as i look back at the quilts i've completed over the years, i can easily track my progress as a quilter. in the beginning, i wanted to use pretty fabrics and get some quilts churned out as quickly as possible because i had so many more i wanted to do. i bought a lot of precuts because it was irresistible to get a bit of everything at once. besides, they looked so pretty in their tied bundles and were conveniently, um, precut. i was attracted to patterns that didn't require too much skill or time. i just wanted to make!
and buy. boy, did i ever do some buying. there were lots of plans for many of those purchases and no plans for plenty of them. i just wanted all the pretty things. everything was exciting and i had cash to burn. so i did. that accumulated quickly. before long i had a huge stash. actually, a hoard. my, it was pretty.
as time went on, i got some of those things made and planned/purchased for even more projects. unfortunately, i could buy a lot faster than i could produce finished products. as my wobbly lines got straighter, i found i could branch out into exciting new skill sets like hsts. and fancy blocks found in sampler quilts. as i got braver and pushed myself, i wanted to do more complex projects and to spend more time on them. "quick and easy" were less appealing than they had been.
the more quilts i got under my belt, the more i learned about what i liked and didn't. i've made several quilts i wouldn't say truly reflect me or my taste as it stands today. a few of those were because i was making quilts that reflected the recipients and not me. but most are not me because i made poor choices or compromised and used fabrics/patterns i didn't like for various reasons. some of it comes down to i bought quickly before i knew what i really liked in a quilt. looking at the quilts i still love, i can see the good choices i made, some purely by chance.
i do love all three of the nearly-finished wips i've been working on this year. i feel like i'm not just making to make or to use fabric as much as i used to. my project selections are more intentional and my fabric purchases are, too. i've developed more of a critical eye for fabric pairings and pattern selection. part of this just comes from exposure to many quilts and styles over time, part of it comes from intentional study of what i like or don't prefer.
so the question now is, what so i do with all the stuff sitting around that's not me? do i donate it somewhere or make myself stick it out and use it? i guess there are more expensive lessons to be learned.