As I’m getting my studio put back together after the house was painted recently, a large package arrived in the mail–my new stash of Cherrywood fabrics!
Since I switched to designing all my work with solid fabrics several years ago, my fabric of choice has been Cherrywood. Located in Minnesota, Cherrywood sells beautiful hand-dyed cottons that have the strong saturated color so important in my quilts. One of the most popular questions I get from people at my shows is whether I dye my own fabric–and the answer is no. I took a class on dying fabrics years ago, and it’s a lot more difficult than you might think! I wasn’t able to achieve the saturation of color that I wanted and my efforts looked more like tie-dye–which can be just fine, except it doesn’t work well with the way I’m creating pieces now. Sometimes I use my own dyed efforts on the backs.
So–I’m happy to support the talented folks at Cherrywood to provide the raw materials for my work. The sueded texture of the fabric adds depth to my designs, and the “hand” of the material allows the texture of my stitching to shine.
Some of the fabric comes in bundles of related colors and some of it can be purchased in single yardage amounts. I don’t normally use the bundles together–they all go into the wash before I use them and get all mixed up with each other in a happy riot of color.
One of my favorite things Cherrywood offers is a “grab bag” that contains smallish pieces about 7″ x 10″ of all kinds of colors–perfect for the improvisational piecing that I’m doing now. I keep all but the very smallest scraps–anything over about an inch to an inch and half square, because sometimes just that little pop of color is what brings a piece to life!
I store the yardage in metal baskets on runners in my studio, and the scraps and snippets organized roughly by color in separate see-through bags. Then when I want to create an improv block in greens, for example, I just go to the bag with the green scraps and dump it on the floor or the cutting table. Sifting through the pieces like that sometimes yields interesting color combinations or “happy accidents,” as I like to call them, that I could never come up with on my own. In the detail above, that’s the narrow stripe of cinnamon, burgundy and gold that adds a spark to the block. You might need to right-click on the image to see it better.
Thanks Cherrywood! Visit their new website to learn more about their fabric and their process.
Mark your calendars for the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival coming up next month at the Reston Town Center in Reston, VA. The dates are May 16-18, and the hours are Friday 5-8, Saturday 10-8, and Sunday 10-5. I’m in Booth 223 on Market St. and I’d love to see you there!