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. Carolyn says:

    Very cute! And your fabric looks so organized and lovely!

    …feeling lucky, feeling lucky, feeling lucky…

  2. beth lehman says:

    I love hearing how other’s brains work – we are all so different in our work, aren’t we?? Thanks for another chance at the book!!!

  3. Arabella says:

    This book looks great! It is definitely on my must have list. Thanks for the chance to win!


  4. Elizabeth says:

    Swooning over Elizabeth’s book and fabric choices!

  5. Jo says:

    Great post, I love the look of your blog. Fingers crossed here :)

  6. Heather says:

    Love the blues & oranges together. Thanks for the chance to win. –heather, who has never pre-washed quilting cottons aside from her own hand dyes.

  7. Abby says:

    This book would be great. I am new to quilting and would love all the help I can get! And the fabric is so beautiful!

  8. RHANDA says:

    The book looks great! Thanks for offering the give-away!

  9. Nichole says:

    Thanks for the interview and chance to win. Loving the blog tour!

  10. Robyn Roper says:

    This book is on my Christmas wish list. I really want to learn to quilt and this book looks so inspirational!

  11. Jenny says:

    i certainly need more solids in my stash! thanks for a chance, im super excited for this book.

  12. Erika Rutten says:

    Love the blues and oranges together. The book looks great. Thanks for the chance to win.

  13. Lauren JH says:

    I absolutely love everything that Elizabeth makes, and I would love to win a copy of her book and/or the stack of fat 8th’s!

  14. Jodi Ingram says:

    What a gorgeous set of fabrics!!!

  15. Lynne says:

    Fabulous book and lovely fabric! Thanks for the giveaway!

  16. Andi says:

    I really like your fabric organization. It looks so inviting and inspiring. Someday I hope to be so organized!

  17. Krystal says:

    Would love a chance to win this book. I’m that sewist you were talking about who wants to become a quilter.

  18. Judith says:

    I would love to win that book. I need some inspiration and that looks just the ticket!

  19. Marcia says:

    Love the blue and orange! So fresh.

  20. I so want this book. I was just checking European online bookstores to order it for Christmas and it was out of stock/and or unavailable! I was interested (and relieved) to read that Elizabeth doesn’t pre wash her fabrics. I have just stopped pre washing my fabrics too. :)

  21. Katherine says:

    I’m excited to have a chance to win a copy of Elizabeth’s book. She’s so talented and very, very inspiring. I really enjoyed learning more about her and methods of organizing and even that she doesn’t pre-wash (I’m less of a risk taker ;o).

  22. Wendy says:

    Great fabrics, and the book looks awesome!

  23. Amanda says:

    I would love to win this book, it looks great!

  24. Marilyn W says:

    I would LOVE this book. I’ve enjoyed reading the interviews.

  25. Lisa P. says:

    I’d love to win the book. Fits right with where I am in the quilting process (the beginning). :)

  26. Ellen Ban says:

    Enjoyed reading the interview about Elizabeth’s stash! Wish my sewing room looked that organized! Thanks for the chance to win.

  27. Kerry says:

    This book looks indispensable and the fabric selection is wonderful!

  28. tayamg says:

    Great interview. I love seeing people’s creative spaces and getting an idea about organization.

  29. Bethany says:

    I love Elizabeth’s blog and look forward to reading her book! Thanks for the giveaway. notyetvegan(at)yahoo(dot)com

  30. Steph says:

    I’ve added this book to my Christmas wish list. And I wish my fabric stash was as organized at Elizabeth’s!

  31. Kathie L says:

    Every day’s interview is a good one. Thanks for the info. Kathie L in Allentown

  32. wintu nancy says:

    Thanks for a chance to win. Am glad that Elizabeth linked to your blog. I look forward to getting to know you and your blog.

  33. NorahS says:

    Great inerview! I would love to win her book. That stack of fabric is fab! I love those colors.

  34. Allison says:

    I love the orange and blue together! I think picking out sashing first is a smart move!

  35. Linda says:

    I love the book and see something new each time I pick it up! Thanks for sharing your passion and tips on fabric organization!

  36. Kristy says:

    I can’t wait to see more of what is in this book!

  37. Yvette says:

    I’ve been drooling over all the fabrics you’ve shown us…thanks! It’s always so inspiring reading about how quilters put together their “palette” of fabrics, and a treat to peek in their studios! Elizabeth’s new book sounds like a perfect one for a newbie like me! :)

  38. Rachel B. says:

    Nice interview. Love the look inside Elizabeth’s quilt space. Thanks for the great giveaway!

  39. Carla says:

    I stopped prewashing awhile ago, as well, after years of prewashing. I find that the sizing in the fabric adds something while piecing. Washing the finished quilt softens it up. Thanks for the chance to win!

  40. Becky says:

    I just love Elizabeth’s quilts. Her’s was the first quilt blog I found and I immediately added it to my blog list. I’m looking forward to reading her book.

  41. Amanda says:

    I absolutely love Elizabeth’s quilts & can not wait to get my paws on a copy of her book….if I was lucky enough to win I would give it to my Twin Sister, who also loves quilting as much as me!…I must admit though I would keep the fabric to myself ;-) xxx

  42. Chrysalis says:

    great fabrics and I totally need this book for a christmas present to myself!

  43. Rafael's mum says:

    I love Elizabeth’s quilts and site and have been looking forward to her book. Love the cover and I’m sure it is equally great inside! thanks for a chance to win it.

  44. karey says:

    great interview! I love her fabric closet!

  45. Andi says:

    Interesting idea to choose the sashing first….I think I’ll try that with the next quilt, it might lead me to create something completely different!

  46. Jacqui says:

    Oh she makes the fabric sorting sound so easy! I’m always stumped by a few fabrics where I can’t decide what pile they should go in :) It’s agony! Love the orange and blue combination of the fabrics, thanks for the chance to with them and the book.

  47. Diane says:

    Love the fabrics and book!

  48. Margie says:

    Wow, her stash is organized. I wish I could be that organized. Thanks for the lovely giveaway!

  49. Linnea says:

    Great interview! I always appreciate hearing about Elizabeth’s personal journey with quilting. This book is guaranteed to be a good one…I’m so excited to get my hands on it!

  50. I remember back when Elizabeth was a pre-wash only quilter and find it so interesting that she’s stopped. I’ve always pre-washed because I’m scared of what will happen if I don’t, but now I might try some quilts without washing.

    Thanks for the great interview. So excited about the book (and the giveaway :)