Fabric! Who doesn’t love fabric? Like any industry, there’s a lot of flashy new stuff, but there’s a lot to be said for the classics, like the Bold Beautiful Basics by Northcott.
Basics tend to get forgotten as new collections are introduced. I assembled all the Northcott basics in one spot for you to review and I’ll introduce you to two new basic collections that were recently released.
Let’s take a look.
When I first started to quilt (about 20 years ago), no one was using solids, unless you were making an Amish quilt. Solids were hard to find, color choices were limited and often the quality was not the best or the solids were made from a poly/cotton blend. While cotton solids were around, it was the modern quilting movement that really put solids on the map.
Today, the quality of solids has improved dramatically and the range of colors, well it’s breathtaking.
If you’re serious about working with solids, the first thing I would do is get my hands on a Northcott ColorWorks swatch card.
What’s a swatch card? It’s a card that displays a sample of the actual fabric of each of the colors in the collection.
Why is this important? If you’ve ever tried to match a color, it’s next to impossible to do it on a computer screen. And once you find something or if you have something in your stash and want more, but no idea what color it is, it’s very difficult to find the same fabric with no reference to go by.
Having a swatch card makes it easy. The SKU numbers of each fabric and the name of the color are listed beside each of the color swatches making it a snap to order more. If you’re the kind of person who orders online, the swatch card is an essential tool.
Look at those colors – a wide range of neutrals and all the colors of the rainbow. There isn’t one that I don’t like.
ColorWorks is a Premium cotton with a beautiful hand. The finish on these Northcott solids makes them feel like silk. You truly have to touch them to appreciate the quality. The color and the quality are very consistent so if you’re ordering online, you know exactly what you’re going to get.
There are two blacks in the ColorWorks collection. There is a standard black (#9000-99) and there’s an Ultra Black (#9000-999). You can see the difference in the two samples below – keeping in mind that the difference is more pronounced when you see the fabrics ‘in person’.
Sometimes I use one and sometimes I use the other. However, I would probably never use the two of them together, although I could depending on the project.
There are also two different whites. Snow (#9000-10) which is white and there’s Superwhite (#9000-100) which is a cooler white. Some quilters will prefer one over the other, but it’s great to have a choice.
Notice also that in each color family, there are ranges in value from light to dark in varying number of steps. If you’re like me and love transparency quilts or quilts with value ranges, these ColorWorks fabrics work beautifully.
One of the other Northcott basics that I love is Toscana. Toscana has a suede looking texture to it, but it’s 100% cotton, yet feels like silk because of the finish.
There are 135 gorgeous colors. There’s also a swatch card and if you’re serious about your fabrics, I’d get my hands on one of them. It’s so handy when trying to match colors or shopping online.
Here’s another reason I love swatch cards. If my quilt shop doesn’t happen to have the entire range, how do I know that the color I want even exits? By browsing the swatch card, I can easily identify which color will work and I can get it ordered.
Open up that swatch card to see all 135 luscious colors.
What’s nice about this collection is that there are at least three fabrics in each color family ranging from a dark, a medium and a light. Very useful in lots of ways.
Have a look at that suede look texture. Subtle enough to blend into your project and provide a calm place for your eyes to rest.
Northcott has introduced a new basic called Canvas which comes in 32 gorgeous colors. It has a weathered-looking texture and oh – I want some of each color!
There’s a good range of neutrals, as well as highly saturated colors that should suit any quilting needs for the traditional or modern quilter.
Another new basic line is called Essence which comes in 30 gorgeous colors. Let’s not forget that this line also comes with a beautiful finish which makes the fabric feel like silk. The print on this line is very organic with a subtle vine print. The color and the print give these fabrics a softer feel than Canvas.
There’s a free pattern that you can download to make with this gorgeous line.
If you’re looking for a fabric with a bit of glitz, Shimmer is what you’re looking for. It comes in seven gorgeous colorways and within each is a vast range of values from light to dark, as well as a large variety of printed textures to add plenty of sparkle to your project.
If you want a lot of glitz, mix and match the various colorways and values to make your project entirely from Shimmer, or pick one or two prints to act as a highlight.
There’s a swatch card for Shimmer which again, is an ideal tool to work from when designing and planning your quilts.
There are also a number of large-scale running yard prints that fit within each of the seven colorways. The images shown below are the full width from selvage to selvage so you can get an idea of the scale. These large-scale prints are great to use in a border or larger open spaces in the project. They also make great backgrounds for applique or piecing.
And if you’re talking about Northcott basics, you can’t forget about Stonehenge. Can you believe that Stonehenge has been around for almost 10 years? I’ve made many quilts out of various combinations of Stonehenge. This fabric line is so versatile. Use it for landscapes, applique, regular piecing, whatever your desire, there’s likely a Stonehenge that will meet your needs.
The current colorways are shown below. There are currently nine different colorways in an eight-step value range. While some of the value changes are subtle, they work amazingly when you want subtle changes from light to dark. It’s so subtle, you don’t see it! That’s what so awesome about Stonehenge Gradations.
Northcott also introduced Mixers which blends some of the colorways together to help provide cohesion between colorways. It’s a brilliant idea.
Let’s not forget the Gradations Bright which includes 6 different colorways with a five-step value gradation in each. When I started off in quilting many years ago, it was very difficult to find colors in subtle value changes. Now with this huge range of value change, there’re so many opportunities to use them in a project.
And let’s not forget the basics that go with the Stars and Stripes that are used in many Quilts of Valor collections.
That’s it for the 7 Bold, Beautiful Basics from Northcott. I love mixing and matching between the various collections. Not only does this increase the range of colors available, but the variety of textures and value changes can really add to any quilt project.
Having access to good basics is like having classics in your wardrobe. You can never go wrong using them and they’re in style forever.
Tomorrow, I’ll show you how I start to design or recolor a design using digital versions of each of these fabrics. Make sure you come back for that as it’s amazing what can be done before you make the first cut into your fabric.
I’ll be working on a small project later this week and while I’m working on that, I have a lot of tips on cutting and sewing to share with you.
For more information and where to buy these fabrics visit Northcott basics collections. There’s a product finder on the top right of each collection page.
Have a great day!
This is part 1 of 5 in this series.
Go to part 2: 2 tips to working with digital fabric files for your quilting ideas
[shareaholic app=”follow_buttons” id=”23735596″]