Celtic Solstice: choosing fabrics

I have way more fabric than any 3 quilters could use in a lifetime. I took to heart the advice of Margaret Miller which was something along the lines of, “Five fabrics clash but a hundred will work.” I’ve always liked to use as many different fabrics in a project as I can. On the other hand, I also like ones with only 2 fabrics.

I’ve been collecting fabrics since the mid to late ’90s. It takes a lot less time to shop for fabric than to use it. For a few years in the late ’90s-early ’00s, I stopped at Mary Jo’s in Gastonia, NC on my way to Jinny Beyer’s Hilton Head seminar. I shopped at the rate of $100 an hour. That’s when their fabric was around $5 yard or so. For the last few years I’ve been cutting down and trying to only buy when I need something for a project or I have a purpose for the new fabric.

I’ve often said I was buying for my retirement when I might not be able to afford fabric. My local quilt shop is going out of business right now (so sad) so I won’t be exposed to as many buying opportunities as I was in the past. And, I’m retiring in 2014 so I should be able to start getting more done than I have in the past.

Last year was my first Bonnie Hunter mystery and I decided to stick with Bonnie’s colors for Easy Street. I like the colors but I didn’t like that my quilt looks like so many others. I said that this year I wouldn’t do Bonnie’s colors so mine would not look like everyone else’s. When I saw the colors she chose, I said, “Darn it all, anyway. I have to use her colors.” The reason is that the colors I have most of are blue, green and orange. I have a good bit of yellow but not the excess that I have of the others. So, despite what I said last year, I’m using the same colors as Bonnie so I can thin the herd a little.

The first thing I do is pull the stacks of colors off the shelf and sort out the ones I think will work for the current project. Then I sort them by value. Some might be out of place, but close enough to see which fabrics might not go.

Green fabrics sorted by value.

Green fabrics sorted by value.

In the picture above you can see the other color piles behind the green. See what I mean about too much fabric? This isn’t all my greens, just the ones I thought I wanted to use this time. I have so much green because I applique. Using a variety of greens for leaves makes the blocks more interensting to look at.

After I have them sorted by color I pull out the ones that don’t fit my vision.

Top group is out, bottom group is in.

Top group is out, bottom group is in, so far.

The bottom group above is what remained after I culled the pile. The ones in the top were too grey, too dark or just not the shade of green I was going for.

Yellow fabrics sorted by value.

Yellow fabrics sorted by value.

Keep on the left, rejects on the right.

Keepers on the left, rejects on the right.

Some of the rejects are too light to contrast with the neutrals. Some are too far on the orange side or too brown or just not what I wanted to use.

There were too many oranges and blues to lay out like that so I’m culling them as we work on the clues. Some of the greens and yellows that are in the first culling might get eliminated as we go. Who knows, some of the rejected fabrics might make it back in. I like to use as many fabrics as possible.

I’ve been out of town for the past week, got home last night, so I’m behind. I can’t work on clue 5 until I do some clue 3 bits. That’s not looking good for this week. I should get some cutting done but I don’t expect to do any sewing on Celtic Solstice. See what everyone else is up to this week at Bonnie’s link-up.



3 Responses to “Celtic Solstice: choosing fabrics”

  1. Andee in AZ Says:

    It will be gorgeous, nice to have plenty of fabric to choose from!

  2. Jo Says:

    I LOVE scrappy quilts. And I really don’t think you can have too many fabrics in your stash – you’ll just have to make more quilts! 🙂

    • Barbara Says:

      Thank you for commenting. As to having too many fabrics, I’ve run out of room. That makes it hard to find a particular fabric when I need it. My hope is to get them down to where they all fit in the sewing room in the designated storage areas. There is also some storage in the laundry room. That would still be way more than most people have. I shudder to think how many quilts it will take to accomplish that. Barbara Bennett, Columbia, MD


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