Friday, December 07, 2007

Here's a blackbird pie funnel for Meggie, I can't remember where this came from ; I don't think it's old, but I certainly used it when I cooked for a family. Now I just think he's cute.
It seems everyone is examining their stash and the reasons why they built it in the first place. Judy explained here and Keryn in this post. My stash started to be enhanced in the early '80's, when I decided it was allowable to buy new fabric just to use in patchwork. I can still remember the shop and the fabrics I bought when I made this groundbreaking breakthrough, and the three fat quarters (I sent the other half to Keryn) were the start of my 'good' patchwork stash. By the way, no-one had ever heard of a 'fat quarter' back then, we just bought skinny little slices of fabric, sometimes 10cm (3") if the shop would oblige.

They were 'poor' years, when the boys were little and the family farm my husband helped to work was battling with dreadful stock prices and interest rates were 18%. I've always been drawn to the idea of self-sufficiency and so I threw myself into raising vegetables, making nearly all our clothes, cooking everything from scratch, preserving and bottling the produce from my huge garden.

Patchwork fitted right in there, and I had huge stashes of not just cotton fabric for piecing but corduroy and denim and fleecy for clothes. I look back and wonder how I ever did it, but I loved the activity; there was always some project vitally interesting to fill my time. I knitted, I sewed, I baked, I dug in the garden and picked the produce. If only we hadn't been quite so strapped for cash it might have been an idyllic time.

Imagine my delight when I discovered the Actil Factory in Adelaide. They made sheeting and if you went round the back you could go in this little door and just about choke with the fumes of new poly material and the bargains to be had. I knew it wasn't cotton, but there was so Much of it!!
They used to sell rolls of it for a few dollars, up to 15" high and hundreds of metres long, and I staggered out to the car with all the colours I could find. I learnt to park close to the door, because those things were Heavy. This stuff turned up in my sewing for years and years afterwards, it was gifted to Keryn and other patchworking friends, who likewise were so poor that they fell on it with delight. And still the rolls didn't seem to diminish, there were borders aplenty and I began piecing the strips together to make laundry bags, mattress covers, backings, whatever needed huge swathes of material, and still it wouldn't die. The damn stuff didn't wear out either, I suppose the poly gave it unnatural powers of endurance.

Eventually, as I came to have more money to indulge serious patchwork, I gave up on the sheeting and relegated it to the back of the stash. I realised that the effort you put into quilting is wasted if the fabric isn't good quality to begin with.
This is what became of the last of my sheeting stash, two huge braided rugs that gobbled up all the blues and browns and a few other bits. I couldn't tell you how much fabric is in these, but they are seriously heavy and solid. I adore these and appreciate the power of poly in them because they don't ever look like wearing out either.

All the other sheeting I just quietly put in the bin.....

I shall continue "Stash Through The Ages" in another post, I have more to say on the subject.


Danijela December 07, 2007  

Your rugs are beautiful! How did you do them? Are they crocheted? I've never found a pattern/tutorial. Here in Germany I think it's not usual to make them. And it's a good idea to use your second-rate quality stash for them.

QuiltingFitzy December 07, 2007  

The rugs are STUNNING. I guess they were braided and then sewn? Looks like they do have lots of years left in them, lol. Hope you still love them as much!

loulee1 December 08, 2007  

My gran had a blackbird pie chimney! Thankyou for a thousand wonderful memories and a tear in my eye.

Tazzie December 08, 2007  

I love the rag rugs Mereth, they're just lovely, and you're right, they'll probably last forever. I remember the Actil fabric so well. One of my quilt groups made a charity quilt with the fabric, and when I was hand quilting on it, the fabric was so tough it was just shredding the thread - it was hard going.
The pie bird is so cute - I had one that I got from Sovereign Hill one year, he met a sad fate when he fell from the cupboard one day. I'll get another some day - it'll encourage me to make more pies ...
Have a great weekend

Andrea December 09, 2007  

Great post - I love the rugs and the story behind them.

Marilyn R December 09, 2007  

I loved reading about your stash. The rag rugs are keepers too!

julieQ December 09, 2007  

Lovely rugs, and don't you just love they were made from those rolls of material? Looks like they will be here longer than we will!


meggie December 11, 2007  

Thankyou for the pie funnel Blackbird!! I have been looking for one in garage sales, & op shops. I will find one I am sure!
Love your rag rugs-I remember my Granny had them, & she had a huge box of fabric, & sometimes I was allowed to peep into it.

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