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. Christine says:

    Thank you for the wonderful review and chance to win this gorgeous book.


  2. DianneN says:

    It’s good to know how the professionals chose their fabrics. Mine always start with “OOh I like that” and go from there!

  3. Genevieve says:

    Oh lovely! Thanks so much for the chance to win! I love the pictures of her stash. I dream of my stash looking so neat and orderly, not to mention beautiful. :)


  4. Cheryl says:

    Thanks for the chance to win. Can’t wait to get my hands on this book.

  5. Rachaeldaisy says:

    Great interview. I found Elizabeth’s thoughts on prewashing fabric really interesting. If the book is as informative as that then it’ll definately be worth having, not to mention the lovely quilts I’ve seen snippets of.

  6. Catherine says:

    such a great looking book – what an exciting giveaway!

  7. Jeannette says:

    Very helpful interview! Thanks for a chance to win it!!

  8. Thank you for this great giveaway! I cannot wait to see the book, I’ve been following Elisabeth for a very long time. I love her work!

  9. Gill says:

    Thanks for a great interview – I never pre wash fabric either!

  10. marg says:

    Thanks for the chat as stated love the book.

  11. Anna JM says:

    This seems to be such a great quilting book!

    Thanks for your review!

  12. Deb says:

    I’ve really enjoyed all the interviews and this one especially since it shows her fabric closet. How neat can you get?! I wish mine looked like that! I’d love to be entered for her book.

  13. Marg says:

    Thanks for the great insight, I especially like seeing how Elizabeth stores her fabric. This had been a great week and thanks for the opportunity to win the book.

  14. moira says:

    I am SO looking forward to this book – it’s on my christams list and I’ll definitely be getting it for my MIL. SQUEE!

  15. karen says:

    What a great looking book and an exciting giveaway! Thanks for te tips about pre washing fabric.

  16. BJ says:

    I am so looking forward to getting my hands on this book. Enjoy hearing about the way color is selected – her quilts are stunning!

  17. Lou Ann says:

    I’m a big fan of Elizabeth’s blog. Great interview & looking forward to the book.

  18. ainhoa says:

    Thanks for the giveaway. Great interview.

  19. Vicki says:

    Love, Love the Orange and Blue fabrics. Thanks for the interview.

  20. kyishia says:

    Thanks for the opportunity to win!

  21. Virginia says:

    I love Elizabeth’s blog so thank you for the opportunity to win her fab new book!

  22. Sarah McGrath says:

    Great blog, thanks for the giveaway!

  23. bimbi says:

    hope I can win :) thank you for the giveaway

  24. Brandy says:

    Beautiful fabrics! I can’t wait to get my hands on Elizabeth’s book. Thanks for the giveaway!

  25. Kathryn says:

    Great giveaway! I’m also happy to learn about your blog – I’m bookmarking it now!

  26. Jill B says:

    I’d LOVE a copy of this book…plus the gorgeous fabrics? Bonus!

  27. Erin says:

    This is fantastic! I would so love to win a copy of Elizabeth’s book since I am sure she has more gems of wisdom gently folded between the pages… Thanks for the chance!

  28. Jacqueline says:

    Thanks for the opportunity to win this terrific book and gorgeous fabric. I’ve been waiting patiently for the book to hit the news stand, well, sort of…..

  29. Cathy says:

    Thanks for asking such good questions. I appreciate hearing Elizabth’s thought process for combining fabrics and the fact that she doesn’t prewash either sets my mind at ease. I love her book and would love to have one to “gift” to a good friend. Thanks for the chance to win.

  30. Sarah says:

    Great interview!!

  31. Joanna says:

    Can’t wait to see an actual copy of the book; thanks for the chance to win!

  32. Anna says:

    Really enjoying following the blog tour — this interview is great! Thank you for the chance to win!

  33. Val Miller says:

    Great interview and review – can’t wait to see the book in person (*really* hope I win)!

  34. Dana says:

    I’m loving this book. Thanks for the chance to own it.

  35. Margaret says:

    It’s always a pleasure to get a glimpse of the new fabric lines-thanks! Oh, Fransson is one of my favorite places too.

  36. Moon says:

    The more I read about this book, the more I want to READ this book! Thanks for the chance to enter :)

  37. laura says:

    Love your blog & love your reviews. And just love an offer of a giveaway. Thanks so much!

  38. karen says:

    LOVE her book and the fabric is perfect for a quilt! Thanks for the chance to win!

  39. Wendy says:

    Great interview and pictures. Would love the book!

  40. Kirsten says:

    I can’t wait to get my hands on this book!

  41. Debra says:

    Thanks for taking the time to interview Elizabeth. What a nice and tidy studio! I’ve recently started trying to make some sort of organization to mine, but still have a long way to go! Thanks for the giveaway and kudos on the book!

  42. Sally says:

    I loved following her quilt-along so would love love love a copy of her new book!

  43. Rosemary says:

    This delightful and lovely book would be a Christmas present to myself. I love her bright studio!

  44. Kate L says:

    Great review on an amazing book.

  45. Oh Fransson is a daily stop for me… wouldn’t be great to have to book to go along with it?!



  46. Anya says:

    Great interview and giveaway! Thanks for the chance!

  47. Jocelyn says:

    This book looks awesome. I’ve followed Elizabeth’s blog ever since I started blogging. Thanks for entering me :-)

  48. Love this book and the cheery fat quarters! I’m totally subscribing to your blog. Everything on it looks wonderful. :-)

  49. Kim says:

    I have just recently gotten into solids, and I love the possibilities. The book is on my Christmas wish list. :)

  50. Tracy Dawson says:

    That looks like an awesome book! Thanks for the chance to win!