Saturday, August 23, 2008

Bonnie recently wote a post about using new fabric versus scraps, and I really do identify with what she said. At no time in my life have I owned so much beautiful fabric, and had the resources to buy more when I felt like it. I should be sewing up these new fabrics in a frenzy, and yet over and over again I'm drawn back to the scraps, the leftovers, the old projects and the bits that have been given to me. I've been thinking about it quite a bit, because it doesn't make sense on the surface.

When I was really struggling, bringing up three boys on my own and counting every penny, I would have loved to be in this position now. To have bolts of new fabric sitting on the shelves, plenty for borders, for setting blocks, for backings; never having to worry about running out before the project was finished.I would have regarded this as heaven, and if I'd been told that I'd go back to my scraps in preference to this bounty I would have been sceptical.

Yet that's what I've been doing. I guess I feel attatched to this earlier stash in a way that I don't with the new fabrics, even though they are so beautiful. Back then I knew every fabric in my possession, where every piece had come from, and who had given me the smallest scraps. I handled them constantly and each piece had so many possibilities it was tantalising. I dreamed about them and drew quilt plans for them and thought about them in a way that I haven't with the new stuff.
I don't know if it is a question of having too much, or that I just don't have the same emotional investment. But I like the scraps that people are still giving me because they tie me to that 'past', when I needed to treasure and appreciate every tiny thing. The new fabric is lovely and tempting and delicious, but so often it gets stuffed in the drawers and doesn't really imprint itself on me before the next lot comes along. I probably 'play' with my scraps more than fondling the new fabric, which is strange.
I can't say I'm just busier now I've got my own business because I was run off my feet and stressed beyond belief back then. Life's a doddle now compared to what I used to fit in every day. Perhaps I needed my quilting more in those times as a way of being grounded and clinging to something that was just for me, a lifeline to sanity in some instances.
What ever the reasons, I can't abandon my scraps and move on solely to "The Good Stuff". I need my boxes of odd-bod strips and strange bits and pieces, and I still happily accept all the remnants that are offered to me. Keryn was looking through a new quilt book the other day and burst out laughing at this illustration. She says it reminds her of me.....
Well Bonnie, we can be 'rag muffins' together!


Tonya Ricucci August 23, 2008  

you two won't be the only ones, that's for sure. The quilts I enjoy looking at have a huge variety of bits and pieces - much more interesting to look at.

antique quilter August 23, 2008  

Well I have to say I am the same way! I think it is that the newer fabrics have to age first, then they become part of the strips I start cutting and then I use for my quilts!!!!! I love the "aged" look.
Well said Mereth.

Andrea August 23, 2008  

Lovely post. Scrappy quilts are absolutely the best and I quite understand how you work. Your quilts are always so beautiful and inspiring ( I still have plans for that feathered star ! ) that your method certainly works for you.

julieQ August 23, 2008  

Amen! I totally agree...I have to force myself to cut into the newer fabrics. I love my old stash! Much of it was gifted to me, and is a treasure. I just love this post, so thoughtful and true. Your illustration speaks so loudly!

Bonnie K. Hunter August 24, 2008  

You are a quilt sister after my own heart! LOVE the Illustration!!


MARCIE August 24, 2008  

Those pictures are hilarious and they sure tell the story, don't they?

Lori in South Dakota August 24, 2008  

my favorite quilt is the one I made using scraps from my grandmother's, mother's and friends stash. Odds and ends, all Christmas fabrics, hand pieced into a king sized grandmother flower garden. For a month each year I put it on my bed!

Barbara C August 25, 2008  

What a great post. You speak for many of us--thanks for finding just the right words.

meggie August 25, 2008  

The more scraps the merrier the quilt. Well, that is what I tend to think.
I can admire formal ones, made carefully with matching colours. But always the ones I love the most, are the scrap quilts.

Anonymous,  August 26, 2008  

Ragamuffins Unite!
I am all for the "use it up, wear it out, or do without" sentiment.
I dont think I said it right but you get my drift.
It is like serrendipity. It is a nice surprise when you get it all together.

A lurker.
Dawn from Mass in the USA

pdudgeon August 27, 2008  

to each his own.
I'm a lover of new fabrics, so i'm carefully saving my scraps for when i run out of stash and new ideas.

Henrietta August 27, 2008  

Lori and I made a fnugly quilt together last year from all the unloved sock monkey type fabrics. She cut mountains of strips cackling & chortling because she likes bright and I tend to blend. That quilt has eye watering pink git-tars and lime green dog bones. I wanted to close my eyes as I put them together.

The quilt was from an older book and the pattern is called Chains of Love which I pronounce Lurve. I will ask her to post a picture when she returns from exile in Minnie-soda.

Karen August 28, 2008  

Those old scraps surely bring back old memories to you of past projects and some good times. I don't blame you for wanting to play with them instead of the new stuff.

Helen in the UK August 30, 2008  

I'm much more drawn to scrappy or multi-fabric quilts than 'matchy matchy' new fabric line ones. Lovely that we can have a choice of whether to play with new fabric, older scraps or just mix them altogether isn't it?!!
Enjoy :)

Mary Johnson September 02, 2008  

For the most part I don't like overly coordinated quilts so I like playing in my scraps. I do have one quilt on my to do list that I bought fat quarters and yardage from a fabric line but it will end up as a gift.

Jenni September 04, 2008  

I love my scraps too, but it only takes one cut of the scissors to give you a left-over scrap! I too have a lovely stash - lots of repros - and over the last 12 months when I have been on a very limited income and haven't bought 'a single thing', I have so appreciated having that fabric there in the cupboard.

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