Let’s Hear It for Low-Volume Fabrics!

Christine Barnes

It’s another cold, raw spring day in Grass Valley, perfect for staying in and sharing my thoughts with you. My wild cherry trees are in bloom, and today wouldn’t be the first time I’ve seen snow falling on the white blossoms. I call them my popcorn trees.

In this post I’d like to focus again on low-volume fabrics—how to spot them and use them in your quilts. The term is from the modern-quilt movement, and it means “quiet” colors and prints, used mostly as backgrounds or negative space. They are generally light in value, which makes them recede. Some are colored, but my faves are fabrics that have widely spaced black or gray motifs on a white or cream background. A picture is worth lots of words, so here are some examples. When possible, I’m adding the selvage info for those who want to seek out these fabrics. I included my fabric bracelet from the deYoung Museum to give you a sense of scale.

This print is by the designer Bonnie Christine, for Art Gallery Fabrics. It’s from the Hello Bear Collection, and the name of the design is “Summit in Dawn.” I’ve seen it on the Hawthorne Threads site. It’s more of a “medium-volume” fabric because of the colors, but I had to show it because I love it!Next is an open-and-airy, large-scale print from Contempo Studio’s Daily Zen collection, Michele D’Amore designer, by Benartex, style 1738. The background is creamier, not really white.Another design by Daily Zen, Michele D’Amore, style 1735. Love the openness of it.Also from the Daily Zen collection by Michele D’Amore, but alas, the selvage is gone. If you find this fabric, please let me know—I’ll give you extra credit. Remember the bird Woodstock in the Peanuts cartoons? To me, this looks like one long rant by him! The partial selvage reads “For Your Nest,” by Moda, style 48203. I love this random pattern of pale gray lines by Marcus Fabrics. The selvage says Studio 37 Fabrics, Nancy Rink Designs, Getting to Know Hue, style 9720. It comes in the opposite colorway of white lines on a gray background, and it’s gorgeous.I have no info on this pale gray-and-white stripe, but I believe it’s from Riley Blake. (This photo looks yellowish—the lighting was stange the day I took it.)And here’s how I used that stripe in a Gypsy Wife block, as the lowest-volume fabric. This block/quilt is one of the projects for the retreat.Note that the other two fabrics in the block above are anything but low-volume. I chose them because they separated and “stood up to” the colorful triangles but didn’t take over. There’s no selvage info for this large white-on-gray dot, but the smaller dot is by Michael Miller, style CX-2490, Dumb Dot. Michael Miller fabrics is a great source for dotted fabrics.I hope I’ve “spoken up” for low-volume fabrics enough to entice you to add them to your stash. They’re hard to find, but so worth the hunt.

One more thought: My retreat workshop is now full, but feel free to contact me if you’d like to be on the waiting list. You never know . . . .

Also, I’ll be showing more low-volume prints and my Antique Modern quilt top in my next newsletter, “Christine’s Color Connection.” You can sign up on my Home page, or by texting COLOR4Q to 22828. See you when we “get together” again!

 

 

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7 thoughts on “Let’s Hear It for Low-Volume Fabrics!

    • Great to hear from you, Linda! I seem to recall that you (or Sally?) had that “Woodstock” B&W fabric at the retreat last year. But don’t count on me to remember . . . . Hope all is well with you both!

  1. These fabrics are fabulous! Thank you for sharing with us and the info on them. 😄 It will be fun seeing how you use them.

  2. Love those low volume fabrics. So sad I will not be at Zephyr this year to be inspired…taking our family to Kauai to help us celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. Think one of my friends from ND signed up for your seminar and will fill me in.

    • Fun to hear from you, Mary Ellen! And congrats on your 50th. Have a wonderful time in Kauai with your family. I taught there a few years ago and loved the beauty of the island. There were also two very good fabric stores . . . 😊

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