A year without sewing or fabric-buying

…has just come to a close. I’m welcoming myself back with my first public plug in other blogs, the Blogger’s Quilt Festival, even though this blog is a bit threadbare.

Free-pieced sample quilt, front 14"x19"

This quilt represents a lot that I have let go and yet embodies my thrifty and sometimes random compositional aesthetic. It has served as a sort of placemat on my highboy dresser for a number of years now. Every once in a while I clean and de-clutter my dresser and maybe flip it over – the second side was pieced in black thread that serves as the undulating horizontal quilting on the front.

Free-pieced sample quilt, back 14"x19"

I created most of this in a one-day class on free-piecing with Gwen Maxwell-Williams when I worked at In The Beginning so it must be about 8 years old. This would have been at the height of my fabric collecting when I still had a house in Seattle with plenty of space to store my hoards.

Oh Seattle me, I wish I could go back to all that luxurious storage space sometimes! But Vancouver me has learned how to let go and this quilt was about letting go and using an awesome fabric ripping and fast curvy piecing technique.

Last year I finally gave up a lot of my fabrics because we were moving and I was going back to school. I sold fabric, my SLR camera, and two sewing machines: my great-grandmother’s 1910 White treadle and my  grandmother’s 1964 Touch n Sew.

I chose this quilt because after I attended a Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild meeting two weeks ago, I’ve caught the quilting bug again. The pumpkin is a link because the link to the button is currently broken. I was supposed to be running errands on my day off and instead I found myself free-piecing half square triangles last week in an attempt to save a UFO I packed into one of the tubs I kept in the move. In fact I have been sewing every day and now must revive this little blog that never really got off it’s feet. Thanks for supporting this initiative with your visit!

I made my daughter a Doctor Who Bowtie today which was also an awesome excuse to dye some torn bedsheets red. Paring back and going without so much helps me appreciate more than ever my own small(er) stash and I have been attacking it all week while I ponder what can be quilted from dyed bedsheets.  Apparently some Gee’s Bend Quilters were giving a Vancouver Workshop this past weekend and that also partly inspired this choice for the festival. My own financial scarcity these days has me looking back at this quilt and all the richness of the fabrics and realizing there was a lot of clutter back there I am happy to now be without. I can look on this project with a whole new level of love. I smile every time I clean my dresser. Today I dusted it and photographed it just for the Blogger’s Festival because I am just happy to be back at my sewing machine again!

It made me happy to tuck a free box of fabrics into the trunk with the Touch n Sew that went off with a teenage girl and her mother. I think seeing some of my work may have converted a new quilter. I gave away two boxes of Quilter’s Newsletter magazine to, some were from the 70’s and 80’s – I bought them for a quarter at the Quilter’s Anonymous show – 10 for a dollar I think. But most importantly was just how much fabric I gave up and got rid of, I had an entire tub full of ripped up jeans and denim, some so thoroughly cannibalized they were down to the rivets. So now this little quilt contains a lot of random fabrics that on this particular workshop Saturday 8 or so years ago, when I brought a shopping bag in of scraps and “ugly” fat quarters, that I no longer have. Three of the fabrics in this quilt from the front (the drab themed side) exist in other projects that remain with me, and one is from a tiered gathered skirt I made in about 1989 – I still remember how much I loved the cotton fabric I picked out at local fabric store. I carried the scraps form that skirt, and every other sewing project my mother and I ever selvedged for over15 years, finally letting most of them go last September.  Maybe when I can rip open my old hard drive I can find a photo of my first quilt, which was stolen from my daughter’s daycare centre, that also contained quite a bit of scraps from that skirt.

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3 thoughts on “A year without sewing or fabric-buying

  1. I like the quilt you shared – such improv piecing makes me smile. also i can’t imagine not sewing for an entire year — although from the sounds of it, it seems as if its been an eventful year for you. I hope you get to get back into quilting/sewing again soon! =)

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