Friday, April 3, 2009

The Morris Workshop

Strike-offs in the colorway "Wardle's Sky-Blue"

My next collection of reproduction fabric for Moda, called The Morris Workshop, is based on designs by English artist William Morris and his colleagues. The prints were designed by Morris himself with two from his major design partner John Henry Dearle. Dearle began as an assistant when he was a boy and took over the firm's art direction after Morris's death in 1896.

Sales reps are showing the collection to quilt shop owners now and the yardage should be in stores in July. Click on this link to Moda to see the individual pieces.

The fabric shown is what those in the fabric trade call strike-offs, the proofs. These are snippets of the prints in various colorways (color variations). The prints in the pictures are those I picked out of a larger group of possibilities. I should remember to photograph the ones I didn't pick---it's interesting to see how some things just don't work. But I think these work really well and reflect the Morris aesthetic.

I named the colorway, a pale indigo shade, after Thomas Wardle (1831-1909), the dyer who collaborated with Morris for many years. You can digitally leaf through some Wardle pattern books in the collection of the Whitworth Art Gallery of the University of Manchester by clicking here. If you love Morris and Morris-style fabrics this is a real treat. http://www.whitworth.manchester.ac.uk/collection/recentprojects/wardle/bookbrowsedisplay/index.html?b=25049&p=14


  1. OMG!!! You just made my day! I love William Morris! I can't wait till this comes out! I'm going to have to save up money so I can buy yardage as opposed to just fat quarters..... :D

  2. The collection is so beautiful. You know, it would be extremely interesting to see the ones you didn't pick versus the ones you did. Really can't wait for this line to come out.

  3. William Morris has been a favorite of mine for years but I find that when it comes to making a quilt I shy away from using them. I have several colorways of an older line that I pet...but really don't use except for when I am looking for a scrapbag look...any suggestions on pattern designs that would really feature the prints?

  4. Cathie in Utah
    I know it's a problem---how to use them. Because William Morris and his advocates really were not interested in patchwork. I'll post patterns as the fabric becomes available but here are a few ideas for now.
    See Michele Hill's book William Morris in Applique for some really elaborate applique. Perfect for these fabrics.
    See my book Making History for two or three Arts & Crafts style quilts, pieced and appliqued and download a free pattern from Moda for my last collection a Morris Garden. Click here: http://www.unitednotions.com/fp_a-morris-garden.pdf

  5. I bought a jelly roll of this gorgeous fabric and made a top using the Kansas Dugout block. I changed the construction, and I think this simple block shows off the fabrics well.

  6. Where can I get a William Morris jelly roll?