Saturday, August 12, 2017

Will this fabric work?

  I love fabric, I love floral fabric, but sometimes ....not so much.
  I get gifted with fabrics often....and this was one of those.  It came with the comment,  "It's floral so you should be able to use it."    Not for my

 Why?  In class I will often hold up a fabric, much like this one, and ask will this fabric work in your watercolor project.    Why not?   Common responses are

  • too much background showing
  • flowers are too small/or too far apart
  • too dark
  The correct answer is it is too evenly spaced and at a distance appears to resemble polka dots.  This green with the rose buds went on the back.....not the front of a small project.    Stand 5 feet back from it and you see dotted spots.  Save the polka dots for another project.  The florals/flowers need to blend.  

  Another example.....this is a recent print....much more modern.  While it is a great print, not so much for my style  of design.  The graphics are stark and have no shading making blending to other fabrics difficult.  I did cut some 2'' squares and try to use it, but found they stood out on their own.  They did not play nice with other fabrics.    But it is a great choice for a backing :)

The fabric may be a floral.....but not all florals work for me.  Guess you can call me picky.  


  1. Good lesson! I think we are all a bit picky about what fabrics we think will work with our vision. Kind of like the thought that batiks are the same on both sides - you'd miss the sweet nuances if you don't look before stitching, because they are often quite different!

  2. To make your watercolors work, you HAVE to be picky. Yes, I have several fabrics that I bought for backings, not for the front of a quilt. Now to use some of them......

  3. It is not being picky- the nature of the color and design is critical to the process. Without proper vetting and testing, the technique will not work. Every fabric has some use in some technique- some are so made that they can have many uses. People give me all sorts of scraps- sometimes bags of home dec fabrics and curtain cut offs. I make no apology that they are not going in my quilts- I just pass them along.

  4. You absolutely need to be picky to achieve the effect you want. Not just any floral will create that soft, watercolor look. You know what you need, and no matter how well meaning someone may be in giving you "floral" fabric, you cannot incorporate it if it isn't the right stuff.

  5. It's not being picky, it's being selective. Choosing florals for watercolors is as challenging as choosing fabric for stach 'n whack and other kaleidoscopic designs. Withou the right fabric the design technique just doesn't work. And your watercolors show that you have mastered the selection process.

  6. Scale and geometry are so important, I'm learning! And not just for your watercolors. Yesterday I paired what I thought were two different enough scales and colors to make good contrast, but nope. The block is mush. At least I recognize that earlier and earlier in the process now :)

    I love these examples that you show! And aren't we lucky that we aren't as picky on the back so all those beautiful, but hard to use, fabrics have a place to live and be useful?

  7. Being picky is why your quilts are so beautiful. When I read your question I thought "yes, for backing or binding" you've taught me well, master LOL

  8. some might say picky... as if an artist choosing palette colors would be called picky.

    you're an artist choosing a color set that adds to the whole effect.

  9. Your not being picky, the fabric just is not right for that type of project. You need more realty looking flowers that can blend with theit neighbors.


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