Finished: Fabric of the Year 2013

Finished: FOTY 2013
Finished: FOTY 2013

I brought this quilt to the last BAMQG meeting and someone was shocked that I had only finished 2013 not 2014. I have barely finished cutting for Fabric of the Year 2014 and have not yet begun to arrange the pieces. Fabric of the Year 2015 is now a glimmer in my sight as well. I seem to have two or three of these going at once. I wonder how I keep them all straight?

Anyway, the process is a bit arduous. Cutting the fabric patches takes me all year. I take the time to get a sense of what I bought and used during the year. Then I have to arrange the patches into the top I want, then I have to sew, make the back, binding & sleeve and get the piece quilted. This all takes time. So, yes, just now this is Fabric of the Year 2013 finished. Stay tuned for the others. 😉

There were a lot of firsts in this quilt. This was the first time I arranged the pieces from the center out starting with white/lights. This process was also the first time I heavily used my camera as a tool to arrange the patches. I took a lot of pictures, converted them to black and white and rearranged according to the value indicated in the black & white photo. If a patch stuck out, I moved it. Of course, I didn’t move purple patches into the green section. Some of the patches look odd if you look at the piece close, but standing back the placement works. The gradation is a big improvement.

Fabric of the Year 2013 (back)
Fabric of the Year 2013 (back)

The back is a couple of Philip Jacobs prints. I got some comments that they clashed, but I like the boldness. I also used the wrong fabric for the sleeve! I got two quilts back at the same time and used the edge of the Russian Rubix, that was cut off to square up the quilt, instead of the edge of the Fabric of the Year 2013. Oh well. At least people can see the sleeve.

I am pleased that this one is done. As of this quilt, I have no (yes, NONE) quilts at the quilter. Of course, the Tarts Come to Tea is still in the process, but that is a story for another day…

FOTY 2013 Top

Fabric of the Year 2013 Top
Fabric of the Year 2013 Top

One of my goals for Labor Day was to finish the Fabric of the Year 2013 top. This was a daunting goal, because each piece has to be sewn to another one in a certain order.

That meant that I started in one corner (see below), sewed two pieces together, put a leader/ender in the machine right after the two FOTY pieces, sewed those, took the FOTY pieces out of the machine, pressed them and put them back on the wall before taking the next two pieces. Repeat. There are 306 pieces in this quilt, so I made progress on ~306 pieces from other projects as well.

FOTY 2013 Back
FOTY 2013 Back

This project is extremely taxing in terms of piecing. I was pretty much done with the project when I finished top, so I did try to piece the back with large pieces of fabric. I used two pieces of different Philip Jacobs fabric. They go together well enough and I enjoy the large lettuces. They make me laugh. I hope I’ll still laugh when I am liking the project much better.

Normally, I would have put a quilting border on it, but I emailed Colleen and she said just to stitch 1/8″ away from the edge and that would keep the quilt from getting out of shape when it is quilted. I hope it works, because I want the shape of the quilt today to be the shape of the quilt forever. If it works, I’ll have to remember this trick for the future. I do like using ugly fabric as a quilting border, though.

Below are some photos of the project in process.

FOTY 2013 in process
FOTY 2013 in process
FOTY 2013 in process
FOTY 2013 in process
FOTY 2013 in process
FOTY 2013 in process

FOTY Red and Green

A week or so ago, I posted some black and white photos of the Fabric of the Year 2013 quilt. I also took photos through the red and green film of the Ultimate 3-in-1 tool. I am not sure they were very help, but they are interesting. I thought I would share those photos with you.

FOTY 2013 in Green
FOTY 2013 in Green

The green makes the entire quilt look a little sick and this might cure me from this color green for awhile.

It is helpful, though, as there are a couple of places that stick out that also stuck out in the black and white photos I posted previously. A few other things stick out that I need to look at in the real piece.

FOTY 2013 in Red
FOTY 2013 in Red

The red makes the colors extremely subtle.

One thing to remember is to look at the piece in real life. I mentioned it above, but it is an important point. These different views that I have shown are great tools to use to point out glaring problems. The key thing to remember is that they are tools. TOOLS. Your viewers won’t be looking at the quilt through a black and white, or green, or red filter when the quilt is on your wall. Be sure to use these tools to get an idea of what might not be working, then look at the real pieces in color before moving patches around.

FOTY 2013: a New View

FOTY 2013 - Black & White
FOTY 2013 – Black & White

I am slowly, painfully, making my way through the FOTY 2013 piece. I am nearing the end of the arranging.

Nearing the end.

Not there yet.

I have been looking at the quilt project through the green and red films that come with the Ultimate 3-in-1 Color tool (if you don’t have this, click on the link and buy it RIGHT NOW**). It hasn’t been working out that well for me, so I decided to switch a photo to black and white to see areas that could use improvement. This was a great idea, because 1) it shows me that I am doing pretty well and 2) it shows me areas that I might be able to improve.

I am trying to stick to the idea that the darkest fabrics will go on the bottom because they have a heavier feeling.

I also want the like colors to be mostly together and there to be a smooth-ish gradation between colors.

Annotated FOTY 2013
Annotated FOTY 2013

I thought I would share with you areas that jumped out at me and see what you think.

The areas I have indicated are too dark or too light for where they are currently placed OR do not make a smooth transition. I have not moved anything yet, because identifying a problem creates another problem: where to put the problem fabrics and what to put in their place.

This is where you have to look at the piece and at the colors to make sure that if you move it to the ‘obvious’ location, it doesn’t ruin the smooth transitions between colors.

Once I make the changes, I have to go start the process over.




**You should buy the Ultimate 3-in-1 color tool because it is a quick reference for color work. You can look at the relevant page see the complement, the analogous colors, triadic and split complementary. There is also a long list of colors that would work in a monochromatic quilt. It is a sampling of tints, shades and tones.

Previous Posts that Might be of Interest:


FOTY 2013 Progress


This is probably the basic layout of Fabric of the Year 2013. It needs some tweaks in terms of where specific fabrics are placed, but I feel like I have a basic layout. I have found that taking photos and looking at them helps me figure out the placement. I am not sure why I didn’t do that more for the previous quilts in the series. It could be that I am taking more time with this one. Others have been put together in, essentially, one weekend.

It also occurred to me that I could also use the green and red films that come with the Ultimate 3-in-1 Color Tool by Joen Wolfrom. I am going to try that next.

One issue I have found troublesome in the past is not seeing the individual fabrics for the predominant color. I am really trying to make the transitions smooth this year. It is hard to see which colors predominate in a fabric with multiple colors, but I know it is a process. I have to work at it.

FOTY 2013 Even Better Progress

FOTY 2013: Mid-Late June 2014
FOTY 2013: Mid-Late June 2014

I am not ready to piece yet, but I am so much farther along than I was when I last checked in.

I know a number of you liked the falling water/color gradation effect, but process wins and it wasn’t working for me.

This is so much better. I couldn’t have done it without the work I did on the first version. I did extensive sorting of the colors, as you may have noticed if you enlarged the photos and looked carefully. I expect that most of you didn’t have time and will just take my word for it.

The extensive sorting that I did really helped me leap frog over the preliminary shuffling that I have done in the past. I’ll have to keep that in mind for the future.

I still have a lot of work to do, but I am feeling better about the piece.

Previous Posts that Might be of Interest:

FOTY 2013 Better Progress

FOTY 2013 Mid-June Progress
FOTY 2013 Mid-June Progress

I know many of you liked the progress I was making on FOTY 2013. I didn’t like it, so I talked to Maureen and her son and started over.

This project is killing me and I have to get it done. I have to get it done for my own piece of mind. I also want to get it done, but the other layout was not achieving the goal I wanted to achieve. I was having a hard time gradating the colors horizontally and thought that I would need too much background.

I also didn’t want to do the same thing as FOTY 2012 despite the success of that quilt. I don’t want to do the same thing over and over.

Maureen and Andy suggested starting in the middle. I went home and started, which is what you see in the picture, and I feel like the process is going a lot better.


FOTY 2013 Progress

As you can see I making some progress on this piece.

I have about a thousand more photos of this piece and it doesn’t seem to be working. If you click on each photo in turn, you can see the minute changes. It doesn’t matter what I move around, the piece is not working.

I knew I had to go back to the regular format, but I wasn’t sure how. I had a chat with Maureen and her son about it last week and they gave me an idea. Stay tuned!

And So It Begins…FOTY 2013

First Look at FOTY 2013
First Look at FOTY 2013

Some theatre we visit occasionally has a “First Look” feature. It is one of the half hour’s worth of ads that plays before the movie actually starts! This is your first look at Fabric of the Year 2013.

I want to stress FIRST look. I have a long way to go to get this quilt top pieced. There is a lot of rearranging that needs to happen.

The first step to get to the first look was that I had to  get the squares out of the Fabric Closet. That was pretty easy, so I sorted them into rough color piles, e.g. ROYGBIV plus grey, black and white.

Pink Chalk Fabrics sends a post card with an order. It has some gorgeous piece on the front and sizes of quilts on the back. I saw the lifestyle shot on a post card I received from them. After getting FOTY 2012 back, I knew I needed to do something a little different. How could I compete with that quilt? At some point in the FOTY 2013 cutting process, I put the squares and the image on this postcard together in my head and decided to arrange the piece in a similar fashion.

Then I got out the post card that is inspiring this piece and started putting them up on the design wall. I just slapped them up, only further sorting roughly into light, medium and dark.

First observations:

  1. The picture above may not even begin to resemble the finished quilt.
  2. I couldn’t fit the pinks on the design wall
  3. Even though the Basic Textures by Patty Young (used on Fresh Fruit) are all the same value, they can’t all be next to each other.
  4. I might need to consolidate the greens a bit.


  • Fabrics from 2013, both new and used
  • Patches are 3.5″ square

Fabric of the Year 2013-Last Squares

FOTY 2013 - March Update
FOTY 2013 – March Update

It has taken longer this year to get to this point. I didn’t have the Retreat as a firm deadline. I decided that I had to create a deadline and few pieces of fabric I had washed, but not pressed provided the deadline. As soon as I took care of those, I closed the collection.

I haven’t sorted the squares, but I have an idea of how I will sew them. I think I need to finish a couple of projects before I start sewing this one. That doesn’t mean that I will put it off forever, but I have to clear my mind so I can spend time on arranging the squares.

Fabric of the Year 2013: Jan 2014 Update

FOTY 2013: Jan Update
FOTY 2013: Jan Update

I know it is January 2014, but I am not quite ready to pack in the cutting for FOTY 2013. I’ll start arranging and piecing it later this month, with any luck.

I wanted to include these fabrics, because some of them are from projects in December. I also added a few from Attack of the Hexies and may add a few more, if I have any left.

I also have  washed a few fabrics that I thought I would use for pillowcases, but it didn’t happen. I’d like to add those in as well.


Fabric of the Year -Early December 2013

FOTY 2013 - December
FOTY 2013 – December

It has been awhile since I posted an update on this project. Nonnie asked about it during the Black Friday Sew-in and I thought it would be a good time to do an update.

I am shocked that the last time I posted about this project was in September. I am also shocked that it is December and I am about to need to start sewing this baby together.

One thing that has happened is that I have washed very little fabric this Fall. I don’t want a huge pile hanging around the workroom waiting to be pressed, so I haven’t been washing fabric unless I need it. A lot of what you see in the photo (left) comes from the various projects I have worked on recently, most specifically the Scrapitude project. I’ll need to wash some fabric soon as I’d like to make sure some of it gets in this project.

I am really shocked that in a month and a half I’ll be sewing this project together. That is the plan anyway. I can’t go to the CQFA Retreat (super sad face), so I am going to have to mark out specific time to sew it together.

FOTY 2013 Summer Squares

FOTY 2013 - Summer
FOTY 2013 – Summer

I spent a lot of time cutting over the weekend, which served a few purposes:

  • lots of fabric is in different shapes
  • I am showing the world that I am not blowing off Susan and the Russian Rubix project
  • A lot of fabric was pressed
  • I actually cut some FOTY squares

I really wanted to make progress on cutting for my Super Secret project and for the Russian Rubix. I just wanted to see what the fabrics would look like cut up.

It turns out I am using the same fabric for both projects. I like the combination so far. Probably not the same background and I will probably use the more colors (fabrics) for the Super Secret project than for the Russian Rubix, but the base colors and fabrics are the same.

Most of the fabrics on the right (above) are fabrics I am using for the two projects. The group shown is small, because the design wall is full of the RR octagons.

I cut octagons from all of the fabrics chosen so far, but there is a pile of them on my cutting table that won’t fit on the design wall. I need to move them to my portable design wall, but the Attack of the Hexies project is there and I am actually working on it a bit, so I don’t want to lose the momentum by taking it off. I’d really like to get that project out of my life. It was fun for awhile, but I am ready to be done with it. Working on it makes it more fun.

It really has been awhile since I filled up part of the design wall enough to post some squares for this project for you. Summer was busy; I wasn’t ironing. I don’t know what I was doing. Read the blog, then you’ll know.

FOTY 2013 – Late June

Fabric of the Year 2013-late June
Fabric of the Year 2013-late June

I am still cutting squares for FOTY 2013. You can see a lot of the squares from the Round Robin piece in this group.

I was trying to put the squares in color order, which is a good exercise. It is also hard if you are working with what you have rather than being able to select specific colors to fill in. I did pretty well, but was having trouble with the pearl Bracelets purple. It is so dark.

See the last group.

FOTY 2013 Early June

FOTY Patches Early June 2013
FOTY Patches Early June 2013

There is something I like about this 2013 Fabric of the Year project. I like having a piece of each fabric. Once the quilts are finished, I love walking by them and thinking “that fabric would be perfect for this project” or “OH! I remember that fabric. It was such great fabric.” It is like looking at a scrapbook.

I am afraid I am getting tired of it, though. Perhaps I am just tired. I know I am tired, but having the feeling seep over into fabric is scary.

These are blues from the end of the Star Sampler project. Mostly, I made the 4″ Sawtooth Stars from these fabrics. Yes, I did arrange them purposefully to be only a blue batch. I have a whole additional group that I’ll photograph later that is all different colors.