Wednesday, August 26, 2009

London Step

I am no longer trying to reduce my fabric accumulation by getting rid of fabric.* I will only reduce my stash by using what I have and not buying anything new. Here's why: I can't get rid of fabric. As soon as I get a pile of fabric together that I have convinced myself I can part with, I am inspired to make something with it. Yes, there is something about seeing all that unloved, rejected fabric together in the same place that inspires me. Contrary to popular believe, this is NOT because I'm trying to get rid of fabric that is beautiful, or that I love or even like, or that on its own inspires me. Each individual piece of fabric in the pile is ugly, weird, or minimally it's boring, and almost all of it is of questionable quality. Every individual piece I can look at and say, "Oh yeah, I can get rid of this!" That's how it got into the pile, after all. I guess it's the pile that gets me. Once I see it all together I say to myself, "you know what I could do with all this..." and the wheels start turning. And it's all over.

So maybe I should just try getting rid of my nice fabric??

This is the first project inspired by "the pile". It is based on a photo of a quilt in the book "Bold Improvisation." If you get a chance to look at that book, I highly recommend it. I got it for my mother for Christmas and have been enjoying it ever since! There are many quilts in there that give me ideas. One in a zig-zag/rail fence pattern called "London Step" kind of jumped off the page at me, and I am doing an interpretation of it.


Obviously it is a pretty free-style piece. I did no planning in terms of the fabric combinations and colors (do I even need to tell you that?). I didn't attempt to directly replicate the blocks/color combos in the inspiration quilt, but tried to get the same random "using up odds and ends" feel. I have used at least four fabrics so far that are not quilting cottons - some flannel from an old sheet, a stretch twill, a corduroy, and some pillow case fabric. This is the first time I have mixed so many fabrics, so we'll see how it goes. I think this is slightly more than half the number of blocks I will end up doing...

Well, the good news is that while I'm busy being inspired by my junk fabric, for the most part I have been realllllly good about not buying new fabric. Ever since I spent my Christmas gift certificate, I have only made a few small fabric purchases - a few yards of black and grey broadcloth, two or three 50% off remnants, and maybe two other pieces of yardage and one fat quarter. I mean we're talking about a time period of more than SIX MONTHS, so I definitely think I'm doing pretty well. And I've decided that if I continue to be good about not buying fabric for about another, you know, year or so, then I will buy myself some frivolous things as a treat. In the meantime I'm going to try to focus on USING WHAT I HAVE!! That means I need to get sewing....................

*Watch this space for posts in which I resolve to reduce my fabric accumulation by getting rid of fabric.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Historical Design

Mary Todd Lincoln's Sewing Table

While it's pretty blurry in this picture, under the framed mirror next to the window is Mary Todd Lincoln's sewing table at the Lincoln Home in Springfield Illinois where the Lincolns lived for about 17 years before they moved to the White House. On the tour they told us it was where she did all the family's sewing. I was the only visitor snapping pictures of the carpeting, but the designs were so great that I just had to share. Wish I'd gotten more of the wallpaper.




I have not had much to share the past few weeks partly because I was rushing to finish two quilts that were both gifted this weekend. I traveled out of town to a wedding and one quilt went to the bride & groom while the other went to some friends who hosted me along the way. I was in such a mad rush the day I left on the trip that I only had time to take a few quick pictures. They did not come out very well, but they're all I've got!

This first quilt is made with a set of charm squares from So You Sew Fun II line from RJR. I bought them half price from the Fat Quarter Shoppe. I'm sure many of us have done this because charm square packs are not very expensive in the first place, and then when they go on sale they seem like a very affordable price for a little piece of inspiration. Although I'm sure there are a million things you can do with them, I'm not sure if they really fit into my personal way of working. (Maybe I need to be more creative.) However, I think this quilt works no matter how simple the design may be, and it has a modern feel to it that I thought would be good for the college friends who hosted me the first night of my journey. They are good friends and the quilt was less of a hostess gift and more of a "good friends" gift.



The second gift was this improv log cabin quilt I posted about recently. This quilt went from beginning to end in a very short span of time! At least by my standards. It is hand quilted with black #8 pearl cotton in a baptist fan pattern. The quilting went so quickly! Those baptists knew what they were doing. Of course I did not mark the fans at all so they are pretty wonky in some places, but I think it works with the overall feel of the quilt. This went to the bride & groom, and I hope they will like it.

(This quilt actually quite possibly lays flatter than any quilt I've ever made, but the wind was blowing it in this picure).


My Favorite Quilt Pics From Flickr Users