Happy Mail

Last week I received a box from In The Beginning Fabrics- wait, let me back up…

Last month when I was mocking up this quilt pattern, I used several of Lida Enche’s fabrics from her Painted Summer line:

And I thought I really would like to have more of that fabric in my stash!  Fabric shopping has been on a bit of an involuntary hiatus around here, though, so I thought it wouldn’t hurt to write to In The Beginning and ask if they had any fabric laying around they could send me.  I also mentioned that the DC Modern Quilt Guild was holding a weekend retreat and would they like to send any additional fabric as door prizes for the retreat?

So.  I got a box!  With four full sets of caps of Lida’s lovely fabric!  These are made up for the sales reps to bring around to quilt shops to show off the fabric line.  They’re organized by color stories which makes them so very appealing!  Each set of caps is about equivalent to a fat eighth bundle of the entire line.  I kept one for myself and the other three were given away as door prizes at the retreat.  Mine are washed and dried and sitting in a lovely pile on my dining room sewing table.

Last week my favorite was the little flower print:

But tonight I’m smitten with these birdies in the garden:

What do you think I should make with them?  I’ve got a couple of ideas brewing but I’m not committed to anything yet.

(Oh and there was one other thing in the box that will get its own post really soon…)

Thanks ITB!

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All About Orange

Woo-Hoo!  Pantone has announced their color of the year for 2012 and it is… orange!  Tangerine Tango, they are calling it, a luscious vermillion reddish-orange, the color of my dreams.

Pretty much every year my mom or a sister will give me a few pieces of this gorgeous Fiestaware for Christmas and birthdays. Really, I love it!

2011’s color, Honeysuckle, left me pretty cold; partly because if you call it honeysuckle I expect it to be pale yellow and instead we got watered-down magenta, and partly because its the already the color of various sippy cups, plastic bangles, and other cheap plastic crap that tends to accumulate in my house despite my preference for more elegant wooden playthings.

(boo honeysuckle)

But back to Tangerine Tango.

Tangerine Tango Too

I went to my stash to see what I already have in this color and it’s really a pathetic showing, considering that it’s one of my favorite colors.

A Kaffe print that’s a few years old:

Kaffe Fassett Fabric

A souvenir wrapping cloth my mom brought back from Japan:

Japanese Souvenir Fabric

An antique kimono silk intended to line an inky blue woolen coat (and which I have worn as-is for a scarf)

Antique Silk Kimono Fabric

Luscious, painterly, Laura Gunn Dogwood print-

Laura’s fabrics are simply perfection: rich layered color, depth and texture, and yet strikingly modern design.  Love:

Laura Gunn Fabric

And two solids; on the left is Kaffe Fassett’s shot cotton in vermillion (shot cotton is one of my favorite fabrics!  Almost too precious to use…) and on the right is a Kona cotton, Chinese Red I think.

Vermillion Solid Fabric

All precious, well loved members of my stash, but lonely.  In the past it’s been really hard to find prints I love in this particular color.  So, I’m hoping at least a few designers will be able to take this color and run with it this year, so I can beef up my stash and maybe even use some of it!

Quick Trick Brick Stack

A Natural Color Palette

Maple Flowers

Playing with color has to be one of my favorite parts of designing.  Of course there are many ways of pulling together a successful color palette, but for me I find that some of the most exciting color combinations are just waiting to be discovered outdoors in nature’s flora and fauna.  Nature’s palettes seem to have a special, “I never would have thought of that”  kind of compatibility.  Surprising, and yet perfectly harmonious.  For the past few days I’ve been going through some photos I took in the early spring and pulling color palettes from some of  my favorites.  I had so much fun creating these palettes that I want to bring them to life, so I’ve decided to do a series of quilt blocks based on them.

Maple Flowers

The first color grouping comes from this picture of a maple flower.  The chartreuse and limey greens of the flower are exactly what you think of when you think spring, but then when you look closer you can also notice the dark red at the base of the bud, little tinges of purple on the brown stem, and of course all the misty grays in the background.

Maple Flower Stack

So I pulled all of my fabrics that were close to these colors. (Well- all that I could find, since everything’s still stuck in boxes!)  Really this is one of the greatest parts of making things- sifting through my precious stash and picking out just the right fabrics.  I easily spent an hour or two on this step, because it’s so much fun!  Here’s the results of that first round:

Maple Flower Options 1

If I was using this palette for a whole quilt, I would try to use as many of these fabrics as I could.  Using 20 slightly different greens gives the quilt a richness that you would never get from using the same lime green 20 times.  But, for this project I’m just planning on making one block, so I had to narrow it down a lot.

Maple Flower First Three

These three fabrics were singing to me, so I started with them.  I love how the shapes on the gray one echo the shape of the maple flower.  The light green batik perfectly represents the color of  the tiny flowers.   And the purple just contrasts nicely.  I also noticed a bit of murky purple in the gray fabric.  Perfect.

Maple Flower More Options

The next one that caught my eye was the dark brown/white print.  It’s a nice companion to the purple for the block I have planned, and I like how the shapes in the fabric are similar to the gray print.

Star-Leaf Quilt Block

After I had these fabrics selected, I went back to my block diagram and colored it in, so I would know what I am looking for to round out the selection.  The fans in the corners resemble crinkly new maple leaves, so to play that up I made them green, and after that the other colors just fell into place.  The block will be English paper pieced, so all the weird angles are no problem.

New Maple Leaves

This is the edited lineup I ended up with: (hey, it’s a big block!)

Maple Flower Final Picks

I never know for sure what will work until I have everything cut and laid out, so I always save the “rejects” nearby in case I need to switch something out.

And just as an aside, I don’t think I can work this into the block I have planned, but look how well this Lizzy House print goes with my palette, right down to the king’s wee little boots!  This is destined to be some little bibs.  One of these days.

Lizzy House Print

Happy Mother’s Day to Me

I have been wanting to make a few summer dresses for my little girls- the one I already have and the one I’m expecting to arrive in a few months- and Mother’s Day is the perfect excuse to place a little fabric order from Superbuzzy, don’t you think?  I got this lovely Nani Iro double gauze…

Nani Iro 2

Which at the moment I’m thinking will make sweet little bubble dresses with its unique soft drape…

Nani Iro 3

a delicate Japanese cotton lawn, which reminded me of the new tree leaves budding out against the cloudy spring skies we’ve been having, and is so smooth and fine and just wonderful to the touch (and was on sale!)

Japanese Lawn

and this pretty, pretty woven trim, which literally jumped into my cart of its own accord…

Japanese Ribbon 2

I ordered a plain cream-colored cotton voile that I intended to pair with the beautiful trim.  The plan was to make the trim the only star of the garments.  But I was surprised by how perfectly the trim coordinates with the chartreuse printed cotton lawn, so I may just have to use them together instead, and add the plain voile to the stash.

Japanese Ribbon 3

The strawberry candy they sent along never made it to the photo shoot, sorry…

Strawberry Candy

My order didn’t arrive in time for the big day, but all the same, what a lovely present to myself- and isn’t the dreaming about future projects one of the best parts of making things?