Saturday, May 23, 2009

Fabric Swatch Quilts


Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE fabric? That is probably a prerequisite for creating custom window treatments. For my business, I acquire numerous fabric sample books and eventually they get discontinued before I've had a chance to sell all those pretty fabric designs to customers. For awhile, I used some of the discontinued swatches for cards, but I found that I liked using pattern paper and stamps more for my cards. I just could not throw the fabric samples out and was running out of places to donate them. I decided to try using some of the fabrics in a quilt.

The first quilt is shown above. I fell in love with these pinks, light reds and warm yellows when I was actually sifting through my books for other colors. I had so many in these colors that I kept arranging and piecing until I had a full size quilt. These fabrics can get a little heavy so I used the lightest loft batting and regular quilt fabric for the backing. I tied the quilt rather than machine quilting.

My parents used it this last winter. Mother had many quilts from her family but like the ones I inherited, they were all too small for a queen bed. She enjoyed it so much I told her I would make her one. I just finished the top for hers using colors she likes - black, brown, gray, red, and gold. All the squares are made with discontinued fabrics but I purchased an animal print fabric to strip piece it and tie all the varied neutrals together. I'm planning to quilt it in early fall and give it to her and Daddy for their anniversary - the top being easier to store than a completed quilt.

In between these, I made one other quilt from discontinued samples - a throw out of mostly upholstery weights. We use it to cuddle under while watching TV.
With all these, I still have a huge stack of discontinued samples though there are very few of the those neutrals and the pink/yellow chintz combos left. These quilts are fun and challenging in that no two fabrics are alike and all the samples are different sizes. The only tedious part is the prewashing. Each swatch must be removed from the sample book and handwashed in the hottest water possible and then put in the dryer. Drapery fabric shrinks excessively if washed but of course we want our quilts to be washable.

With so many varied sizes of fabrics, I haven't attempted any fancy patterns. Yet I'm pleased that I've created three quilts with a minimum of purchased materials. To celebrate, I ordered several 1930's reproduction fabric medleys from Keepsake Quilting. (Ok, this is a little like a dieter celebrating her weight loss with a huge hot fudge sundae, but still, I've been good...)

Anyway, I've prewashed those new fabrics and am making my first cut into them today as I experiement with a pattern idea. Working with beautiful fabric is even better than a hot fudge sundae - at least the satisfaction lasts longer!

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