Thursday, June 3, 2010

Quilting Without Obligation {Part Five}

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Stop hoarding your fabric!  I'm not yelling at you, I'm yelling that at myself... :)  You know that TV show Hoarders?  I wonder when we are going to see a quilter on that show buried under her fabric.  LOL

Fabric is a funny thing.  It is beautiful, not exactly cheap, and most of the time it is pretty plentiful.  Most of us are confessed fabric addicts and the rest of you... well, you will get out of your denial at some point.

I hated going to the fabric store when I was a kid.  DESPISED it.  I read other bloggers talking about their life-long love of fabric starting when they were little girls.  Not me.  The only thing I liked was hiding under the bolt racks; that and the bribe of candy or ice cream if we were decently behaved.

My husband is probably reading this and just about now is wondering what the heck happened to his fabric-hating wife.  This is the same man who likened my fabric buying tendencies to a cigarette habit the other day.  The nerve!

So, I have a fabric habit but I wouldn't exactly call it out of control after seeing some other quilter's stashes.  Yes, you know who you are.  But I have a nice cabinet and some plastic bins full of fabric.  Beautiful fabric... {sigh} that I miss when I'm at work... {bigger sigh}

When I started quilting I had no idea what the difference was between Joann's fabric and Amy Butler fabric.  I know, I was very naive but I also quickly learned and thus began my love affair with fabric.  For some time I would buy stacks of fat quarters from various designer lines.  I would open up the mail envelope, touch the fabric, smell it {weird}, and neatly put it away in my cabinet never to see light until I was ready to make a quilt or at least "play quilt". 

I accumulated quite the collection, using special prints sparingly, and then I did it.  I cut into some of my Heather Ross prints.  And then I cut into my Hope Valley collection.  I even packaged up some of my favorite fabrics and sent them out to my Fresh Modern Bee members to make another quilt.  I'm making quilts out of the fabrics I had been hoarding!  Sometimes I'll get comments about a quilt telling me that I'm brave for cutting into a certain collection and I have to giggle a little because I used to feel the same way.  But really, what good are my beautiful fabrics doing sitting in a dark?

We buy these fabrics presumably to make something beautiful and then we hide them away on shelves??  Perhaps because we haven't found the perfect pattern but sometimes I wonder if it's more to say that we have such-and-such line that becomes hard to find, out of print, or collectible out of obligation to the "in crowd" of quilting.

Forgive me as I'm about to border on fabric blasphemy but... I'm tired of Flea Market Fancy!  Phew!  I said it.  I think I heard the air being sucked out of blogland but I feel better. :)

Fresh and modern are the new buzz words in quilting.  But really, what's fresh and modern about using the same old prints over and over in quilts?  That sounds a lot like obligation to me.  Don't get me wrong, these sought after fabrics are truly beautiful and I've even splurged on a few pieces for myself.  But $40 + for a fat quarter?  Really?? 

Quite honestly, I'd rather spend $10 a yard on some new, truly fresh and modern fabric lines and instead of hoarding them, make a quilt out of them.  I did this with my Hope Valley fabric and I made a quilt for me that I truly love.  The best part is that I use it every night and I see it every time I walk in our family room.  That beats the heck out of it sitting in my dark cabinet or in a plastic bin in the closet!  I did the same with my Heather Ross fabric and I laugh at myself for taking so long to make a quilt that I will get to enjoy every day.

So, do it!  Cut into your fabric that you've been hoarding!  I know you can!

What fabric have you been hoarding?  OR what new line are you dying to buy and actually make a quilt out of??

Edited to add: And just so you know, I have no problem with a nice stash of fabric... just don't get to the point where you won't cut into your fabric because it's so-and-so designer! :)

28 comments:

Hello Rayne said...

I would love to have some of these quilters stashes!!! Although I have been quilting on an off for the last few years. My stash is very very minimal. I am just recently really getting back into quilting and have discovered all these wonderful new fabrics. The one line of fabric I wish I could get my hands on is the Figgy Pudding by Basic Grey. It's my all time favourite Christmas fabric. I really would love to make a Christmas quilt out of this for myself and my children for our Christmas movie marathons that we enjoy! Great post by the way. I look forward to more. Now, I'm off to dream of a Figgy Pudding Quilt.

AllieKatMom said...

Ok, I am super bad at this lately. At first I couldn't stop cutting and making stuff, but now I guess the fabric people consider collectible fabric stays in my closet. I am so scared to cut into it! I have a pretty small stash of fabric and I think that is why. I figure if I had tons of fabric like some of these quilters, or even a sponsor to give me some free fabric, I would cut into my stuff more but I hate it when I don't have fabric in my closet. I love this post!

felicity said...

Now, now, Jennifer..."hoarding" is such a strong word.....:)

I don't hoard (much...?) but I do buy faster than I use it up!!

I saw a very interesting comment to a blog post recently. If I recall correctly, the post was about a swap or a bee or maybe even a quilt along that stipulated that "fresh modern fabrics" were to be used. This commenter said (paraphrased), "let's get out of the current run we're in - all these quilts are looking the SAME because they all use the same popular lines of fabric!" And I must say that resonated with me, as did this post of yours.

Thanks again for sharing!

elle said...

I, too, got tired of saving the best stuff. Now I use what I like and I like what I buy. The *aha, moment* really does make us not only smarter, but happier.

Melanie said...

AMEN!!! My stash is tiny, and my husband thinks it is taking over the house. I do wait for a good pattern to use my quilt-shop quality fabric. I have a small fabric budget so I have to choose carefully!
But, when I get prints I am really excited about, I usually cut into it right away so I HAVE to make something with it! That is why we quilt, right? To actually enjoy fabric!

Lynne said...

Gosh, I have a weird love/hate relationship with all these bright modern fabrics. I see them, love them, want to make something with them but what I actually love to see when I look at quitls is the kind of thing everyone was sending photos of from the Spring fair last week - sort of gentle colours and simple repeating patterns - maybe I'm not so fresh and modern after all. Right now I'm making Union Jacks out of Moda Whimsy and I am so happy I could carry on for the rest of my life (how sad am I?!).

Carla said...

Great thoughts, Jennifer. I've been buying fabric and quilting for a long time. We didn't used to really care who the designer was...we just wanted pretty fabric. Things have changed for sure. I have to admit some dislikes to some fabric lines that others seem to love...perhaps because the are a big follower of the designer. I am even making a quilt out of a line right now that I am not that crazy about....but it's popular!
You have given very mature perspective to fabric frenzy! This week some Little Folks by Anna Maria Horner arrived in my mailbox.....I pinky swear not to HOARDE it even though I love it so!!

Cindy said...

This is such a perfect post at the perfect time. I have been quilting for 15 years and I admit to have a LARGE stash. My husband says it is "aging," you know, like fine wine. I also admit to having a love affair with a couple of pieces in the FMF line--the little seeds or whatever they are called. Other than that, not so much...

I was reading "quilt while you're ahead," a quilter from Great Britain, who has just recently spent a week in Savannah, Georgia. She posted a picture of an antique quilt that was as "modern" as anything in blogland right now. Isn't that funny/interesting? Just reinforces that it's all been done already--and we think we're just now discovering something "new" and therefore "modern." Nah....

And I pledge to start using my gorgeous stash.

Although when Laurie Wisbrun's Tufted Tweets comes out (hopefully) next week, I plan to buy some of every piece!

Nadine Saupe said...

OH, you are so right. I thoroughly enjoyed your blog post. I enjoyed it so much I sent it to my other half and am expecting him to nod in agreement on skype any minute now.

But oh, our fabrics are so beautiful and we don't want to ruin them by making something that is just not quite right.

I see myself browsing through fabric shop after fabric shop for hours, even while at work sometimes. oops. I check the Hawthorne Threads website daily to see whether the Laura Gunn fabrics are back or whether Laurie Wisbrun's Tufted Tweets are available yet. Hopeless, ha?

Let's face it. It's our p*rn. and it makes us happy.

r0ssie said...

Right on!

Is it considered a hoard if you cut into it freely and often? I suspect that in spite of my collection, I'm not a hoarder because I'll happly use anything I've got.

On exception: I bought two yards of very pretty fabric a year ago and resisted using it right away, which I now regret because the fabric just doesn't look as lovely to me.

Anyway, I've got to have a stash because sometimes nothing new takes my fancy. Right now, I'm not pumped about any of the new collections except one of Helen Dardik's prints.

Helle said...

Interesting point of using our fabrics...you have just pointed out some very important I guess all quilters had.
Me inclusive and I will now try to use my fabrics and just don´t let them spare for some othe future project. Many times when I had to make a ex a bag and need a special color og pattern and found it in my stash..I could not use that fabric because of my own promise to only use in the future quilts that I had not even began to sew...so studpid!
(sorry for my english..not perfect spelled!)

beth said...

I loved reading this. It IS hard sometimes to cut into the really pretty fabric!! I'm trying hard to use the fabric I have on hand, and working on not buying too much. Plus...people keep giving me fabric (usually old) and I can't say no!

Wendy said...

Well said. Made me laugh but it's oh so true.

wishes, true and kind said...

Oh, my gosh, you have truly made me laugh out loud. I love your honesty :). I told a friend of mine about the show Hoarders, and she claims there is an episode about a quilter! I looked for it On Demand but couldn't find it. With two kids in college, I'm using what I have on hand as much as possible. It sometimes and in some ways limits my design choices, but in a lot of ways in expands my creativity. I like what I like (and don't like some lines that others are gaga about). And it is not lost on me that so many of the "modern" fabrics are basically updates of older fabrics. You know -- everything old is new again. I LOVE certain designers, but because they resonate with me -- whether through designs or colors or both. I do like the higher quality fabrics but try to buy it when it is on sale. When I started out I bought from Joanns and other discount stores that carry fabrics printed on the lower quality greige goods, and those fabrics have faded and not held up well over time. As for my stash, well, I'm doing a pretty good job using it up right now. It will never last till my kids are out of college.

Marit said...

Interesting reading.... I think building a stash and finding out what you look for in fabric designs and colors takes a long time. First the time to collect them, then the time to use them and see how they "behave" all cut up and sewn together. And I agree with everyone who feels it takes courage to cut into your favorites!
Maybe this courage is also building as storage space becomes more limited? There's always hope...
; )

A said...

I love this post. I have come to the quilting bug late and haven't wanted to chase up the current favourites in the quilting world FMF. However I have fallen in love with 2 Moda lines Hushabye and Wonderand which I can't always find so I am building a stash of both. I have plans for at least 2 quilts out of each collection but won't start until I have it all! The collection I like most at the moment is Tanya Whelan Dolce and I am buying it all!!!

Thimbleanna said...

You talkin' to ME??? Hahaha. I'm just awful about hoarding my fabric -- I can barely stand to cut into it. Not because I care about a line that's in or something like that. It's because I buy fabrics that I LOVE and, because of this artificial frenzy that the fabric companies have created by producing a line for one run and then never again, I know I'll never be able to buy them again. It's awful. Quilting never used to be this way and the fabric companies make me SO mad! The problem now is that I hoard them so long that I end up not liking them after enough time -- just like you're tired of FMF. It really is best to use what you love and I need to keep reminding myself of that. Thanks for the reminder!!!

Bessiemae said...

Excellent post! I have been thinking many of these same things. And I got some of your FMF for the Fresh Modern Bee, so I'm glad I read this, now I feel 'freed up'!

Juanita Johnson said...

What a fantastic post, so SO true! I've been quilting for 15 years and have a hoarders stash. I, too, lived in the realm of designers fabrics for awhile. I've been paring down and buying little for the last two years. I got bored with the fabrics that I was saving for a "special" project. Quilts made from 'one line' of fabric are safe and common. I love the fresh and modern quilts that sing the makers own melody, not the fabric designers.

Digsby Mac Feegle said...

Amen, and Winner winner chicken dinner!

Donna said...

I love your blog - thanks for commenting on ours and giving me a link to yours! yay for new blogs!

I don't really have a hard time cutting into things and I REALLY don't when it's a quilt that is going to live at my house! Then I can see it and still stroke it!!

- Donna

Me? A Mom? said...

I just stumbled on your blog and I LOVE your attitude.

Nichole said...

this is a great post (and a great series). whenever i see bloggers post about how they can't bear to cut into a certain fabric it really makes me scratch my head. i have accumulated quite a collection of fabrics over the past couple years. however, the reason why my stash is growing is because there simply are not enough hours to sew all of the projects in my head to use all of them. not because i can't bear to cut into some fabric. i would rather make something with the fabric than to have it just sit on my shelf. for me, i'd say this topic falls into the "quilt pet peeve" category rather than the "quilting obligation" one.

by Daisy said...

LOL if your previous post of this series made me cry, this one made me cry with laughter.
and it hit home!!!
well, i'm from Portugal and designer fabrics get here later than in the US, so sometimes I hear about this or that line and i can't buy it. thank god, otherwise i would be a broken hoarder :)
actually in the shop where i buy fabric noone cares about the designer, so i choose based on liking it, not because it's from this designer or that designer.
having said that, i do recognize some lines and designer and i too have some favourites, and because they are usually more expensive i get that sense of "i'll save them for making something for me, it's a waste making a silly gift for that friend's new girlfriend's neighbour" ahahaha

Anonymous said...

I've just started quilting in the past year and already have 3 bins and bought 3 big boxes at a flea market for a $1.00 a box then went to an estate sale and bout all she had bigger pieces for $10.00 the whole stash lol always making new quilts and looking for more material never know what I am going to put on my quilts so it's nice to have a little bit of this and a little bit of that depending on what I'm making lol

Anonymous said...

Again I love your blog!
I have some of FMF fabrics sitting in plastic box without doing any good. And I am tired to find more to fill the collection.
I have learned thatthere plenty of wonderful fabrics in this world too:-)

Greeting from Thailand.

quiltedhappiness said...

Hi, I'm new to your blog, but just had to write! Recently I had one of the best best best evenings - cutting up one of my favourite fabrics in my way too large to justify stashes! It felt so fantastic and was making me giggle just cutting it. I don't think me husband really understood when I told him what an amazing feeling it was - dare I say it, almost better than s*x! Strangely enough I haven't yet started making the quilt, but I don't regret cutting up the fabric.

Books_Bound said...

Just found your blog and this series, and both are great! I especially love this post, so I'm commenting two years after the fact. :) I also hated going to the fabric store when I was a kid and I also do not like Flea Market Fancy! I honestly don't get the obsession with it at all. But, to each their own, right? Some things I find beautiful are perfectly "meh" to others. But it is nice to read about seemingly the only other person in the world who doesn't freak out over FMF. :)

Also, cutting into stash is a great thing. I have to remind myself "what am I saving it for?" A quilt! So use it in a quilt! No guilt.

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