Song Lyrics+Ugly Fabric=Quilt!

What do you do when challenged with deadlines AND “horrible” fabric? Make one quilt that fits two challenges if you are me!

My local quilt guild, the Hospitality chapter of the Richmond Quilters Guild, put out the challenge “Music to my Ears.” I almost immediately had decided one of the songs from the band Squeeze would be my selection, because their lyrics always seem to be painting a visual image. 20160227-IMG_8638.jpg

And then, at our holiday party we had a round robin ugly fabric exchange where I ended up with eight 1/8th yards of fabric some would say only it’s mother could love.

As if by design the entire quilt unfolded in front of my eyes!  “Two fat ladies window shop something for the mantelpiece.”-(Pulling Mussels from the Shell.)

That incredible fruit lady fabric finally had a raison d’etre! Sketching and assembling the quilt was done very quickly. It all fell together like it was meant to be. The addition of the lyrics on the boardwalk was a last minute thought, when I realized the ‘planks’ of the boardwalk felt too clean. I probably should have checked how well the lyrics would fit.

The eight ugly fabrics are in the art hanging on the gallery wall–either as the frame or the art. (two of the pieces of art were additions from my very own well-loved stash.) The remaining piece I couldn’t work in ended up being the frame for the gallery sign. I dug in to my stash of alphabet stencils for the gallery sign and used Prismacolor, Copic and Micron pens to color and shade there and elsewhere on the quilt.

This is hanging at #MAQF Mid-Atlantic Quilt Fest through today and will then go to a local show at a church in Richmond for a bit.

*Mea Culpa. I have not posted a single photo from February!  I will make one big month-end post with an explanation and then strive to do better in March.

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Fabric 401K…

(Totally stole the title from my best quilting buddy, E.T.)

I was at my quilting group today. Surprisingly, after an hour or so of chatter, out of all the bizarre subjects we could have touched upon with a dozen women sitting in front of sewing machines…the conversation actually turned to FABRIC!

The color, feel, texture, ownership, collection, lusting, cutting and quilting of fabric. Believe it.

This is my theory on collecting fabric.

Fabric has to ‘age’ like a fine wine…

There are so many kinds of fabrics for quilting. Solids are like vegetables; good for you and all that, but hardly sexy or desirable when you start trolling around the quilt store.

What catches your eye are the sparkly things; the bright colors, the fascinating patterns, shapes, the hand-dyes, the novelties. All the candy shop portion of your diet. You know, the tasty bits. Those are the pieces that you can’t forget if you walk out of the store with your hands full of sensible solids.

The adorable snowmen, the Bali batiks, the swirly kaleidoscopes, those are the fabrics that you’ll dream about.

I can’t claim to remember all of what I own, (and I choose to put the blame squarely on a faulty memory rather than a surplus of fabric, thank you very much!) but if I find myself on multiple trips at multiple places buying (or lusting after :P) the same fabrics, chances are it will age well.

If it has been in the stash for a few years, pulled out and packed away repeatedly because it hasn’t found a quilt to call home, it doesn’t necessarily make it a bad piece of fabric. After countless auditions with so many other pieces of fabric, I will eventually bring home the right mate for it, I will find the pattern that will make it sing.

I have this secret aversion to using fabrics designed to go together together. I may like and even purchase multiple fabrics from the same line, but if they accidentally all end up in the same quilt it makes me crazy!

(If there is an easy and a hard way to do something, well, yeah…with me, the hard way wins out every time! I guess I figure ANYONE could come up with a nice quilt if the fabrics all matched!!! LOL)

I did ONE quilt, a Trip Around the World, for Arlie’s 16th birthday, and unwittingly collected a series of matching fabrics over a period of time…I did use them and it did look nice; but I had to purposefully go and find a few pieces that didn’t ‘belong’ and include them, for my own piece of mind.


So, the 401k. It’s like this. Our economy is uncertain. Times are tough, what will retirement be like in 20 years?  But, a yard is a yard is 36 inches, and THAT will never change.

I rarely buy fabric because I need it for a specific purpose, I tend to buy on ‘spec’, I buy what speaks to me loudest!

…. In twenty years, those vintage pieces of fabric will be full of unique, no-longer-trendy shades of brown and aqua. Their designs, by blending them with bits and pieces from here and there, will result in quilts which  will have a flavor all their own.

Oh….and having NOTHING to do with anything else except shameless self-promotion, don’t forget to go to my photo site, (to the right) and look, and BUY something pretty! 🙂