Sunday, February 28, 2016

Mary Lou's Workshops and What Is Wrong with your Stash - it's fun

See the LIGHT!!! Sew with Light!!
I teach my students the seven styles of fabric and we go through their stashes to find what is missing and how it can make an OK quilt a GREAT quilt!
 One thing that many people do not know about is "Light giver" fabric. This is MY original term and I have used it since 1988. 
A lightgivers is a print with light, medium and dark all built into one fabric.
I came trim a painting background and owned a studio with my Father. 
Most painters know that your number one goal is to create light in your paintings. Light pulls your eye into the surface of any art piece, 
Somehow quilters do not know this lesson.
When I purchase fabrics my number one goal is to find light givers tp go with my other fabrics. The fabric above was designed by Sherill Kahn. She has light in most of the things she designs and I have used loads of it. I chose it to go on a special ,large quilt for a church because it looked like stained glass. Great light in this fabric and as you can see all three values in one fabric.
Fossil fern fabric is great because of the values and light.
Plaids often have a lot of light in them and so they pull your eye into the areas you choose to place them. Finding plaids is not easy but when you do, they can make a huge difference.
Notice  the cat faces and how the ones with three values pull your eye in.
This fabric is one I designed. Notice there are 9 colors. Now notice there are multiple shades of the same colors. This gives it a water colors look and brings value and light into it. Look for many dots on the selvage- 14 or more is really great but make sure they are not every cor under the rainbow. You want multiples of the same fabrics. There are 6 blues in thefabric  above that I designed.
See the light?
Above is a new fabric fr Benartex. I bought this in every color. Look at the built in light! 
Here is another fabric I designed. It made a happy background for quilts. Sadly it is out of stock by a few years. I find it online sometimes on EBay. It came in six beautiful colors. See all
Of the values and shades of turquoise. Compare it to a fabric with only three dots (in turquoise) and uou will see how flat it is.
Students ask
What companies I like for buying lightgivers fabrics. First of all the fabric needs many of the same color family on the selvage and then you look
At it for light second and changing of values. Lay a flat fabric next to it and see the light come forth.
My favorite three companies for light givers are Timeless Treasures, Alexander Henry and Benartex. Keep in
Mind other companies do these and Hoffman and Robert Kaufman can also be quite good. Batiks naturally can be light givers but avoid tones and fabric with white mixed in.
There are many other secrets to
Sewing with a cute stash and tge reverts of light and color.
Wanna learn more?
Join us at my retreat in June- Happy Hen's Retreat  my website below-
Or at Cedar Lakes West Virginia in Apr 
or at Asilomar (full
This year.) check my schedule for other opportunities !
Write to     To be a Part of our fun retreat. We have a couple openings for happy quilters! 


  1. Thank you, Mary Lou, for the excellent lesson in color theory. Although I only had one art class in high school, I do appreciate learning more about making color work in quilts.

  2. Love your fabric samples. Happily I have a few of them in my stash. Can't wait to play with you in June!

  3. What a stellar and welcome tutorial on light and color - and how to make use of those color dots if you're unsure.

    I plan to keep my eye open for a yard or two of that great turquoise fabric with the happy words on it. My DIL needs to see and believe how talented she is.