Hello! This is Teresa from Fabric Therapy. Thank you Madame Samm and everyone for having me back to post again on Stash Manicure! If you don't remember me and my "wall of stash," here's an embarrassing picture from a previous Stash Manicure post.
I always wonder what I could possibly share with all you talented ladies that you don't already know, then I stumble down to the quilt cave and something hits me out of the blue. I always know it's going to be something about organizing and justifying/using our wonderful fabric stashes. This time, an idea came to me as I was working on one of the many UFO's that I promised myself I would finish this year.
I needed a little inspiration on drawing/drafting some overalls for my redneck clothesline. I like to keep plenty of inspiration around me in the form of quilt books, patterns, and favorite projects pulled/saved from my favorite quilt magazines. I organize my books by topic on bookshelves and file the patterns and loose magazine pages in sheet pocket protectors in hanging file folders, separated into categories that seem to make sense to me. After all, I need to be able to locate all these 'nuts' that I am squirreling away!
I also save other odd bits that might get the creative juices flowing some day...fronts of greeting cards, pictures torn from a magazine or junk mail, a doodled drawing from an inspired moment, a photo from a quilt show, a scrap of wrapping paper, pages from quilt calendars, paint swatches, etc...and paste them into my creative journal. This is what my funky, crazy journal looks like.
I even started a second one, just as ugly and awkward as the first one.
Anyway, I wanted a little inspiration for the yard of my redneck house block in "All Around the Town," a past BOM by Sue Garmon. Here are the other nine blocks that I have mostly finished. She is much too fine a person to include a redneck house in her lovely design...that is my doing (pardon my old, pink design wall...)
I knew I had saved something that would help me out in this situation, so I went to my loose files of quilt patterns and projects saved from magazines. I was feeling a "NEED TO FEED" from the wealth of all that saved material.
The hanging file folders were so full that I was having a hard time navigating through the drawers to find what I was looking for. I found that each hanging file I reached for had old, outdated stuff in it that I was no longer interested in. There were also some projects that I decided I didn't need directions for anymore. Maybe now I don't need, for example, the detailed instructions on how to make a 9-patch block. My skills have changed , my tastes have changed, and available quilting techniques have changed in the almost 30 years I've been quilting.
Wowie zowie, we don't have to make plastic templates for everything now! We have rotary cutting, paper piecing, freezer paper, computer quilt design programs, quilting book libraries, the blogosphere! Maybe at some point in the future, quilt projects will just make themselves, willed by our newly-learned powers of creative, crafty mind control!
OK...maybe not. Maybe I should just save a picture of the interesting setting or the color combination instead of the directions for some of these old, tired things and throw the rest of the pages away. That's when I discovered that I was feeling the "URGE TO PURGE." I turned 50 in December, and I think I'm feeling the need to reduce, reuse and refocus.
Let's face it gals, we probably can't make everything we've been saving in this lifetime! We are going to have to be a wee bit selective.
Some of my saved project magazine pages are from the 1980's! Some still display the magazine name and date, but with others I can tell the age due to the yellowed pages and the black and white photos...OUCH! Wow...I've been hoarding some of this stuff for a long time! Bad, bad cop...NO donut!
Now...what was I looking for...oh yes...a picture of overalls. I pulled out the file folder I label "PEOPLE." Wow...I have not been in HERE for a while...what a bunch of old stuff mixed in with a few treasures!
I found some things that I am not interested in anymore AT ALL! That stuff can go into the recycling bin and I can reuse the sheet pocket protectors for NEW saved projects or patterns (that I will probably never get to....hmmm...oh well...at least the pages have not yellowed...yet...). I'll save any purchased patterns I no longer want for blog give-aways (more on that later...).
Some things are easy enough for me to draft now that I've accumulated a little quilting experience...and courage, so maybe I just want to remember the setting or colors. Those things I 'manicure' with my scissors and glue into my journal on a clean page, or an empty spot on an old page. If I don't have time to glue them into my journal at the time, I just save them in one of my empty sheet pocket protectors (I love school/office supplies...) until I can make a a little project of it. I think this was from a 1986 Quilt World magazine.
This was a cute clown block from Quiltmaker Magazine, but now I just want to save the block schematic. I think I could draft a clown now, if I wanted. I can clip a couple of things for my journal and recycle the rest.
I found the perfect sized empty space in which to glue them.
Same with this one.
Some projects are definitely classic, oldie-but-goodie's...like this quilt from Quiltmaker. I made this as a baby quilt for my niece and I might want to make it again some day, so I will keep it for now. I saved all the plastic templates I made at the time (Lucy is now 15!), and they tuck nicely in the sheet pocket protector along with the pattern pages.
(I gave the quilt away over 13 years ago, before digital photography arrived in this household, so I had to take a picture of a picture from my quilt scrapbook to share it with you...sorry!) Aren't we lucky to have digital photography now...and blogging?!
I've decided to throw away the directions for the following quilt and just save a picture. I saved it initially because I really like the way the Irish Chain pattern was treated in the borders, just outside of the Sunbonnet Sue blocks. I'm also a sucker for pretty hand quilting motifs, so I will glue the quilt picture in my journal and file the quilt pattern away with others in the file of the same name.
I'm not a big fan of Sunbonnet Sue, or her boyfriend, but I have to keep some things for sentimental reasons. My mom does not quilt...my Dad's mother was the family quilter. Before my Mom went into assisted living and ultimately into a nursing home (where she is now), she admitted that she had always wanted to make a Sunbonnet Sue quilt when she was a girl. She was at a point in her life where she was losing function and really needed a project (this was in 1988). I rounded up some background squares and fabric scraps. She wanted to draft the patterns herself and make the blocks. I was to put the top together and hand quilt it for her. She hand appliqued and embellished the blocks and I got the quilt finished in time for her to enjoy it for a few years. Again, another picture of a picture (with my daughter, then a baby, crawling all over it).
Related to my pattern files, I love my "HOW TO" files, housed in two sturdy magazine files. Every time I find a new technique, or an improved old technique, I store it in a sheet pocket protector and save it.
It has been fun going through and purging my files. I have leaner, meaner files and now I have a whole NEW list of projects to make from things I had completely forgotten I had saved away! It was like shopping without spending any money! And I can commit to making these new/old projects FROM MY STASH...in a many cases, I had already bought fabric for these patterns before I squirreled them away, so I am all set!!
To celebrate sharing with you on Stash Manicure this weekend, I am hosting a give-away over at my blog, Fabric Therapy. I found five BRAND NEW PATTERNS THAT I NEVER USED (well, they were new at one time!) when doing my purge in the "PEOPLE" file. Leave a comment here, and leave me a comment on my blog before 9:00 AM EST, Monday, January 24 to win the whole bundle of patterns plus some new fat quarters and notions! One quilter's trash is another quilter's treasure!! Thank you so much for reading along and good luck in organizing your creative muse!