My sweet friend Jean went to the south of France in June and brought back these wonderful fabrics. She sent them to me to make a ‘Country French’ quilt for her wall.
The fabrics are beautiful and I couldn’t wait to get started. As I studied them and planned how they would go together, I decided that they needed a little more yellow.
I casually started looking for Charles Demery fabrics to order online and was surprised to hit brick walls every where I looked. I tried everything I could think of, eBay, etsy, little stores that sell French products. I wrote several emails and made phone calls. A few places sold Charles Demery fabrics but not the color or pattern I needed.
In my effort to find the fabrics I ended up doing a lot of reading and now I feel like a Charles Demery expert. He was a French fabric designer in 1916. As of the mid 1970’s Demery’s company was run by his nephew. His nephew oversaw the switch from hand printed fabrics to machine printed fabrics. His patterns are copied reproduced occasionally by present-day designers. Click here to read more.
When Jean sent the fabrics, I knew they were special because they were purchased at a market in France. It didn’t take long for me to learn that working with these fabrics was a rare treat.
In the end I wasn’t going to get any more of this fabric unless I went to France myself. I ended up going to a local quilt store where I bought the fabric below. It works well with the other fabrics and add that yellow I wanted.
Here the squares as I was just beginning to arrange them.
And here it is all done!
I put a sleeve in the back so Jean can hang it. Designers print their names and pattern line on the selvage edge of their fabrics; I incorporated the selvage edge into the sleeve so Jean would have it as a record.
As part of her payment she is letting my keep the rest of the fabric! What do you think I should I make?
I’ve been thinking about what I wish I had known when I started quilting and thought I might share a few tips with you here.
#1 Don’t wait to start quilting until you have all the tools, the best sewing machine or even lessons.
To begin, I would suggest you have a sewing machine that sews a straight line and the basic things in the photo above. (Photo by Amy Smart)
Having said that, when I started out I was home with small children, I didn’t have the time or money for lessons nor did I have everything included above. From that list, I had a rotary cutter, cutting mat and ruler but I used my kids’ safety scissors as well as fabric and thread I already had. I don’t think I even had a seem ripper. I used books and advice from friends and the internet a little.
Fifteen years ago YouTube hadn’t been invented and the abundance of resources out there, for things like quilting just didn’t exist yet.
Things are very different now, a quick internet search this morning for ‘quilting 101’ provided me with over 22,000 hits. Clearly, not every hit is going to be helpful but everything you need to make a quilt from start to finish can be found if you look around for a minute.
Amy Smart at Diary of a Quilter, has the most comprehensive beginning quilter series that I have seen out there, plus her pictures are pretty.
Tell me, do you like to learn things on your own or do you learn better with others around?
What I like most about quilts is their simplicity. The designs of the quilt top may not be alike and the fabrics may differ in weave and make up. Every quilt however, no matter how big it is, how old it is, whether it was pieced by hand or machine is same it its basic construction. It is two large pieces of fabric with cushioning in between to help capture heat, sewn together to make a useful household item.
I used to say that quilting was easy because the construction and the patterns I worked with were easy for me to understand and to learn. Then I found that was hurting feelings. In my mind I was saying, “If I can learn this anyone can learn it, let me show you.” (Good) What people were hearing however was, “I’m so talented and churn these things out without even trying.” (Bad)
So I rethought what I was trying to say and realized that simple, was the word I wanted.
Saying it is simple is not to say it is easy. We’ve all seen quilts like this one with a zillion tiny pieces carefully planned and sewn together to make an exquisite piece of art.
photo by Karen Brimhall via flickr
Kaffe Fassett’s quilts always makes my heart skip a beat. His brilliant use of both colorful fabrics and imaginative patterns to create quilts like the one above, is unparalleled.
At its core however, it is still two large pieces of fabric with cushioning in between to help capture heat, sewn together to make a useful household item.
Hi, I’m Rachel. I like TV on demand, plum tarts and introducing my kids to my favorite things like the So I Married and Axe Murderer soundtrack.
I don’t like staying up late, chasing my dog around the neighborhood and taking the trash to the curb when my son forgets to do it.
The very first car I owned was a yellow ’72 VW Super Beatle and it looked very much like the one above. My dad helped me buy it for $600 and it didn’t have reverse. No lie. It wasn’t as inconvenient as you might think, I just had to be careful about where I parked. You know, the only time I ever got stuck was when someone else parked it for me.
As a young stay at home mom with two toddlers, I remember thinking of creativity as something that happened after all the work was done and at that point in time the work was never done. Consequently, I starved myself of imagination, inspiration and a whole lot of beauty. It took a sweet, more mature friend to kindly remind me that I’d be much happier if I was feeding myself creatively on a regular basis.
She was right of course, in fact I remember the first thing I made after my self-imposed artistic draught. I actually felt part of my brain working that hadn’t exercised in a long time. It was intoxicating. That was a life changing moment for me and I promised never to let that happen again.
My hope for this blog is two-fold: First I want it to be a place to journal my current projects. Second, I want this to be a place someone can come and feel encouraged to be creative. By sharing the creative the process I go though, as well as my failures and triumphs, I hope you will be motivated to act on your own creative impulses.
In the future I plan to share my patterns and produce tutorials as well.