my design challenge with Hoffman Fabrics

Hoffman Fabrics - the designing challenge

Tags: challenge, design a quilt, Hoffman Fabrics

When I lived in the States, one of my fabric things I loved to do was visit Hoffman Fabrics and make them a quilt for their Quilt Market booth. I love working with their fabrics, my only problem is, there are so many beautiful ones it is really hard to choose .... and then when you do, which fabrics you'll need to create a design, a design you haven't even thought up yet.

I have to admit, I love the challenge of designing a quilt from specific fabrics, it's a change from doing it the other way around when I design and then select the fabrics.

When ever I did visit to Hoffman Fabrics, my head would start spinning immediately with ideas and I couldn't wait to get home to lay them out on my table and admired them.... thinking and thinking about what I could create. I couldn't sleep at night as my head wouldn't stop the designing process. 

After one such visit, these were the fabrics I had to use and following is the process I did to design the quilt for Hoffman Fabrics booth.

Hoffman Fabrics

My selection of Hoffman Fabrics for their booth quilt

Sometimes it's really hard to get yourself to want to cut into them, they are all so beautiful.... hence they lay on my cutting table being admired for a day or so. At this point, I had an idea, but not detailed enough to begin cutting nor to know which fabric would go where.

Electric Quilt is a great program (in fact we have an online workshop for this) and I know if I can design at least part of the quilt it would give me a good start. I certainly like designing a background in EQ as it makes calculations and cutting easier so that's what I did. I pulled up a few different blocks to work with, played for quite a while and then decided on one I thought would work best for my idea.

patchwork block "off fellows chain" from electric quilt

 "Odd Fellows Chain" block from Electric Quilt

I worked out an appropriate sizing to fit the block I was using and what I wanted to do with it. You see, I can never seem to use a block just the way it is, I need to add my own "signature" you might say as I'm a designer so I don't enjoy simply making a block unless I make it a little more interesting for myself. I certainly did with this one as you will discover.

Once the background design was sorted, I decided it was actually time to being cutting and seeing how these fabrics would come together. First I tried different combinations in EQ and then I headed to the cutting table.

I cut squares, rectangles and triangles using some of the fabrics....

Hoffman Fabrics squares, triangles and rectangles

cutting squares, triangles and rectangles

Then I did a little piecing, half square triangles and flying geese units....

Hoffman Fabrics pieced into half square triangles and flying geese

Pieced half square triangles and flying geese

And you know I just could not pass up an opportunity to add some applique so the fusible webbing came into play.... drawing, cutting and ironing.

Hoffman Fabrics applique pieces

Fun with fusible webbing and applique

At this point, let me say, the beginning idea never usually ends up as a quilt, it tends to grow along the way right until the last stitch is added, and then of course, the patterns needs to be written and tested!

Here is the result of this particular challenge which was proudly displayed in the Hoffman Fabric booth a good many years ago now, but definitely one of my favorite. I named it simply "The Rose".

"the rose" an applique rose quilt designed by Ruth Blanchet with Hoffman fabrics
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