I was taught to make hexagons by my Grandmother when I was a girl but that was about all I knew about patchwork for many years. When I started quilting as an adult in the late 1970s I was living in a very small town in the far north. There were no shops where I could buy fabric or quilt guilds where I could learn. My only source of information was the odd quilters' magazine. I would see a picture and draft my own pattern. The first lesson I learned, and I learned it the hard way, was that the 1/4" seam allowance is added all around the patch! That's a mistake you only make once!
As far as fabric goes I would order it mail order from a Sears catalogue OR there was mail order business in Alaska that sold bags of scraps for quilting and they were cheap. But they were not 100% cotton. And I had no idea at that time that I was expected to use only 100% cotton. Well in that scrap bag was a lovely piece of turquoise with white polka dots and another small turquoise and white print. I loved both because they were kind of quirky and different (this was back in the days when brown calico was the rage). I used both in my quilts and this is one of the quilts that contains both fabrics. This was made back I my draft-your-own-pattern and figure-things-out days! I had no idea how to go about making a quilt like this but I did remember the hexagon lessons from my Grandma so this quilt was English paper pieced! Even the larger squares!
Can you see the thinking patch?
I used these two fabrics in many of my quilts because my plan was that they would be my "signature" fabric and I would put a small piece in every quilt I made. That plan sort of fell by the wayside when I learned I should only use 100% cotton top quality designer fabrics and I think that is sad because looking at my quilt now I realize that I lost some of my spontaneity and creativity.
And here's another block made with who-knows-what but I'm pretty sure that there's some poly cotton in there!
I also used leftovers from the clothes that I made for myself. The blue points were from a mat dress.
And then one of the first true 100% quilting cottons was purchased. My brother sent me money as a gift and a visiting sewing store came to town. I purchase the blue fabric in the centre of this star - I loved it and bought as much as I could afford which was probably about 2 yards (I still have some of that fabric).
Not only was I using blends but I was also using polyester thread....white polyester thread!!! It never occurred to me that you should match the thread to the fabric but then I didn't have much to chose from in the way of thread and white seemed like a good universal colour to use!
I did stop using polyester thread for piecing and switched to 100% cotton. I still like it but am rethinking this because there are some really lovely soft polyester threads made for piecing and they work well, produce little to no lint and are much more economical. And if my scrappy star quilt has survived with 30 year old polyester thread......
Today I went to Fabricland for the 50% off everything sale. I had plenty of time so I went to the home dec section to browse. What did I see? Some fabulous cotton fabrics that are 104" wide.....and they were on sale at $12/metre. There is nothing wrong with these fabrics. They have a beautiful hand and are the same weight as quilting cottons. Can you say "cut me some of that"? I can and did! This one will make a beautify quilt backing!
And the other fabric I purchased is a grey-beige which will be fabulous in something but I'm not sure what just yet! The print has a bit of a woven look to it like a linen.
My point here is that if you are committed to 100% designer cotton and you have the wallet for it, by all means continue. But if like me you want to make quilts that will be loved and used and the perfect fabric is a home dec fabric or an odd bit of poly cotton blend I say go for it! It is your quilt after all and the quilt police will not come knocking at your door! And that's my two penneth worth for today!
Until I post again, happy sewing!