Monday, December 14, 2009

Friends and Fabrics

In my last post about the binding on my orange quilt I received a comment from shout4joy who said, "I don't know how many times I have to "throw out" the inpiration fabric for a quilt, *sigh* I'm so glad to hear it isn't just me."

How many times has a fabric caught your eye, or you've purchased lots of a fabric because you think it will be a major part of your next quilt?

I only buy fabrics that inspire me, or that speak to me in some way. Then when it comes time to fabricate my quilt, (that's my term for designing, fusing and arranging the quilt) sometimes I find that special fabric no longer works as the quilt progresses. This is a tough thing to accept. You've dreamed or visualized the quilt, and how that fabric is going to look, and now you realize it has to go. It throws me for a loop! Actually the fabric has already done its job! It got you started on the journey toward a new quilt, it helped make all the fabric and color decisions. Now it's time to say good bye!

Go ahead and complete your quilt. The good thing is, you still have that fabric to use another time. Fold it up and put it in your stash. Who knows when it will find a spot in one of your future quilts. It may still inspire you, or it may become one of your old stand bys. Like the bright striped binding for my orange quilt, it created one of the richest and warmest quilts I've ever made. It still is important, it just isn't sewn onto that particular quilt. Without that binding fabric, the quilt would never have been made.

Fabrics are like friends. If you are fortunate, you have friends that you do special things with. I have coffee daily with one friend; another is my lunch friend, another is my best friend; one shares her love of books with me, another shares professional teaching concerns; and the list goes on and on. It's the same with fabrics: some are inspirational, some are work horses, some are bright, some are dark, some are light, and some are just background. Some of these get sewn in and some don't. Then one day your book friend calls and wants to have lunch with you. You can adjust to that can't you?  Maybe you'll go to a different restaurant and talk about different things. It'll be a little different, but you can still enjoy the experience.

Sometimes it is difficult to be flexible in making our quilts. We get an idea and we have to change the original concept and try something else. Sometimes it is a struggle to let an idea evolve, and sometimes it is easy. There is nothing wrong with removing a fabric or color. Let the situation rest overnight, and look at it again in the morning when you are fresh.  You'll know what the correct answer will be. These little "tests" make the job of creating a quilt more challenging, but you'll be so proud of the finished product when it's done.

Here is an image of a quilt called Under the Giant Coneflowers. The colors are the same as my Wow quilt, but this one has the wonderful striped binding that gave me so much trouble.

You can read the story behind this quilt at
Ann Fahl


WesternWilson said...

Ann, what is the green polka dot fabric? A batik? Love how you used it!

annieQ said...

It is a very old fabric, one of my favorites from Laurel Burche.