Thursday, February 19, 2009

Building a deck

When I started this tack, I didn't think I'd be so verbose. I went to the Barn without much notion of what I was getting into. May your experience be less mysterious and more fruitful. Here's part 3: buying and tracking colors for Nancy Crow's Strip Piecing I & II workshop.

I don't dye fabrics. I buy commercially made fabrics from the local stores. Where I live there are a number of quilt shops and fabric stores within 25 miles. A few have a good selection of solids, most don't. So I get a smattering of colors from various places.

For online shopping a friend suggested equilter . They offer 189 Kona solids. With your order, they'd send a color printout – similar to their web page. I'm more bricks and mortar.

Shopping for solids can be daunting at the fabric store. Would this color look different in other light? Can I find one a little lighter, darker, brighter, duller, red-er, blue-r, yellow-er? And do they even make it? How does it compare to what I already have? How can I keep track of it all?

The human mind is capable of remembering about seven things. Darn impossible to remember a hundred colors. Even with good color memory. Try visual aids.

Mine is a deck of 3x4 index cards. If you build this, you could cut the card size in half. There's still plenty of room for information.

On one side of each card glue an actual 1/2" wide strip of the fabric along the edge for a visual match or comparison. The other side has information: when, where, what (manufacturer, color), and width and length. This helps when you want more.

I'm not good about noting the manufacturer and color when I'm buying the fabric. At least I can visually match it. If I bought it within the last year, there's a chance it's still available. In reality though, store stock changes.

Stack the cards by color group and in value order. Imagine dropping the deck and scattering them to kingdom come. That would be so embarrassing. Make it secure: punch a hole at one end and put it on a 2" ring. Watch for a photo post of my deck later.

At the store, I compare the bolt against my fan deck. I don't like to be conspicuous but this is not so easy, yet better than nothing. Since colors change on a continuum finding where it may fall in your deck takes time. Is this gold yellow or yellow-orange? Is this periwinkle blue-violet or purple?

If you see someone doing that - that might be me. Say hello. I now whip out a smaller (fewer cards) deck with colors to replenish.

Build your deck. Throw it into a Ziplock or your tote bag. Enjoy your color adventure.

Another installment tomorrow: preparing and packing your fabrics.

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