Thursday, 17 July 2014

What comes first?

I was wondering...

When you start a quilting project- what comes first? -

The fabric, the pattern or do you just vaguely start something and let the project dictate the direction that you take?

I was sent this fabric and told to make something- aaargh the pressure!
I have had a few occasions where my projects have been dictated by the fabric. I have been given the fabric and told to make something. For me these have invariably been the hardest projects.
Perhaps there has been an aspect of stage fright. The pressure that others expect you to create something awesome.

But I have to say that I think that its more than that. For me, it just feels back to front! I like to have an idea what I am making and then with the project in mind, I will go and search for fabrics. My initial idea is rarely set in stone and there is almost indefinitely wiggle room if I run out of fabrics or change my mind along the way, but it is most natural for me to work this way round.

Perhaps this is related to the fact that I find bundles of fabric paralysing They scare me! I always feel the pressure to sew something amazing with them and feel guilty if I break into them to use a single fabric. 

Now I must admit that I don't own many fabric bundles for this very reason, but recently I decided to split up one of the fabric bundles that had been sitting in my stash for ages. Within the shortest amount of time it was ALL GONE. It was used in a variety of projects and each piece was perfect for its final destination.

I think I'm going to split all my fabric bundles and not feel guilty if I cut into them. Fabric is there to be sewn after all- not to sit in a drawer unloved. Don't you think?!?

How about you? 
What comes first for you? 
Do you like fabric bundles and sew exclusively from single fabric lines or do you like to mix it up?

Oh and on a completely unrelated note, while I'm asking lots of questions... I've been thinking about maybe doing a block of the month next year (yep, I'm pretending to be organised!).
Would you be interested?
Do you have any suggestions or requests for themes?
How many blocks would you like it to consist of?- six, nine or the full twelve?
Oh and do you prefer the designs to be a surprise or do you like the know what is ahead of you?


  1. For BOM how about native flowers or dinosaurs or even NZ landscapes?

    As far as what I start from is concerned; I tend to start with a pattern or idea and then go fabric hunting. I do have one quilt in progress that's all from the one fabric range, but it's been on hold for some time and I think that single fabric range has something to do with it. The fact that it's a king sized quilt is not helping or that I'm doing the blocks half the size of the original pattern which means a lot more sewing! Add to that the new obsession with weaving....

  2. I think with myprojects it is a 50/50 split as to whether the idea or the fabric comes first. I do buy fabric bundles of collections I really like, but I know from experience that most projects will never take a full bundle, especially if it is a larger bundle, so I'm worried about using pieces here and there, I know I'll always find something to coordinate and fill a gap at a later stage if I need it.As a result some of my projects will be based on the fabric because I want to use a particular collection for a particular make. Other projects will start off as an idea and I'll then go to my stash and decide what best suits that idea.

    As for the BOM idea I think it's great. I'd love to say I'd commit but I know me and I know I tend to end up going off track after a month or two so couldn't guarantee that I wouldn't start, and then finish along a year or three later! Although a lot more work a 12 block project would be great - I think that gives options to those who want to make smaller quilts as well as to those who want to make a full size quilt. Theme wise I'd love to see lots of dinosaurs (for my boys) or perhaps something seasonal - perhaps take something like a tree or plant and follow it through the seasons with month to month changes for each block.

  3. Oh, yes please do a BoM. I see you have birds. I love to paper piece birds - the more the merrier! And it is lovely that you want to start it next year... give us time to finish what we've got going now.
    I start with a pattern - a quilt I've wanted to make for a long time, or one I saw in the magazine yesterday. Then I go to the "way back" room and pick fabrics that I want in that quilt. Wash, iron dry, cut, sew, and pin onto the design wall. You know the drill.
    Love your little bag. That fabric was made for that bag.

  4. I forgot to address the fabric pedigree question... I don't keep track of that sort of thing. I'm not a name dropper or bragger. I don't care who designed it - I'll use what I want to use. If I don't like it I'm not buying it. (When I was a kid, shoes were shoes. There may have been brands, but nobody cared. Nobody was bowed over by the name on their shoes.) It really is a foreign concept to me.
    Lately there have been some really awful quilts made - modern quilts that are hard to look upon (in my opinion). They are so full of patterned fabric, that the pattern of the blocks gets lost. (I say why cut and sew all that together when just one big sheet of fabric would have resulted in the same mess.) If you can't tell what the blocks look like, why go through all the trouble? That, and naming a quilt block by the color of the example are my two pet peeves.
    Sorry, but you asked.

  5. I let the fabric dictate for clothing and seldom chose the pattern and then look for fabric. In terms of quilting (if you can call mine quilts!) I look at the fabric I have and go from there. Craft = pattern/design first then fabric or fabric I have dictates what I can do. Clothing = fabric first then pattern.

  6. I usually buy fabrics that I like. I have an idea in my head and buy fabric to fit that idea. Sometimes I let the pattern dictate the fabrics--especially with clothing and accessories. In either case, I have never stayed within a certain line or designer. I don't usually buy fabric bundles as I prefer to play with yardage.

    I would be interested in a BOM. That would be 12 blocks. A bimonthly BOM would be nice too. Makes it easier for you. I am always interested in music themes, religious symbols, flowers, horses, cats, dogs, nature, animals in general, etc. I am not too picky.

    Nobody has ever given me

  7. I would love a paper pieced block of the month, maybe transportation blocks for little boys. Another good idea would be anything boy inspired, maybe animals like deer, rabbits, moose, fox, and others. Even a Christmas Themed quilt would be great, or autumn, trees in different seasons? Lots of ideas.cdahlgren (at) live (dot) com

  8. I would love to see paper pieced block of the month, I am open to anything as I just love to paper piece. I would love to see anything from nature. I guess the only thing I wouldn't like to do is weird shapes or something ultra modern. I really enjoy your work, so anything you do would be fine. It would be fun to have something to look forward to each month.

  9. I just sew - try to get the colours match as best as I can - xxx

  10. What an interesting discussion! Yes I am in for a bom!! yes yes yes!! as for what comes first... well... mostly i have a project in mind, a picture or design and then go about trying to make fit what fabric i have into that vision or I'll get some that are perfect for what I have in mind. so normally the project is first and then the fabric. The odd time I gather up fabric because it's pretty and know one day a project will come up and the perfect fabric will be right there :) so agian i suppose it's project driven. I think it's the other way round pretty much once in a blue moon ;) but it does happen occasionally. Also - I have no trouble (unbelievably!!) breaking up sets... I get them and i sort and group them with like colours so they're split up before they get to know each other too well i suppose ;) xx


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