I was always a stash maker but now I’m beginning to wonder. I can really only remember about 10% of the fabric I’ve got …and rarely do I have exactly what I have in mind as being the perfect colour for a particular shape. Imagine a painter wanting to put a little dab of ultramarine in a picture and saying “well I’ve got pthalo, that’s close enough…it’s blue, it’s saturated, it’s dark and I bought this tube from that really fancy store and paid a lot for it – so I’ll use that!”
Yes…. sometimes that can work amazingly well because it just throws things slightly off course and, believe me, I don’t like perfectly matched things. I don’t even see why one needs to wear matching socks or mittens – why? But if you’re aiming for a cool palette to show a cool mood and you throw something that jars for no reason other than that’s what you had….it’s not a good choice.
I see this happening all the time in workshops..people will say I have to use this green because it’s what I brought with me…oh yes, it is expedient and less wasteful, but is it artistically right? And what is your goal here? One of the problems of having a large fabric collection is that you feel you should use it. There’s a guilt trip if you head out to buy or make more…oh yes, I know about sneaking bags in from the car, heading straight to the washing machine!!! (they don’t notice you’ve got new fabric once it’s all wet and crumpled!) I suppose you could keep a gallon of water in the car actually and just douse and wrinkle the stuff even before you get home! But, I digress…again: what is the primary goal?
I remember years ago thinking a famous artist couldn’t be a proper quilter when she told me that she had no stash!! “Oh” she said “I’ve a few leftovers on a small bookcase, but mainly I dye what I need for each piece. When I have the idea for the piece, then I plan the fabric”. I actually thought: “well she’s an artist not a quiltmaker and that explains such weird behaviour”!! Ahh, blissful youth!
So now, I’m planning on liberating yards and yards of old fabric from the stacks in the sewing room – I want to see air at the tops of those piles, not pieces squashed in every which way. I’ll be an artist AND a quiltmaker!
And, if you have been, thanks for reading… AND commenting!! Elizabeth