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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

True Confessions

I have a terrible secret that I feel I need to confess about my stash. When I discovered my online Quilty Buddies about 4 years ago, I didn't have a stash, except for the scraps leftover from my few projects, because I didn't know about stashes. I thought I would just go out and buy fabric for each new project. Then I learned that a quilt artist needs to have a stash, just as a painter needs a collection of paints. So I began picking up a lot of pieces of batik, in all colors, because I loved them, and then I added more batiks, washed with gold to use for my Women of the Bible blocks. Finally, I realized that I needed much more variety in pattern and color, so last year I joined the fat quarter bundle of the month club at Grandma's Attic Quilts online. Then this year I added Grandma's monthly African Indigo fabrics bundle of the month and a Flower of the Month half yard bundle program from Quilts Online. Somewhere along the way I also collected a lot of pieces of the State Birds fabrics (I am a birdwatcher), and a few large pieces for backings and borders for WIPs.

Now for the horrible confession; each month as these fabrics arrived, I oohed and aahed over them, then washed, dried and folded them and (gulp) stacked them in a basket on top of the basket hamper in the laundry room and thought, "some day I need to press these fabrics and organize them in my bedroom studio area." Now, my laundry room is really just a wide corridor from the back door into the kitchen; and as the stack grew higher and higher, I was afraid it might avalanche down on top of anyone who passed through (in the rural tradition of SE Colorado, most of my visitors come in by way of the back door into the sunporch, rather than through the front door.)

For the past few weeks I have been organizing my bedroom/quilt studio, getting rid of stuff that collects, even though no longer needed, digging out my also piled under sewing table, moving a chair that was also piled under, and replacing it with a set of plastic drawers and tubs so that the fabric and WIPs had a home other than the chair and sewing table. [I've also been cleaning and organizing the living room and office, but that story is not as entertaining.] So this became the perfect time to start pressing those fabrics that now had a place to move to. I've never liked ironing, but pressing small pieces of fabric for quilts is rather enjoyable, if done in small increments. So each evening I have been pressing a set or two off this Himalaya of fabrics and placing them in tubs. It's now more the size of Pikes Peak (see top photo), and will soon become a scandalous memory, and I can now riffle through the tubs to find the fabrics I need for a project, without having to stop and iron the darn things first.

The assemblage of hexagons on the table is my June 12 x 12, still a work in progress (another shameful confession.) Now that I am organized, I have no more excuse for not finishing it.

This is almost as satisfying a project as pulling nasty weeds and elm seedlings from the garden. I feel so good when it is done and I can see the difference.

My stash is being admired by Qwilty Cat, made from a cutter vintage quilt, that I found at a friend's antique shop back in the days when I only dreamed about making quilts.

The next object of organization is my cutting table which is hidden under Women of the Bible and Names of Jesus pattern notebooks and tracing paper PP templates, scraps from previous projects, fabrics that I am auditioning for Names of Jesus blocks, recently purchased glues of various types, and heaven knows what else. By the time I get this place organized it will be time to start all over again.


Kay said...

It's definitely organization time--everyone is doing it. I like the picture of your cutting table; mine looks much the same. The organization bug hasn't bitten yet here.

jenclair said...

And my cutting table! Any large surface seems to invite piles of fabric, tools, paper, etc. I have to clear off the debris on a regular basis, but it accumulates again so quickly.

I started a "clean and organize" a couple of weeks ago, but never finished, and now it looks much like it did before I started!

DubiQuilts - Debbi said...

Welcome to the club, you are a "QUILTER".

I clean a few weeks ago and now I have a mess again.

Susan Ramey Cleveland said...

Enjoyed your stash story and the pictures of your sewing area.

Allison Ann Aller said...

This was a fun read! Those African indigos sure caught my eye, too...

Thanks for reminding us of your brother's amazing photographs. I've added his blog to my RSS feed so now I won't miss any new posts. He is a really good photographer, and I love his feel for nature.

OK, now it is time for some serious baseball. Go Rockies!

Jane Ann said...

Ah, the stash. That's how it starts: one little joint ... and then you're hooked. You will mess it all up again--that's the only way we can work. But you will feel sooo virtuous for a while. Kidding aside, it will make your creative hours a lot more fun. I find too much mess makes me feel dragged down. Lovely corner. (How do you like your Bernette, BTW? That's the very first nice machine I ever looked at.)