Saturday, January 28, 2012

An ugly duckling

Kathie commented on my last post that this is one of her favourite fabrics. Since this is the first fabric I pulled out to make this quilt, I thought I'd tell you the story of how it came about.

This fabric has been floating around in my 'stash' for some time. I don't have a lot of fabrics, mostly fat quarters and less, folded into small plastic boxes in the cupboard. I go for clear colours - modern, 1930's, reproductions - no set style. I just buy what I like. Sometimes I sort the fabrics by colour, sometimes by project. This little scrap (a fat 16th I think) came into my life through a reproduction fabric club. I've used up most of the other pieces that came along with this, but this one kept floating around, not get used and not knowing where to go. To me it reads grey (even though on closer look, it's actually brown) and I don't have any other grey fabrics (nor many browns for that matter) so it just shuffled from one box to another.
When I chose to do Lori's quilt-a-long I decided to do it as an exercise in re-learning how to machine piece. I immediately went to my 'use-them-up' fabrics (things I want to get rid of) and came out with some recycled shirtings in beige and white and this fabric popped out. On close inspection I noticed the pale blue strawberries which drew out the setting fabric which so many have you liked (another use-it-up left over dressmaking fabric). The red strawberries drew out one of my favourite fabrics - a raspberry red batik which I bought a fat quarter of many years ago and has since become one of my favourite fabrics - it gives a nice pop to things like the centre square of this quilt.

Then because I loved the two mismatched setting squares in the antique quilt that inspired Lori's 'pink lemonade' (did anyone else do them too?) I pulled out this special fabric from Melissa of 'Tiny Happy' in New Zealand. I've been a long admirer of her work and when she started producing her own designed fabrics I jumped at the chance to buy some. I like the way the hand drawn fabric contrasts with the repetition in the small print. (Note my ironing skills:) ).

The blue of this fabric is a lovely grey blue and it takes away some of the overly sweetness of the aqua one. As with all special fabrics that risk being 'too good to use' - the first cut was the hardest, but once I started I couldn't resist making this little sweetie for Miriam's four patch quilt.

After that, I just headed for my favourite fabrics to  fill in the rest. I'm starting to have a usefully full scrap basket now and I love digging in there for things. These blocks are tiny and a little bit of fabric goes a long way.

To cut a long story short, my ugly duckling fabric, which wasn't so grey after all (Kathie rightly called it brown) is a delicate little thing that found it's home at last amongst some pretty little florals and stony blues and just because it isn't pink, yellow or blue - my usual favourites - it's fast becoming my favourite fabric too:)


  1. I have that first fabric in Pink and Blue! hard to believe that I have some repro fabrics!
    I think it was a perfect choice for your quilt and not ugly at all!

  2. Actually that brown is one of my favorites too. I am sure I have at least a FQ of it in my stash.

    I like the choices you made for your quilt and I think the "brown" looks great in your quilt - not out of place at all.

  3. I didn't mean that the fabric was ugly - just didn't fit anywhere, like the duckling in the fairytale:)
    I had this in blue and pink too - being my colours I used it up straight away.