I got together with a blog friend recently. Her name is Alexis and she blogs over at The Quilts of Mimi Park. She is super talented and I got to know who she was when she made a doll quilt for me for the Doll Quilt Swap #6. I got to meet her in person at Jaquie’s trunk show in Seattle. Just last week she came to my home for a day of sewing and I am sure she didn’t realize that when she accepted the invitation that she would become my fabric therapist. She was working on this great little scrappy quilt that she designed and I noticed it was great mix of fabrics. Some designer, some not and it was so rich and striking in color. When I took a closer look I noticed that a few of the fabrics were the type you have in your stash for a while but it added so much to the quilts color variety and richness. It was such an eye opener for me. It got us talking and I lamented about my stash and how I am not loving most of it. I keep it in my son’s closet in huge 18 gallon bins separated by color (two colors in each bin). I have been quilting for about 13 years and some of the fabric I have is about that old. When I started reading blogs I started noticing fabric wasn’t just fabric anymore. It had the designer’s name attached to it and that seemed to be really important. I got swept up in all that name dropping until I couldn’t look at my stash of no names without disappointment. Alexis breezed through my door with a reminder that I used to love to design quilts and peruse my stash for new and inventive fabric combinations. Also, that my own ideas used to flow and I would sketch them regularly.
She got me so fired up that I set to making my stash work for me right away. With lots of ideas from Alexis I attacked my stash. I knew I had to have it displayed in a way that I could see it all. The only place I could think of is a bookshelf in my bedroom. So I cleared all the books off and boxed some up and relocated others. I cleared out every storage bin of my stash and folded them in three different sizes depending on how much yardage each one was. And after a few days this is what I had.
It was such an eye opener for me to see it all stacked together and where I could see it all. It looked so pretty! What a revelation! I immediately was able to see fabrics that I would like to put together. I even put my quarantined designer fabric with the rest of my stash. I know, what a concept. I learned that I had a lot more blue than I thought. I learned that I have plenty of fabric and that it takes up a lot less room when it is folded neatly. I learned that when you hoard your favorites for too long then they aren’t your favorites anymore and that you should have used them when you loved them.
The next thing I learned is that I have a lot of little scraps and that I really should use them to make those quilts I love, you know scrap quilts, but have never really made one myself. So I put them where they can’t be ignored. These drawers used to hold my WIPs but now they hold my scraps and I am hoping that will make all the difference in them getting used.
I had high hopes that my son could actually have his closet back but that is not a reality at this time. I had to relocated my WIPs and UFOs there. I did eliminate two of the 18 gallon bins though which left a space in his closet that he has claimed as a great place to read with the doors closed and his book light handy. And the shelf that used to hold piles of fabric and projects now holds my quilt magazine collection. It looks a lot neater in there and we were reminded that those bins help my son to reach his clothes. So really they are there to help him. That’s what I tell myself.
It couldn’t have been more perfect timing when I read Em’s post about having a summer scrap challenge. It is the push I need to get organized for a leaders and enders scrap quilt. I love the idea of making a scrappy quilt while working on other projects. What a bonus! So I joined up. Thanks, Em! And a huge thank you to Alexis for a great therapy session. Let’s do it again soon!!