Q: Do you make a conscious effort to match your fabrics and notions or is that inherent in your taste?
Oh, I so wish I could be spontaneous and just throw together a crazy mix of things and have it work. But, I’m not. While I’m not exactly matchy-matchy (in clothing or fabric) I do like things to coordinate.
When I'm embroidering a piece myself to use in a project I can control the whole process. As I talked about a few days ago, I coordinate the thread colors for the embroidery with the fabrics I'll be using later. But that doesn't work with linens that are already embroidered. Sometimes I'll have the perfect fabric in my stash but not always. Then I have to wait to finish the project until I can locate the accompanying materials. Needless to say I have a lot of partially-completed pillows hanging around my studio.
Some day I’m going to force myself to work more spontaneously. I recently purchased Denyse Schmidt’s Quilts book and I loved one of her suggestions for when you get stuck when choosing fabric combinations:
If you find yourself experiencing too-many-fabrics-to-decide paralysis, try this technique: Cut a swatch from each of the fabrics you’re considering for a project and place them in a paper bag, Give the bag a shake and. without peeking, pick a swatch and use it. It’s surprising how freeing this technique can be, and you may end up with fabric combinations you love but would never have tried. In addition to shaking up your ideas about color, this exercise can make you feel connected (however obliquely) to quiltmakers from bygone days, when too much choice wasn’t an issue.
I've started working more with patchwork lately and I think this will be a good start towards spontaneity. And a way to use up those really small fabric scraps that I can't bear to throw out!