When I purchase fabric, I am not buying just yardage. I buy a dream, a finished project. Thus, before I started this Fabric of the Year project, I found it really distressing to discover a lot of fabrics in my fabric closet from which I had never even cut one square.
Fabric of the Year (FOTY) is a concept my friend thought up. It made me think I could remedy the buying-fabric-and-never-using-it problem. I made the concept my own and ran with it.
My idea, thus far, is to cut a small piece of each fabric you buy for a project right away. By using some of the new fabrics immediately, I know right away what I like and don’t like. I also know whether I have enough of my favorite new fabrics to use in larger quantities. By using at least some of the new fabric right away I get the opportunity to buy additional yardage before the designs go out of print.
In the later versions of these quilts, I have also started to include fabrics I purchased previously. In some cases, I cut different sizes to denote the new vs existing fabrics in the quilt.
This practice has been really successful for me and I am pleased with the quilts that have come out of this project. While the quilts look very similar (gradated colors/fabrics), they are each unique in their own way. The process is also a big challenge. Gradating commercial fabrics is a lot harder than it seems. I find it a good challenge each year and feel I do improve with the exercise.
In the 2008 piece, I just used a simple rectangle. It turned out that I really liked working with that rectangle shape. I started thinking about gradating the colors, but didn’t obsess about it in FOTY 2008. These quilts turn out to be great exercises in color.
FOTY 2009 uses a modified block from Bill Kerr and Weeks Ringle called Zanzibar. I tried more with gradation using the outside fabric of the block.
FOTY 2010 was leaps and bounds ahead of the previous two. I am still very proud of it. I love it as well. It set me on a new course for arranging the patches in future pieces. FOTY 2010 was in an exhibition of scrap quilts held at the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles.
FOTY 2010 made me bold, so with FOTY 2011, I went with triangles in two sizes. I used the Fons & Porter Pyramid ruler, which is a great ruler.
I decided to go back to squares and rectangles so FOTY 2012 has a simpler look, but still uses squares and rectangles. The gradation/ colorwash effect turned out very well– better than I expected and better than in previous years. Practices makes perfect.
FOTY 2013 use 3″ squares.
FOTY 2014 started out using 3″x5″ rectangles. In the process of putting the top together, I cut them down to 4″ x 5″
FOTY 2015 is one of my favorites and I think that has do with the combination of rectangles and squares incorporated into the design. I am reluctant to use the same shapes over and over, but I do love the squares and rectangles together.
Stay tuned for future versions.