I believe that the choice of the fabric required to start a new quilt is an important phase for every quilter, because it will influence the coming project. And this is even more relevant when starting an improv quilt.
For me, a long search is needed: I dig among my fabric collection, I pair some of them, I choose and I discard other ones… I group all the valid options, selected as analogous or contrasting color respect to the starting main one.
As soon as, in the gathered fabric, it emerges a suggestion for a quilt initiation, I stop the search.
I literally stop: I don’t go to the sewing machine, but I rather pile the collected fabric, and I let it rest and decant, as if it were a wine waiting to become ready for being tasted. I peek at my pile every time I pass near the fabric, I let some days pass… and when I feel confident that this choice is my choice, only then I go to the cutting mat.
I’ve been quilting for 25 years, and I’ve collected fabric everywhere, including New Zealand!
It’s always been fun to visit fabric shops and sites dedicated to quilting… each time I had the possibility to travel, my luggage carried back home at least a small piece of fabric, to be added to my stash, with the idea that one day it will find its place inside a quilt.
Orange has a special place in my heart: thus, now, it’s been a joy to search all its shades accumulated in many years! It’s not been easy to catch them all, but, after a long search, I had a large amount of fabric in front of me: a feast for the eyes, and an opening of memories: “what about this piece?”.
I recalled moments from twenty years before, when I folded a new purchase and put it aside because it seemed too precious to be cut immediately; I remembered where, why, with whom all of this had happened… I touched the tissue, and a sudden memory of past beauty was revived.
To identify one by one the solids I’ve found, I started to study and to dig for information, with color maps and online databases. I noticed that most of my solids came from two main suppliers; sometimes it was difficult to distinguish between them, and I was surprised to discover that in some occasions the same name was applied to different shades! For this reason, in my palette you will find: two nectarines, two mangoes, two clementines… names that make we think of juicy fruits, of sunny tints… quite appropriately, since we are talking of orange colors!
Now I’m ready: the palette is defined, with 16 solids, 3 grunge and some other prints. Too many? Maybe: I don’t know if I shall use them all. Let’s see how the work will go on. A slow start can be allowed… waiting for the right idea to take shape: we are talking of improv, aren’t we?