Saturday, December 13, 2014

Greige Goods

Today's greige goods used in the quilting cotton marketplace are generally '60 square'. This means in a square inch...there are 60 horizontal threads and 60 vertical threads. A 200 count cotton sheet has 200 threads per square inch.

Before the First Industrial Revolution began in Great Britain, most of the ground cloth for printing (of goods for export to the colonies) was from India. In the mid 18th century, the Lancashire region was sending additional bolts of greige goods to London for printing each week. Even then English merchants trying to fill orders for their North American customers still complained of a shortage of printed goods.

My c. 1830 Dargate Book samples are printed on an assortment of ground cloths. Some are very tightly woven...others like the sample below are almost a sheer....with a stripe produced with a slightly different size of thread in the warp...and even an occasional pink dyed  threads for the weft.

I did reproduce this in a previous Dargate collection. The basic ground cloth was printed to look like the textured plaid of the document piece.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thankful for Apples

We are in apple country here in Southern Minnesota! I visited a local orchard (Fireside Orchards) this fall and had a tasting tour of their cold room. MT I was really excited when I found Honey Crisp apples. The usual offerings in the chain grocery store were Red and Yellow Delicious and Granny Smiths.

I tasted everything in the cold room! Now I pack a local Honey Crisp with my lunch for work and this morning I made an apple pie with local Haralsons. Yum!

We are also thankful for now being closer to family, our friends (those in MT and new ones here in Northfield) and our customers!

We are offering free domestic shipping (shipping costs rebated) at ReproductionFabrics through Cyber Monday.

Happy Thanksgiving

Ron and Margo

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Movies

Part of my customer base at is costumers...TV, movies, television, opera and theater companies plus Living History Museums and re enactors from around the world.

My introduction to movie costume shops...came during the filming of
A River Runs Through It on the Boulder River in Montana. I had a brick and mortar quilt shop in near by Bozeman, MT at the time.  When the production crew sets up to film...they often bring along the 'sewing shop'....costume and set designers as well as seamstresses.  Depending on the work load...they may hire local sewers.

One day...a costume designer mentioned needing a 40's style cotton print for an apron for Mrs. Mclean. One of the local sewers mentioned my store and assured them there would be a good selection. The sale was modest (1 apron!) but it opened the door to the possibilities of the movie industry.

I have sold fabric to numerous movies since then...including Return to Lonesome Dove, Cold Mountain, Appaloosa and Cowboys and Aliens and am currently working with the costume designers for a new Quentin Tarantino movie...The Hateful 8.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Dargate--down memory lane

Last week I had 2 delightful house guests from Australia....Michelle Yeo and Virginia Pascall. We spent hours looking at Michelle's quilts and my fabric sample books! I now have a total of 9. Six from the 19th century and 3 from the 20th.

Dargate Book c. 1830

We all sorted through a drawer of Dargate scraps. Both Michelle and Virginia...were better than I at identifying the Dargate ranges for each print.

Dargate Doubles (1st line) with center from Illuminations

I have a little 'flutter' of pieced hexes using just Dargate prints for a 'someday' quilt.

Dargate Doubles (center) + Botanicals

I will have a new Dargate line printed by Andover this coming spring!
Dargate Treasury...Yes! 


Monday, September 22, 2014


A few years ago...I received a flutter of orders from Estonia. I thought I knew where that was...but did look it the Baltic region of Northern Europe.
Flashy Turkey Red

Over the following 4-5 months I continued to receive orders from various groups for the same 2 or 3 prints, similar to the lovely T Red above. Once that line was were the orders. I came to realize that I had probably hit on the correct fabric design for their native costumes. The orders were from a variety of organizations...singers, re enactors, historians.

Turkey Reds are a very colorfast version of Madder dyeing. The early designs were white motifs (either resist or later discharge) with an over print of black as a high light. In the 1820s a printer in Mulhouse developed a technique to add blue to the design. This plus the mineral dyes for yellow/orange gave him a new palette....Polychrome Turkey Reds! These fabrics, colorfast and lively, were popular throughout Europe and America.

I am planning to begin posting some of my previous essays on historic fabric dyes and printing techniques. My goal is to publish, here at Cottonopia, my Textile History Crossword Puzzles! Prizes for a correctly completed puzzle will be Fabric!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Fringe Benefits

I had the good fortune to attend a meeting of the Land 'o Lakes Quilt Study Group in Minneapolis yesterday. (Traffic on the Expressway was reasonable and I did not get lost!) The presentation was by Greg Winter (photographer for Minnesota Quilts). He happened onto the Pilgrim/Roy quilt exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston this summer. His pictures and commentary were just wonderful.

My friend, Peg, who lives in Boston visited 7 times while the exhibit was open. I was prepared to see some great quilts...and was not disappointed.

Afterwards members showed their favorite quilt..and explained why it had that status.

Machine quilted on the diagonal

Chintz Applique by Gail Bakkon

Delightful Cathedral Windows Variation

I have never seen anything like this..for sure not in MT! More ears than I can count.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Open for business

With the help of some new friends here in Northfield, I was able to be Open for Business for walk ins on Wednesday Aug 6.  Customers were excited about the space and the fabrics!

Coming in the door

Lots of 1930s
Big Civil War Era Selection
A college student at Carleton College here in Northfield is scanning for me! New Dutch Heritage Chintzes

It has been a long long road since we left Bozeman on June 17th. We are now geographically closer to our daughter and her family. She will be 40 on Tuesday August 12!