Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fabric Therapy (and I don’t mean buying more of it)

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.
 

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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. 

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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. 


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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!!

16 comments:

Tina said...

Great to see your pictures after we talked about it. It always feels good to get organized!

Brenda said...

I love all your fabric. Wish I had your stash1 :)

Barb said...

Thank you for your wonderful post! I love what you said about fabric: "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." What a true statement. I've also been thinking about fabric and my stash lately...and lamenting when I used to look at a quilt without looking for designer fabrics and just enjoying the pure beauty of it.

Nanette Merrill and daughters said...

Having my fabric out and available is a must. I've spent too much time going through christmas decoration buckets!!

Alexis said...

Oh my gosh, Trisha, you have been busy! I had so much fun talking fabric and stash with you that I hardly noticed that we didn't get that much sewing done. LOL! Your stash looks fantastic. I am so happy that you are feeling energized about your stash again! Yay! Let's definitely get together again soon!

Stephanie said...

Well it certainly looks like a happy stack of fabric to me. Scrap quilts are a wonderful way to use up what you have. The challenge sounds like fun.

Cindy said...

What an interesting post. It's great to have it out where you can see it. And if you go through it hoping to get rid of some - you find you seem to like it all over again.

Jackie said...

I love your stash! The first thing that struck me is that I'm not much of a fan of yellow but my eyes kept going back to your yellow fabrics. I really like them! You've been very busy making very effective changes! I'm looking forward to seeing the results. congrats!

Sherri said...

This is wonderful fabric therapy eye candy...and you bring up so many great points about using our stash...I've had favorites that I've hoarded until they weren't favorites anymore too! Thanks so much for these great ideas!

scraphappy said...

What a great post. I guess we all need to find a system for storing our stash that inspires us to use it. I certainly feel motivated to sew after looking at all that fabulous fabric.

Sue said...

thanks for showing, you gave me the push I was needing to change my fabric around also.
I linked you to my blog post about this over at www.suejoy.blogspot.com

bloominworkshop said...

Yay for reorganizing! It looks great! I'm jealous that I couldn't meet you both at Fabric Crush awhile back. Maybe we could meet somewhere in the future? And I love your dresser of scraps! I need a bigger room... a dresser of scraps sounds perfect!

Rebekah said...

this is such a great post!

I hate getting caught up in the designer fabric world, too.

I think I read something on Craft Nectar about how quilts will really look dated if you use designs all from one line instead of mixing things up. It looks like you've got a lot of great gems in your collection that will go really well together in quilts.

And that is so true about hoarding your favorites, too!

CJ said...

I love your stash. What a wonderful way to make use of it. (I'm a fan of blue too. :)

MichelleB said...

I love this post! A great idea. I think sometimes we do get too caught up in designer fabrics - and not just designer fabrics, but certain specific ones. But quilts don't have to have those fabrics to be fantastic.

My only question - is that really ALL of your fabrics? If so, I have a bigger problem than I thought. lol

Suzanne said...

Because of your post, I am reconsidering my stash. I am not a big name fabric junkie but reading all the fabric and quilt blogs sometimes makes me feel like I am odd for not getting swept away by them.

I have fabric in bins too. Not seeing it means that I forget what I have. My fabric makes me happy so I need to find a way to store it visibly.

Your scrap drawers are lovely. I'm trying to decide how to stash mine so I can see them too. Thank you for helping me to reflect (out loud). Have a great day!

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