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. Meg says:

    Great interview. I’m so thrilled for Elizabeth on this new venture, having been following her blog for over a year now. And I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of her book!

  2. helen says:

    It’s always interesting to find out how other people work and what inspires them. I would love to win this. Thank you x

  3. Shannon says:

    Thank you for the wonderful post of her book. Now I know for sure I want my own copy.

  4. Best fabric stack of the tour! Hope I win!

  5. ellen says:

    I love the color orange and this was a great collection….I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of that book…

  6. Carol in E TN says:

    Please enter me in your great giveaway!

  7. Erin says:

    I especially liked the section on how Elizabeth combines fabric. That’s always the most fun/challenging part when starting a new project.

  8. Kirsty Higgins says:

    thanks so much for this book review, i’ve always admired Elizabeth’s approach to quilting and find her work so inspiring. Thankyou also for the opportunity to win a copy of the book.

  9. Jessica Blomquist says:

    I love her book and I love yoru website. You asked some great questions.

  10. Tiffany T says:

    What a BEAUTIFUL STASH, and A GREAT BOOK!! I love it and I love your site!! Sorry I never found you sooner, found my way here from Sheree’s Alchemy. *Better late than never ;) !

  11. Suzy says:

    Great interview! I would love to have this book!

  12. Kelly B. says:

    I can’t wait for this book!

  13. Tiffany says:

    Wow! I really need a system for storing my fabric!! Can’t wait to read this book… thanks for the giveaway!

  14. Jennyroo says:

    Oh, I love the look of these projects!

  15. Joy says:

    I’m looking forward to getting my own copy of Elizabeth’s book…thanks for the chance to win one!

  16. Tarmy says:

    Those were great questions. Thanks for the chance to win!

  17. Amy says:

    Great book – can’t wait to take a peek.

  18. Susan McKey says:

    Thanks for the giveaway. I love your blog and Elizabeth’s work. Best to you both!

  19. I am reading more and more about this book and think it’s going to be a great resource.

  20. Shelley says:

    Oh gosh I love Elizabeth’s blog, and I’m so happy to get to add a bit of it to my crafty book shelf.

    I’m about 1/8 of the way into the Tokyo Subway Map quilt she’s just finishing up. She’s also FAST!

    Thanks so much for the opp to win – love your blog, especially pix of vintage fabrics and the SALE ALERTS…

  21. dee j says:

    Yea you, congratulations on a wonderful inspirational book? Love your fabric choices.

  22. Liz Smith says:

    Really liked your interview. Its always interesting to learn how others audition fabric and what they think about during the whole process. Can’t wait to check this book out. I’m drooling!

  23. Fiona says:

    I’m always fascinated to hear how different people organise and store their fabrics.

  24. Eva SB says:

    This looks like a lovely book!
    Thanks for a great interview

  25. mab says:

    I am desperately hoping to win this book! (Isn’t that a pathetic-sounding comment…. please make sure you read it with extreme angst in your voice.) Of course, if I don’t, I’ve already put it #1 on my Christmas list! :)

    Thanks so much for the chance to enter!

  26. Helen says:

    As usual inspiration from Oh Fransson!

  27. Bellgirl says:

    Thanks for the interview, I’m so excited about the book! bellgirlsblog [at] gmail [dot] com

  28. Christianec says:

    Thank you for the interview, great inspiration. I usually avoid anything blue, as i suffered from a “blue addiction” in my early twenties with rarely a other colour inside my flat. But combines with orange… beautiful!

  29. Melissa says:

    I love the boxes of fabric. I can never keep my colours organised. Thanks for the chance to win and the interview.

  30. Alicia says:

    This was a helpful interview. The book looks great!

  31. Karen says:

    Thanks for asking the stash questions. I love hearing what draws people to fabrics. I stopped pre-washing too. Most fabrics are of a great quality.

  32. Cindy says:

    Would love to win this book! I haven’t been quilting long and know it would teach me lots!! Thanks!:)

  33. Vicki says:

    This looks like a great book! I love Elizabeth’s work:) Thanks for the chance to win!

  34. Julie Ruiz says:

    I was so inspired by Elizabeth’s fabric closet makeover that I set up wire shelving with clear plastic bins in my sewing room closet and found I had more room for everything! Can’t wait to get my hands on the book. Thank you!

  35. Julie Ruiz says:

    I was so inspired by Elizabeth’s fabric closet makeover that I set up wire shelving with clear plastic bins in my sewing room closet and found I had more room for everything!

  36. Linda says:

    I just knew her sewing room and stash would be that organized! I just love Elizabeth’s blog. Her instructions are always clear and well written; her photos beautiful. I do hope I win this book – thank you for the giveaway!!

  37. Sylvia says:

    The book looks great would love to win. Thanks for the great interview, really enjoyed seeing Elizabeth’s organized closet.

  38. Audrey says:

    Thank you for the review and the chance to win book and fabric. I have learned tons just by studying Elizabeth’s fabric combinations!

  39. mary jo says:

    Every day I fall more in love with this book !

  40. Summer says:

    Great interview. I am so looking forward to getting a copy of this book!

  41. Carie says:

    Thank you for a great interview – it looks like a wonderful book and I’m horribly jealous of Elizabeth’s fabric storage, mine all ends up squished into a cupboard any old how – maybe it’s time for some reorganising :)

  42. Shannon F. says:

    She is the color combo QUEEN!

  43. gisele says:

    Very inspiring! I love the quilts, colorful and modern!

  44. Amy W says:

    I can’t wait to get my hands on this book! It’s on my Christmas list (unless I get it before then :) ).

  45. Debra says:

    I’ve been reading Elizabeths’ blog for ages! She helped inspire me to make my first quilt. Would love to win the book. Thanks for the opportunity!

  46. Fi says:

    Oh I am really looking forward to this book. Thanks for the chance to win.

  47. Paula says:

    Ooh I should take some of her advice and get organized with my fabrics.

  48. Tara says:

    Love the way her stash is organized.

  49. Sharon B says:

    I’m so enjoying getting to know Elizabeth through this blog tour. She’s such an inspiration.

  50. Janet R. says:

    I love to have found your sight. I love your storage. Hoping to win the book.