This striped fabric is one I purchased last week to go with these wonderful cactus prints. I have been on the hunt for the perfect stripe to go with this panel fabric for some time. I walked into a local fabric shop last week, and there it was, and on sale! What really amazed me was that I purchased this stripe entirely from memory--I did not have the cactus print with me at the time. I was so excited when I got home and discovered that it matched perfectly!
This weekend, the 2 to 3 minute clips from Alex Anderson's classroom on The Quilt Show are free. http://www.thequiltshow.com/os/alex.php/alex_id/91 In particular, I have enjoyed listening to Alex's fabric purchasing tips. Alex never buys yards and yards of the same fabric unless it is a particularly extraordinary piece that you are not likely to see again, or if it is a focus fabric and you will need some for the border. Alex says she wants to be able to go to the quilt shop when she starts a new project to buy some new pieces to incorporate into her support stash. By only buying 1/3 to 1/2 yard pieces of fabric for her stash she is able to constantly add to her existing stash as she starts new projects and she doesn't end up with yards and yards of stuff that she will likely tire of before she uses it all. Alex also mentioned that she never buys less than 1/3 yard of a particular fabric. She does this because pieces narrower than 1/3 yard seem to turn to shoestrings when you pre-wash them in the washer.
Alex talks about buying "sparkle" fabrics and "bridge" fabrics. Sparkle fabrics have a bit of light sprinkled across them. Alex buys 1/3 of a yard of these fabrics. Bridge fabrics have a bunch of different shades of the same colour sprinkled across them. Alex claims that green bridge fabrics are easy to come by, but bridge fabrics in other colours are harder to find. When you find a great bridge fabric, buy 1/2 to 1 yard of it.
Alex talked about circles, dots, and stripes. These fabrics she purchases in 1/2 yard increments. Alex talked about using the stripes as inner borders.
I enjoyed Alex's discussion of what makes a monochromatic (one colour family) quilt work. She maintains that you must include white in a monochromatic quilt to keep it from going flat. You also need to make sure that you include a sizable mix of size and scale of print. You need to include a full range of light to dark fabrics. Alex also mentioned that it would take a couple of years to accumulate a serious collection of one colour fabrics that will work in a successful monochromatic quilt. This is because some of those fabrics required to make that collection work successfully in a monochromatic quilt will be harder to come by.
I haven't been a big purchaser of sparkle, bridge, dot, and stripe fabric in the past. However, after purchasing just the right stripe last week, I think I am a convert to Alex's fabric methodology. I guess I need to go shopping because my collection definitely needs some enhancing with sparkle, bridging, dots, circles, and stripes! LOL