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. Jennifer says:

    The oranges and blues are so beautiful. I would love to make a quilt with them!

  2. Pamela V says:

    I used to not like orange, but I’m changing my mind :-)

  3. Holly says:

    This book is definitely on my Xmas list!

  4. Evelyn says:

    These are my face colour by far at the moment!!

  5. Michele says:

    I wish my fabric were that organized!

  6. Wendy says:

    Can’t wait to see this book! Love the oranges and blues!

  7. Valerie says:

    I’m so anxious to get my hands on that book, I just know I’m going to love it!

  8. Katy Yo says:

    Ooooh, I like that Nellie’s Garden print! Blue and Orange = my favorite!

  9. Christine says:

    I love orange and blue. I love quilting. And, I love what Elizabeth does in her book. Can’t wait to have my own copy.

  10. Sarah H says:

    Great interview and info. Thanks for the giveaway! The book looks great.

  11. Hilary says:

    I am really looking forward to reading this book!

  12. Aileen says:

    I love the o fransonn blog. I love her crisp, graphic sensibility. Interesting to choose sashing first. I often don’t decide whether to use dashing at all until I’m well into a project. Would love to win a copy of this book. It’s high on my wishlist :)

  13. Tanya says:

    I love that orange and blue flowered fabric as well! I wish I had enough storage space to have bins of fabric. I also wish I had that much fabric :)

  14. Yay! I’m loving this book already and I don’t even own it!

  15. I like the orange and blues together. I’d love to have a copy of the book.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  16. Cammie H says:

    I that fabric selection and the book is lovely!

  17. Andrea says:

    Thanks for the great giveaway!

  18. Marianne says:

    Thank you for hosting a give-away and for being so generous. I would love to win the book (I could really do with a book that is written so it is easy to understand) and I love fabrics; they really brighten up the grey autumn weather.

  19. Amanda says:

    I love Elizabeth’s work. And I love hearing the process by which she goes about choosing fabric.

  20. jane says:

    Elizabeth has a definite kind of color confidence that makes her quilts and style unique. Love the orange and blue fabrics…she’s hit this selection ‘right otta da park’! Thanks for the giveaway.

  21. Jolene says:

    I would LOVE this book!

  22. alli b says:

    I wish I had such a neat & tidy space to craft in!
    Thanks for the giveaway Elizabeth!

  23. Anneh says:

    I swear my parents had that same pendant lamp from the 70s…and now it’s back in style. I love it!

  24. Paula says:

    Very excited to have found your blog through Elizabeth’s book tour. Great interview too.

  25. Angelina S. says:

    I love the fabric selection soooo much! And I can’t wait to get my hands on this book. It looks amazing! Thanks for the chance to win.



  26. Laura T says:

    As a beginning quilter, it’s great to hear about how someone as talented as Elizabeth chooses her quilt colors. I love the orange and blue combination!

    Thanks for hosting a day on the blog tour!

  27. Lindsay says:

    I am absolutely loving this blog tour and this book.

    lindsay.forgette at gmail dot com

  28. christina says:

    I liked hearing about how Elizabeth organizes her fabrics! I may have to start something similar for my currently highly disorganized collection.

  29. Tamar says:

    Thanks for another chance to win! I can’t wait to get my hands on this booK!

  30. Pattie Crum says:

    Enjoying all the interviews, this one was great.

  31. Sally says:

    What a great bundle of fabrics! I’ve enjoyed reading all of the Blog Tour interviews, and will get Elizabeth’s book one (won) way or another!

  32. Nancy B from Many LA says:

    Good interview! I like her take on things…

  33. Wendy D. P. says:

    Can’t wait to get my hands on this book – it looks so wonderful!

  34. Paula says:

    This looks like such a great book! Thank you for the chance to win it!

  35. jennifer says:

    What a great giveaway combo – Thanks!

  36. Stephanie S says:

    I love both the fabrics and the book! I’ve wanted to try quilting for some time now, so this book will definitely be going on my Christmas wish list.

  37. Lizzy says:

    I really would love to win this book, I caught a glimpse of it at the quilt festival.

  38. Ramona says:

    I LUST after her bins of shelved fabric….

  39. Ellen Hurd says:

    I would love to make something out of these they are awesome!

  40. chancy says:

    I’d love to win her book and that awesome fabric!

  41. Sonia B says:

    Great interview. Thanks for the chance to win!

  42. Patty says:

    I would love to own this book. Thanks for the giveaway.

  43. Anne says:

    Wow thank you for the great info on picking fabric and storing it toooo. Have really enjoyed this part of the book tour……

  44. Alma says:

    Please enter me in the contest. Love her work. And thank you for the wonderful Houston coverage!

  45. Sarah M says:

    Thanks for the interview, Kim and Elizabeth. I love the retro color combination.

  46. Lindsey says:

    Oh me oh my. This tour just gets better. That workroom shot… I want my room to look like that. :)

  47. Allison says:

    My mum is such a fan of Elizabeth’s blog, I would love to win this for her! Thanks for a great interview and giveaway …

  48. Erica says:

    Those oranges and blues are beautiful. Those aren’t colors I normally work with so it would be nice to try something different!

  49. Alice S says:

    I really, really want to read Elizabeth’s books. I’ve followed her blog for 2 years.

  50. Tanya Barrett says:

    So excited about this book, and I love those fabric selections!