Solids vs. Shot Cottons

Some members of the Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild really know how to rock the solids. At show-and-tell, they share these amazing quilts they’ve made completely from solid fabrics. Bold, geometric designs with rich, solid colors. You’ll see what I mean by checking out this quilt from CMQG founder Heather Jones.

So when it came time to start a new quilt I had in mind, I decided I was going to use a solid for the background. I went down to Sewn Studio, which has a great selection of solids, and picked out two potential blues.

Lovely both. I ended up trying the darker of the two, and made a few blocks with the blue and my prints. And I didn’t like it. At all. There was something about those particular prints, maybe, and the blue combined that just looked flat to me. It was then I decided to take a look at my stash of “solids.”

It turns out, I don’t have a true solid in the lot. They are all shot cottons. Shot cottons are fabrics that are woven from threads dyed in small batches, so the tones will vary a bit within a bolt and could vary quiet a bit between bolts. Many shot cottons have different colored threads for the warp and the weft.

I’ve washed the fabric above, and you can really see the different thread colors that are woven to make each piece of shot cotton.

I’m pretty sure we can blame my mother for the fact that all my solids are Kaffe Fassett shot cottons from Westminster. She’s been a Kaffe Fassett fan from the very beginning, and when he came out with his shot cottons, she flipped for them. So when we’d be shopping together, I’d usually end up with a few in my bag, too.

I guess it’s not too surprising, then, that the solid blue fabrics just weren’t doing it for me. My next stop was the Fabric Shack. And there I found a blue that makes my heart sing.

Yes, the tone if very different from the solids blues I’d gotten earlier. And I see now that those tones weren’t quite what I needed. But I think the texture of the shot cotton has something to do with it, too. I just like the variation, the movement, the interest.

With rise of modern quilting and the heavy use of solid fabrics by those quilters, there are a lot more true solids on the market—many more than even just a few years ago. I know I’ll be unable to resist some of the colors, so I’m sure I’ll be bringing a few more home. And maybe I’ll even figure out a way to work them into my projects. But for now, I think I’m still a shot cotton gal.

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  1. I’ve loved KF’s shot cottons from the start, but wasn’t quite sure why they were called shot cotton. At Expo, I was talking to Janine Burke of Blue Underground patterns and she told me that it was the different threads, which was why I liked the shots in the first place.

  2. Barb Chenault

     /  October 19, 2012

    Hello Christine! Great to see you at the Shack this weekend! Can’t wait to see what you do with the lovely blue you bought 🙂

  3. I love shot cottons! I’ve been buying them impulsively for the last year. One of the projects in my book was made out of this deep turquoise Moda Crossweave. So deelish. Can’t wait to see what you make!

  1. I-Spy Rainbow Quilt Top | Christine Doyle

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