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. Shev says:

    Gorgeous bundle, and what looks like a fabulous book! Thanks for this great give-away!

  2. Aunt LoLo says:

    Oh, I love Elizabeth’s work, and would love to win a copy of her book!

  3. SheilaC says:

    I would love a copy of this book!! And those fabrics are wonderful, thank you for the give away and blog hop! :)


  4. KerryQ says:

    I can’t wait to get this book. Elizabeth has been a huge help and inspiration while I’m learning to quilt.

  5. mommymae says:

    i love elizabeth’s fabric choices! she is fantastic!

  6. Jen says:

    Thanks for the giveaway! The fabrics would work well for almost anything!

  7. EG says:

    Excited about this book!

  8. jane says:

    I’ve been enjoying this blog tour a lot. Great fabrics, too. Thanks for the giveaway!

  9. Lindsay S. says:

    I’m in awe over your talent, Elizabeth and would LOVE to be a winner! Cheers!

  10. Tonya says:

    This book is definitely on my Christmas list.

  11. Caitlin says:

    What a pretty bundle! Fingers are crossed.

  12. Amanda says:

    I wish I had a stash like that.

  13. Mary Beth says:

    I would love to get my hands on this book and the fabric! I hope I win!!

  14. Kait says:

    Orange is a color sorely lacking in my stash which is a shame because I like it so much! I’d love to make a quilt with the stack above and a few choice additions. Thanks for the question about how she stores fabric, I’m always curious and love new ideas.

  15. Alexandra p. says:

    The colorschemes of Elisabeths quilts are so beautifull!
    Her book would be very inspiring … Thanks for the chance.

  16. Sascha J. says:

    Another great interview. I hope some day I have an eye for color combinations.

  17. monique says:

    I love Elizabeth’s colour choices!! The book is on my Christmas wish list. Thanks for a great interview.

  18. Liz Taylor says:

    I am so inspired by your organization! I really need to store my scraps better.

  19. Trish says:

    So excited about this book!

  20. Moe says:

    Great blog, I love all the fabric info. I also love the book! Thank you!

  21. Alana says:

    Great interview! Thank-you for the fabric storage tips! I absolutely love the blue/orange combo and I am so excited about Elizabeth’s book. I hope I win!! Thank-you!!

  22. Colleen says:

    What a great book and FQ collection – not colours I would have put together intuitively but they are striking.

  23. Melissa says:

    Though she is very organized, I would have expected Elizabeth to have tons more fabric! Thanks for the chance!

  24. Jlwhite says:

    Oh oh oh! I love all of the fabrics that she chooses for her quilts! Inspiring!

  25. Lisa says:

    Great interview. This book looks great. Such pretty and cheerful quilts.

  26. Melissa says:

    Wonderful interview. The book looks amazing.

  27. Kirsten N says:

    Great storage ideas!!!

  28. Lauren says:

    I have been following this book’s blog tour, and love that I found this site! I recently discovered how inspiring fabric can be, and I will definitely bookmark this site!

  29. Melissa says:

    Thanks for the chance to win this great giveaway!

  30. This bundle with the book looks really great, thanks for a chance to win. Also, thanks all your work here. Love your site.

  31. Mia says:

    I love Elizabeth Hartman! I made one of her quilts last winter for my first quilt ever, and it turned out beautifully. I love how modern her designs are. I would love to expand my repertoire with this book!

  32. Darlene Staley says:

    Pretty fabric, fabulous book! Thanks for a chance to win!!

  33. PaulaK says:

    I have been looking forward to Elizabeth’s book and find her work so inspirational. Love that fabric selection and the insight into her trained eye!

  34. JaneR says:

    A Great book from an inspirational artist! Thanks for the interview and the chance to win the fabrics and book.

  35. Nancy Andrews says:

    I love this book! And, I’m so excited to get a chance to see so many blogs that I haven”t visited before!

  36. Kara S. says:

    Yay, i’m so excited about this book! Thanks for the great give away :)

  37. Sophia Patterson says:

    Thanks for showing us your sewing stash. Love the book and the fabric.

  38. Katy Rose says:

    I love that group of fabrics. I am in a huge need for more solid colors in my collection.

  39. Judith Hogan says:

    Would love to win a copy of Elizabeth’s new book. Patchwork quilts are my fave.

  40. amy dame says:

    thank you for this giveaway, and THANK YOU for asking about fabric storage! i’ve just gotten back into quilting fairly recently, and i knew there had to be a better way to organize the ridiculous amounts of fabric that i pulled out of storage and the equally ridiculous amounts that i’ve bought in the last 6 months!

  41. Lindsay says:

    I love that fat eighth bundle and I’m looking forward to Elizabeth’s book coming out!

  42. Bioyarn says:

    What a terrific tour through blogs! I cannot wait to get my own copy of Elizabeth’s book and it has been great to explore new blogs, thank-you!

  43. Bronwyn says:

    Thanks so much for the opportunity to win this lovely prize – Oh Fransson is such a favourite blog of mine!

  44. Looks like a great book, and I do so love blue and orange together, they just zing! Thanks for the giveaway :)

  45. Ariane says:

    The blue and orange fabrics are surprisingly appealing together… I clearly need to be more adventurous in my color selections! Thanks for the giveaway!

  46. Elly says:

    The comment about choosing sashing at the beginning is interesting–I’m going to try that next time. Thanks for the interview and giveaway!

  47. SarahB says:

    I’d love to win a copy of this book to gift to a friend to help introduce them to quilting!

  48. Lauren JH says:

    Love this giveaway — and I would certainly love to own a copy of Elizabeth’s new book! Thanks for hosting this giveaway!

  49. Margaret says:

    This book looks like a must-have. Thanks for the giveaway.

  50. simone says:

    What a wonderful giveaway! I just ordered the book, but wouldn’t mind winning it, to give it to a special friend!
    BTW, what a lovely blog you have!