Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Fabric Frenzy

A favorite pile.
Quilt Market was last week. I've never been, will probably not go (being an amateur quilter and all -- level one forever, baby). Still, it's hard to ignore: for days all of my feeds were full of Quilt Market photos, fabric launches, fabric purchases, fabric designers, fabric giveaways, fabric, fabric, fabric. It was too much, really. Don't get me wrong, I love fabric! I love print and color and seeing what people are making. Yet I am increasingly feeling overwhelmed by all of it, and no longer sure what my likes and dislikes are. 

My Guild, DCMQG, is in the middle of a zipper pouch swap. Swaps are nerve-wracking, in my opinion (what if they don't like what I make?! What if they request something beyond my skills?! What if...?!), but I'm challenging myself to be a participator because I love this Guild. Anyway, swaps always get me thinking about my favorite designers and fabrics and whether I could name one print as being my absolute favorite.

Could you? Do you have a favorite fabric?

When I started sewing I fell madly in love with Anna Maria Horner and her Field Study and Loulouthi lines. The throw quilt that sits on my bed remains my favorite quilt. I've started re-stashing many of the prints because the quilt brings me so much joy. Along the way, though, I've realized there are a few prints I can do without. And while I love all of them together, I'm not sure I could single out one print as my favorite.  

Pilar on her (our) favorite quilt.

I used to get so much joy out of fantasy fabric shopping. I'd visit my favorite online shops and fill up my cart with all of the prints. Echino, Anna Maria Horner, Lizzy House, Michael Miller novelty prints (I am a sucker for a good novelty print)... I still do this, usually lured in by a good sale, but it's more stressful and less fun. I am hyper-aware of how much fabric I've accumulated (still a fairly small stash, I think/hope), and I'm self-conscious about my choices. Do I love it, or is it just a fad? I'm often not sure.

At the last DCMQG meeting I sat next to Mary Fons (Mary Fons!). She was working on a beautiful baby quilt of tiny nine-patches, sashed in black. Her fabrics were small-scale prints, the sort of prints I don't usually buy. Her quilting style is so unequivocally hers, it got me thinking about my own style and taste. And there I was, blazing through the quilting on a self-described rush job -- a baby quilt I had whipped up quickly without much consideration for design. And the quilt I showed to the group? My Cotton + Steel plus quilt, still in progress. I was a little embarrassed by how faddish it seemed.

So I've realized: I've been coasting through my quilting. Making without a lot of intention, rushing to the finish (I love the finish). Don't get my wrong, I've made a lot of beautiful things and I am proud of them. I've chosen some really lovely fabrics. And my sewing has improved with the practice I've gotten from all of this making. But I think it's time to find my quilting voice.

I've started cutting the fabric for a quilt that will be a gift to a dear family member. I took a lot of time deciding on the pattern ("Boxed In" by Julie Herman of Jaybird Quilts, included in her book Skip the Borders), and I love the fabric I've chosen (Priory Square by Katy Jones) and I know she will, too.

Getting things squared away. Ha! 

But once I finish this project, I'm going to take a break from projects with self-imposed deadlines. I'm going to try to take some time to experiment and make what I love, and sew what I have. Which probably means a lot of simple patchwork with squares. For starters, I'm imagining a very large, king-sized quilt of 10-inch squares of my favorite Anna Maria Horner prints... OK, I admit it, I pulled that pile pictured at the top of this post expressly for the King quilt project. Seeing all the colors together makes me so happy. I should also finish my Greatest Hits scrap quilt. Greatest Hits = many favorites. And I'd like to finish the aforementioned Cotton + Steel plus quilt. It's not ALL Anna Maria Horner around here, after all. Heck, I've got a really pretty pile of Natural History by Lizzy House that is destined for M's bed, you know, when I get to it. And one thing I'm sure about? HE will love it.

So, OK, I have some favorite designers, and maybe some favorite fabric combinations. I even have a favorite quilt. But I haven't found my one favorite fabric yet. Let me know if you find yours. I might try applying Marie Kondo's rules and ask myself of each print in my stash: Does this fabric spark my joy? It just might work.


  1. Haha, and I thought I was the only person who fantasy fabric shopped!! I understand what you mean by rushing to the finish. Sometimes I feel as thought I am missing the "journey" in my rush to the finish line. I wish you all the best in finding your quilting voice.

    1. Yes! I am trying to be more of a process person, but it's tough.

  2. I totally get this. At the beginning of the year, I decided to slow the heck down and not race to the finish. There is too much in between that gets missed. I do love the whole process ands this has been really helpful. As for favorite fabrics, I could not begin to have a favorite. I love so many. Low volume, vintage prints, bold color, solids. There is so much to enjoy!! Great post.