Print, print, steam!


Today is a day for steaming, soaking and washing finished work. I will print as I am doing this. I have the windows open, the high will be 77 degrees today and printing in warmth is a good thing.

What you see here is 4.5 yards of cloth (layered, three deep in newsprint). I love seeing my sample pile grow larger and larger.


But honestly, it is time to start thinking about quilt block patterns and how to use the cloth I am printing. Last week I went to The City Quilter with Teri Lucas. I leafed through books and magazines and I realize, I am out of the loop. I have not quilted in quite some time and I feel like I need a refresher course in quilt blocks, settings, styles.

My fabric bits are small, measuring about 9×10″. I want to feature the prints but also want to use every inch of cloth. I have not yet decided on a block, and do not know if I will even try to create a specific block. I love the look of lots of white or light colored fabric alongside bright and cheerful prints, I like darks with bright cheerful prints. I also love busy prints side by side. I just don’t know! 

When Teri and I were hanging out, I threw several of my least favorite prints her way. This week she has been my ‘Tricky Quilt Fairie’ and has been making the cloth into a 9 patch blocks and setting them on point (she has been updating her facebook page with pictures). I love seeing the cloth in this way and it is helping me to get to the cut and sew stage. 

Hey! Help a girl out! If you know a quilt block or quilt that you think would show of my printed cloth well, please comment and leave a link! Pretty please?


12 thoughts on “Print, print, steam!

  1. Wow- beautiful fabrics! I see them pieced together with a think black fabric (cut at 1″, so finish at 1/2″) between them- so they will look like stained glass. You can offset the rows as well for a “brick” pattern. Clear as mud?


  2. I love these prints you have done Melanie, personally, I would love to see them set in hand painted or dyed fabrics, and maybe made up into a log cabin or star? On the other hand, you could go modern and set them into a white or cream fabric, how about graduated swirling flying geese?

    Like you, I am out of the quilting loop too.


  3. Two of the more recent “Turning Twenty” books feature quilts made of different sized rectangles surrounded by narrow sashing. Your prints would look great set that way.


  4. How about the pinwheel block. It would show off the designs in your fabric. And using white or bright background would really show your fabrics off…


  5. I agree with Alice. Your sparkling prints should stand alone, with sashing from other prints. Maybe set them on point. Simple blocks to emphasize the “print”, not the blcok pattern. In random fashion, they ALL go together. Gorgeous!


  6. I love what Teri has been creating with your prints. They are so excitingly pretty. Her color combos are fabulous! One of my favorite blocks to use that shows off the fabric is the Bento Box quilt. It is easy to draft and you can draft the components to any size to show off your prints. I have made it with all print and with a mix of print and solid. The important thing is value (as if you didn’t know this. LOL!). Pokey made one a long time ago and there is a You Tube video, too.
    One of my fall back blocks is the Ohio Star . I also love Log Cabin variations. You could do an off set log cabin where the center block is a large rectangle and then the logs are added on only two sides. (like the pattern here, but you start out with a large rectangle, i.e. 3″x6″).
    Or, you could cut a square, put it on point and add triangles to square it off. It would really put the focus on your cloth.
    Looking forward to seeing what happens! Perhaps Peach has an idea!


  7. Since I am not a piecer, aka, I don’t do well trying to follow block patterns, I can recommend Rayna Gillman’s technique for free-form quilting. It allows me to blend and mix colors, patterns, etc., without having to worry whether my end result looks like a specific block pattern. I know you will find wonderful ways to use your beautiful prints, and can’t wait to see what you end up with!


  8. I have t admit to recently going through the exact same ‘crisis’. I felt almost as if I had forgotten how to quilt! What?! I realized that I was really overthinking the process and that simplicity was best for the fabrics that I had chosen to work with.

    Your bits are so delightful that they might really look best as they are – maybe with some simple. solids here and there. I think that whatever you end up doing it will become a great piece because the fabrics are so good!

    Looking forward to seeing the end result


  9. Thanks so much for the shout out. I am really loving working with your fabrics. They are so lovely. Two more ideas that will really feature the fabric: 4 patch and Patience corner. I’ll see if I can find them on EQ6 and send you an image of the.



  10. Hi Mel- I would not cut the printed fabrics but perhaps create some kind of sashing that will compliment your patterns with maybe a small motif or a motif that occurs most frequently- I would not sash every block – only some so an adhoc patterning would occur or assymetric balance. I am struggling with a similar dilemna as I am trying to recreate an older french style quilt, and some of the older quilts I have seen would use all the lovely fabric simply because it is lovely! Perhaps you could also think about medallion style- chose your favourite for the centre and then build each band going away from the centre either by colour or pattern similarities- again you might think of printing a much narrower sash to perhaps border some of the bands?


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