QUESTION: Does one need a passport to get to FABRIQUE-ISTAN? Or is it a euphemism for the state of creativity sparked when a quilter becomes one with her stash, igniting epiphanies in cloth worthy of a new project. 

(I asked my husband and daughter what the terms FABRIQUE-ISTAN or EXTREME COLORS meant. Eric said:  “On a recent expedition, I took a left at the bathroom and found myself surrounded by Extreme Colors in Fabrique-Istan.” I think he means my 10’ x 15’ studio in our two bedroom apartment. Ariel wrote: “It’s the mecca where all fabric goes to play.” Nice. Feel free to send me your definitions at Needlestar@aol.com

Three of the five patterns in FABRIQUE-ISTAN are bilaterally symmetrical patterns composed of motifs that are the exact duplicates of one another. Each is rendered in four intoxicating colorways. I hope you get a kick out of what I consider to be Black & White.

Elegant "Paisley (#3140) looks like a find from a Fabrique-istan bazaar. Ikat (#3142) is another symmetrical design laid out with obviously recurring and mirrored elements. Although both provide symmetry and mirroring, they also can function as stripes, automatically sliding the eye from here to there, forming visual pathways that instill an element of motion. Use them to make interesting lattices, frames, borders and bindings. Or cut these versatile forms randomly to great effect. These Prima donnas are powerful design elements.  They are the divas that give a design its distinctive voice.

“Prisma Star” (3141), the third pattern imbued with symmetry, is ripe for some random acts of color. Is there a word for something that is playful and elegant at the same time? Frame the stars with fabric – either whole stars or just portions peaking out. Cut into patches. Quilt a yard into a baby quilt. Use these stars to make a dazzling ornament. The instruction booklet can be downloaded at http://www.benartex.com/uploads/Image/quilt-gallery/59A/patornaments.pdf

Very simply put, “Raffia” (3143) and “Scroll” (3144) are the best nondirectional, allover patterns I’ve ever designed. I apologize if that sounds self-aggrandizing but the very first time I got to use them in a quilt, I was thrilled. The patterns are fun to use, wonderful mediators. If you can, try auditioning every colorway the way I did. I bet you’ll be as pleasantly surprised by what works where as I was. Place these forgiving patterns  textile next to the fussy ones.

To  purchase on line, visit www.equilter.com or  www.cottonclub.com