Creative Clutter in the Sewing Room…It’s a GOOD Thing!

Not too long ago, I had the opportunity to catch up (via phone) with Georgia Bonesteel, a quilting friend from North Carolina. Among many other things, Georgia is a member of the PTA (Professional Textile Artists) whose Inspired By exhibit I wrote about in a previous post. In the course of our conversation, Georgia mentioned a book…and as soon as I heard the title, I knew I needed to investigate: A Perfectly Kept House is the Sign of a Misspent Life by Mary Randolph Carter.

If the title doesn’t grab you, how’s this for a subtitle: How to Live Creatively with Collections, Clutter, Work, Kids, Pets, Art, etc…and Stop Worrying About Everything Being Perfectly in its Place

It didn’t take too much “investigation” to decide that this book was a must-have for me: a big (272 pages!), beautifully designed hardcover, packed with juicy photos and delightful, descriptive text. Yes, it was a wee bit pricy, but I saved my pennies and treated myself. Well worth it: I’ve already spent many enjoyable hours poring through its yummy pages.

Caution: If you’re a minimalist, some of the photos might cause you “palpitations,” but if you are a sucker for eye candy (as I am), this book is all that…and more.

Now, I pride myself on keeping a (reasonably) tidy house, and for many years, my sewing room was tidy, too. Too tidy. In fact, keeping that room neat and orderly became an end in itself…and a good reason for not starting anything new. Oh, I made stuff, but it was always safe, and planned, and able to be cleaned up at the end of the day, even though I was lucky enough to have a space that I could close the door and walk away from.

When I launched my “year of creativity” at the beginning of 2012, I was still fairly conscientious. It didn’t take long for me to discover, however, that unbridled creativity is MESSY and, in the sewing room, that’s not such a bad thing!

Nowadays, my worktable overflows with the “detritus” of various projects and experiments for days on end.

Having my materials, inspiration, and “experiments” in view spurs–rather than stifles–my creativity. I’ve always kept an “idea file” of clippings, postcards, and other images tucked away in a drawer…but I’ve discovered that they’re much more inspiring to me when I can actually see them.

My bulletin board is a constantly changing display. My goal is eventually to create an entire wall of inspiration as a partner to my design wall.

Sometimes an image (or series of images) will prompt an idea that is not quite ready for action, that needs some time to “percolate.” (BTW, I got that expression from Libby Lehman, one of the most creative–and organized–people I know!) When that happens, I find it immensely helpful–and stimulating–to collect related images, fabrics, embellishments, and threads in a little vignette that I can live with for a while, and that I can add to, shape or “edit” until the idea has had time to mature. Then, when I’m ready to begin, the nucleus of the project is already in place. My confidence is high and the fear factor is minimized.

One of my current inspirational “vignettes”…which I suspect will ultimately yield a birch tree piece for an ongoing series.

I can’t tell you how much my creativity has blossomed since I let go of my need to “control” my mess. In fact, in all my years of working with fabric, the past six months have probably been the most exciting and prolific of my entire life. Since January 1, I’ve kept a journal dedicated to chronicling my creative journey. I knew I had turned a corner when I wrote on February 10, “Another sign that I’m moving in the right direction: I’m starting to discover threads on my clothes and little snips of fabric on the floor in other parts of the house.” Now it’s an everyday occurrence!

An ongoing series: seeing this image makes me realize how the theme of “growth” has been very much on my mind.

I realize that not everyone has the luxury of a dedicated sewing space. (Mine is actually only “semi-dedicated.” I’m forced to clean up some when we have overflow houseguests.) I also know that we all have different levels of tolerance when it comes to–well, clutter. That’s OK. I just encourage you to ask yourself honestly if neatness in your creative space is truly your nature…or if it’s just a mask for procrastination and fear (as it was so long for me.)

Maybe you’d like to loosen up a bit, but aren’t quite ready to go off the deep end. Here are two books that deal with organization, but with the creative person (and all that entails) in mind. The first is an old favorite: The Creative Woman’s Getting-It-All-Together at Home Handbook by Jean Ray Laury.

This classic is long out of print, but you can find it used from a number of sources online. Jean was a pioneer of the quilt revival and a woman ahead of her time.

The second is Organizing for the Creative Person: Right-Brain Styles for Conquering Clutter, Mastering Time, and Reaching Your Goals by Dorothy Lehmkuhl and Dolores Cotter Lamping, C.S.W.

This one has also been around for a while, but when I checked, I found it’s still in print. You may find it with a different cover, depending upon the edition.

I’d love to hear about your sewing space. Do leave a comment and let me know…and ’til next time, happy sewing!

It’s All About Texture in Her Quilts: Meet Sue Rasmussen…plus a giveaway

Texture can be achieved in many forms and, in the art world, it often results from the way in which materials are used. Some quilters introduce embellishments such as beads, buttons, ribbons, or embroidery stitches to add that rich “I just want to touch it” look to their work. Adding visual texture through fabric and quilting designs requires a trained eye in making fabric choices and a creative and skilled hand with quilting stitches.

When we chose “texture” as the theme for this month’s posts, I thought of Sue Rasmussen and her stunning, award-winning work. She has mastered the art of combining fabric and machine quilting to give the visual texture to her work that causes many of us to ask “how did you do that?”

I had the pleasure of meeting and spending time with Sue at a retreat last summer. I’m delighted to share her thoughts and work with you.

What brought you to quilting?

I think fate played a huge part in my career as a quilter. When I was 10 years old, I was waiting at the Monterey County Fair to show my horse, and my father took me inside the Exposition Hall. A woman was demonstrating a machine that could actually make buttonholes by simply turning a dial on the front of the machine! I had never before seen a sewing machine in my life. I am sure no one in my family had ever touched a needle, let alone a sewing machine. I was fascinated, and glued to the floor. Finally, after several fruitless attempts to get me moving, my father asked me if I wanted it. He bought me everything: the table, the chair, all the attachments, and a brand new Bernina as my first sewing machine! I taught myself how to sew and three years later, I made my first quilt. I later graduated with a degree in Textile Sciences from UC Davis.

As a young adult, working full time in Corporate May Co, I quilted in my spare time. I made quilts for gifts, took a few classes, and began to win local awards. My local quilt shop, The Quilt Emporium, soon asked me to teach classes for them. As a ‘full time mom’ of two boys, I quilted, lectured, taught, and competed professionally.

What kind of quilts do you make?

Primarily, I make machine-pieced quilts, although I will make a fused quilt every now and then for charities. I do almost no handwork besides a few embellishments. My real quilt passion is curved pieced landscape and pictorial quilts. I took assorted landscape classes 15 -20 years ago, and when I took a workshop from Ruth McDowell, I became hooked on her piecing technique. I like the clean edge of a pieced image rather than those attained through raw edge, glued, or fused quilts, and I prefer the soft hand of a pieced quilt. I have been creating and showing my pieced landscapes for nearly 25 years, and teaching for over 10 years.

Winter’s Approach by Sue Rasmussen
Poipu Point by Sue Rasmussen

How do you attain texture in your quilts?

Texture is an extremely important design element for pictorial and landscape quilts. In my quilts, the fabric choices and the machine quilting create the texture. I began, professionally, 24 years ago as a machine quilter and teacher. As a teacher, I am constantly reflecting on the choices I make to give my quilts the desired texture.  The machine-quilting stitches are an integral element of my quilts, adding the visual texture and dimensional aspects of the piece.

Grizzly Bear by Sue Rasmussen

I view the quilting as a secondary quilt layer, as important as the pieced work itself, which–if taken and viewed separately on a white piece of fabric–would be considered a significant quilt in and of itself. The machine quilting must complement the design, adding texture to the Grizzly Bear ’s fur and dimension to the roughness of the tree trunks in Poipu Point. Thread choices are very important, and I do most of my quilting with Aurifil Threads, for whom I am a specialist.

Equally important, is the texture implied by the fabric. Fabrics are generally flat and one dimensional, but the right fabric choices can visually “imply” texture with the color and pattern. Multicolored fabrics suggest more visual texture than solids or fabrics with little pattern, and can create in the viewer’s mind a texture that is solely imagined, such as the fractured granite in the Mountain Lion or the smooth, marble-like texture of the cement arches of the Colorado Street Bridge.

What is your favorite part of quilting?

I love auditioning and choosing the fabrics. Seeing the pieces come together to build the quilt, then watching the design or image come to life, gives me great pleasure. I’m always thrilled and happy to watch a quilt like the Grizzly Bear or the forest in Winter’s Approach come to life.

Textured fabrics.
Textured fabrics.

I

As I build the design up on the wall, adding a piece, sometimes removing it to try another. The quilt will take a surprising and gratifying turn. My excitement and anticipation are almost more than I can stand. I will happily work way into the late hours or will spend a solitary weekend in my studio working on a project. I make every quilt as if it were for me, choosing fabrics and images or patterns that I love. In this way, every quilt I make shows a part of me and a bit of my personality in it. I hope my quilts reflect that to the public or to the new owner.

Detail showing beautiful fabric choices and quilting used on Winter’ s Approach

What is your least favorite part of quilting?

Hmmm… I guess finishing the quilt. After I have machine quilted it, I have mentally moved onto the next quilt project, and the binding, quilt sleeve, and label seem tedious to me. In fact, I often trade my machine quilting with my friend Judy L. who does all the finishing for me. I honestly view myself as the winner in this deal.

 What do you enjoy the most about being a professional quilter?

Quite simply, I enjoy thoroughly the interaction with my students. I LOVE to teach. I love seeing the “aha!! moment” in their eyes when they have learned something or   accomplish something that before has eluded them. I take teaching very seriously. It’s my job. I have nearly endless patience and sincere encouragement for my students, and I always try to bring humor and enthusiasm to my classes.

What do you do in your free time? 

Sue and Ellie

I raise and train Golden Retrievers. I have been involved with this breed for over 30 years. My dogs are all obedience, conformation, agility, and therapy dogs. They are a fun, loving and active breed, always happy and energetic, and I take my outlook on life from them. In fact, occasionally, when my sewing machine acts up, and I say a few mean things to it in a rather harsh voice, my little girl Ellie is instantly by my side with tail wagging and a reassuring lick to soothe and calm me down. What better friend could you ask for?

Quilting 101

Sue has recently written and self-published her book, Quilting 101: What Every Quilter Should Know. Her book explains everything from machine needles, threads, battings, pins, and marking tools to home-sewing-machine maintenance. She shares a wealth of information not only in quilting, but in textile science in this informational book. It is a wonderful reference guide, assisting quilters who are interested in the details of making top-quality quilts. Sue has generously donated a signed copy of her book for one of our readers. Simply leave a comment letting us know how you feel you could benefit from this book. I will announce the winner in my next post on July 10th. To purchase a copy, simply e-mail Sue at sueqltrat@yahoo.com.

Thank you Sue for sharing your time and quilts with us. To learn more about Sue, view her body of work, and check her schedule of workshops, please visit her at www.SueRasmussenQuilts.com. She will be filming four segments for The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims this August in Montana and invites you to view them in 2013.

Happy Sewing Everyone!

A “Glass” Act–Using Transparent Fabrics in Quilts

I always like starting my posts with flowers, especially “quilt-able” ones.

A few posts ago, Darra gave us a rundown on texture depicted in printed fabric. (I learned a lot BTW.) In this edition of our June texture-themed features I’m going to switch things up a bit and look at the opposite end of the textural spectrum.

What do you think about sleek, slippery, and shimmery? Now I know those qualities aren’t generally associated with everyday quilts, those that get tossed in the wash, worn out by daily use, and then end their days as pet blankets. But shininess, slickness, smoothness are exciting qualities to add to our quilts, just probably not our utilitarian ones.

My thing is organza in its silk and polyester varieties. These days I’m into creating floral still life quilts that are more wall art than bedding, so all varieties of silk are fair game for me.  What I like about organza, though, is transparency.  I can create vessels that mimic slick, shiny, see-through glass to fill with dimensional appliqué blossoms.  I especially enjoy iridescent organzas and the varieties with warp/weft color changes like Kaffe Fassett’s shot cottons. Using organza is so much fun that I’m guild-bound this weekend to spread the word!  I’ll be evangelizing in California’s Sierra foothills.

Not quite a rainbow of organzas, but getting there–notice how the iridescent silk gleams among its brethren.

Here’s a peek at silk and polyester organza showcased as glass—and a couple quick FYIs about using organza:

  • Use a pressing cloth with polyester organza to avoid melting the fabric.
  • Choose silk pins for delicate fabrics (like all organza varieties).
  • Pin generously when slippage is an issue and/or consider stabilizer (I’ve never used it, but I hear it works).
My still life with friendly spider–the vase was made of my last piece of silvery silk organza.
A tropical still life by Cyndy Rymer composed of printed and beaded Extravorganza flowers in a vase of polyester organza. Click image to read Cyndy’s recent guest post.
A workshop project: a posy of roses in a transparent vase. Click the image for class details.

I know my closing diverges from quilting, but I just had to share a photo from a recent cherry-picking foray with my family in a Brentwood, CA fruit orchard. Now that summer is in full swing, I hope you have a chance to enjoy your local farmers’ markets and pick-your-own farms.  If you live near Northern California or will be traveling our way try this online resource for farms and roadside stands.

Fresh from the orchard–Ranier and Bing cherries–shiny and delicious.

May your gardens and quilts be abundant!

Hot Off the Press – Quilters’ Travel Companion 12th Edition and a Giveaway!

I don’t know what compels most quilters to seek out every fabric shop, but we do. I used to think it was just me – but now I know better. An absolute must for road trips is the Quilters’ Travel Companion. Published by Chalet Publishing, this book is a comprehensive guide to North American quilt shops, along with quilt show, shop hop, guild, and quilt-retreat facility information. They’re celebrating their 20th year with the 2012-2014 – 12th Edition!

The front cover of Quilters’ Travel Companion – 2012-2014 Edition.

The new edition, which is available now in your local quilt shop, contains over 2000 featured quilt shops, with key information about each shop (address, phone, number of bolts, business hours, specialties, etc.) and a map to its doorstep. Listings are organized by state, and geographically within the state, so ads for close-by shops appear together. A directory of all the state’s quilt shops appears at the end of that state’s listings. Quilt show, shop hop, and guild information is organized by state and time of year. Updates and new information can be found on the Quilters’ Travel Companion website. When you purchase the book and send them your email address, you’ll receive an up-to-date newsletter every six months.

As a quilt-shop addict and lover of road trips, I consider the Quilters’ Travel Companion an invaluable resource. (I’ve purchased the last three editions.) However, it’s definitely time for a new one. Here’s a look at my 11th edition: dog-eared in the front and soaked with a latte in the back. You should see the inside – lots of notes along with the coffee stains!

Audrey Swales Anderson from Chalet Publishing has generously donated a copy of the new edition for our giveaway. To be entered into the contest, post a comment by June 29th and let us know why you need a copy of QTC. The winner will be announced in my post on July 3rd.

Happy travels. 

  

Grandpa to Grandson: Linking Generations with a Very Special Quilt – Part 1 (Free Pattern)

Christy and I met in 1952, when our parents bought tiny post-war tract houses across the street from each other in a small New Jersey town. We were barely beyond the toddler stage, and the connection was instantaneous—and enduring. We grew up sharing childhoods, milestones, secrets.

That’s me on the left, Christy on the right. Our dads often took us on Saturday outings. Here we’re on our way to see the Mayflower II in New York City harbor.

I was maid of honor when Christy married Ray in 1969. She was 18, he was 20. People said it wouldn’t last. People were wrong.

In the spring of 2010, shortly after the couple celebrated their 42nd wedding anniversary, Ray was diagnosed with cancer. He passed away last August, just before his 63rd birthday. As so often happens, very soon after, their youngest son and his wife discovered that their first child was on the way–the first male grandbaby. Sadly, this new little one would never know his Grandpa Ray.

Whoa! Not so fast! Within a few months, a box arrived on my doorstep. It was filled with…

…shirts! Yes, Christy had packed up a collection of Ray’s cotton shirts and sent them in my direction. I cut off the collars and yokes, sleeves, and plackets…

…and separated the body of each shirt into three large pieces.

I cut the large pieces into 5″ squares, arranged them on my design wall, and added some “hugs and kisses” with raw edge applique.

I stitched the squares together (easy peasy!), added a border, and voila!

“Hugs and Kisses from Grandpa” (39″ x 48″), made by Darra Williamson

Just in time, too.

Finnegan (Finn) Raymond Mitchell, born earlier this month in Florida. Isn’t he beautiful? He’ll be wrapping himself in Grandpa’s love very soon.

“Hugs and Kisses” is off being quilted, and I’ll include a photo of the finished quilt, with details about its pieced-from-leftovers binding and special label, in one of my July posts. Meantime, if you’d like to make this quilt for a precious little someone, you’ll find the instructions (including patterns for the letter appliques) in our Pattern Library.

I’ll be finishing off the quilt with a binding pieced from shirt leftovers.

Oh, and Grandma?

She’s doing just fine!

That’s it for now. ‘Til next time, happy stitching!

Holly Hobbie: A Finished Quilt 30+ Years in the Making (and a Free Block Pattern)

Hi everyone. I’m still in Omaha spending time with family, but wanted to take a few minutes to share with you the quilt that I’m presenting to my niece while we’re here.

While I was in Omaha last year, my niece Holly handed me a bag of blocks that were made by my mother-in-law (her grandmother) back in the ’70s. Holly found the blocks tucked away in a closet after Mom passed away a few years ago. I knew my mother-in-law did some quilting, but never saw any of her finished work.

The block looks to me like a variation of the Holly Hobbie patterns that were introduced and very popular during the ’70s. (This would be reasonable guess as they were made to be given to Holly.) I took the twenty hand-appliquéd and embroidered blocks home with me with the goal of presenting Holly with a finished quilt when I returned this year.

Unless you have a stash of older fabrics, it can often be challenging to find a current print to work in with the older blocks. I was delighted to find this adorable Flower Sugar print by Lecien Fabrics. I love how the sweet flowers complement the delicately hand-embroidered garden.

With so much light background fabric, I needed to find a quilter who would add just the right amount of design without overpowering the charm of the appliquéd blocks. Laura Jansen of Butterfly Quilting did exactly that.

This was such a fun project to work on! So often we find unfinished blocks or quilt tops that were well-intentioned but, for whatever reason, never made it to completion. Do you have some of these in your family? If so, why not make it a goal to put them together so that you or perhaps a friend or family member can enjoy the finished quilt?

I have traced the pattern for this design and added it to our Pattern Library. It is simply an outline of the shapes, no instructions. For those of you with some appliqué experience, it will be easy to reproduce.

I’m heading to the International Quilt Study Center and Museum tomorrow and hope to have lots to share with you when I return.

Happy June everyone!

Declare Your Independence! Host Your Own Crafty Birthday Party

Yes, I’ve since fixed my crooked earrings and yes, I did finish that most delicious cupcake made by Kim Butterworth from a Paula Deen recipe.

I live in a male-dominated household these days so every once in a while I’ve got to break into something girly just to keep myself in balance. This year, I decided to throw my own birthday party and so I invited my quilt group to do crafty stuff at our local shop Wooden Gate Quilts—no guys allowed!

It’s really L-I-B-E-R-A-T-I-N-G to host your own birthday party and I absolutely encourage you to dream up some theme or project and put a date on your calendar. We had a blast, plus we made stuff and ate cupcakes.

Setting up the luncheon buffet–the feast decor had to be color coordinated, of course.

The menu was super simple and quilt-shop appropriate:  roasted chicken w/Muenster cheese slices, tomatoes, and lettuce finished with pesto aioli on focaccia, veggies with dip, gourmet potato chips, Arnold Palmers in sippy cups (gotta prevent spills in the quilt shop), and, best of all, red velvet cupcakes!

My blogging sister Darra was the source of the project idea.  A month or so before my birthday she bestowed a postcard-sized portrait on one of our crew as a gift.  I couldn’t help but think that it would be a hoot to do self-portraits following Darra’s method—thus the genesis of the craft-centered birthday party idea.

Perfect fodder for a crafty birthday party project: tiny self portraits done following Darra’s method. Click the image to find Darra’s post detailing her how-to’s.

The plan was that we’d gather on the appointed day ready to learn Darra’s technique and we’d spend the rest of the afternoon socializing, sewing, and snacking—it’s a fabulous combo, isn’t it? Well, there’s the idea and then there’s the execution. Three of us tried portraiture; one of us did a portrait of her cat; while the other one decided to compose a UFO-busting quilt instead . . . there’s always one (or two) who has to be different . . .

Kim Butterworth’s super-glam self portrait–don’t you just love the butterfly wing strapless dress? Click the photo to visit my post on Kim’s quilts.

Here the quickie guide to hosting a crafty birthday party:

  • A simple menu of non-perishable finger food that is easy to clean up.
  • A craft project that takes a couple of hours (not days) to complete—socializing will eat into the allotted time so don’t get too ambitious.
  • A shared supply and tool list so no one is over burdened.
  • A friendly quilt shop to host the event—it’s essential to find a neutral location where everyone can relax and work unhindered.
Darra’s cat masterpiece–yes, she was one of the party rebels.

That’s it! I’m definitely doing it again next year—my birthday, my terms. It’s a carpe diem kinda thing: go forth and seize your birthday!

Swing into Summer with the June Block of the Month

I can’t believe it’s June already. It seems that we just started this project, but with the completion of this block, we’re two-thirds of the way through! Let’s start with my two June blocks:

June block made primarily with fabrics from Kathy Davis’ “Happiness” line.
The citron & gray color palette is still one of my favorites!

My friend Sally Garrison is making three quilts – each in a different color family from the Paris Flea Market line (hugely popular a few years ago) by Three Sisters from Moda. What beautiful fabrics! I’ll bet there are many of us who still have some of these in our stash.  Do you remember Paris Flea Market? Here are Sally’s three blocks (in pink, yellow and blue):

Here’s Darra’s June block, made with fabrics from Alex Anderson’s Leila Rose line:

Darra and I both chose (without conferring) to use two alternating fabrics around the perimeter of the block, while Sally used different fabrics for each square. I’m always fascinated to see how our individual design aesthetics differ. Click here to download the instruction sheet for the June block. And if you’re just starting the project, the instruction sheets for the January-May blocks and the setting diagram can be found in our Pattern Library.

Thanks to everyone who shared their creative ideas for using the yo-yo flowers. Congratulations to Leslie Williams, who will receive a Clover “Quick” YO-YO Flower Maker! Your entry was selected via random drawing as the giveaway winner from my May 22 post.

Keep sewing those blocks!

Inventory Your Fabric Stash: A Visual Texture Checklist

Can you believe that today is the 1st of June? It doesn’t seem possible, does it?! Well, the good news is, it’s time to roll out our new monthly theme. This month, one post from each of us will focus on texture.

Texture is all around us.

Rock formations on the beach at Pt. Reyes National Seashore (CA)
Pyracanthus in Walnut Creek (CA)
Organic greens from my husband’s garden
Coral in Boca Raton, FL
Water Lilies and reflections on Bass Lake (NC)
Palm fronds in Boca Raton, FL

Most people think of texture as a tactile thing; that is, something you can feel by touching. When it comes to choosing fabrics for a quilting project, however, I tend to think of texture in a more visual sense. While all quilting cottons pretty much feel the same to the touch, the motifs and patterns printed on the fabric help differentiate one fabric from another. This property is often called visual texture. (Another name is character of print.) Understanding visual texture and how to use it gives you a valuable tool for creating a successful quilt.

Essentially, there are three ways to distinguish between shapes and to define the design in a quilt block or quilt top:

One way is with contrast in color.

Another is with contrast in value (lights and darks).

Here the color stays the same, but there is significant difference in the degree of lightness and darkness in the fabrics.

The third is–ta da!–contrast in visual texture.

Here the fabrics are all blue, the values are relatively close, but the difference in the prints allows you to see that this is a Churn Dash block.

Visual texture tends to be the most subtle of the three and therefore is often overlooked. Rely on too many similar prints, however, and the results can become muddled and gray; things just seem to “moosh” together. Variety is the key: variety in the type, the size, and the density of the print.

Just as we are attracted to certain colors, I’ve found that many of us buy the same types of prints over and over again. Here’s a checklist that you can use to evaluate your fabric stash for variety in visual texture. Note any gaps, and then use this info to focus your choices when fabric shopping (and swapping).

Does your stash include…???

Floral prints: From the tiniest bud to the largest, splashiest bloom
Foliage prints: Think organic, as in leaves, vines, grasses…but no flowers.
Geometric prints: plaids, stripes, and checks
“Abstract” geometric prints: Although not true stripes or plaids, motifs repeat regularly to form a consistent pattern or grid
Circle and dotted prints: These can be true dots (e.g., pindots and polka dots) or any round motif.
Feather and paisley prints: These versatile fabrics are often large in scale and multicolored.
Picture prints (sometimes called conversation or eccentric prints): These highly collectible fabrics feature “pictures” of people, animals, or things.
Ethnic prints: fabrics with prints reminiscent of other countries or cultures
Nature prints: As the name implies, these prints suggest (but don’t necessarily picture) things in nature.
Peaceful (or quiet) prints: These low-contrast, read-as-solid prints give the eye a resting place.

We quilters (and other fabric crafters) are so lucky to have so many wonderful fabrics available to us! Why not take advantage of what the marketplace–or your “swapping” friends–have to offer and diversify with visual texture? A few fat quarters, charm packs, or jelly rolls can go a long way…

‘Til next time, happy stitching!