Fabric crush 03.29.12 – Fonts!

After color, my other love in the world of art is typography – I would have gone into font design out of high school had I known such a field existed.

This week I found out about Michael Miller’s Fontastic line – mine is speeding its way to me via mail already!

What She Said – Kathy Loomis on choosing your fabric

Kathy Loomis, over at Art With A Needle, wrote thoughtfully yesterday about designer fabric lines. Head over there and give it a read.

It seems that a brouhaha developed over a designer’s fabric being used in a book, and the designer was not specifically credited. Not having read the actual brouhaha, I can’t comment on its validity or resolution. But I can say that I agree with Kathy that this type of stuff is problematic.

I’ve designed patterns or made quilts where the majority of the fabric came from a designer’s line. Full disclosure here, I work part time in a couple of delightful quilt shops and have access to fabric at a discount, and at a deeper one if I make something out of the newest stuff so that it gets promoted. A lot of these samples come out great, and few of them have crept onto my pattern covers because the fabric looked good enough for me to show off my design.

All of that said, it’s not always my fave way to go for a bunch of reasons, the first being pure aesthetics. Yes, the line looks good together. No kidding – it was designed to look good together – and this is an appropriate and excellent place for a less confident sewist to get a predictably good result from her precious $$. However, my vision is usually a bead or two left of center. While a line is a great anchor, tweaking it to my sensibility means I begin that thrilling tango of pushing and pulling things in and out of the pile until my guts calm and my soul soars – the signs that I have the color in balance FOR ME. Also, like many fabric artists, I have a stash that reaches back decades. I have bits in said stash that no longer have selvedge identification. And while I once might have bought it thinking “what a lovely design by Big Name of 1993,” I am now in possession of a menopausal memory in all its holey glory. What available ram space I have in my head (the immediate recall space, not the “you know you can look this up” space) is full of more important things like where I left my keys and whether or not I called my folks this week.

I get that designers put a TON of work into making our latest fabric crush. I get that having your name on the selvedge is an important credit – not to mention it must be one heck of a rush to see it there. But isn’t the fact that we are buying it a huge acknowledgement also? Does not say as more than a few words in the unread appendix of a book? And in the internet age, finding out the name of a line/designer and finding the last piece of that one luscious print available on-line has never been easier.

I took a class from a wonderful sculptor some years back, and she told us about helping another artist with the restoration of an angel figure that was in a cemetery. A fellow student asked if she was getting paid and if she would put her name on the arm she remade. Her reply was “Make the art. Just make the art. If it’s good, it will speak more than your signature.”

Just make the art.

National Quilting Day and sew on

Did you get a chance to sew on National Quilting Day this weekend? I was working at the Glendale Quilt Show, so while I didn’t sew on Saturday I got to see the fruits of others’ labors – and there were some very pretty quilts. I love big shows as much for their vendor malls as for the quilts – so fun to have such a concentration of new things to see and touch.

National Quilting Day was also St. Patrick’s Day, and being England born and bred, I left my green at home and proudly wore my protestant orange in the form of some groovy earrings. I choose to stay home in the evening as I find the amateur drinkers tend to be on the roads this day. We were already dealing with rain (a rare occurrence here in downtown sunny Burbank CA) so I thought I’d just stay in, put my feet up and plot today’s my Sunday sewing make-up day.

And so to today’s sewing… I spent the day paper piecing, in my jammies, in front of some back episodes of delightfully lightweight TV. I haven’t had a jammies day in ages – such a treat. I’ve been designing an alphabet for a few months and finally finished test-sewing the first draft. So far, I like it well, although edits are evidently in order. Which makes sense considering they are letters!

How to trap a mouse

I’m teaching the Mouse Trap pattern today over at New Moon. I’m pretty excited about this one because I have several newish quilters in the class – always such fun! And yes, this pattern is completely appropriate for them… it’s one of those “so much easier than it looks” quilts. It’s all straight seams, and relatively forgiving, while helping a newbie to develop their cutting and 1/4″ accuracy.

I will be cutting up a new one out of some yummy batiks – photos to come once the day is done (and I get back to the computer).

And so… off to sew, sew, sew… hope you get to sew today too!