Monday, August 5, 2013

it takes a stash to make a quilt

Now one of those questions I get asked all the time is "How many fabrics are there in this quilt?" A great question but just counting the fabrics in the quilt would not give you the real answer. After all, for every fabric I choose to put into the quilt, there are also many more that I have just like Goldilocks rejected.

Let me explain. This time the order was for a quilt based on the design and colors of "autumn dawn". You may remember this quilt--wonderful rich colors of browns with a vibrant yellow dawn and the hints of purple floating above the field of green. And I did want to get this order done--the client wanted to attend the Berkshire Craft Show August 9-11 in Great Barrington, MA so I had to concentrate on it.

autumn dawn--45x64"--quilt--Ann Brauer

However, the quilt had to be smaller and it had to coordinate with the colors of the room. In particular purples were wrong and instead a hint of blue was called for. Just look at the colors of the pillow sham from the space. Lovely but a bit of a challenge, isn't it?

So I start piecing. When in doubt, my motto after all is make what I know.

Not bad. But what comes next? I pull out lots and lots of fabrics and sort through. Hunting for fabrics that have just the right amount of warmth but also reflect the colors of the sham.

Yes, this one was too purple. Too bright.

This one had great colors but it was just so busy I feared it would detract from the quilt.

This one is actually possible. Note that hint of red in the piece and just the right amount of blue. I'll set it aside and cut a couple of wedges.

Perfect, isn't this one? Not too bright but so many colors. Just the right amount of warmth.

And this blue--will it prove to be too purple. Only the actual quilt will tell. But I set it aside. Cut a bit of it--easier and faster than going back and finding the fabric at just the right moment.

And so it continues. Going through my stash of blues and reds, the stash of browns and yellows. Even the greys. Trying to find as many colors that just might work. Rejecting ten or twenty pieces before I find even one that just might work. Then finally I start piecing. Will the colors work? How will it look?

Not bad. Don't you love how once you get the pieces together they start to sing? So complex but also harmonious at the same time.

Then I sew it together. And give it the final once over. Sure the snapshot is not as well lit as it could be--it took forever to finish and the light was fading. But still I hope the customer will be pleased. And as for me--now I am thinking of more uses for these colors--what will the next quilt in this series look like?

Berkshire dawn--quilt--Ann Brauer

And you--do you find it takes a stash to make a quilt? How do you sort your fabric?  Can you ever have too much stash? What tricks can you offer? And if you are in the Berkshires maybe you will be able to make it to the show--for more info:


  1. I keep my stash in clear containers arranged by color and size. I keep my smaller scraps separate from my yardage, that is on open shelves. It is much faster to find what I want if I stay organized and my space is too small to let it get out of hand. Still, with all the fabric I have, I can never resits one more perfect batik on sale... Nice to meet a fellow fiber artist from TAFA and Etsy.

  2. Hi Ann, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris