Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Part Three : Buying Material

So material comes in different shapes and sizes all sold in yard increments. The smallest amount is usually a 1/4 of a yard square which is called 'A Fat Quarter'. I often just buy random fat quarters as they are inexpensive, but if you are doing a large quilt, then a fat quarter only goes so far hence it's often good to have a pattern in mind with some fabric dimensions. There is a good book full of projects which all use fat quarters, called Fast Quilts from Fat Quarters.

There are other styles of selling material. There are bundles of fat quarters which are often hand picked to all go together. I think Apple Roses is very pretty, so is September Blossom and Flirt. You could make a nice simple cot quilt with those if you just got something matching for any border or backing.

Here are some places to buy Bundles
Pink Chalk
The Fat Quarter Shop
Quilters Cloth
Sunflower Fabrics
Stitchin Post
Cotton Patch

You can also buy pre-cut material which makes life a lot easier. These come in the form of Charm Packs and Jelly Rolls. A Jelly Roll is when strips of the same width are wound together and sold as a roll. There are some very simple ways to use them. You can just sow the strips together, cut them randomnly, then keep sowing them together until you have long strips of materials which you sow all together. This pattern is an example of this, but to be honest it's so simple, you don't really need a pattern. For complex ideas you can buy books such as Jelly Roll Quilts which have more innovative ideas. I might make the Friendship Braid or the Daisy Chain using the Grand Revival Strip Roll or the Mary Rose Strip Roll. Another roll which is expensive is Yuwa Retro Roll.

I did a day school in our local patchwork shop in Cambridge where you chose from a huge pile of Jelly Rolls and made a quilt top in a day. It was great fun and I learnt loads and left with this! Kim at Washed and Worn makes beautiful Jelly Rolls and even has a free pattern on her site. She's at Chilford every year if you want to see all her rolls.

Here are some places to buy Jelly Rolls
Washed and Worn
The Quilt Room
The Bramble Patch
The Cotton Patch
Quilter's Haven

Material also comes pre-cut into squares which means you can just start sowing the together! These are called Charm packs. Here is a free pattern for charm packs. I quite like the 5" Neutral Charm, the 5" Heather Bailey Charm or the 5" Ava Rose Charm Pack Pack. If you can't see a picture of the squares then usually you can find that range of material in the main material section so you can see what you're getting. So the Heather Bailey is also a Jelly Roll so you can see what the fabric is like and so is the Ava Rose.

Here are some places to buy Charm Packs
The Quilt Room
The Bramble Patch
Imagine Fabric
The Cotton Patch

In general though, you can just buy material on its own in increments of 1/4 yards. Fabric often comes in ranges created by designers. But it's a bit like fashion. Ava Rose by Tanya Whelan is everywhere at the moment but it might not be in a few months so it's best to have more than less. So perhaps deciding on your pattern before you buy makes more sense...


Anonymous said...

I'm enjoying these tutorials. Most informative! Especially loving that Ava Rose fabric. I want!

Pippa said...

Seeing that bundle of fabric makes me want to make a quilt. Even though I don't know a thing about quilts, I'm still enjoying your tutorial!