Monday, September 12, 2011

Strike-Offs and AQSG Donation

Some of the strike-offs from Lately Arrived From London

Strike-offs are like proofs. Once the printers have cut the screen they try different combinations of the colors selected for the collection. The designers then choose the ones they think work best. Some work well and some don't.

Some like this blue chintz work GREAT, but they don't really go with anything else in the line.
Editing these out is like editing one's prose. Ouch! That was a great print---but the only blue-and-white-toile looking piece in there. We'll do something similar again some time.

When we are doing a reproduction line we also have to edit for accuracy. That pink pillar print at top left above is interesting, but it just doesn't look like the kind of pinks you'd have in 1810---so it gets the heave-ho.

And the olive greens on the left. The greens work fine as an accent color but not as a background. Just not done in 1810. Goodbye, greens.

We started with about 70 variations on 8 prints and by process of elimination we wound up with 28 skus (a sku is jargon for a colorway of a print).

Only 28!---well I forgot to mention that economics is also a motivation. We'd decided this would be a small line. Some of my repro lines go up to 42 skus. Why small? Early 19th-century reproduction prints are a niche market. You readers are probably part of that niche---it's a sophisticated niche.
Another reason: If we'd do 50 skus shop owners would say they couldn't afford to buy the whole line. And they'd be right.

So that's the explanation as to why there are no blues, pinks or olive greens in the Lately Arrived from London collection. Design, accuracy and economics.
But what about all those small pieces that were eliminated? Unused strike-offs usually go into the recycle bin but I weasled these out of the boss. For a good cause.

I asked my friends to make 16 patches and asked Bobbi Finley to set them with the larger chintz scale strikeoffs for a quilt top pieced of fabric that was only printed once. We filled in with yardage that was printed---and some from other sources.

So here is a top made of fabric that nobody else in the whole world has.

We added a border of the pillar print from the yardage.
And we are donating the top and a bag of scraps left from the strike-offs to the American Quilt Study Group's Auction that will be held at their annual seminar September 21-26 in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. AQSG benefits and you can go home with a top made of truly one of a kind prints or a small stash to make your own.

See more information about the American Quilt Study Group seminar here:

The benefit auctions, silent and otherwise, are always terrific.


  1. Design, accuracy and economics be damned, I want that blue toile!!

    Actually, I appreciate the economics part. If shops don't buy the line then I can't have it anyway.... have truley resisted the on line stores and my check book and local quilt stores thank me.

    Now, if I only had money, some extra big money....that auction item is HISTORY and you can be sure I would put it on the "label" when the quilt was quilted! Make it easy for future historians... Lovely - Special use of things in the waste bin. (Do tell me where you empty said bin and I will be there next time.)

  2. They don't tell me where the fabric recycle bin is. It's just as well.

    I imagine there is shredding involved. The great thing about cotton fabric is that it DOES decompose (I wonder a little about the dyes and surface treatments) so we could just compost the stuff we are tired of. Not that I could ever do that. It's a thought.

  3. I agree--I'd love to have some of that blue. :)

  4. I love the new fabrics, I have to laugh at the quilt that has the fabrics that no one in the world will have because some day someone is going to see that quilt and start looking for those fabrics.

  5. I love quilts with odd pieces in them, fits my personality;) I would have no idea what to put with what, that is why I love the bundles, makes it easier for me.


  6. I like being part of that niche. The blue and white toile is lovely - maybe you need to do a whole line of toile?? :0)

  7. I love some of those discarded ones but can see why it had to be done.
    I've ordered yards of the pillar print (so often seen in old quilts so rarely printed now). The rest of my order arrived in 4 days from the USA but only to find the much desired pillar print is on back order. Perhaps I should rename mine when it comes, Lately Arrived to London?

  8. Cool, very cool way to use your goodies! Everyone wins...I like that!!!

  9. Thanks for explaining the fabric design process. I was curious how a line of fabric evolves and ends up on the shelves at quilt shops. I love that blue toile too! If I was at that auction, I'd definitely be bidding top dollar for that one of a kind top!

  10. Your books about fabrics and design are so informative thus, it was particularly insightful to read how you refine a fabric line. I really love this line and most of my sewing friends do too.

  11. I'm with Mimi. I love any toile. I really am writing to ask if you know of a vendor to purchase the Lately Arrived From London fabric. Not one store in Columbus, Ohio (!) ordered it, and I need some! :)


  12. Thanks for your generous support of AQSG. Will we be seeing you next week?

  13. Have a wonderful time at Seminar.
    Unfortunately I have a conflict with parents weekend at my daughter's college.
    I would have loved to meet you person - next time.

  14. I am going to try to do a live blog from the Seminar. It depends on the internet access at the hotel. Look for something starting Thursday.

  15. I'm currently in the process of making an adaptation of the Jane Austin quilt for my niece's wedding gift. She is an English Lit Professor and is marrying an English Lit Professor. She has always loved Jane Austen so I first looked for age appropriate repros and found the "Lately Arrived from London" collection then I found the quilt from the Jane Austen museum. Now I've got to get to work because the wedding is the 12th of November. Thanks for the great fabric collection. My niece will be thrilled, especially since I did my homework. A copy of your book on the fabric line is also accompanying the quilt.