Sunday, October 30, 2005

Adventures in Quilting: Part 1 - Buying Fabric

I have decided that, as part of my domestication, I should learn to quilt. To this end, I signed up for a quilting class. Now, these classes take place at the local fabric store and the woman who runs them is quite familliar with me. I come in with my jogging stroller every few weeks and ask for strange and obscure things. She looks at me sideways and shows me where those things are, and then walks away after I completely ignore her suggestions. So when she told me that I would have to come into the store so she could help me pick fabric I knew it could be interesting.

For the quilt pattern that I am making, the first fabric you need to pick is your main print. All the others are chosen around this first print. On my sheet it is called a "floral". I guess I wasn't reading my sheet very well. The first fabric I picked was a funky fabric covered in little round multi-coloured circles. It looked like a great polyester shirt from the 70's. It had various shades of brown, green, tuqoise and pale blue, with tiny flecks of yellow. You are then supposed to pick one colour from that print and find a lighter and darker fabric in that colour. Well, first I went hunting for the cool tuqoise colour, but it was nowhere to be found in the store. The woman pulled out two soft, pastelish greens which I quickly vitoed. I asked her if she had any fabric in the brown that I could see in the quilt. She looked rather dismayed and pulled some soft blue fabrics for me to look at. I asked her if she had the bight turqoise. She said "The greens really do look nice with it . . ". I paused.

I asked how much the fabric cost. Why the sudden question? Well, firstly becuase there were no evident prices anywhere on the bolts. Secondly, because if I am going to make a cheap quilt, I don't care if its not perfect.If I am going to make an expensive quilt, I want it to be beautiful. She told me how much the fabrics cost and she must have seen my face drop at her astronomical figure, because she said, "why don't you see if you can find anything in the bargain bin up at the front, dear. They're $6 a metre."

Up to the front I boldly trekked, searching desperately for something reasonably priced to make my quilt out of. SHe followed me and pulled several "lovely" florals that I might like to use for the pattern on my quilt. I kept looking through the bin. Finally I found a green that I liked -- a warm, medium green. Then I found a black with the same colour of green vines twining through it. I though "these are really cool". So I pulled them, along with about half a dozen other things.

Back I went to the cutting table that was now strewn with bolts of cloth. We found one set of matching fabrics that were all from the $6 bin. Unfortunately, one was a medium floral print and the other two were soft blue. where, in my house, would I put a quilt in those colours? In the basement in a box, that's where.

So I hemmed and hawed and looked at this, and looked at that, when suddenly it hit me. I should make a BLACK quilt with the two greens as the contrast colours! So I ran to the regular priced fabric, thinking, "If I have two sale priced colours, I can afford one regular priced colour". And there is was, in the black section. A beautiful deep black with a small geometric pattern of aleternating daisies and spirals. I triumphantly brought it back to the cutting table, very excited with my find. After all, the green contrasts would bring out the red in the pattern, and vice versa. My problem was solved! I had found my quilt fabric!

I proudly showed the saleslady what I had found. I smiled with satisfaction. "Well, yes, you COULD do that", she conceded. And I will.

1 comment:

Kris said...

good on ya Jill!