Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Moving Right Along: Backing Fabrics Selected for Math Quilt and Bear Paws Quilt!

Good morning, and a big thanks to all of you who responded to yesterday's post with feedback about teaching beginner quilters.  You guys are reinforcing my own gut feeling about this.  This opportunity may or may not be a good fit for me right now, what with everything else I'm trying to juggle and balance.  I'm not looking to reap dazzling financial rewards from teaching (hah!).  I'm only interested in doing it to reap those intangible rewards that come from motivating and empowering others.  I don't want to simplify the project any further because I think my current design incorporates the bare minimum amount of practice with 1/4" seams and intersecting seam allowances that students need to reinforce and master those skills.  I also don't want to just do something using precuts, because someone who only knows how to quilt with precuts and doesn't know how to cut her own fabric is very limited in what she or he can do.  Cutting, 1/4" seams, and matching seam intersections are the three basic skills that everything else builds on and I feel I would be doing a disservice to cut those out.  It would be like teaching beginner math, but skipping addition and subtraction to save time!  So I'll talk to the shop owner again and see what she says.

Meanwhile, I found and ordered backing fabrics for two of my own projects that are nearing completion.  First, for the Math Is Beautiful quilt:

Koi Garden Tiny Droplet in Chartreuse, available here from
...This quilt was based on a graph paper doodle that my son Lars made in his 8th grade Math II notebook:

Lars's Math Doodle
Lars is going to be a junior this fall, so that tells you a bit about how long this quilt has been languishing as a UFO... 

Math Is Beautiful Quilt On My Design Wall (Anders Watching TV)
Anyway, it's destined to be the first real quilt that gets loaded on my long arm frame once I've finished my giant practice quilt.  I was having a tough time picking backing fabric for this one because all of the fabrics in the quilt top are so busy, but I think the chartreuse and magenta dot fabric will complement this OOP Kaffe Fasset poppies and irises print really nicely and help to brighten up what ended up being a very dark quilt top:

OOP Kaffe Fasset Print, Can't Remember the Name
Backing Fabric for the Math Quilt
Better Shot of the Math Quilt, Taken Prior to Borders
I probably should have mixed in a solid somewhere, but ah, well!  This may very well be one of those quilts that grows on me once it is finished.

And the second backing fabric I ordered yesterday is this one, for my Butterflies and Bear Paws quilt:

Tula Pink Slow and Steady Orange Crush Pit Crew available here from Fat Quarter Shop
I am going to finish the borders on this quilt top TODAY, I PROMISE...  But here's what it looks like at the moment:

Butterflies and Bear Paws Quilt, Borders Not Yet Attached
I'm planning on solid white (Kona Snow) inner and outer borders on either side of my pieced batik stripe border, and I'm thinking the Tula Pink fabric would be a nice surprise on the other side of the quilt without risking color showing through the white sections of the quilt top.

OOP Lou Lou Thi Fabric by Anna Maria Horner
Of course, there are drawbacks to online fabric shopping.  Colors can look very different in real life than they do on the computer monitor, based on monitor settings, camera or scanner settings of the photo you're looking at, etc.  There's always a chance that what comes in the mail doesn't look just right with your quilt top, after all.  If that happens, it goes in the stash and I have to start looking all over again.

I would much prefer to shop for my fabrics locally, but I don't have a shop near me that carries fabric that I like: solids, text prints, Kaffe Fassett, Tula Pink, etc.  

Do any of you shop for fabric online?  If so, what are your favorite online quilt shops?  I shop with Fat Quarter Shop and with eQuilter a lot, mostly because they both have a huge selection and their sites are well organized so it's easy to browse and come up with enough fabric in my shopping cart to qualify for free shipping.

The other thing that happens to me in this online quilting community is that I fall in love with fabric someone else is using on their blog, fabric they have had in their stash for a few years that is now OOP (Out Of Print).  That happened to me this week with this fabric, which I just found 5 yards of on eBay:

OOP Tula Pink Royal Elizabeth
How did I miss that loveliness when it was first introduced?!  I snatched it up, of course!  When I'm buying fabric for my stash, without a specific purpose in mind, I typically only buy a fat quarter or half yard, so this is the first time I'm stashing a backing.  It might coordinate with the Tula Pink clam shell quilt...

Alright, I'm off to my studio to get those borders attached to my bear paw quilt!  Have a great day, and happy stitching!

Today I'm linking up with:

·       Let’s Bee Social at

·       Midweek Makers at

·       WOW WIP on Wednesday at


Ramona said...

The fabrics you chose for your backings are going to finish the quilts off nicely. The snails in the second piece are too cute! I'm fortunate to have several quilt shops in my area and one has almost all of the Kaffe line, so I am thrilled. I don't allow myself to go in there too often! :) I use Missouri Star Quilt Company a lot when I order on line. Another place I have used is There are over 200 shops linked to this one place and it's a great place to look for specific fabrics if I've run out or want more of something.

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

Fat Quarter Shop, Missouri Star, Craftsy, Hancock's of Paduacah

Home Sewn By Us said...

Hi Rebecca,
I look forward to hearing how your teaching ends up. The more I thought about you and teaching beginners, there IS a lot of content to squish into one day. A LOT! Hmm, I guess I don't have too much in my stash for backings. We do a lot of baby quilts and sometimes (umm, MANY times) fabrics throw themselves at us and we have to buy it. But backings are usually only 1.5/2 yards so it may end up as a backing or part of the quilt top. Interesting thought to dwell on today . . . ~smile~ Roseanne

Julie said...

You are a good role model showing how to weigh the pros and cons of opportunity. It's okay to say it's not good timing, or not your thing.

Backings: I actually do have some backings in my stash, but I am doubting their usefulness. It's very hard to match up a top with a backing unless it's ultra basic. Many of mine have been passed up for something more suited. For difficult backings, try Backside Fabrics. They're wonderful!

Jane Holbrook said...

The big star is so interesting. It will be a fun quilt to look at while sitting or laying under it. Nicely done! I like the various border fabrics, all bright and saturated with color. I love big prints. Just love 'em! I shop etsy a lot, there are good bargains and interesting prints. I am a big fan of piecing the backs of quilts, with all kinds of fabric that helps tell the story that the front of the quilt started. Happy Sewing!

Janice Holton said...

Hi Rebecca, I know you've got the best feel for what that class needs and what you can handle. It was interesting reading everybody's take on it!

I LOVE all the fabrics you are picking for your Math Quilt and Bear Paws quilt. Scrumptious! I have used very successfully in the past the website They have an easy search feature and design wall which enables you to move the swatches you choose all onto one page to see how they work together. When I got my order it looked exactly like what I was expecting. I was very pleased.

Val's Quilting Studio said...

HI Rebecca...looks like you are making great progress in all areas. Keep up the good work (I love that your sone hangs out with you while you sew)

Preeti said...

If I lived within an hour's driving time, I would totally sign up for your class. I am scared of FMQ and the dreaded eyelashes and tension issues. Your fabric choices made me drool over my keyboard. Darn it!!! Folks may not like solving equations but everyone will love Math Quilt :-)

Susan said...

Math Quilt looks great - love the backing you choose, and also for the other quilts too! Thanks for sharing on Midweek Makers!