Blog Tour/Giveaway: The Practical Guide to Patchwork by Elizabeth Hartman

I know we’ve barely gotten started with the Quilt Market blitz, but let’s take a moment, shall we, to sit down to take a breather with the lovely miss Elizabeth Hartman of Oh Fransson!. I have always loved her approach to quiltmaking. I think of it as a very modern, clean, graphic approach to the aesthetic of vintage quilts from the mid-1900s — simple, unfussy arrangements of colorful prints set off by solid backgrounds. This approach really lets the prints shine, and for fabric lovers/collectors, it’s a great way to honor and preserve one’s “archives.” It’s also a great approach for beginners. Elizabeth’s debut book, The Practical Guide to Patchwork: New Basics for the Modern Quiltmaker is THE perfect manual for the sewist interested in taking up quilting for the first time. Quilters with some experience under their belt will find four intermediate-level patterns, and everyone will be inspired by her eye for design and the way she juxtaposes prints.

For her blog tour stop on True Up today, of course I had to ask Elizabeth all about her fabric stash! Stay tuned till the end for a chance to win a copy of the book and the bundle of fat eights featured in the interview.

How do you choose fabric?

My only rule is that I use what I like. I usually go into a fabric store looking for inspiration, or looking for a very specific type of fabric. If I don’t fall in love with something in that store, I’m happy to keep looking. One of my favorite recent fabric discoveries is this orange and blue print (above) by Nancy Mahoney from her Nellie’s Garden collection for P&B. I just love the colors!

How do you combine fabric?

I rarely start pulling fabrics together until I have some idea what kind of composition I want to create. I know that some people wait until the end to choose sashing, but it’s one of the first decisions I make. I find that thinking of the sashing as a background onto which the block fabrics will be placed helps to focus my selections. Once I know what direction I want to go, I start pulling fabric out of my bins and making little audition stacks on my work table to see what I like together. It’s often a messy process! If I’m in a store, I try to stack up bolts of fabric to get the same effect. The above photo shows a selection I put together of print and solid fabrics, featuring the same Nellie’s Garden print.

How do you store fabric?

I have almost equal amounts of print and solid fabrics, which I keep separate. Within each group, I store each color in a different clear plastic bin. I also have bins for my vintage linens, silks, and anything else that doesn’t quite fit into the monochromatic print and solid bins. I love having each type (e.g., red solids or yellow prints) in a different container that I can move to my work table and then put back when I’m finished. I usually have a “to be filed” pile of fabric going and, when it gets truly out of control, I’ll stop and sort everything back into its proper bin.

How do you treat fabric?

I used to be very fastidious about pre-washing all of my quilting fabric, but I’ve gradually stopped. I use so much fabric and make so many quilts that it got to the point that I was feeling really guilty about how much water I was using! My personal experience with skipping pre-washing when using quality quilting fabric has been very good. I wash my finished quilts in cold water on gentle cycle and it’s been years since I’ve had an issue with bleeding, even though I so often combine white and dark colors.

Having said that, I encourage anyone choosing to skip pre-washing to consider it a calculated risk. I’ve found that what I do works well for me, with the materials I use, but pre-washing is really the only way to know for sure whether a fabric will do something strange in the wash! Additionally, if you’re concerned about residual chemicals from the printing process, pre-washing is a good way to get rid of them.

Thanks so much, Elizabeth … we wish you much success with this terrific book! For your chance to win a copy of The Practical Guide to Patchwork and the blue and orange fat eighths bundle above, just leave a comment on this post. Comments will close and a winner will be drawn next Thursday, November 11, around noon central U.S. time. Good luck and happy quilting!


  1. Jamie says:

    This would be a great gift for my mom– I recently introduced her to Elizabeth’s blog, and she’s totally addicted, always calling to tell me about the latest post! Thanks for hosting the giveaway!

  2. Kathryn says:

    Love the fabric bundle! I just started quilting so I think I’m going to need to get my hands on this book! Thanks for the chance to win.

  3. Jenny L says:

    The more I read about this book the more excited I’m getting about it! I just ordered a copy for a gift and I can’t wait to get a copy for myself.

  4. Amy Rochelle says:

    Would LOVE to add this book to my library! So much inspiration and color. Just love it!

  5. kate c. says:

    Great interview! (And would that all my closets looked so lovely!) Thanks.

  6. Andrea says:

    Would love to get my hands on this book!

  7. Erin says:

    I have been really wanting to make a quilt and always look at Elizabeth’s blog for inspiration. I’d love to get this book. If I don’t win it (which I’m sure I will), I will for sure buy it!

  8. Lindsay K. says:

    LOVE the fabric – beautiful! This book looks great too!

  9. Elizabeth says:

    Oh, that print is beautiful! I love blue plus orange, especially that particular blue. Of course, I love Elizabeth Hartman. And True Up! What a great day in my little blog universe. Thank you both.

  10. Those fabrics are fantastic. The book looks amazing.I can´t wait to win them both.

  11. Jen says:

    I love seeing her work in my RSS feed. I would love seeing it in my craft room too! Thank you for offering this chance, and thanks for the interview too!

  12. Cathie says:

    I’m inspired just by looking at her stash!

  13. KarinM. says:

    The colors and patterns just look great! The book would be very welcomed in my sewing room! KarinM.

  14. maureen says:

    could definitely use this book – i hope i win!

  15. Dianne says:

    I have had such a great time reading all the interviews with Elizabeth during the blog tour! Thanks for hosting and the great giveaway! Maybe this will be my lucky comment!

  16. Karen says:

    Great post. I’m setting up a new quilt studio so I’m particularly interested in seeing differend ways quilters store their fabric stash. Please toss my name in the “hat” for the drawing.

  17. Lisy says:

    Great interview. I’ve been a Oh Frannson fan for awhile now. “to be filed” fabric pile…I have several going right now.

  18. Nadine says:

    Elizabeth’s blog was a major influence on my quilting. Without Oh, Fransson! I would probably not have done the quilts I make these days and I would not chose the fabrics I adore now. The first thing I saw of her blog was the post on her stash storage and I loved it. I still come back to that post again and again just looking at those lovely boxes. I really have to thank her for all the inspiration and I can’t wait to get my hands on the book.

  19. Amy says:

    This book looks awesome – I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy!

  20. Zrinka says:

    I have stopped at every stop in this blog tour and have gotten to like the book more at each stop. SInce this is my birthday week, I will admit I have entered the givaway each time and I am hoping, hoping…

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  21. Katrina says:

    I’m adicted to Elizabeth’s blog and cannot wait to get a copy of this book. Thank you for the wonderful interview – I’ve been curious how Elizabeth picks her gorgeous fabrics and incorporates them into the perfect design.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  22. Joan S says:

    i just love reading oh fransson’s blog! her use of simple geometric patterns with beautiful color combinations is so inspiring.

  23. lindsey says:

    this book looks full of great ideas! would love to win a copy.

  24. Rebecca says:

    Beautiful fabrics! And I love her work ~ this book looks great!

  25. Jane says:

    thank you for the insight! I can’t wait to get a copy of this book.

  26. Janny says:

    What a beautiful book! Thank you for the giveaway.

  27. Katie says:

    Great interview! Thanks for the chance!

  28. Great interview – would love to win her new book!

  29. Linda in PA says:

    This books sounds so fantastic! I would love to win a copy or the fabric. Thanks for the giveaway.

  30. Raven says:

    Would love to win this book and that pretty fabric!

  31. Kate says:

    I love this blog book tour because it takes me to fabulous blogs (like this one) that I have never visited before! I’m so glad that I got to check you out, and I am just so excited for another chance to win this great looking book. Thanks so much!

  32. Megan says:

    Loving this blog tour! AND I want that STUDIO!!!

  33. Yael says:

    what a lovely book! I so want to win!!! and the fabric is lovely!!! yummmmmm….

  34. Lisa H. says:

    What a gorgeous book, thanks for giving us a chance to win a copy of it!

  35. Molly says:

    Love this blog tour! The fabric is so great.

  36. Lindsay says:

    I am really excited about this book! I would love a chance to win. thank you so much!

  37. ~Michelle~ says:

    Great interview! This book is a must-have on my Christmas wish list!

  38. Jenny says:

    I would love to win this book! Thanks.

  39. Beth says:

    Thanks for the chance!!!

  40. Rachelle says:

    I would love, love, love this book!

  41. Lesly says:

    Looks like a great book! And those orange and blue FQs are fab!

  42. nikki says:

    It’s taken me a while to appreciate orange paired with blue, but I’m definitely a fan now. Can’t wait to add this book to my library.

  43. Tiffany says:

    These FQs are so cute. Cant wait til Christmas… this book is top on my list! Would love to win it and some awesome FQs instead :)

  44. Christina says:

    I don’t usually win stuff, but if I would, I would want to win this georgous price! I live Elizabeth’s and your Blogs and have both of them in my Reader.
    And I try to become a better quilter, so the price would come in handy.

  45. marie says:

    Yay!! I’m inspired by her organized studio…really should ‘file’ my fabrics better. Thanks for the chance to win!

  46. Elizabeth says:

    It’s interesting how I’ve gone more and more towards washing the fabrics, whereas I didn’t used to. And interesting to hear Elizabeth’s take on bleeding. I’ve only had troubles on reds–I ALWAYS prewash those, and batiks, which I first hand wash in the sink to gauge how much bleeding there is.

    It is also satisfying standing at the ironing board, watching the stack of freshly pressed fabrics stack up. I obviously don’t buy or use as much fabric as she does, to be able to enjoy this!

  47. Sally says:

    Sweet fabrics! Can’t wait to see this book in real life! Thank you for the chance to win!

  48. Jenny says:

    Great interview! I’d love to win a copy of the book!!

  49. Nicholas says:

    The book looks great and the fabric is wonderful!

  50. Audrey says:

    I need a better system to organize my fabric! The book sounds lovely.