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!

718 Comments

  1. Alison C says:

    Very exciting to have a book like this to follow. Thanks for offering a copy!

  2. Alison says:

    It has been great reading all the interviews with Elizabeth. Some useful tips there

  3. danielle says:

    wonderful giveaway- hope i win!!!

  4. Serena says:

    Thanks for the great comments – time to buy some more tupperware!

  5. Donna C says:

    What a treat it would be to win these!

  6. Cindy A says:

    I have really enjoyed this blog tour reading all about the book and the interviews with Elizabeth. I’m looking forward to getting my own copy.

  7. Melissa R says:

    Oh, how to store stash. That is the question everyone wants the answer to! Thanks for sharing what works for you!

  8. Debbie says:

    I love Elizabeth’s style and designs. And her instructions are so easy to follow. What a fabulous giveaway!

  9. Tessa says:

    I love the shot of fabric storage – thanks for including that!
    -Tessa

  10. Gina says:

    These fabrics are so beautiful and this book looks amazing! I want it all!

  11. 2hippos says:

    I’ve been looking forward to this book for months now. I’d love to win a copy :)

  12. Autumn says:

    That looks like a great fabric stash! I wish mine were that organized (and that full!)

  13. Dawn says:

    I love the idea of choosing the sashing first. Thanks for the chance to win her fabulous book.

  14. andi says:

    So hope I win one of these books.
    Can’t wait to get my hands on a copy.
    Andi x

  15. Holly says:

    Thanks for the chance to enter! =)

  16. traci says:

    i love fabric. i’m a bonafide fabraholic. thanks for the interview! and the chance to win!

  17. annmarie says:

    Love Elizabeth’s take on pre-washing. Love the book. Love the fat eigths & would LOVE to win!

  18. angela d. says:

    Thanks for the opportunity. The books looks great.

  19. sofi says:

    I have always loved Elizabeth’s blog; I can’t wait to see her book!

  20. Angela says:

    Great fabrics! I am looking forward to this book becoming a favorite.
    Everyone finds a good way to store fabric. I try to put projects together so I don’t use the fabrics in a different project, and then have to search for new fabrics to substitute.

  21. I love the idea of using the sashing as a starting point for fabrics! Awesome.

  22. Linda says:

    Fabric is a no-fail giveaway, and adding a book makes it the perfect giveaway. Thank you for the chance to win.

  23. Stacey says:

    I can’t wait to crack open this book and get to work. I love all of Elizabeth’s work.

  24. Allie says:

    Thanks so much for the chance! I can’t wait to get my hands on the book.

  25. Jenn says:

    This is a really great set of questions! Different, I think, than on the rest of the blog stops! Thanks!

  26. MoeWest says:

    It’s interesting to hear how people treat the fabric. I would love to win this book. Thanks for the giveaway.

  27. Jennie Tracy says:

    Love her book, and now I love your blog! Thanks for interviewing her about her stash. I organize mine the same way – I just don’t have as fabulous a stash as she does!

  28. MelodyJ says:

    This seems like a great book. I want to learn to quilt.

    melodyj(at)gmail(dot)com

  29. Melissa says:

    That book looks fabulous, and some great tips there about choosing fabrics

  30. April says:

    Thanks for offering a copy, I’d love to win!

  31. Gail says:

    Thanks for posting that interview… I love seeing how others set up their sewing areas… and how they pick fabrics ~ this was very interesting to me :)

  32. christine says:

    Great interview and that storage closet is to die for!

  33. Tina says:

    I cannot describe the panicky feeling that came over me when I completed my second (and so very dear to my heart) quilt. I hadn’t pre-washed any of the fabrics, was mixing light and dark colours and just had a horrible I will die if this bleeds feeling in the pit of my stomach when I washed it for the first time.

    I added colour catcher sheets (two of them, even though the instructions said just add one) to the wash, held my breath and let it go. Amazingly it came out perfectly find and was all gorgeously squooshy and crinkled. Perfect!

    I think I will continue to do that, rather than pre-wash, but it’s really more of a case of laziness on my part – I hate washing :)

  34. Barbara Merrill says:

    The cover of this book is so inviting – it holds great promise for what’s inside. Great interview. Thank you.

  35. Linda says:

    Looking forward to spending an afternoon going through Elizabeth’s book and picking out my next project!

  36. Helen says:

    I love the look of the quilts on the cover of elizabeth’s book. I have to agree with everyone else and say that I would love to win a copy of her book. Thanks for the chance!

  37. Nancy says:

    What a great interview! Thanks for sharing with us. I love the fabric bundle,

  38. sandy says:

    I have never thought of using the sashing as a way of auditioning other fabrics. It is usually the other way around. Thanks for that idea!

  39. Carmel says:

    Oh Fransson! has been my on-line quilting resource and has helped me get through my first couple of quilts. Hopefully there will be many more to come, and having a copy of Elizabeth’s book to help me would be fantastic.

  40. Jill says:

    Wow! I would love to win this book – have admired the Oh Fransson Paintbox quilt for ages – I keep looking it – the colour arrangement is just perfect!

  41. Connie W says:

    I’ve enjoyed the blog tour and all the interviews with Elizabeth. Like everyone else, I’d love to win this book!

  42. Krista B says:

    Love the fabrics and the book looks like exactly what I need as a new quilter.

  43. Noelle says:

    Love the selection of fabrics. The reviews have all been great to read, I appreciate you taking the time to provide your insight.

  44. Leslie Schmidt says:

    I found it really interesting that Elizabeth mentioned thinking of the sashing as the background on which the blocks are placed is a great idea. I never thought of it that way, but it makes a lot of sense.

  45. Lisa says:

    Thanks for the good questions in this interview – fun to see how Elizabeth organizes her fabric.

  46. Mama Mel says:

    I would love to win this book! Thanks for the giveaway! :)

  47. Susan Calitz says:

    Pre washing of fabrics: to do or not to do?
    I pre wash only those whose dye comes off on a wet tissue
    I love the crinkly look of a quilt after is has been washed

  48. Nancy R says:

    Looks like a wonderful book and a great stack of fabric. I would love the chance to win. Thanks!

  49. Jeannie says:

    I so adore Elizabeth’s selection of fabrics. I really like the orange and blue print of Nellie’s Garden.

  50. Jeanne says:

    Thanks for the chance to win this great book.