Welcome to a new series here on the Pink Castle Fabrics blog, “What Do I Do With…” which aims to help quilters and sewists learn about fabrics, substrates, notions, techniques, and more! Today, we start with a simple one: what do you do with blender prints? When a material lists for patterns recommend some of your fabric be blender prints,what does this mean?
Blender prints: the ultimate sidekick, or even hero
In fabric speak, there are several different types of print. Focal prints are usually larger motifs with multiple colors– think animals, multicolored flowers, people. While we all love focal prints (fussy cutters unite!) you also need something a little simpler to make them pop. Blender prints, also sometimes called basics or stash builders, are prints that read to the eye as only one or two colors. It’s not that your brain doesn’t notice the print, but the print isn’t the focal point– the color is what you see first. Riley Blake Designs’ Swiss Dot, Cotton+Steel’s Basics (such as XOXO,) text prints, and FIGO Fabrics’ Lucky Charms are all great examples of blender prints. Without blenders, quilts would be overly busy and cluttered with nowhere for the eye to rest.
How do I use blender prints in my quilts?
Blender prints are super versatile– use them to frame and accentuate your favorite focal prints, or use them entirely in a quilt to really make the block pattern pop. Blender prints are great for pillowcases and curtains, apparel, home decor, and quilt bindings. Brenda’s Beauty Shop Irish Chain Quilt used a single blender print (Sprinkle in Kimberly Blue) and a solid cream to make her panels stand out without distraction.
What’s the best way to stash blender prints?
Blender prints are also called stash builders for a reason– they’re the foundation of your quilts, and having a large enough variety to choose from to pair with focal prints is crucial to a good fabric pull. Fat quarters and half yard cuts are always a safe bet, and having a stash of fat eighths can help you get a really fun scrappy look without actually having to sort loads of scraps. It’s always a good idea to stock up on blenders in your favorite color (personally, I am compelled to buy peach colored blenders whenever I find them!) but don’t forget to round out your stash with colors you may not be initially drawn to. Colors like brown, gray, and dark green don’t always get snatched off the shelf, but when you need them to accent a quilt block it can be frustrating to not have them on hand.
If you’re ready to really stock up on blenders, consider joining the Stash Stack Club, a fabric subscription service which aims to help you have a well rounded stash of blenders. You get 12 prints in each month’s chosen color, meaning by the end of 12 months you should have a really well balanced stash! You can learn more about this monthly subscription here.