Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas Future

From my new line with Andover Fabrics....Dargate Treasury

This is the red version of the idea print! Two very different complex stripes with 4 full repeats across the goods and plenty of room to cut between the two patterns. In my head I am already designing festive table runners and quilts using this print. Hopefully I will have sample yardage by late winter. The fabrics ship in May 2015.

The example above is a strike off. It always startles me when I receive strikes how the pattern...done on a flatten screen for the strike offs....will match up when made into a rotary. In my mind..I expect it to be just straight across...but that is not the case. Rather the match irregular. You can see white patches on the lower corner of this is where the scalloped curve of the 3 leaf clover will be next to the white flower cluster.
Happy all my readers. Think Dargate Treasury in Red for next year's Christmas fabric!

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!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Fabric Emergency

Today I got a call from a costume designer in NYC. They had a 'fabric emergency' and could I get 6 yards of FS312P out today with a Saturday am delivery in Brooklyn? I got it cut and shipped..and loved the idea of a fabric emergency. I think we have all been there!

My recent relocation of the store from Bozeman, MT to Northfield, MN started out well. We visited Northfield over Easter and found a great space for our business,, and on the last day a house! Our Bozeman house sold very quickly...and we found ourselves on the road in just 6 crazy weeks. My great crew in BZ ran the store until June 27th..packed everything up, loaded a U Haul truck and friends of Ron drove the store to Northfield on June 30. We had a crew of strong young men ready for the truck's arrival on July 1. Suddenly we were surrounded with lots and lots of boxes!

Not much has worked since! I have struggled with setting up support services...UPS, Fed Ex, US Postal Service...and basics like a working business phone ( the tech that installed the internet and phone services mislabeled the 2 phone lines..switching the phone and fax numbers. It took a long time with technical help to get that challenge figured out) and a scanner.

Then Ron became very ill and the local ER shipped him off to University of Minnesota 11 at night. I followed the ambulance in with our 90 # dog in back. Ron is doing much better...he was released after 5 days. I drove in to pick him up...took a wrong exit and got really really lost in rush hour traffic.

We are all back in Northfield and some of the support services are now working. I still have a wonky business phone and no scanner but some PEO sisters of mine here in Northfield heard of my situation. The very next day the Cavalry arrived. The space now looks like a real quilt shop...not much blank wall showing...and I should be ready to open to the public on Wednesday Aug 6th.

So having been through a very difficult month I loved that I could solve someone else's fabric emergency!!


ps Sunday we are invited to our youngest grandson's second birthday party...just 50 miles away. This makes it worth all the troubles.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Wood Block prints

Winter's Work....Broken Dishes using Wood Block prints combined with Essex in Linen (the color). I prewashed both the Wood Blocks which are printed with vegetable dyes and the Essex which is a cotton/linen blend and does shrink a touch resulting in a great texture!

I really enjoy working with the Wood Blocks but have had some customer resistance....'they don't go with my stash'. So...the next project will combine 'regular' prints and Wood Block ones.

The Move

We are going to do this in three stages. Not as young as we were when we moved West! Ron and I are leaving next Sunday with some racks and computers to begin set up in the new store. We close on the NF house June 24, the moving van arrives on the 25th.  Thanks to our wonderful employees the store will continue operating in Bozeman until late June. Friends of Ron's have offered to drive the loaded U Haul truck across South Dakota to Northfield. We hope to have 'the wires twisted back together'...and begin shipping July 8-10.

 Yes I started blogging again because of something else going on in my life. Last winter I signed a contract with Andover Fabrics and made my first presentation to the Art Director this May at Quilt Market in Pittsburgh. I hope to keep you informed about progress...Northfield and new Dargate prints!!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

In the style of

Dutch Chintz.

Quilt Market in Pittsburgh last month was good although Peg and I were buying cautiously...not knowing when the store would be moving.( That date is now set for late June. Our house sold very quickly. Ron and I are leaving mid June.)  I did find some wonderful Dutch Style Chintzes. They could be the first arrivals in our new location, Northfield, MN.

A new experience scanning for the website. Sadly, I am leaving behind in MT three wonderful employees! Two of them, Lois and Lauren, have each been with me for more than 20 years. It is Lauren's job to teach me how to scan before I go!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Minnesota Bound

A little announcement! Ron and I will be relocating Reproduction to Northfield, MN some time this summer. We have leased retail space in the First National Bank Building....right on the downtown square. The move is inspired by the historic town of Northfield plus the proximity of our daughter, son-in-law and three little grandsons in the Minneapolis area.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Bus man's Holiday

I recently spent a week in Minneapolis caring care for my youngest grandson while the rest of the family went on Spring Break. One day I went to lunch with a friend there...and then onto the Flower Show at Macy's. What a delight. Susan told me I would smell the flowers once we got off the elevator...and she was so right! The 'layout' of the flowers/shrubs was wonderful and it was being enjoyed by multiple generations. Very nice.

We then visited Glad Creations. It is always good, as a shop owner, to visit other stores. I got a chance to met Nancy, learn about their line of patterns (see Union Star) and see some of her mother's quilts. So...a Bus man's Holiday. The tricky part was explaining this term to the Spanish speaking exchange teacher staying with my daughter!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Peanut Butter and Honey

I am working on 2 Halloween quilts for my older grandsons. The first one is finished and will hang in the store all summer. Now...can I keep working on the second one?

Gathering the fabrics has been fun. We have FQ bundles of blacks (Licorice) and oranges (Honey) as well as a great background (#MF214F). I am going to use a flannel plaid (each different) for the backing. The pattern is by Painted Pony.

Saturday, March 15, 2014


A little spring house cleaning....and a pile of French textile history books for sale. Contact for a complete list with pricing.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Of Needle, Thread and Thimble

A new book by Michelle Yeo, Of Needle, Thread and Thimble, features our Black Octagon Chintz Center Panel. We have reproduced this, with permission, from a quilt in the collection of the International Quilt Study Center in Lincoln, NE.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

In the Sewing Room

Booklet from my 1954 Singer

Advice from a 1949 Singer Sewing Manuel 

Prepare yourself mentally for sewing. Think about what you are going to do. Never approach sewing with a sigh or lackadaisically. Good results are difficult when indifference predominates.
Never try to sew with a sink full of dirty dishes or beds unmade. When there are urgent housekeeping chores, do these first so your mind is free to enjoy your sewing. When you sew, make yourself as attractive as possible. Put on a clean dress. Keep a little bag full of French chalk near your sewing machine to dust your fingers at intervals. Have your hair in order, powder and lipstick put on. If you are constantly fearful that a visitor will drop in or your husband will come home, and you will not look neatly put together, you will not enjoy your sewing.
Both my mother and mother in law were sewing for their families in the late 1940s. This is the 'advice' they were getting!
Text courtesy of Tater Patch Quilts in Merrill, Oregon. Thank you.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Center Medallion

Center Medallion

Please see one of my Chintz Center Medallions in a quilt by Hilda. It is about 1/2 way down the page...under Medallion Final Border. Her work is very beautiful!   

Sunday, January 12, 2014

3 Day Stars

As some of you know, I injured my right (dominant) hand in a kayak accident in July last year. When blisters appeared about 8 days later, I was attending a family reunion in WV. At the local Urgent Care, I was diagnosed with Poison Ivy. By the time I returned to MT, my hand was swollen like a mallet......on top of the injury I had Shingles! I was unable to drive, work (no rotary cutting) or prepare food until late November!

In early December the Occupational Therapist gave me a ‘squishy ball’ for exercise and told me I had 3 more months to make any improvement in the strength and dexterity of my damaged hand.

While visiting my daughter and family over Christmas I was presented with assorted patches for my grandsons’ Cub Scout shirts. It was a struggle! When I returned home I decided to start a hand piecing project...thinking it might help my hand. It is working...and when I go back in March to the therapist for a check up, I am planning to take along my blocks and offer to help any of their ‘hand’ teaching them how to hand piece!
I am using a pattern from Somerset Designs called Star a Day. It is however taking me about 3 days per Star! The background fabric is a wonderful complex Ramoneur.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Yarn Dyed Plaid

Hi Margo,
Remember that plaid dress that made it into your Issue #113?  I also wore it for an appearance meeting Whoopi Goldberg on "The View":
And here my husband and I are (wearing more of your fabrics) on Inside Edition:
Best wishes,