Fabric is essential to every quilter’s life! We buy it, we hoard it, and we spend a ton of time thinking about it. From the initial fabric choices of our quilt, to piecing, to adding the binding, fabric is so important — and can enhance your project (or make you shake your head at your design wall). And although we work with fabric all the time, sometimes it’s hard to know which colors and prints will make a beautiful quilt that you’re proud of! A Flair for Fabric: Creative Sewing Projects from the Designers at Henry Glass is an amazing resource for fun projects, as well as tips for mixing and matching fabrics with success.
Published by Martingale and compiled by designer Linda Lum DeBono, this book features 14 beautiful projects by Henry Glass designers. Each designer gives a peek at how they design fabric and provides several tips on choosing fabric and matching colors. Plus, six in-depth lessons throughout the book give greater insight on how to make your fabrics play with each other and solves some common problems with fabric choice. Here’s a look at a few of the projects from the book.
Starburst Maple Delight by Janet Nesbitt and Pam Soliday
Funky Flowers by Heather Mulder Peterson
Days Gone By by Little Quilts
All royalties from this book are being donated to Red Cross.
Here’s tips for choosing fabric from the staff of American Patchwork & Quilting and Quilts and More magazines:
“I’ve been challenging myself to break my tried-and-true fabric selection habits — one large-scale print and three to five smaller scale prints that generally match the colors in the larger print. As part of the challenge, I’ve chosen solids as backgrounds that aren’t a color pulled from the prints. I’ve also combined bold larger-scale prints in a quilt, tossing aside the “does that match?” voice inside my head. These little changes make a difference and teach me a new lesson every time.”
–Linda Augsburg, editorial content chief
“When selecting fabrics for a project, I like to start by choosing a simple and controlled color palette. For inspiration, look around you at the objects you surround yourself with. Color combinations can be drawn from a favorite piece of artwork, a book cover or even a favorite outfit. I was once inspired by the packaging on a Starbucks coffee bag!”
–Elizabeth Stumbo, assistant art director
“Color choice depends on the size block I’m making. I like to make small blocks – ideally 4 or 5 inches square. When making smaller blocks it is better to choose fabrics with fewer patterns and colors. Because fabrics get cut into small pieces, a large scale print with lots of color looks very different when it’s chopped into tiny pieces. If you want to maintain definition in your pieces, choose fabrics that have a tone-on-tone or a mottled appearance. Batiks are also great choices when making small blocks. They are tightly woven and pieces are less likely to fray.”
–Jody Sanders, editor of Quilts and More
“I love scrappy quilts, so I usually go overboard by choosing WAY too many fabrics when I’m gathering fabrics from my stash for a new project. But I purposely try NOT to limit myself, because even though I may have gathered three times what I need, I always end up further refining the selection a few days (or months!) later when I come back to start cutting out the quilt. That way I’m still left with plenty of fabric for the project I’m working on.”
–Elizabeth Beese, senior editor of American Patchwork & Quilting
“I find color and fabric inspiration in collections. I love the colors in collections of Aurifil embroidery floss. Using the threads as a visual guide, I select matching solids and prints from my stash. Then I fill out the basic collection with lighter and darker, more saturated/less saturated fabrics.”
–Jill Mead, editor
“Let the fabric designer do the work! Buying fabric from a single fabric collection ensures that your fabrics will not only match, but also have a variety of prints, scales, and colors to work with. If you need to add fabric from your stash, look at the color dots on the fabric selvage to guarantee that whatever fabric you pull will match perfectly!”
–Lindsay Fullington, assistant multimedia editor
Follow along with the blog hop! Each blog will have a fun fabric giveaway and great tips for choosing fabric!
Tuesday, November 18: Launch at Martingale’s Stitch This! blog
Wednesday, November 19: Dana Brooks
Thursday, November 20: Leanne Anderson
Friday, November 21: AllPeopleQuilt.com (It’s us!)
Saturday, November 22: Janet Nesbitt
Monday, November 24: Linda Lum DeBono
Tuesday, November 25: Anni Downs
Wednesday, November 26: Kim Diehl
Friday, November 28: Jill Finley
Saturday, November 29: Amy Hamberlin
Monday, December 1: Margo Languedoc
Tuesday, December 2: Little Quilts
Wednesday, December 3: Lizzie B Cre8ive
Thursday, December 4: Heather Mulder Peterson
Friday, December 5: Jacquelynne Steves
Saturday, December 6: Wrap up at the Henry Glass blog
Each month, we highlight the books we’re reading in the office. The holidays are coming quick! These books are full of festive holiday and winter projects, and also make great gifts for any sewers on your list!
Celebrate Christmas: 22 Festive Projects to Quilt and Sew
Spread holiday cheer with 22 fabulous projects! This beautiful book features inspiring Christmas and winter-themed projects as well as a table runner for Hanukkah. From smaller projects like ornaments, stockings, and pillows to larger wall hangings and throws, this book is full of projects for decorating your home and creating gifts to suit any taste.
Cozy Quilts: A Charming Blend of Wool Appliqué and Cotton Patchwork
By Tara Lynn Darr for Kansas City Star Books
Nothing adds warmth and texture to quilts like wool appliqué. Tara Lynn Darr shows you how to spice up your quilts with a cozy mix of wool hexagons, stars, blooms and more. This charming collection of 11 small scrappy quilts is a great way to put your scrap basket of cotton and wool fabrics to use. No matter your taste in appliqué, you’ll find the perfect project in this diverse medley of designs.
Red, White & Quilted
By Linda Baxter Lasco for AQS Publishing
Twelve traditional patterns from antique red-and-white quilts become fresh ways to enjoy the classic color combination. See ideas for beautiful quilting to highlight white space and escalate your quilts to heirloom quilts. A gallery of even more red-and-white beauties tops off this beautiful book.
A Quilt for Christmas
By Sandra Dallas for St. Martin’s Press
It is 1864 and Eliza Spooner’s husband Will has joined the Kansas volunteers to fight the Conferedates, leaving her with their two children and in charge of their home and land. Eliza is confident that he will return home, and she helps pass the months making a special quilt to keep Will warm during his winter in the army. When the unthinkable happens, she takes in a a woman and child who have been left alone and made vulnerable by the war, and she finds solace and camaraderie amongst the women of her quilting group.
Here Comes Winter: Quilted Projects to Warm Your Home
By Jeanne Large and Shelley Wicks for Martingale
Make your home cozy all winter with decorative projects ranging in size and shape from pillows and banners to wall hangings, table runners, and lap quilts. Inspired by the frosty winters of Saskatchewan, Jeanne Large and Shelley Wicks showcase whimsical designs that are enchanted. This cheery collection is packed with 19 festive projects showcasing fun wintertime motifs including Christmas trees, lights, reindeer, snowmen, and snowflakes.
Memories of Christmas Past
By Betsey Langford and Carolyn Nixon for Kansas City Star Books
Celebrate the holiday season with this festive sampler quilt dressed in the classic yuletide colors of red and green. Based on traditional designs, each of the 12 sampler blocks features a Nine-Patch twist. Searching for a creative holiday gift idea? Use the blocks in six smaller projects.
Each month, we highlight the books we’re reading in the office. With cooler temps settling in and the holidays approaching, we’re returning to tradition. Log Cabin quilts not only have a long history, but also look great no matter what your fabric choices are. From scrappy and warm colors to bright and modern designs, these books offer a variety of patterns using Log Cabin blocks.
Extraordinary Log Cabin Quilts
By Judy Martin for Crosley-Griffith Publishing Co.
This book is a Log Cabin gold mine. Not only do you get 15 Log Cabin patterns that a quilter of any skill level will enjoy, but you also get directions for multiple sizes AND multiple color ways. It’s eye-opening to see the hundreds of way a Log Cabin block can be used to create very different designs. A discussion of color and value will teach you lessons on choosing fabrics and how to arrange colors to get the look you want!
Log Cabin Quilts: The Basics and Beyond
By Janet Houts and Jean Ann Wright for Landauer Publishing, LLC
Janet and Jean give very detailed instructions and pictures on how to make some of the most classic Log Cabin settings, including Courthouse Steps and a Half Log Cabin. You can use one of the 19 quilt patterns in this book to try these block settings out or use their measurement guide to cut and piece your own design. Plus, they give some ideas for turning this classic block contemporary, including adding appliqué and trying some unique design options.
Log Cabin Fever: Innovative Design for Traditional Quilts
This book is great if you’ve perfected the Log Cabin and want to mix it with your other favorite blocks for a fresh design. The 11 quilts in this book showcase Log Cabin blocks with star blocks, heart shapes, basket blocks, and more for a new take on traditional. Plus, the instructions are simple to follow and include an easy technique for piecing!
Cut It, Sew It, Stow It
by Ebony Love
$12.95; Annie’s Sewing
Review by Lindsay Fullington, assistant multimedia editor
Need a professional organizer, storage products, and sewing lessons for only $12.95? Then this book is for you! Not only do you get instructions for 10 multi-use fabric storage containers, but author Ebony also gives clever organizing ideas for each container. It’s the perfect way to use your favorite fabrics to match your decor, but also store household items and sewing supplies smarter! And with the holiday season coming, cute organization is definitely on our wish list!
From hanging organizers, tote-like carriers, divided containers, and a pillow with pockets, these DIY storage projects are not only totally functional in any room, but also so stylish! Say good-bye to plastic containers or expensive organizers. These make-in-a-weekend projects are easy, quick, and perfect for showcasing beautiful fabric. On my to-do list are definitely the Entryway Mail & Key Trays that have cute button accents and the Plastic Bag Hamper to help corral my large supply of bags in the kitchen.
The photography in this book is beautiful and provides clever ideas for displaying and hanging each container. These ideas are perfect for me, since I frequently make things but then never know what to do with them! And the diagrams and detailed instructions take the guesswork out of some of the harder steps in making three-dimensional objects.
One of my favorite parts of this book (and one that I think really ups the value) is the “Make It Fancy! Embellishing” section in each project. It gives you an option for adding special details to each project. Although not required in the instructions, these ideas teach you a new technique and can really add a handmade touch if you have the extra time! From decorative stitches and machine quilting ideas to applique and pleats, these ideas not only add to the specific project they’re featured in, but also any project you’re working on!
Simply Modern Christmas
by Cindy Lammon
Review by Lindsay Fullington, assistant multimedia editor
If you’re like me and author Cindy, you love Christmas traditions, but don’t necessarily think of yourself as a traditional quilter. Simply Modern Christmas combines traditional quilt blocks and holiday motifs, but with a modern and fun spin! No matter what your skills level is, this book has a project that will help you add a handmade touch to your home in the busy holiday season. From stockings and table toppers to bright wall quilts and cozy throws, these 14 quilted projects will have you in a holly jolly mood while quilting.
While some quilts use the common green and red color scheme, the use of graphic prints, florals, and stripes puts a modern twist on tradition. The table toppers would look stunning on a Christmas table, but could easily transition to everyday decor by swapping out a centerpiece. And the argyle quilt would make a perfect throw for then men in your life or just something to curl up in in the winter months.
Many quilts add teal and pink to elevate the traditional colors to bright and cheerful creations. The tree skirt (one that is definitely on my to-do list) showcases trendy diamonds in reds, greens, pinks, and teals for a pop of color under your tree. An applique wall hanging uses these colors as a backdrop for a whimsical tree that will give joy to both children and adults.
And best of all? Most of these quilts are made using fat quarters and simple shapes, so you can whip one or two (or more … ) up before the holiday season gets too busy! Cindy’s color diagrams, easy-to-read instructions, and beautiful photography will not only inspire, but also walk you through each quilt with ease.