Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Playing With Fabric

I seriously thought about not posting this week as nothing very interesting has been happening around here. Life has been very quiet and restrained and as Kyle noted, creative juices seem to be acting rather sluggish. But I still have my quilt in the hoop and it's almost time to move the current one along and replace it with the new.
I Am a Maker next up in the hoop!
'I am a maker' is the next up in the hoop apparently. It's not the one that seemed like the most logical or sequential choice, but nevertheless, here it is! This quilt was put together last year out of orphan blocks and random bits and pieces that I just cannot throw away. Love the happy, sunny vibe to it. Should be extremely therapeutic to have in the hoop as there will be absolutely no wrong way to attack the stitching.
Orphan blocks and leftover bits & pieces
Most of you know that I generally sandwich and pin two quilts in the same afternoon. It's such a hassle to move the dining room table and get everything out of the way, I always try to be efficient about it.  This time, sewing two quilt backings turned into a several day affair, and wowsers! I somehow ended up with seventeen quilt backs!
A whole stack of quilt backings. Will properly iron when it's time...
They are each made specific as to size for the quilt top {of course}, but I am very blase about the backings. It's a sad failing of mine. No fabulous quilt backing around here. Oh no. Except for the fact that the colors have to at least 'blend' with the wonderful quilt top, anything goes.
Took a little bit of extra time with this one, just because it felt good to do so....
Most of the time there is a larger chunk or two of fabric that starts off the whole venture and then it's a case of finding some complimentary fat quarters to add on until the needed size is attained. These are almost always older or more awkward fabrics that I have fallen a bit out of love with, or perhaps they have proven to be difficult and grouchy about playing nicely with other fabrics. Putting them into a backing absolutely helps get them out the door in the nicest way possible.
The quilt backing for 'I Am a Maker'
A good solid ironing and then some careful attention to stretching that backing out generally takes care of the worst of the warples--all from not measuring and pinning precisely while sewing. I know it's a bit casual for some of you, but I never seem to have trouble with puckering on the back of my quilts except for that rare occasion when machine quilting more densely. Which I abhor doing anyway. Ughh. So not good at it. Hand quilting is much, much more forgiving.  
Fabric that I don't need anymore....
Throughout the year I tend to check the clearance bin at the local quilt store and buy several yards of potential quilt backing as the frequently updated list in my purse indicates a need. If a quilt needs 5 yards and I only find 3 yards in an appropriate color, then I don't sweat it. Usually there is something in the stash totes that can make up the difference. I'm always glad for a reason to use up some of these picked-over fabrics, whether I actually spent money on them or perchance they were given to me. It's just one of life's sweet little pleasures, getting to sew a languishing piece of fabric into its lovely new home and know that it's finally going to be appreciated.

After slogging through a couple days of making quilt backings {more than I've ever made all at once}, something did finally occur to me. There are fabrics in those totes that I will never, ever, in a million years choose to incorporate into a single one of my quilts. Not even cut down into teeny tiny little strips. It just isn't going to happen!*wah!!  Hard as it is for me to get rid of any fabric, all the truly awful {to me} prints have been culled today. I actually did it! An entire white kitchen bag full of fabrics is now awaiting the day they can be handed off elsewhere.*whew  That felt good!
Still trying to use up these old tired greens....
And....  because I was digging through the stash totes for days, it's only logical to assume that some new sparkly fabric stacks have appeared.
Second go around for this color palette...
They are simmering on the countertops for now, right out in plain sight.
Just appeals to me right now & yep, more of those old greens....
If I like them well enough, they will end up being moved onto shelves here and there with potential ideas drawn up and slipped into the smaller totes {kept just for these purposes}.
Might be a baby quilt for my sister-in-law. Maybe not....
Some of them might end up with more fabrics included before they become a final fabric 'pull', more colors added or deeper value exploration needed.  Others might end up being dumped back into the stash totes when I find them ultimately uninspiring. You just never know. Every quilt around here doesn't have to start from a well gathered stack of fabric, but it's often the first place I go looking when an idea flashes into full-on illumination. Where are those fabric stacks? Will this one work? No, this one? Maybe, Ohh... This one... Yes. This one.... And then I'm off and running, all ready to cut out and get started on a moments notice!


  1. i love your quilt and it's serendipitous feel...a simple statement that is a clear definition of who you are...very nice

  2. I am sure you will find a home for all the fabric you are letting go. Since the place where I work asked me to make masks and it took 2 1/2 weeks to get black fabric they wanted me to use, I went thru my stash and made masks out of all that fabric that I knew I would be glad to let go. I have used up 45 yards of fabric! The scary part is how much I still have! LOL!!

  3. The backs of my quilts often look like yours. Whatever goes but the kitchen sink. Wish I was your neighbour so I could go and grab that big kitchen bag of fabric at your curb, lol. ;^)

  4. I love your "spare parts" quilt--I am inspired to turn out my "drawer of shame" and just sew them all together...yours seem to have been in really nice colors...mine, not so much I am afraid...
    ~ ~ ~ waving in the recliner while hand quilting Julierose

  5. I so completely get your process! I don't think your backs are blasé - pieced backs are my favorites (although once and a while I do use a single large piece if I have one). Hooray for putting those no-longer-wanted fabrics in a bag away from your stash. Happy hand stitching - I am a Maker is one of my favorites.

  6. You've got enough backings there to keep you going for a long while. I do love how you put them together plus the fact that you're using otherwise unused fabrics from your stash. Happy stitching :)

  7. Not interesting? Your quilt with your statement 'I am a Maker' that's interesting and the piles of fabrics you have gathered are interesting....I look forward to seeing what becomes of those fabrics you have married up together.

  8. I love everything about this quilt in the hoop, especially the name! Orphan block quilts are always my favorites and this one is sensational. It must feel good to have all those backs prepped and ready. Hope you get lots more fabric play today!

  9. I am a Maker uses the orphan blocks perfectly and transfers unwanted into success. I've made backs like yours most of my life although I don't always bother to match the colors with the front. Currently I'm using larger pieces and finding it much easier. Like you, purchasing backs from the clearance table helps extend my quilting dollars. But that can backfire if I purchase too much. Then I don't want to "waste" it on a quilt that doesn't require as much yardage and the pout when it's not enough for another. Sigh.

  10. You have have some delightful color combos waiting for some inspiration and play time. I recognize that one blue stripe. I used to have some and used it in some of my prim quilts. I like that shade of blue.

  11. wow - so many backs. I never piece my backs like that - I'm too lazy also I don't want to quilt through so many seams. I have so many canvas cubes filled with fabric I could probably make some like that but most of my fabric pieces are less than one yard and actually most are fat quarters to half yard

  12. Love the orphan block quilt! That's a lot of backings. That isn't one of my favorite things to do, but I don't fret too much about it.
    Uh, hello? I see some terrific fabric in your "junk" pile!!! LOL

  13. So much fun to see your fabric and especially your newly inspired stacks. There's so much potential in those stacks. You were really on a roll with those 17 backings, my goodness. I bet it's satisfying to know you don't have to worry about backings for a couple of years.

  14. That’s been very productive! I’ve made a few quilt backs from “now-unloved” fabrics and it is very satisfying. Loving the new stacks!

  15. Seventeen quilt backs ?! You've been very productive Audrey ! Does it mean you have the same number of projects in progress ?

  16. It was so much fun, following you around as you told us about your creative process.

  17. What a lovely orphan block quilt. You are definitely a Maker and then some. I need to follow your example and piece a bunch of backings to have at the ready as well as piece together some batting. Piecing backings seems to be a big chore to me.

  18. I think it's very freeing to cull fabrics once and for all. I did a huge "kon marie" fabric purge around 2012 and never looked back. I too love pulling stacks for potential projects! You always create inventive beautiful unique quilts - so fun to see.

  19. I wish I would do that and actually know what I have!
    I am getting some air into the stash pulling pieces for mask making, so a little progress is better than no progress!

  20. What a beautiful quilt being made out of your spare parts, and I love your name for the quilt! I'm a fan of pieced backing Audrey, sometimes I have used two or three fabrics, especially for colourful children's quilts. You're going to be spending some time adding those piles of fabric into your stash - good luck, I always find it takes quite some time.

  21. Old no longer loved fabrics can be made into rag rugs... I watched a you tube video on how to make the loom the other day, great way to use up the WHAT was I THINKING fabrics from long ago. Or make those wrapped clothesline bowls.


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