Well I survived the 2017 Snow Apocalypse. According to my trusty quilting ruler, there was 10-inches of the fluffy, white stuff on top of my car by last Saturday afternoon – which meant I spent much of the weekend in my quilt studio. I accomplished a lot, but never as much as I want to. I’m starting three new quilt tops this year, and my challenge was to find the fabric and see if I needed to order anything else. Which brings me to the first point of this blog…
Always Shop Your Stash First
I only had to order some background fabric (11 yards – I rarely keep that much of the same kind of fabric in my stash) and two greens. Greens are kind of funny. I don’t care how many greens you have in your stash, the right shade or tone isn’t there. Remember what I wrote about several blogs ago: the average stash is worth $6,000.00. Use it and use it well. That way you feel much less guilty about purchasing more fabric.
Which brings me to my second point of this blog…
When you must purchase fabric, shop your local quilt shop or small, on-line business first
I know I sound like a broken record, but yes, this needs to be done as much as possible. Since my LQS is shuttered and Pineapple Fabric’s next warehouse sale isn’t until February, I did shop on-line for fabric for the first time in years.
The last point of this week’s blog is this – life is short. It’s way too short to drink bad coffee, wear ugly shoes, or put up with people that are continuously pains in the backside. And it’s way too short to keep making the same kind of quilt over and over again. I mean, all of us quilters are guilty of this. We get used to the same kind of pattern. We’re comfortable with the execution of the skill set and the technical difficulties of the same kinds of quilts. We can pick color palates in our heads when we’re doing something as mundane as flossing our teeth. In my opinion, at this point, quilters break into three categories:
Those that like to almost exclusively piece.
Those that like to almost exclusively applique.
Those that piece and applique in the same quilt, and the piecing is fairly simple.
You don’t believe me? Okay, take this challenge. Go to your quilting space. Pull out your patterns. Put all the pieced patterns in one pile, all the applique patterns in one pile, and the patterns that mix both techniques in another. The pile with the greatest number of patterns will tell you what type of quilter you are.
I have three challenges to my readers this year: First, look at that largest pile of patterns and vow not to do more than one of those types this year. We all need something we’re comfortable with to grab and work on when we’re too tired to think or when we just want to be pushing fabric under the needle. But this year, try a pattern you normally wouldn’t even dream about making. Whether that means an intricately pieced quilt, a paper-pieced quilt, an applique quilt, or a hand-pieced quilt, don’t be afraid to try something different. Personally, I don’t grow as a quilter unless I’m challenged – given something new and harder than I’ve ever tried before. I may not always be pleased as punch at the end result, but I learn a lot of lessons along the way that serve to make me a better quilter. I’ve got a couple of these on my table right now and will be sharing the lessons learned as I go along.
One of my challenges this year and probably next….
Second, work with a color either you don’t like or doesn’t play well with other fabric. Why? Because it expands your color vision and makes you play with colors that normally you wouldn’t give a second glance at. I know I tend to get locked into color schemes that I’m very comfortable with (purple/green, pink/brown, blue/green. And due to this, I have a lot of those colors in my stash please do not ask me how many purples are in my stash—it’s almost embarrassing. Which means when I need a yellow or an orange or a black, I’m scrambling to try to find some on my shelf. It also pushes you out of your comfort zone and dares you to almost fly by the seat of your pants. Don’t be afraid of orange or lime green or whatever color it is that makes you nearly cringe. All the crayons belong in our quilting box.
Remember this jewel from the “This Spoke to Me” blog? While I love it dearly, it does not play well with a lot of fabric.
Last, find organizations that need quilts and try to make at least one to donate to them. It could be a national organization such as Project Linus or Quilts of Valor, or a local hospital that needs small quilts for preemies or cancer patients. It could be the local police that would like to have a quilt or two in the trunk of their police cars to shelter and comfort victims of domestic abuse as they’re removed from dangerous situations. It could be a nursing home or Alzheimer’s unit that needs fidget blankets. The point here is that our kids and other family members can only inherit so many quilts. At some point, we need to quilt to give them away. The love and warmth and prayers that are in so many of our quilts go a long way to comfort folks that are in a horrible situation. Don’t be afraid to get involved.
Don’t be afraid, fellow quilters. This year – quilt fearlessly.
Love and Stitches,
Sherri and Sam