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. Nichelle says:

    Thank you for so many chances to win.

  2. EricaB says:

    I am so excited about this book – definitely looks more useful than other books I’ve browsed!

  3. Kimmer says:

    LOVE this book… such good ideas and inspiration!
    I’m keeping my fingers crossed as I type.

  4. I would love to win this one!!! :)

  5. Anne says:

    Thanks for the chance to win your wonderful book. WOW-and the fabric too!!!!

  6. ga447 says:

    I love your color combination, your book would be so helpful to a beginner quilter.

  7. Jessica C says:

    I love all of Elizabeth’s creations, so I am so excited about this book!

  8. Kimberj says:

    I’ve been following the virtual book tour the whole time and am pleased that all the interviews aren’t identical :) I keep hoping to win :)

  9. Mrs. Meg C says:

    Venturing into the quilting world is so exciting! I’m finally putting together my first quilt this fall!

  10. OzKnitter says:

    Lovely palette! I’m really enjoying the blog tour. Thanks.

  11. Ann says:

    Glad to find your fabric blog through this book tour. Thanks for the interview and chance to win.

  12. Denise in PA says:

    I loved seeing a bit of Elizabeth’s stash and her sewing space!

  13. Dot says:

    Kim–thank you for including this interview in the midst of all the great quilt market pictures and inf. Both you and Elizabeth have done wonders for my creativity and I would love her book and any fabrics selected.

  14. Jennie Erwin says:

    Thanks for asking about her fabric care, I’m still figuring out how I want to handle that.

  15. becky says:

    great interview! would love to win the book! thanks

  16. Chasley says:

    I’ve been following the book tour around, I hope I win!

  17. Patty Simmons says:

    What a fun peek into Elizabeth’s sewing room. I love your interview and would love to win a copy of her book

  18. Emily says:

    This book looks amazing! Thank you!

  19. Rebecca Gillespie says:

    Beautiful sewing room. Hope I win!

  20. Rachel P says:

    I love fabric and one day would love to be as organized as she is.

  21. Barb B says:

    I love to hear that “professional” quilters also don’t wash their fabrics. I love the feel of the starch in the material, it seems to sew together better. And I hate wrinkles until the quilt is done and washed. I feel like I am ok in not washing.

  22. jaimie says:

    I just got her book today and I love it!!!!

  23. amy says:

    I cant wait to get her book. Hopefully it will be under my Christmas tree this year.

  24. Jenniffier says:

    Thanks for the chance to win.

  25. too fun. I just love ELizabeth and her book looks GREAT!
    that fabric isn’t too shabby either!

  26. Connie H. says:

    Great fabric. Thanks for the chance to win.

  27. Tracey says:

    Loving all the opportunities for a chance at this book! Fingers crossed.

  28. MzTallulah says:

    I think I have a bad case of stash-organizing envy (not that mine is anywhere as extensive as Elizabeth’s…) ;)
    Thankyou for the giveaway and congratulations on the publication of the book.

  29. Maeve says:

    I would love to win this beautiful book. I enjoy your site so much. Thank you!

  30. Oh course, I would love to win, but it looks like I may have to buy the book! Wow, what a turnout for a giveaway.

  31. lisa says:

    what great questions and information, I loved how she chooses fabrics. If only I had the space to sort my fabrics out like that!

  32. PeachRainbow says:

    Would love to win!
    Thanks for the chance.

  33. Alexandra says:

    I’ve been dying for those fabrics and this book! I NEED to win this. :)

  34. Sarah-Hayden says:

    This book is certainly on my Christmas list – if I don’t win a copy that is!!

  35. Meg says:

    The book looks amazing and so does the fabric!

  36. Carol says:

    Another great giveaway – I have my fingers crossed.

  37. Sharon says:

    The book looks delightful, always can use more instructions and tips. The fabrics are wonderful — hop I’m the lucky one.

  38. amy edwards says:

    oh dear how i love storage buckets! fabric+storage buckets=pure joy!

    can’t wait to devour the book:)

  39. auntspicy says:

    can not wait to read the book…and is that katie jumps rope in the pile? So fun!

  40. Bryanna says:

    It has been so awesome getting to Elizabeth through all these mini interviews on the blog tour! Thanks for the chance at the giveaway!

  41. Teresa says:

    I love hearing more about Elizabeth in these interviews and hearing more about her book.

  42. Jessica says:

    Interesting insights into the way she chooses fabrics!

  43. Angie says:

    Love those fat eighths book looks so awesome too

  44. Cameron H says:

    I LOVE Elizabeth’s blog — and blue and orange together! Thanks for the chance to win.

  45. Pam T. says:

    This has been such a great week, filled with so much good information from Elizabeth. Thank you to all!

  46. Oooh, thanks for the giveaway!

  47. Sheila says:

    Thanks so much for another great set of questions. I’m learning so much about you, Elizabeth!

  48. Ann says:

    Thanks for the great tips on combining and storing fabrics!

  49. WandaFish says:

    How nice to visit Elizabeth’s sewing room and learn a little more about her. Thanks for the interview and the fab giveaway :)

  50. carolyn says:

    thanks for the interview!! i desperately need more space to play with my stash! so hard to have to stuff it back into unseeable places after taking it out! :)