PaperGirl Mailbag: Sexy Lady Fabric!

posted in: Art, Quilting, Small Wonders, Work 18
Scan of Cranston Mills Print (not sure of year.)
Scan of Cranston Mills print; fabric circa 1950s.


Not quite a month ago, I announced that I got a post office box for PaperGirl. I’ve visited the box just once so far, a little before I left for Berlin. I got two letters! That felt so, so, so good. To dear Phyllis and the giver of the lace sample from Marshall Field’s (!!) you will be honored here soon as my first correspondents.

Now that I feel officially back from my trip — there’s more to say about Berlin but I just can’t right now — I’m excited to do errands. That’s how I know that everything is gonna be okay: when I get excited about errands again. (Note: It usually only takes me a few days and I get this fabulous, dust-yourself-off trait from Mom.) Probably my most looked-forward-to errand is to go check the PaperGirl mailbox tomorrow. I can’t wait. My innocent excitement, the big-eyed joy I get whenever I get a letter — in any letterbox to which I have a key — is immense, so go on! Send that postcard or box of gold bricks to Mary Fons/PaperGirl, P.O. Box 3957, Chicago, IL 60654-8777 today. Your mail will be cherished and kept. That’s a promise.

What’s neat about the letter I’m going to share with you now, though, is that it came to me before I had the box. I got this message via my mom (and maybe to Mom via the Fons & Porter office?) a few months ago. I put it into a stand-in briefcase I wasn’t used to using and misplaced it until a few weeks ago. Susan, I apologize: This piece of mail you sent is extraordinary and you haven’t heard from me, yet. Let’s do this.

Thank you so much for the fabric and the fabulous letter, Susan. You’re an excellent letter-writer, by the way, and of course I love your taste in fabric.

PaperGirl readers are incredible. Maybe there should be an annual PG convention. Or at least a retreat. We could all meet, swap fabric, stories, and read books and sew. I would seriously be into that. Anyone else? Okay, here’s Susan’s communique:

October 1st

Dear Mary:

I heard you and your mother on your short-lived podcasts (wish there were more) and on one you were waxing poetic about how much you looooove Springs Fabrics so I KNEW you would appreciate the enclosed ‘family heirloom.’

In the 1950’s my great aunt Vivian went shopping for fabric to make kitchen curtains and this is what she came home with. Now, in that era, many women in their 50’s and 60’s were proper and matronly. Aunty Vivian chose the fabric because she liked the colors, thought they would be perfect! Then, after she got home… She saw the design and was aghast; how could she ever let her friends see these ladies in her kitchen!

I was a teenager (good grief, where has the time gone?) and thought the Springmaids, from the ads for Springmaid sheets, were as clever as could be. Had no idea what I would do with the fabric, but I wanted it! 

Eventually, I covered a lampshade and stretched one repeat on a frame to hang next to the lamp. Yet I still had the enclosed piece and never could figure out what to do with it. Didn’t want to cut it up for a blouse, didn’t need a curtain, already had a lampshade… and so it sat in a drawer.

And, now it’s yours to pet and find a clever use for. I hope you enjoy it.

Susan Calhoun-Sousie
Fredericksburg, VA


Love, Overboard.

posted in: Art, Family, Luv, Small Wonders, Travel 2
Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, goofing off. Photo: Goldie Hawn's Instagram Feed.
Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, goofing off. Photo: Goldie Hawn’s Instagram feed.

If you counted all the times I’ve seen the movie Overboard, and then added the number of times each of my sisters have seen it, and then added the number of times we’ve all seen it together, you would no longer be surprised as to how it is we can run the lines from Garry Marshall’s 1987 masterpiece from start to finish. You would understand how it is we can (and do) so frequently reference Overboard when we’re together, calling up scripted gems such as: “I just! Ate a bug!” or “Now Billy, when did we date?” or the perfect-for-every-occasion: “Roy?

The day we learned that Goldie Hawn and co-star Kurt Russell (mercy!) weren’t just “together” in Overboard but “together” in “real life,” we were floored. Really? They’re a couple in real life? It was like Joanna and Dean from the movie were actual people who actually met when Joanna hired Dean to work on her yacht and was mean to him and then she fell off the boat, hit her head and got amnesia, then worked off the money she never paid Dean because Dean pretended she was his wife except things didn’t go according to plan because he was slowly falling in love with Joanna who he pretended was “Annie” but then Annie/Joanna regained her memory and saw she had been tricked and he almost lost everything but then Joanna/Annie realized she loved Dean, too, and she was happier with Dean and the kids than being the old Joanna who was snotty and shallow. And they rode off on a boat together! Into reality!! What?!

In my experience, spending time on celebrity Instagram or Twitter feeds is extremely productive if what you’re looking to produce is post-postmodern anxiety and/or lassitude. But I make an exception for Goldie Hawn’s Instagram account. I love to check up on it. She never posts, for one thing, so right there it’s already a winner: I don’t want Goldie Hawn to be a social media addict. It’s not right for her. Nope, there are just fifty or so pictures of her attractive family, some archival shots from her long career in Hollywood, and a number of pictures of her and her husband, Kurt Russell, clearly in love after all these years. (See photo.)

She’s seventy. He’s in his late sixties. They’ve been together for three decades. I cannot impress upon you how much joy and hope this brings to me. We loved Joanna and Dean in my family. We still do. Joanna (really “Annie”) and Dean are together after all this time, having weathered the storms of fame, of scandal, of tabloid trash, plus the regular ups and downs of parents and two people in a marriage, period, and this calms me. Pictures are only pictures, I know. But Goldie and Kurt are plainly crazy about each other. Am I wrong?

Good job, you guys. Please, please let it be true that you run lines from Overboard sometimes, just for fun. Please. The only thing that makes me happier than your enduring love is the thought that at the breakfast nook every once in awhile you just:

Goldie: “What was I doing out in the ocean?”
Kurt: “That’s something you like to do, go fishing for oysters at night.”
Goldie: “Oysters in a cold ocean at night? That doesn’t sound like me.”


Make It Work, Designer.

Dress forms in spaaaaaace... Image: Wikipedia
Dress forms in spaaaaaace… Image: Wikipedia

I have entered into a relationship with a seamstress.

Right now, even as I write, Barb The Good could be in her workshop pinning pattern pieces and slicing through my fabric with heavy steel shears. I see scraps and paper and bits of feather and fur all over her floor. I see a bird in an ornate birdcage for some reason.

Barb and I met in Washington state about a month ago and got to talking. She makes clothes, I design fabric. One of the patterns in the McCall’s-produced Mary Fons pattern line of garments and bags* is a dress that I am ashamed to say I do not yet possess and Barb said she’d make it for me.

NOTE: Don’t take me not having my own dress yet as a vote of no confidence in the pattern, which I assure you is fabulous.  The task just kept getting pushed down for reasons that are dull and involve words like “email” and “invoicing” and “figuring out AirBNB.” 

I’ve always wanted to have a seamstress of my very own. I want a Bentley, too, but I want a personal seamstress more. Do you realize a person can just go to a place that sells patterns and buy a Vogue pattern for a few bucks and go home and make a dress that was in Vogue? Not all designers sell their designs to pattern companies (Calvin Klein, yes, Alexander McQueen, no) but I’ve seen many Vogue patterns and many of them are great, especially if you pull from the 1980s and early 1990s patterns because everything is cool when it happened thirty years ago, including Hammer pants. I’m 100% serious as long as you don’t go completely insane with the fabric choice.

It’s funny to think about having a “serious relationship” with a seamstress, but maybe it’s not so far from the truth. When a person measures your body cross, back, front, around, etc., you skip some of the early chit-chat needed to get a relationship going. I mean, Barb has my wrist circumference: we can move onto talking about sibling rivalries immediately. She’s got my bust size — my actual bust size — so it’s like, tell me about your worst breakup ever, Barb. We’re close, is what I’m saying.

Barb has the fabric, she has the pattern, she has the measurements. I guess I’ll have my dress within a few weeks and yes, Barb’s done work for people who could not be in the same room with her for fittings. I’ve seen her portfolio and I feel good about this.

When I realized that the second half of the word “seamstress” is “stress,” I told Barb there was no stress allowed in this project. She promised she wouldn’t stress out and I promise to post a picture when I get my dress and am sure I have the proper shoes to go with it. Tim Gunn, who I met a couple years ago, would be proud.

*Available at your LQS and online retailers like Missouri Star Quilt Co. 

Small Wonders Wednesday: Random Blog Winner Takes All

The accessory pattern: tote, wristlet, and plucky headscarf.
The accessory pattern: tote, wristlet, and plucky headscarf.

In 1870, a Scottish immigrant named James McCall — odd, because “McCall” doesn’t sound Scottish  — put out an “illustrated guide” to a pair of gloves he was manufacturing. The McCall’s pattern was born.

Fast forward nearly 150 years, and I’m posting a picture of a McCall’s pattern on a phantasmagorical thing called the Internet. What would James McCall think? He’d probably go look at the books and see how his company was doing and whether or not it was being publicly traded. (I think it is, but it’s confusing.)

When the Small Wonders line was shown to the nice people at McCall’s by the fine folks at Springs Creative, they liked it a lot. In fact, they were immediately inspired. They felt the line could be put to use in their business. When making garments and the sewn accessory, larger-scale prints may be harder to work with for folks who don’t do these things on a professional level. Matching seams becomes a bit trickier; a large flower gets chopped in half and suddenly looks like something from Little Shop of Horrors and you just hope no one looks at you from the back. A toile can give fits. A damask languishes in the stash. Projects stall.

The small print is a lovely choice for an apron, say, or a painfully adorable romper outfit for a baby, because these problems cannot occur. Besides, tulips are cute. So McCall’s and Springs joined together and I worked with McCall’s to create an 8-piece pattern line for sewists. These are bag, accessory, and clothing patterns and I’m so pleased with them because I know you will be, also. And I’ve never claimed I was a garment-sewing person; I’m not, though I’ve made bags in my day. No, I’m just the fabric designer and pored over patterns until I found the ones that fit the best. It’s interesting to note that these are the first patterns McCall’s has produced for independent retailers in…ever.

Today, I’m giving away a 3-pack of these patterns — which, again, are available only at local quilt shops and independent online retailers like Fabric Depot, Missouri Star, etc. The 3-pack goes to Ms. Lou, who made an adorable bag of her own from the China group of Small Wonders. I think you’ll like the bag patterns you’ll be receiving in the mail soon, friend. You’re getting the pattern above, plus the painfully adorable romper outfit, plus the girl dress with matching doll dress one.*

Congratulations, Ms. Lou. Send me your mailing address (smallwonderswednesday @ gmail)  — and you keep totin’.

*I was never the girl with a dress that matched my doll. So I’m passing my pain onto the world to fix. Everything always works out. 

Small Wonders Wednesday: Totes Awesome Quilt Blocks

posted in: Small Wonders 1
Hotcakes. Photo: Me, in a hotcake second.
Hotcakes. Photo: A mysterious hotcake hanging around the booth.

Sorry about yesterday. I was found not guilty of being a witch, but I can’t say the same about my friend Goody. She’s… Well, she really is a witch, so I guess justice was done.

Back to the fun. See those totebags up there? They exist only in my memory and in the hands of the few who grabbed one at Fall Quilt Market a few months ago. What you see above is a limited edition item, like a 45” of an early Beatles record only released in Kuala Lumpur. I’m telling you, I had to scrounge to find one to offer as this week’s prize.

The Heart Plus. Cute World Piece icons. Feminine, but masculine with the canvas and all. Sexy stuff, even though my name is on it. You could cross that out and write your name. It’s your bag, baby. For a price.

If you’re familiar with my quilts, you know I love quilt blocks. Scroll down 4-5 pictures on my Facebook page and you’ll see a quilt top I recently finished that proves it. (I’m planning to do 9,000 more kaleidoscope quilts in the future because good heavens, so gorgeous. The next one will be with — wait for it — the Small Wonders line, India specifically.)

You don’t have to make a kaleidoscope quilt to win the tote, don’t worry. You don’t even have to make a kaleidoscope block, which would be four quadrants or more, by the way. But make a quilt block using Small Wonders — France, China, South America, USA, Netherlands, or India — and email me a picture. I’ll pick a winner, and you’ll be the envy of your guild when you walk in all fancy with your tote. “Oh, this totebag?” you’ll say, nonchalant. “I almost forgot which one I grabbed. Where are the cookie bars?”

**Important! I never use a single group when I make quilts. I mix. That’s why I have all this pre-washed fabric! So you don’t have to use only Small Wonders. But at least one of the fabrics needs to be SM, okay? It’s gotta highlight the fabric or you might be shooting yourself in the pincushion. Ouch!

Email me a picture of your block at smallwonderswednesday @ Winner picked in two weeks, and I’ll post your block on my Facebook page and your totebag will be delivered via Pajamagram. The cool thing about this contest is that you might really, really love that block and you’re already one block down.

*Actual prize may or may not be delivered via Pajamagram.

Small Wonders Wednesday…Happens Tomorrow!

posted in: Small Wonders 1
Until we meet again, this picture of a fan at Fall Market. She was stealing that totebag. Because they were a limited edition. HINT, HINT. Photo: Me + Samsung
Until we meet again, this picture of a fan at Fall Market. She was stealing that totebag. Because they were a limited edition. HINT, HINT. Photo: Me + Samsung

I’m being eaten by tigers in Siberia!

No, I’m being tried as a witch in Roanoke!

No, I’m Harry Houdini’s assistant and have actually been sawn in half!

Small Wonders Wednesday is happening tomorrow instead of today because clearly, I am not well. Thanks for your patience. Tomorrow’s promotional post will be worth the wait.



Small Wonders Wednesday: Free Sewing Machine, Yours For the Winning.

posted in: Small Wonders 0
The designer in me wears glasses. Photo: Springs Creative
The designer in me wears glasses. Photo: Springs Creative

Today is Small Wonders Wednesday, and that means there are parties happening all over the world, many which begin at dawn and last for three days. The Small Wonders festivals draw 100,000+ people at a time and there are vendors, concerts, and dozens of food trucks. None of this is true, but we’re working on it.

Nope, Small Wonders Wednesday means giveaways, contests, prizes, things like that, all related to a beautiful line of fabric featuring archival prints from the Civil War-era to the Depression-era, from the 1870s to the 1970s and back. The line is Small Wonders: all small-scale prints that are as irresistible as that bag of Dove chocolates in your desk drawer. The first group is “World Piece” and features tiny icons and prints representing those continents/countries on cotton fabric. You can get the fabric at your LQS or online at many fine online fabric retailers.

All the fabric in the world won’t do you much good if you don’t have a beautiful sewing machine, though. Well, you could win one. We’re in the first month of the Small Wonders BabyLock Quilt Contest. A BabyLock Lyric is yours if yours is the winning quilt — and you get a bunch more really, really great prizes for that 1st place spot. But if you’re runner up, you’re still showered with prizes. The 3rd place winners get goodie bags, too, so there are opportunities for winning all over the place. Entries opened January 1st and will close March 31st. Entries are coming in, but you’ve got plenty of time to whip something up. Win or not, you will have a great time playing with the fabric and you’ll have a quilt at the end of your efforts.

All the details about the contest are here. Thank you, BabyLock and Springs Creative, and thank you for making me judge the quilts, which is excruciating. Good luck!

Small Wonders Wednesday: Giveaway No. 1

posted in: Small Wonders 0
That's not Small Wonders fabric! What can it mean?
That’s not Small Wonders fabric! What can it mean?

As many of you know, my fabric line, Small Wonders, launched in October. Small Wonders focuses on small-scale prints, which every quilter needs in her stash for a number of reasons. You can see the story on Small Wonders in this pretty video.

On this inaugural Small Wonders Wednesday (this will be a “thing” for the next seven weeks), I present to you the first of many giveaways! But I’m not giving away Small Wonders fabric. What?!

I have twelve (12) bundles of fabric like the ones above and one (1) kit from my days as a magazine editor. I got free stuff from time to time; not for the show itself, but goodies for various promotional reasons, plus freebies I picked up at Quilt Market, too. Very cool, but I’m out of room now that I have so much of my own line.


For the first thirteen (13) people who contact me with a scan, phone picture, or attachment of a receipt showing they spent at least $20.00 on Small Wonders fabric get one of these fat bundles of fabric! It’s all brand new, it’s all complete, and these babies are from the fabric companies you know and love. Basically, you’re getting more than double your money for Small Wonders plus the free fabric, all of which you will adore. You can scan a receipt from your local quilt shop (!!) or show something from an online shop like Missouri Star or

Send your name and receipt to as quick like a bunny and you’ll get one of the prizes! This giveaway will last for 24 hours, so you’ve got till 3pm CST to go shopping.

I’ll snap a screenshot of the email box so I have proof of the winners. I play no favorites. Good luck, friends!


How to Make a Fabric n’ Paint Chip Ornament!

posted in: Small Wonders, Tips 0
I know I'm a little biased, but the Small Wonders icons could not be better for this project. Photo: Me
I know I’m a little biased, but the Small Wonders icons could not be better for this project. Photo: Me

I made stuff! And I’d like to share the idea with you.

Christmas prep is underway; my family will descend upon the (marvelous) city and we’ve got a great cruise director in my younger sister Rebecca. She’s made the dinner reservations, the time we’ll go see Star Wars and various other activities. What’s fantastic about holiday time in my family is that it is chill. It wasn’t always that way; we used to feel pressure to do every activity together, to press all these activities (ice skating, lunch, museum) into a short time and it was stressful. A few years ago we were like, “Hey, if you want to skip the museum and just hang out and eat cookies, great!” There is no guilt about declining an outing. Do your thing. And the result is that more often than not, we actually do All The Things because we don’t want to miss out on being together.

Anywhoodle, I am trimming the tree I got the other day. The nice boy at the Ace Hardware around the corner was brawny and offered to carry it on his shoulder all the way to my elevator! He braved the cold and surely got sap on his shoulder, but I was a damsel in distress. Thanks, guy.

While I was in the Ace Hardware, I had an idea. That huge wall of paint sample cards drew me in a tractor beam. I pulled a whole bunch of Christmas-colored chips (is that word acceptable here?) and I could put pieces of fabric on them and hang them all over the tree. Of course — and I mean this, though I have a particular affinity for this fabric — the Small Wonders icons are perfect for this. You gonna cut a 4” flower and try to stick it on a paint chip? Naw, naw. So here are directions for a darling ornament that is half-free, half-from your stash. Because you have gotten the Small Wonders fabrics. I know a lot of you have because a major fabric store was out of it when the ladies in Florida went to buy it. Thanks, Santa!

How To Make a Paint Chip + Fabric Ornament

Get paint chips from the hardware store
Cut a small piece of background fabric
Cut a smaller piece of fabric with a central image
Glue the background down
Glue the “foreground” small-icon image fabric on that
Stick an ornament hook through the paint chip
Hang on a pine tree (not just any pine tree — go for the one currently in your living room)

Have fun!

Life Made a Pre-Washer Out of Me, Part I.

posted in: Chicago, Quilting, Small Wonders 1
If Small Wonders fabric was pretty and sweet before; washed and dried, it's angelic.
If Small Wonders fabric was pretty and sweet before; washed and dried, it’s angelic.

For PaperGirl readers who are not quilters, you are about to learn that quilters are a divided people. We are locked in a brother-against-brother conflict so deep, so indelible, generations of quilters from now will bear the weight of our differences. And it all comes down to how a quilter answers this question:

“Do you pre-wash your fabric?”

When a quilter gets home from the quilt shop or opens the UPS box, she has a choice to make: will she pop that cotton into the laundry first or will she just take it all to her fabric stash and just pull it out when she’s ready to use it? There are strong cases to be made on either side. What’s most important to know now is this: if you pre-wash some of your fabric, you must pre-wash all of it.

That’s the hard and fast rule. You can’t be a little bit pregnant and you can’t be an on again-off again pre-washer. This is because pre-washing pre-shrinks. If you make a quilt with some pre-shrunk fabric and some that isn’t, you are in danger of ruining your quilt. Stretching, pulling, snapped threads, rippling: fabric stitched together that shrinks at different rates wreaks havoc. If you care about what you made — which of course you do — don’t cross the streams.

Here’s the pre-wash argument: pre-washing gets rid of fixative chemicals from the factory; it obliterates any fear of dye bleed when the finished quilt is washed; you’ll use fewer pins because pre-washed fabric sticks together way better; if you use fabric softener it smells amazing; best of all, it feels incredibly soft and nice and it’s fluffy.

The non-pre-wash argument: you have to be insane to do more laundry what is wrong with you; any fixative used on the fabric is negligible; no one wants to wait to use new fabric; you’ll endure Thread Hell from unraveling edges; fabric from the dryer is super wrinkled and you have to press everything. No way.

It is a rare, rare occurrence indeed when a quilter leaves her team for the other. It’s like a Confederate soldier joining the Union Army. A Packers fan with a Bears jersey in his trunk. My friend Susan switching to Pepsi from Coke. (Never!) Aside from the convictions held by quilters on their respective side of the aisle, it’s a really, really big deal to stop or start pre-washing. Either you start in and pre-wash all of your stash one day, or you have to give away/donate all of your pre-washed fabric and resolve to not wash any fabric you bring into your home from here on out.

But I switched.

Right now, at this very moment, six washing machines in my building’s laundry room are sloshing and swishing yard after yard of fabric. Right now, four dryers in that room are tumbling, fluffing the material that I use to make quilts.

I’m doing it. I’m pre-washing my entire stash. I’m switching teams. I’ll tell you why tomorrow.

Small Wonders Fabric is Shipping!

Me and the Springs Creative team at Market last month. We're hot!
Me and the Springs Creative team at Market last month. We’re hot! (Brian is third from left.)

Many of the exceptionally good-looking women here at the Denver event asked when they could get their hands on Small Wonders fabric. They had wild eyes! I knew it would be soon, but I thought I’d better email Brian at Springs because he knows everything. Here’s what he said:

“For consumers, tell them to encourage their local shops to buy or you can tell them they can call the distributors like EE Schenck and Checker and they should be able to tell them a local store in their area that plans to carry it. We really just started shipping this week so it will probably be another week or so before it starts showing up in shops.”

Fabric that debuts at Market typically ships six months after shop owners and retailers place their orders. Sometimes it ships faster. But it never, ever ships the next month. Not unless it’s Mary Fons Small Wonders for Springs Creative, that is. Yes, the fine, Korean-hand, World Piece fabric will be in your local and online shops in about a week. A week! I don’t know how Springs does it, so don’t ask. Brian does leave trails of magic unicorn dust when he walks around the Springs offices… Interesting.

The Game Plan, and Adorable Things He Says.

This post is not about Quilt Market, but I gotta post this picture! Brian Wacaster and Terri Thom from Springs Creative with our Best Merchandising Award.
This post is not about Quilt Market, but look: Brian Wacaster and Terri Thom from Springs Creative with our Best Merchandising Award!

There are a number of booth awards handed out at the show each year; this afternoon, the Mary Fons Small Wonders booth won the Best Merchandising Award, which to me is one of the best awards to get, of course. It means your concept was clear, your goods were presented exactly they way they should have been for ultimate easy-viewing and shopping enjoyment, your design was pitch-perfect and, frankly, that you got good taste. Thank you to the Academy — I mean the judges — and thank you to the whole Springs team. We did it!

But enough of all that for a moment. It’s impossible to believe while it’s happening, but there is a world beyond Quilt Market. Indeed, it’s good to remember that. The show is over tomorrow afternoon. Dust will settle. Everyone just calm down. This means me.

In less than a month, I’ll be opening my Chicago door. Claus is going to help me with the move, which is even better than winning the award today — that’s saying a lot. I cannot lift any more boxes by myself. I won’t make it. The last time I moved (the fourth time) I was carrying a too-heavy box and the bottom fell out in the hallway. Everything spilled out. I cursed the best one-word curse you can curse, then I sank to my knees to put things back together.

“I can’t do this alone anymore,” I said out loud. “I need help. I need a partner.” After I said that, well, it was Miss Mary’s Pity Party and I invited all my friends and no one came, boo-hoo, boo-hoo.

I don’t have a partner but I do have Claus*. He’s going to fly to Washington and help me drive a small truck from Point A to B. He grew up on a farm in Germany. He is very tall. He is very efficient (see: Germany). He says adorable things, so if he drops a box on my foot, I can’t be mad at him. Examples of adorable things:

1. When we have an argument: “Are you mad on me?”

2. When figuring out logistics: “If we must be at the airport at 7am, we must stand up at 5am. Oh, god…”
To say stand up is brilliant; wake up doesn’t mean much. Until you stand up, you’re not going anywhere. Isn’t that great??

3. When I whisper something sexy to him when we’re out getting sandwiches: “Mary, please do not say forbidden things.” 

I know. It’s so hot.

Anyway, the move is happening in the middle of the month next month and you may have noticed that it is almost next month. I have a number of jobs before this happens and I’m even hesitant to say so; it appears I can only do things the hard way. But I didn’t plan on moving home next month, so I’ll be going to Williamsburg, Denver, and Charleston before Claus and I get in that truck. It’s a good thing I’m so deliriously happy about going home or I’d have to lie on the couch for a few days just staring at the ceiling, eating packets of instant miso soup mix by licking my finger and sticking it in the pouch.

*It’s complicated.

Announcing Small Wonders Fabric Line from Mary Fons + Springs Creative

posted in: Art, Small Wonders, Work 6
My excitement is the opposite of small!
My excitement is the opposite of small!

For years, I have had a dream for fabric.

I love small-scale prints. Large-scale prints — the splashy pink flowers, the blooming leaves, the giant birds, the wide damasks — are often very beautiful. But when you cut them up into small pieces for patchwork, they can cause trouble. If you take a 2 1/2” square from a print that has a 5” repeat (an awning stripe, say, or a big-boned paisley) the integrity of the print is gone-zo. You get bits of red, other squares are all-white, some have a leaf on them, some do not, etc. You get the picture.

But the small-scale. The darling teensy-weenies. The tossed daisies. Wee doggies. Ditzy prints, shirtings, the perfect polka-dot. These are the fabrics that make my quilts sing, the prints I buy obscene quantities of at fabric stores because frankly, they ain’t so easy to find. Until now, of course.

I’ll tell you more about the process later so this doesn’t get too long. I’ve been working with Springs Creative, a dreamy company in South Carolina, for a couple years on this. That story is one you’ll sink your teeth into. For now, I’d like to share a few of the prints. I could only scan a few of them before leaving for the airport an hour ago.

“Small Wonders” is the umbrella under which many lines will come. The first line is “World Piece.” I designed and curated groups of small-scale prints for the following countries: the Netherlands, South America, France, India, China, and the USA, of course. There’s also a line of 108” backings; if you’re a quilter, that may have made you squeak just now.

The PaperGirl Pledge says that I only ever include one picture per entry. Rules are made to be broken in extreme situations. Today is an extreme situation. And the next few days will be Small Wonders Central on the ol’ PG. If you’re not a quilter, I guarantee you will not be bored. The fabric is only one part of the Small Wonders empire! So much more to tell. Until then, enjoy the fruits of many peoples’ loving labor.

Bunnies. Seriously. A 108'' backing print.
Bunnies. Seriously. A 108” backing print.
The Peruvian horses. Llamas? Who cares! From the South America group.
The Peruvian horses. Llamas? Who cares! From the South America group.
Majong tiles. Wanna play? From the China group.
Majong tiles. Wanna play? From the China group.
I knew you wanted more China right away. Little Rickshaw Dude is here to help.
I knew you wanted more China right away. Little Rickshaw Dude is here to help!
They're in love! In love with their love! From the Netherlands group.
They’re in love! In love with their love! From the Netherlands group.
Ever been to India? Me, neither, but now we can put it in our quilt. From the India line.
Ever been to India? Me, neither, but now we can put it in our quilt. From the India line.
Doesn't this just make you think of a pretty blouse hanging on a line in Provence? From the France group.
Doesn’t this just make you think of a pretty blouse hanging on a line in Provence? From the France group.
The stripe in the USA group. There are stars, too.
The stripe in the USA group. There are stars, too.

That’s it for now, my little sewing mice. Stay tuned and start calling your quilt shops now and say, “Have you ordered in the Mary Fons Small Wonders fabric line? WELL, GET ON IT, MISSY! I got quilts, small projects, garments, and Other Fabric Items to make!”