Saturday, June 9, 2018

explorations--do I have enough fabric?

Some of us are very lucky. My favorite fabric store--The Textile Company in Greenfield, Massachusetts--is still in business. Indeed it has been selling fabric for three generations in an old baby carriage factory. (The wooden floors are themselves worth the trip.) Of course I have a secret fantasy--what if I could just set up my sewing machine and cut bits of fabric as I need it to get just the right color combinations.

Of course I know that is totally impractical. Can you imagine running up and down the aisles comparing fabrics just to get that one snippet? There actually is a phenomena of too much fabric. Seriously. Even for me. It can take too long to sort and compare. Sure I could purchase lots of fat quarters but my theory is that if I like the fabric enough to use it I want to learn to know it. What are its interesting undertones and stories? How does it work when cut into strips? What are the hints of stories within it? How can I combine the different fabrics to make a quilt that represents my artistic vision.

So I purchase my fabric a yard at a time. Then when I am working on a new quilt I often sketch out the colors by sorting through and creating the sweep of color that I think might work.

explorations--quilt--ann brauer 2018
Plum is such a complex color. Red and blue, purple with a touch of grey and brown. The manufacturers never make a lot of it in any given year. Instead I know I will be searching for snippets of fabric. Plunging deep into my fabric drawers for just the right color. Still this arrangement gives me a start. A reference point.

I begin cutting. I always tell myself to start with what I know. Just like with the fabric selection, I could cut too much fabric and spend too much time searching through the pile to find what I want and test it as I sew. So I make a small pile of wedges.

explorations--quilt--ann brauer 2018

And start to stitch each to the quilt. One strip at a time. Stopping frequently to ponder what comes next.
explorations--quilt--ann brauer--2018
How do you start a quilt? Do you ever have too much fabric? Have you ever worked with the color plum? And do you know any great fabric stores?

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