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. duff says:

    thanks for getting into the color/stash/fabric selection arena–I always wonder how great quilters go about that process!

  2. kelly duke says:

    I have been reading true up for quite awhile and really enjoy your voice. Would love to win a copy of your book. kelly

  3. Sue says:

    Another great interview from Elizabeth, and another opportunity to win a copy of her book, thanks

  4. Janna says:

    I can’t wait to check out the book!

  5. deborah says:

    Great questions on a subject I’ve been wanting to ask about!


  6. traceyjay says:

    such beautiful designs. :)

    thank you for hosting…

  7. Ursula says:

    I can not wait to get this book one way or another and I am loving this tour. I have been introduced to bolgs that I don’t think I would hve ever found, especially this one on fabric which I LOVE.

  8. kendra says:

    i love the way storing fabric by color looks!

  9. Hollie says:

    I am dying to get my hands on this book! Thanks for the generous giveaway!

  10. Gailynn says:

    I love the color combination of these fabrics… they look so happy! I just purchased the book and love it… Thanks!

  11. colleen says:

    Love all the great ideas! Need more inspiration..

  12. Holly says:

    Thanks for the chance to win!

  13. Christie says:

    Thank you for hosting this stop on the tour and for asking the question about order of choosing fabrics… I love hearing the insight of others! Cheers!

  14. Marilou says:

    Can’t wait to curl up under a quilt and spend hours reading this book! :)

  15. Janet says:

    Interesting book, lovely fabric. Thanks for the chance to win.

  16. Linda says:

    Thanks for the chance to win! I love Elizabeth’s work, and love, love, love orange! 8-)

  17. Tamie says:

    Thanks for the insight of how she chooses her fabrics. Thanks for the chance to win.

  18. Colleen says:

    Elizabeth’s book looks wonderful – her quilts are beautiful.
    thanks for the review.

  19. Chris says:

    Lovely book review and the fabric is so pretty! Thanks for the chance to win!

  20. Beth T. says:

    I’m a fan of Elizabeth and “Oh, Fransson!”, and I really enjoyed your interview. Thanks for that, and for the giveaway.

  21. Amy says:

    Great interview! Thanks!

  22. Diane says:

    I really REALLY want to win!!! I love everything Elizabeth makes.

  23. I love your blog- you are inspiring. Now I must go organize my fabric!

  24. I’ve been dying to get this book! Here’s hoping! :)

  25. NancyA says:

    Oh, if only my stash was as organized as Elizabeth’s! Thanks for sponsoring this stop on the blog tour.

  26. Sarah says:

    I love Elizabeth’s quilts and her blog. Thanks for the chance to win!

  27. Shara says:

    Such useful information! I can’t wait to get this book.

  28. Lea says:

    I’m just discovering the usefulness of solids. Now I’m inspired by the 7:3 solid:pattern ration in E’s choice of fabrics.

  29. kell says:

    I love that orange and blue print! Super cute. Thank you for the giveaway opportunity :)

  30. Liz says:

    beautiful summer colors!

  31. sharon says:

    hoping for my own copy of the book & Elizabeth’s fabric choices!
    thx for your insightful interview too :)

  32. Joanna says:

    That’s an interesting thought that E chooses her sashing near the beginning. I’m thinking of some of the quilts that I’ve made where I don’t think it has all come together as well as I want… and I think the sashing was never quite right.

  33. Colleen B says:

    Phew! I don’t prewash my fabrics and I’m happy to see that a pro doesn’t either! :) Lovely book and great orange and blue fabrics!

  34. Alissa says:

    Never would have thought to pick out sashing first-but it makes perfect sense!
    Enjoying the blog tour!

  35. Cheri C says:

    Oh, this is my most favorite one yet!!! LOVE the blues and oranges!!

  36. Carolyn says:

    I love Elizabeth’s work. Thanks for the chance to win her book!

  37. j-j says:

    So often when Elizabeth speaks about her process, I feel so inspired, like suddenly I am breathing fully and deeply. I love the idea of choosing sashing first, it just makes sense, but I never thought of it! I so want those fabrics she has chosen. Thanks for the interview and the chance to win.

  38. Deb Joseph says:

    I cannot wait to see Elizabeth’s book – I would so love to win a copy;)

  39. Suzanne says:

    Thanks for the chance to win! I never know how to keep my fabric so it’s wonderful to see it all sorted like that!

  40. Shannon says:

    Can’t wait to own this book! Thanks for the chance to win a copy

  41. Sarah Craig says:

    This is such a great looking book – I’d really love to win a copy to share with my quilting students!!

  42. Aubrey says:

    This book looks great, especially for someone like me who wants to get more into quilting….

  43. Tonya says:

    Thanks for the chance to win this awesome looking book & the interview! I’ve loved her blog for quite some time now, always so inspirational!

  44. Jen says:

    oh my goodness, I love those fabrics! I have the book and it’s by far the best quilting book I own!

  45. Janet says:

    I can’t wait to own this book. Love the color combination above.

  46. Anna McD says:

    Thanks for a chance to win!

  47. Millissa G says:

    Thanks for the great interview and chance to win!

  48. Ralene says:

    Beautiful work. What an inspiration!

  49. Netta says:

    Thanks for the giveaway. I love the orange and blues.

  50. Gully says:

    As a librarian, I love a good filing story….and the orange and blue print combo is fab.