Monday, October 8, 2018

Introducing By Hand from Amy Friend

We're thrilled to be sharing Amy Friend's new collection for Contempo, By Hand, with you this week! These cool prints have a hand-painted look with modern flair, and come in Amy's version of a rainbow spectrum. Keep reading to learn more about the inspiration behind Amy's fabrics. 

Where did the idea for your By Hand collection come from?
I’ve noticed that there’s a growing interest among modern quilters in processes that involve hand sewing and hand work in general—things like block printing, hand quilting, needle turn, English paper piecing. Those things all show the hand of the artist—the irregularities that come in doing something by hand. I really love that. That’s always been something that draws me to art.

Tell us about using watercolors to create your prints.
With watercolor, you can change the depth of color depending on how much paint and water is on your brush. I chose brushes of various widths depending on the motifs I was trying to create.

How did you come up with your color palette?
I wanted to create my own version of a spectrum. Rainbow spectrums are so popular. This is my kind of spectrum—my favorite shades of each color. I thought it would be fun to have a spectrum that’s not quite the “normal” Crayola colors. I tried to make a light and a dark version of each color.

Can you tell us about some of the motifs you used?
Almonds: I wanted something more circular but not dots, so I tried a pointed oval. It’s similar to a polka dot, but different.

Mosaic: My initial idea was a basketweave texture. As I kept painting, it got further from my original inspiration and more like little squares. I like how some ended up darker and some lighter, and also how the direction of the brushstrokes changes.

Stripe Fade: Every since my Crazy Eights quilt in my first book, Intentional Piecing, I’ve been trying to play with stripes more. They’re so powerful. This stripe fade is fairly short lines of stripes with little spaces for added interest. I let the paint run off the brush at the ends so they’re different levels of darkness.

Pluses: You see so many plus designs in modern quilting, and it came to mind right away as a simple modern motif. I like the added dimension from watercolor—darker and lighter plus signs.

Beads: These are based on the kids’ beads that pop together. I changed the direction of them compared to an actual string of beads. There’s a nice background shape in this design as well.

Toothpicks: I wanted something pretty simple that would read as more of a solid. I chose a darker background with a slightly darker line on top of it. It’s a texture that reads as a solid, and helps all the prints work together.

Scales: I used a 1/4" flat brush for these so the arches would stay the same size. 

Do you have any favorites?
It depends on what I’m working on. I was surprised by how much I liked the Mosaic Sun print. It’s so cheerful and has so much dimension. I’ve also had a lot of fun with the stripes. But I keep going to the Almonds in Dark Orchid. It matches my favorite lilac perfectly, and I love the depth of it. 

How would you describe the By Hand collection? 
By Hand is made up of simple minimalist motifs in a modern style that are made with watercolor, showing the hand of the artist.

We'll be featuring Amy's By Hand collection all week long on social media! Be sure to stop back each day to see these fantastic fabrics featured in various projects, as well as have a chance to win a By Hand bundle for your next quilt. 

By Hand Hop Schedule
Introducing By Hand



Rachel - Rachel Rossi: IG - @designsbyrr
Fat Quarterly Sneak Peek

Amy Friend's Virtual Trunk Show

Click here to see the entire By Hand collection.
Click here to visit Amy's website. 

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  1. I have been anxiously awaiting the release of this fabric. How can I find shops that are carrying it? I tried google search, but came up with nothing. Is there a list of shops that are stocking it somewhere? Thanks for any help you can provide.

    1. Charlotte, if you look here, you can find some of the listings that Benartex has recorded. I know that Crosscut Sewing (last listing) has a web site where you can order online.

  2. Terrific idea on
    this fabric line.
    Love the stripes.
    Carla from Utah

  3. Lovely fabrics - great designs! Looking forward to fondling it in a quilt shop soon!!

  4. Beautiful fabrics. I'll check out the Benartex website as noted above. Hopefully there's an LQS close by. Have to have it!

  5. Oh my, I really love these colors and prints!!

  6. Beautiful fabric line.

  7. I love these fabrics! My favorite is the Beads :) It's hard picking a fav though, the ideas of what to make with these fabrics is endless!

  8. My favorite is Almonds! Beautiful colors.

  9. Beautiful,bright, blending,brush, basket weave, beads, background and Benartex. Look how many B words you use. Bounderful.

  10. I love those almonds. Beautiful colors in all of the prints.

  11. LOOOOVE this Collection!! Colors are Beautiful & soooo many possibilities!!

  12. I was introduced to this collection during a Benartex presentation by Jeremy Jeffries. I hope my local store decides to carry this line if not I will be shopping on line. It reminds me of updated feedsacks, full of texture and color.