Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Fabric or Design?

A week or so ago, I put up a poll to find out, generally speaking, whether you're more attracted to a quilt because of the fabric or the design.  I have a friend who just about insists on using the "original" fabric when she decides to make a quilt.  That and a local quilt show a couple weeks ago had me pondering the question--fabric or design?
 
Like many of you who commented, for me, it depends--sometimes one, sometimes the other.  But usually for me, even if I'm attracted to the FABRIC first, I don't worry too much about getting the exact same fabrics--something in similar color tones will usually do the job.  So I thought it was probably the design that pulls me in more than the fabric.
 
As I said, it was a recent quilt show that started me thinking about the question.  Here's a photo of a quilt my friend and I saw--this is the friend who likes to use all of the same "original" fabrics.  We both loved this quilt and wanted to make it.
 

Imagine our surprise when we found the quilt we fell in love with really didn't look all that much like the "original"!  And if we'd seen the original first, we probably would have just passed on by.


After the show, I ordered two copies of the pattern for us, and now we're on the hunt for the perfect fabrics.  So far, I've ordered four different background fabrics that I thought MIGHT work, only to decide they aren't quite right.  So the hunt continues and my three-yard lengths of not-quite-right red fabric are cluttering up the Sweat Shop . . . .

In the meantime, here's another quilt that started me thinking about the question of fabric versus design.  THIS quilt design very much relies on the fabric, don't you agree?


 
I think without the chevron fabric, it wouldn't be nearly as striking.  So now I've been gathering the fabric needed to make this one too.  The pattern is free from Riley Blake Designs.
 
By the way, the results of the poll?  58 percent of us said the fabric is what initially draws us to a particular quilt.  Personally, had I taken the poll, I think I would have said it's the design, but these two examples make me think it's actually the fabric that grabs me first.  How about you?  Does this make you re-think what draws you to a particular quilt?

12 comments:

Cathy said...

The two examples made from the Birdson pattern really illustrate how much the fabric can change the final look of a project. And certain fabrics, like the chevron example, give a distinct look to a design, in this case the dresden plate panels.

Rabid Quilter from CA said...

Working in a quilt shop for 5 years clinched it for me. I saw the same thing that happened to you with the quilt show quilt, over and over. Someone loved a quilt but when they saw it in another color-way, wouldn't have looked twice at it. BTW, you notice that quilt won the "judge's Choice" ribbon? My good friend Jody Ohrt judged that part of the show and I always like to see what she picks. Personally, I wouldn't have looked twice at it--LOL!

knitnoid said...

I'm not sure what draws me to a quilt - sometimes its the fabric and sometimes it the quilt. I suppose I feel that way because I seldom make a quilt as I see it. I have two kits which I bought 5 or 6 years ago - and still haven't made. Many of my quilts are scrappy, so I suspect that also plays into my not knowing which comes first. I made one top that it was both at the same time -- not that the pattern or sample was made up in the fabrics I used, but rather I spotted the sample (done in scrappy red, white & blue if I remember correctly) and simultaneously saw the collection of Fairy Frost displayed above the oriental fabrics and knew those fabrics with the pattern would make a gorgeous quilt -- at the time I was on "no buy" except to finish and ended up buying everything I needed to make the quilt top before I left the shop. Seldom does it work that way for me.

Sandi said...

Hi Kim, I wish I had seen your poll, I would have said design to fabrics. I'm drawn to many styles of quilting but imagine them in the colours I work in not usually the ones shown.

I'm currently working on a collaboration of Buttermilk Basin and Primitive Gatherings that has been kitted. Because PG is doing the kitting, the colours are not quite Buttermilk Basin, I'm using my own threads and have substituted a few wool colour to make things mine. For the PG side of the block it will probably be stick close but tweek it a bit t make it mine.

As far as your red version, I think the original would have drawn me more by the design than the red version.

Samplings from Spring Creek said...

Fabric or design--such an interesting question. In the perfect quilting world I want both--fabric and design working together.

A fall design using pink background fabric--not sure I would have chosen that combination

Patty said...

It is first the pattern that draws me to a quilt and then I have to decide if I can make it out of fabrics other than those shown in the pattern. I have no desire to make a quilt that hundreds of others are making with the same fabric. Even with a mystery quilt I like to break away from what the pattern designer suggests to make it different. So far it has been successful.

Laura K said...

I think for the most part the fabric does draw me in. Sometimes I see a pattern in a fabric that does not speak to me at all and I have to tell myself that I might just like it in a different fabric. I have to tell you though that that pink quilt with all the birds made my bird loving, pink loving seven year old go gaga! She is insisting I make it for her now!

Nancy Sutton said...

I think the fun of a show is seeing quilts I would love to make in my fabrics-- so for me it is pattern first--that being said I also like to go up to a quilt and say to myself I have that fabric--- A friend of mine named Kim probably is also thinking Hmmm wonder how I could change this pattern and make it mine!!!!

Sarah said...

I'm a fabric kinda girl! Lol so I will say that it is what draws me:o) it was wild how the fabric changed the whole look of the quilt from the show!

Vicky said...

It's color for me. Don't much care about the fabric, but I can usually duplicate the colors. Interesting post.

quilter said...

I think the color/fabric draws me to the pattern. I would have passed seeing just the bird pattern but really like it after seeing the color.

Gloria
gyates625@bellsouth.net

Sharon Eshlaman said...

For me - the design.