I have posted the picture before but it is worth repeating some of the elements of the quilt.
I was a beginner when I did this quilt but it taught me a lot about how fabric dictates what you do with it when quilting. The white background makes the center of the panel just pop out so to help that along I did dense quilting. It provided texture as a background for the leaf and butterfly and some of the border elements such as the ice cream and pickle. Then I allowed the pictures them selves to dictate where I put outlines to enhance the shape but not over power them. This quilt is currently on loan as an illustration of what can be done with a panel. It is lovely to know others will see it.
Is it colour that draws you to a piece of fabric? Do you buy it regardless of it's quality? I have to say quality does count. In addition to the attractions of colours, there is a need to feel fabric. If you are an internet shopper it is important you establish a relationship with your provider so you can rely on what is being sent. How heart breaking if you buy or order something for a special quilt and find it is not the same quality as the rest of your fabrics. It does show if it is not. I know. I just had to have a certain colour for a quilt and as I worked with the fabric it matched in colour but not in texture and more importantly in weight. It was fragile.
I do use the internet but fortunately in spite of being in the country (900 people in town) we have a couple of fabric stores where quality fabrics are the watch word. One in particular is a favourite. It is Suttles and Seawinds in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia. Mahone Bay is the town with the 3 churches and the lovely bay if you have seen tourist adverts. It is across the province of Nova Scotia from me but a day spent there is fun. The best fun of all is going to Suttles and Seawinds which has gorgeous fabrics. I am a member of the Mahone Bay Quilters guild in addition to my local guild the Paradise Village Quilters and whenever weather allows the trip to Mahone Bay across the mountain is made. The trip too can be so breath taking. Forests with rock laden with moss of a beautiful light green, lakes, rivers, beautiful old houses are all part of it. It can inspire designs. In winter provided it is sunny and the snow is off the road, it can be enchanting after a snow fall. Stopping for pictures in not an option as the road has narrow shoulders. Perhaps I need a dash cam. But if you are not a local, do come and explore.
Paradise Village Quilters Paradise Village Quilters
Mahone Bay Quilt Guild Mahone Bay Quilt Guild
Suttles has a rich history in Nova Scotia and the shop is located in a house to die for. Inside are all kinds of temptations including clothing and jewelry. Upstairs which you access via a beautiful old, elegant staircase are fabrics and rugs. The buyer for Suttles has an amazing talent for purchasing the right fabrics; colour and texture and what is called hand are all taken into account. She also designs quilts which are hung on the walls for you to just absorb their design and the use of fabrics. Here is a link to the store. If you have not been to Suttles do some virtual touring. Suttles and Seawinds, Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada They also have a talent for creating fat quarter packages that have the coordinating fabrics. I have some I do not even want to cut into and they sit on my shelves as eye candy to be taken and enjoyed for a while before they are cut.
I mentioned the concept of 'hand' above in relation to fabrics. There is nothing as good as your hand for feeling the weight and drape and texture of a fabric. Fabric on a bolt or lying flat is different from when it is falling through your hand. Remember your quilt will be looked at horizontally but also vertically. A very heavy fabric which is not quilted densely might just sag and ruin the quilt. A too light fabric will wear much more quickly. And you need to consider the play of light on fabric. It can make quite a difference in how the fabric is seen. Some fabrics you want to play with light so you have to ensure that you place them appropriately and you have to see how they behave both vertically and flat. Sometimes flat they are just dead.
Well enough for today. As you can see I love fabrics. Now to put one of my own quilts on the frame and have it talk to me about how it wants to be quilted. Even the gorgeous day cannot draw me from designing an art quilt which has a due date and from starting to quilt.