Saturday, February 9, 2019

learning curve and evolving

basic grey collection (left) with coordinates from stash (right)

curse me and my impulse buying in my early quilting days.

there was so much i didn't know about fabrics and quilting and myself yet.

i didn't know what kind of fabric i liked to use in quilts vs. what just generally appealed to me.

i didn't know what kind of quilts i liked yet, even.

i didn't know that fabric makers were going to make an endless number of new and exciting fabrics every few months, that i'd never be able to keep up.

i didn't know how slowly i would quilt and use up the fabrics i was buying, or that i'd get tired of some of them before i ever got around to using them.

i didn't know what blenders or feature fabrics were, what boring looking fabrics actutally could be the making of a quilt.

i didn't know i would eventually not prefer to make my quilts from one fabric collection only.

i didn't know fabric on sale didn't make it more attractive than when it wasn't on sale.

i didn't know i was the type of quilter who couldn't overlook a fabric i didn't like in a project no matter how i worked it in, that i see the fabric as much as the color effect it has and that if i don't like it, i will continue to see it there years later and it will bug me.

i didn't know that i wouldn't like working with precuts very much, even though they do look really cute stacked on a shelf. or that a layer cake is the only size of precut that you can actually make a full size project out of.

i didn't know that although there are unlimited numbers of wonderful patterns out there, i would mostly prefer to make up my own quilt patterns.

i didn't know how much of what fabrics to buy.

i didn't know that there was such a thing as too much fabric.
(yes, i just said that.)

coordinating solids from stash

i was just really excited about the whole new world that had opened up to me and i wanted to make everything and buy it all.

i wanted a stash and i wanted scraps, for scrap quilts, of course.

i made A LOT of rash and bad choices.
a lot.
enough to fill shelves and boxes.

for example, in the first few months of my quilt hysteria adventure, when i saw this basic grey range for moda fabrics, it didn't really appeal to me. but then i saw another quilter make a simple bricks-style quilt out of it and thought it looked so homey and earthy, better than i expected. and i was looking for more fabric to add to my stash. sure, i could make that! why not? and i would need enough of each fabric, so i'd better get half a yard each. quarters, fat or skinny, would have been more than sufficient, but half yards were more economical (per sq inch) and who buys skinny quarters? there's not enough width to do anything with them (so i once thought). so i got half yards.

eight years later i'm digging this stack of fabrics out of a box and wondering if i should cut my loses, or if the coordinating prints and solids i pulled from stash can redeem these fabrics to create a quilt i'll actually like today. (and this is just one stack out of one box of several.)

because my style is changing.
my tastes are evolving.
(these weren't even me in the first place.)

part of this is because in the process of making 30+ quilts over the last 8 years i've learned a lot more about what i like and don't like. and part of it is just the nature of style progression in the quilt and design world.

these are the kinds of things that excite me, that i'd like to make these days:

1.  2.  3. 
4.  5.  6. 
7.  8.  9.

here's what i'm discovering i like:

  • simple geometric shapes, repeating or scattered
  • improv
  • handquilting, or at least touches of it added
  • low-volume
  • a very specific type of liberty print, especially mixed with chambray and handquilting

1.  2.  3.
4.  5.  6.
7.  8.  9.

  • soft, pretty pastels (low volume)
  • diamonds and triangles
  • log cabins (a low volume would be awesome)

1.  2.  3.
4.  5.  6.
7.  8.  9.

  • still hsts forever!
  • i want to make flying geese
  • white space for the eye to rest, whether literally white or not

1.  2.  3.
7.  8.  9.

  • bold, funky color combinations or those that are unusual or have an unexpected punch/twist added
  • large spaces of color
  • more solids, less prints (although i will always splurge on those on a backing)
  • more solids mixed in with prints
  • i reeeaaally want to make the purl soho tiny tiles quilt with handquilting

i'd say i'm leaning towards a certain type of modern style, even though i enjoy certain vintage looks, too.

if you look back at the makes i've produced lately, they don't reflect these concepts much. the "stella grande" quilts were a move in the right direction, but i'm not there yet.

see, this year has been me playing catch up with lots of really old wips, so there's very little of the new inspiration being used. but maybe i can incorporate it into the projects that aren't that far along or established yet.

i'm ready for change, but i'm going to finish some things first.

hopefully i can unload a lot of my stash along the way!


  1. Hydee I so enjoyed reading this post, I felt like I was nodding along through all of it!! I really like the solids you picked out and I think combining the prints with mostly solids would be a great way to achieve the look you want. I admire how honest you are and totally agree there is definitely such a thing as too much fabric!

  2. I've really enjoyed reading your blog I can't agree more with everything mentioned, I'm still just a newby to the sewing/quilting world but definitely recognise myself i.e. impulse buying, buying to much, not liking a fabric that I initially loved.
    I will be taking a step back before I end up with a stash that might never be used. I've only just de-cluttered my knitting/crochet stash!

  3. Hydee, you are so inspiring. Reading all of this, and looking at your marvelous creations is so exciting. Really!! Along this joyous path we learn and learn. I adore everything you shared and made here
    Thank you

  4. Your tastes in colors, patterns align with mine. I LOVE HST and Flying Geese. If you have not already discovered Deb Tucker’s HST and Flying Geese rulers you MUST. Tucker Trimmer is for HST and Wing Clipper is for flying geese. I’m NOT affiliated with Deb Tucker, I’m just a complete devotee/admirer. Her rulers will get you complete success with those two blocks. She also has more but I haven’t ventured to those yet.

  5. Being true to yourself is, I think, the hardest part of making. For me at least, I'm usually creating for others - baby quilts, birthday presents, demos for guild - and I know I don't put as much "Sarah" into them as I could. Sometimes just done wins. I hope you can find the new you in the older projects. (And if you do want to offload this collection, I'm a sucker for yellow with green. :D)

  6. Reading your post, I could swear that we share one mind! I have been doing a lot of organizing of my fabric stash and creating to-do lists for my many, many WIPs. I started quilting a dozen years ago, and like you I bought a bunch of fabric and made a lot of quilts that just don't fit me now. The idea of just cutting ugly fabric into smaller pieces just doesn't do it for me. As much time, energy, and money as it takes to make quilts, I want Every piece of fabric to be one that I love. I disliked so many of my beginning quilts that I gave a ton of them away. Now, I only want to make quilts that sing to me. You are not alone!

  7. Yes!! All the yes! I bought fabric because I was excited. i bought half yard bundles of a collection because "it was pretty" and 6 years later it's still sitting there, because I don't like 1 collection quilts. I have jelly rolls and mini charm packs that I wish I could bin, but that feels like waste, but what on earth do you make with a charm square (or at least what can you make, that I'll actually like!). The only thing i'm grateful for is that I stopped buying collections and started buying blenders. Yes I have an epic stash (not as epic as some) but most of it is useful. Even just useful to round out a palette when doing a fabric pull.I love that you're taking the time to think about what you love and what makes give you joy (and what things bug you and need to be discarded). I started jettisoning my WIPs that were weighing me down so I could focus more on making the things that make me happy. I hope your epiphany leads you into more and more joyful sewing. E xx

  8. I couldn't agree with this post more---and those quilts that you've pictured in this post...well, yes, I want to make one of each of them. :) Flying geese are one of my most favorite blocks---and the stars---and the churn dash---well, yeah, pretty much most of the traditional, basic patterns. :D


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