Anita's quilts and quilting

A professional longarm machine quilter for hire and some of the work I've done.

Setting the rules

I am a hoarder.  There is no other way to put it.  I have a problem letting go of STUFF because I see value in absolutely everything.  I know its  going to be difficult for me to get rid of a big part of my  fabric stash.  I decided I needed to set myself some rules to prevent myself from being tempted to keep everything.  No one is standing over me saying toss this, keep that.  Its just me but I wanted guideline rules to go by.  Hmm… How many rules?  Too many rules mean lots of second thoughts.  I want simple.  Four rules seem simple enough don’t you think?  Four is easy to follow.

RULE # 1

FABRIC HAS A SHELF LIFE

Just like any canned or bottled food that has a “use by” or “sell by” date; fabric also has a use by date. Fashion colors change.  Decorating styles change.  Quilt patterns come and go as does the fabric used to make them.  I would not consider keeping 15 year old mayo because it might be useful someday.  I would not consider keeping 20 year old medications for fear of not being able to replace them.  So why should I consider keeping 30 year old out of style fabric?  My thinking is that if a fabric has not become part of a quilt in all those years its pretty obvious the fabric either doesn’t appeal to me or simply wouldn’t make a good quilt.  Also, it obviously didn’t appeal to the person who gave it to me because they didn’t use it either.

Cleaning and organizing 2015 030

RULE # 2

IRON EVERYTHING FLAT AND STORE IT FLAT

Take the time to iron my fabric flat.  I mean the remaining fabric after the purge.  Don’t just wad it up and stuff it into a container.  Its really hard to be creative with a container full of wadded and wrinkled fabrics.  Storing fabric flat does not necessarily mean laying horizontal.  Flat can also mean lined up like books on a shelf or in a drawer like file folders.  Flat means not wrinkled.

Cleaning and organizing 2015 008RULE # 3

SAVE FABRIC FOR SPECIFIC STYLE QUILTS ONLY 

This will take a bit of explaining.  I have to pare way down the type of quilts I plan to make in the near future.  I’ll worry about the distant future when it gets here.  How to explain “style” quilts.  Ok, if I’m not into civil war quilts there would be no need to keep civil war reproduction fabrics.  If I’m not interested in making tiny intricate applique pieces there is no reason to keep tiny fabrics.  It’s better to choose the type or style quilts that hold my interests right now and think about fabric for future quilts in the future.

Currently I’m fascinated by:

  • Double wedding ring quilts
  • Selvage quilts
  • String quilts
  • Necktie quilts
  • Totally scrappy quilts
  • Portrait style quilts

I plan to keep any fabric suitable for these type quilts.  I’ll keep my newest fabric and any that could be used for interesting borders, sashing, and bindings.  You see where I’m going with this?  I can’t keep everything but that doesn’t mean I can’t keep anything.

Necktie quilt tutorial 2014 031RULE # 4

SORT BY SIZE ONLY, NOT BY COLOR

If I sort fabric yardage, scraps, or precut strips by size and then each size sorted again by color it means I’ll have to come up with many more storage containers.   Grandma Mama had only two baskets of scrap fabric.  One for making quilts and one for making rugs.  Both sat near her chair by the pot belly stove.  It was her evening entertainment to listen to the radio while keeping her hands busy.  I know I’m not going to get down to only two baskets but I don’t need every conceivable size and color either.

Let me see if I can narrow my list of sizes to keep to only a few.

  • Selvage quilts – no particular size  I’ll take all these I can get my hands on in any size.
  • String quilts – no particular size  I use scraps left after cutting pieces for other quilts
  • Necktie quilts – no particular size  I don’t cut ties until I’m ready to make a quilt
  • Totally scrappy – I have about 200 patterns for scrappy quilts that use 2 1/2 or 3 1/2 inch strips
  • Double wedding ring – 2 1/2 – 3 1/2 – 4 – 11 for one style, 2 1/2 – 4 1/2 – 9 – 10 for a second style
  • Portrait type quilts – I plan to use fat quarter bundles for those IF I ever get one made

Cleaning and organizing 2015 028

So lets see, this narrows sorting down a bit.  I believe I could get away with 4 sizes if I combined some.  For example I could keep only 4 1/2 strips to be used for both the 4 1/2 and the 4.  I could combine the 9, 10, and 11 by saving only 11 inch strips.  Naw, that’s way too complicated.  It would require me to re-cut some strips before using.  I think I’ll stick to just the 7 pre cut strip sizes.

Well that explains the four rules I’ve set for myself.  I think these will really help me when sorting through my fabric stash.  Mostly I’m talking about the scraps only here.  My yardage fabric will be sorted by only two things.  Is it really old and would it make great sashing, borders, or binding.

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13 comments on “Setting the rules

  1. Deb Weyrich-Cody
    February 27, 2015

    Hi there! Although I haven’t quilted in ages, you raised some points to which I had a visceral reaction and this is what I offer here.
    You are obviously a very SERIOUS quilter and an über organised person – however, to me at least, the whole point of quilting/rug making is to use up materials that would otherwise be thrown away and these were always the starting point for any project, and any new materials were purchased in order to fill in the gaps needed to complete the piece. [Well, most of the time, anyway… Sometimes you really love a fabric and just KNOW it’s the beginning of something amazing; ]
    Styles and material do come back into fashion. I love vintage and “back in the day” took great pride in the fact that I could wear my Grandmother’s incredible clothing. Every thirty years or so, what went around, comes back around again. The day-glo colours that are so popular right now are a perfect case in point. (And I love their vibrant cheerfulness now just as much as I did back in The Eighties. ; )

    • Deb Weyrich-Cody
      February 27, 2015

      And I apologise for the book sized run-on comment Anita.

      • Na Na
        February 28, 2015

        No problem.

    • Na Na
      February 28, 2015

      I see your point. But the whole point of quilting/rug making is to USE the fabric. When it’s not being used its going to waste. I’m passing along fabric so it WILL be used by someone. I’d rather it get used by someone else than just setting and doing nothing here. Can you see my point?

      • Deb Weyrich-Cody
        February 28, 2015

        Absolutely!: )

  2. jenyjenny
    February 26, 2015

    Sounds good. I agree with a lot there, I also have some oldies that have been rejected from other places before they ended up with me….hope your changes increase your satisfaction with your finished projects

    • Na Na
      February 28, 2015

      I’m looking forward to finding creative project started and never finished because they got lost in piles and boxes.

  3. kathi
    February 26, 2015

    YOU GO FOR IT!! Sounds like some severe stash busting going on there. GOOD. Hmm? so. 15 years is ok but 30 deffinately out? Think i’m OK then in that department? or am I?

    • Na Na
      February 28, 2015

      Kathi, your encouragement means alot to me. Thanks.

  4. Rebecca
    February 26, 2015

    I have recently begun reading both your blogs and enjoy them very much. I admire your positive outlook on life and your commitment to make the best of all your circumstances. I am a fairly recent retiree and hope to start quilting. could you possibly sell some of your fabric in small envelopes that you could mail or would this be too expensive (or too much trouble)?

    • Na Na
      February 28, 2015

      Hi Rebecca, selling the fabric would require too much from me. Read more about my reasons in the next post.

  5. Ann Godwin, SC
    February 26, 2015

    Great speaking with you and I love the tie

    • Na Na
      February 28, 2015

      Ann, I always enjoy talking to the SC ladies.

      You gave me some of my fabric stash, does it bother you that I’m passing some of it on to others?

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