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Reflections on Cabbages and Roses

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

I loved Northcote by Cabbages and Roses from the first moment I laid eyes on it. I didn’t jump right in and buy the fat quarters right away, because…well, you know the story…I’m supposed to be using up my stash and not buying new stuff. Anyway, at some point last year there was a weak late night internet moment and there you go…..Northcote joined the stash

At heart I’m old-fashioned and conventional. I’m a sucker for chinz, for full-blown old roses, for pinks and blues, for stripes. What was there not to like? Frankly, it had my name on it. In capitals. It says calmness, beaches, New England beach houses to me…it has a whiff of a foregone era. It doesn’t pop, it’s steeped in conventionality – but I absolutely love it!

Cabbages and Roses was always going to be a quilt for me, for our under the eaves, whitewashed wood bedroom. I would have put good money on me using a Carrie Nelson pattern too.

But that isn’t quite how It has worked out. Once I pulled out Northcote  and my pattern books, I realized pretty quickly that this was a no-go. Let me tell you, this is a difficult fabric collection to use. The chinz patterns are big, the stripes are broad and dominant and there are a huge number of small spriggy fabrics. Carrie’s wonderful patterns just wouldn’t work with these fabrics – the pieces are too small and somehow there is too little variety – which doesn’t mean I don’t love it, I do!

I’m not the only one finding it tricky either. There are incredibly few photos of quilts made with these fabrics out there on the web.

So… what to do? Well, I let the fabrics speak to me. I realized that I have to have something with big pieces that can showcase the strong fabrics – I need to celebrate the stripes and big roses, not loose them in itsy bitsy little pieces. When you see what I’ve done I’m sure some of you will smile and say, What? Can’t she ever make a quilt that doesn’t have stars in it?

I think I’m happy with this – and I think it plays to the strengths of the fabrics – I know it looks like I’m stuck in a big fat old rut, (OK, OK, I probably am!) but I honestly, truly think that this is the best way to use this fabric!

I may or may not use the four patch I made. It’s an experiment – maybe I won’t just have stars. The jury is out – so what do you think?

So there you have it…more stars…but doesn’t it say lazy summer afternoon to you too?

Helen

5 Responses to “Reflections on Cabbages and Roses”

  1. Dianne Neale Says:

    Nothing wrong with a rut, provided it’s yours and you like it! I think the pattern works well with the fabric – and I’d keep the four patch. It breaks the stars up a bit.

  2. diane stanley Says:

    like the softness of it all

  3. Sherri Says:

    I love the blocks you made…and you are so right…some fabrics just don’t “play well” with the patterns we love. And some fabric lines are incredibly difficult to sew with, even though we love them. I recently made a quilt with a line I love–ended up designing something very simple because I didn’t want to cut up the fabrics any more than I had too. I love the stars you are using!

  4. Sherri Says:

    Oh, and yes, I love the 4-patch too. I always need a “resting spot” in my quilts…and the 4 patch provides just that.

  5. Stephanie Says:

    Ever resourceful! That quilt looks lovely, a beautiful combination of colours. And stars are good!