Moonwishes Sewing and Crafts

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Friday, January 31, 2014

Quilting Fabric Stashes

I have been quilting since I was in 8th grade or since 1967 however you might want to look at it. My first quilt to me was beautiful but as a quilt it was a disaster. The squares weren't the same size, the seams weren't the same size and many times I sewed the seams with a basting stitch. Big oops! When it came to the fabric for this quilt, I went the old fashioned route. I dove into my mother's leftover scraps 'bag'. I didn't know a single thing about making a quilt other than what little I may have gleaned from reading Laura Ingall's Little House on the Prairie book series. So being ignorant I used any and all fabrics that I found, trying to get enough for a decent sized quilt. This meant that some old leftover green, ugly upholstery fabric was paired up with fragile summer fabrics. 100% cottons were mixed with polyester blends. I didn't finish the quilt until 12th grade and was able to take it away with me to college. It may have been a weird quilt, but from what I had to work with, I feel like for a supposedly unartistic person, the color sense and design was there. I loved that quilt and it cheered me tremendously to see it and use it. Eventually sometime after my first son Ron was born it disintegrated. I can only date it back to Ron as I have a picture of him sitting on it, but never had one of Steve near it. I threw it away and have regretted it ever since. However, what I did do was the leftover blocks were saved in my sewing stuff which amazingly used to fit in a green plastic carrying case that enclosed my quilting, embroidery and mending tools. but I suppose I was ahead of most girls at college who didn't even have a sewing needle with them! One day I found those old blocks and picked them apart, cut them to exact squares and sewed them back together again, getting rid of the green upholstery fabric and and the super thin polyester fabric. One of the prints was leftover from the first dress I ever made myself. hose blocks are still waiting for the perfect project for them.

I missed being in the USA for most of the bicentennial year of 1976 as I went to college in Canada and got to go to Colombia during my summer break. So I missed the start of the ongoing quilting craze and the fabrics that came into being during that point in time in the USA. My second quilt was yet again made out of scrounged fabric. Then I found Eleanor Burn's Log Cabin in a Day book. I had to make one and for the first time in my life I went out and bought quilting fabric to make a quilt. Of course there were leftovers and also the quilting bug really bit at that point or was it the accumulation of quilting fabric bug? Anyhow I bought fabric. I made quilts. I bought more fabric. People found out I quilted and was into other sewing expressions as well, so I was given 'gifts' of their fabric and tools that they no longer wanted. Yard sales started having quilting fabric and sewing notions for sale and I bought as I had funds. Then our wonderful thrift store opened and I bought more fabric. I was given more fabric. Now I have enough fabric to make projects for the next several hundred years! Yet I still don't understand the immense amount of books that are geared to getting rid of your stash. Why would I want to do that???

In the last little while, I realized that the lap quilt I used in my sitting spot in the living room had bit the dust and was full of tears and stains and needed to be replaced. So I'm borrowing a lap quilt I made for Hubby while I  am getting inspired  and start to make a new lap quilt. One of the first things I did was to scrounge through all the pre-made blocks I've been making and storing for years. Maybe you know what I mean. You finish a quilt project and you have some pieces leftover that make up a nice block and so you sew it together and then set it aside as you don't have anything to go with it. As I dug deeper into into my box of UFOs I found one piece where I had sewn four blocks together and then put the project away as it didn't look right. The blocks weren't all the same sizes so it wasn't going to work in the way I had planned at first so it was put away. So tonight I sat down to do one of my most unfavorite sewing projects--unsewing. Picked out two of the blocks that I thought would go with the other pieces of the lap quilt I want to make. Unsewing gives you time to think and I started to realize how long ago I had made the blocks (20+ years) and the type of fabric I had used. All were small prints or tiny dots. While they all coordinated, they sure don't look like the kind of fabrics that I use now. I love big flowery prints with coordinating fabrics (not necessarily from the same manufacturer) and have plenty of them stashed away.

Your favorite types of quilt prints/designs is the main reason to build up your stash with the kind of fabrics you like and enjoy using. I have plenty of fabric at this point as I have mentioned. I'm not a modern art quilter. I really don't like the huge geometric prints, nor many of the colors that are current today. So I'm not inclined to feel like I have to buy ANY fabric at this point (it helps to not have the money to be buying more fabric LOL!). I have plenty of my kind of fabric so I don't HAVE to buy more fabric. It isn't like I'm going to ever run out. When I do get a chance to buy quilting fabric at our thrift store, I will generally pick it up no matter what it looks like as they sell for 25-50 cents a yard! You can't pass that up that kind of bargain and I have found that bringing some kind of new fabric into my sewing room helps with inspiring me.

Quilting, embroidery and sewing are such wonderful creative hobbies to have. Even when my arthritis has gotten me down so that I can't do much of anything physical, I can still read books and magazines about the needle arts.

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