Readers will know Linzee Kull McCray's writing from UPPERCASE magazine where she has been a regular contributor for many years. She is also the author of the first book in the Encyclopedia of Inspiration, Volume F: Feed Sacks. Recently, Linzee has experienced what it's like to be on the other side—not as researcher, writer or reporter of the fabric and craft industry, but as curator and designer of a product. Her new collection of blue-hued feed sack reproductions was debuted at the recent Quilt Market and will be in stores next April. Let's find out how her fabric came to be!
"Last winter the folks at Moda called me and asked if I'd be interested in designing a line of feed sack fabric. I've written for Moda for several years, but was surprised (and delighted) by the suggestion. Moda's design director Cheryl Freydberg simply said to choose fabrics I loved—no easy task, given the thousands of feed sack prints! I decided to focus the line on a single colour in homage to the feed sack swatches I studied while doing research for our book at the Briscoe Center of American History at the University of Texas. I'd fan page after page of the glorious swatches, all carefully preserved in colour order, on the desk in front of me. It was heavenly!
All but one of the feed sacks I used as the basis of the line are part of my personal collection—one was from Moda's substantial collection. The print with squarish flowers was my first choice—it reminded me of my 1960s childhood in southern California (hence that print's name—Flower Power). Next I chose the graphic Starburst pattern, then a plaid because it makes great garments and quilt binding, and then fabrics of a smaller scale and several that included accent colors. At the last minute I found the big red rose pattern—I love its drama. I sent the folks at Moda my swatches and full feed sacks and they reduced the scale of a few of the patterns to make them more "quilt-appropriate" and some colours were lightened or darkened to make three colourways.
In the tradition of feed sacks, I've stitched everything from embellished dish towels and pot holders to baby bloomers and adult skirts to quilts with Feed Sacks: True Blue. It will be available in stores in April.
My favourite comment so far has been "It doesn't look like a line of fabric. It just looks like someone collected beautiful feed sacks." I love that, because that's exactly what it is!"