Some thoughts on quilting & the quilting fabric marketplace…

J Maske head shotOh, boy, this post was tough. I am not a quilter. My mom taught me to sew when I was in grade school, but we only really made clothes. The only thing I’ve sewn in the last few years is a whole bunch of stuffed cats like the one in my photo over there. That being said, I sure do know the value of a handmade item, especially a handmade blanket. My most treasured belonging is a baby afghan I’ve had since birth, and it still has a spot on my bed! I actually learned to crochet so I could make blankets as special as mine for other people, only to realize my blanket was knitted. oops. I crocheted many afghans. But I don’t quilt, so I had some homework to do!

The Road Less Traveled, by Mary Rowan Quinn.

‘The Road Less Traveled’ by Mary Rowan Quinn.
Quilters Newsletter, Feb/Mar 2012

I went to the library, read through some books and magazines on quilts, and it opened up a whole new world for me! I was only vaguely aware of art quilts before this. Now I want to make one. I really really do. And I can use my own fabric in it! <squeal!> Here’s one of my favorites (I hope it’s okay to post this):

After a bunch of book research, I went to my local fabric store. I’m there often enough, but this time I was on assignment. I had to take it seriously. Here are some thoughts I had: 1) You quilters have so much variety! Go over to the garment fabric section and there’s a teeny tiny fraction of the number of prints you guys have. SO jealous! 2) Maybe I’ll just have to become a quilter.

What I like:  Do you mean, what types of fabrics do I like? Or what do I like about the industry? I think the second question is beyond me as of yet. As for types of fabrics, I LOVE florals. Especially modern florals. Big, bold prints, tiny delicate prints, maybe any floral that has great colors. And there are SO many of them. Even so, while browsing through, like, hundreds of floral prints, I could see room for hundreds more. I suspect I was only seeing the tip of the iceberg, too. I spent a lot of time online at quilting fabric stores, and only saw a little crossover. I also like that designs from every period and region can be found, so a quilter isn’t limited to whatever is currently in style. That’s fantastic. There were designs in every genre that I loved. Here are a few examples out of many:

Storm Clouds from the 'Night Shade' collection by Tula Pink for Free Spirit

‘Storm Clouds’ by Tula Pink for Free Spirit

Cherry Blossom Tangle from the 'Annalee' collection by Jane Dixon for Andover Fabrics

‘Cherry Blossom Tangle’ by Jane Dixon for Andover Fabrics

Artistic Orchards, from the 'Cultivate' collection by Elissa Barbieri for Clothworks

‘Artistic Orchards’ by Elissa Barbieri for Clothworks






What I don’t like:  A good-sized chunk of the novelty prints. There is a lot to love in the novelty department, but tossed prints of random items over a black background is not it.

Where I might fit in: hmm. Remember how I love florals? Well, it turns out I almost never design them. Probably because I have no trouble finding florals to love! I also don’t do the big, bold, modern geometrics I love. So those categories are right out. What I love to create is delicate, hand-drawn designs. Maybe tell a bit of a story. And occasionally have some rodents animals in them. I’d probably fit in the children’s prints pretty well. I think I’d rather design for the grown-ups, though. I suppose the novelty department would have to take me. I have a lot of interests, and that might be the best place to use them.

If I took away nothing else from this assignment, it’s that there is a ton of room for new designs, despite the huge variety already out there. Hopefully, we can each create what we love and the market will find us all a little spot!


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3 comments on “Some thoughts on quilting & the quilting fabric marketplace…

  1. Janel your delicate painted patterns are so lovely- I think they are wonderful for adults and kids- and would totally mix beautifully with any of these florals in a spectacular quilt!! I hope you make the quilt, and post pix of it when you do!!!!

  2. Nice post, Janel… Had never seen that Orchard print. Very pretty examples.

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