Thursday, January 26, 2012

Quilting and philosophizing


Forgive me if I get a little introspective here. I was puttering in my sewing room (aka my corner of the laundry room) a couple of days ago. I took a small finished top off the "design flannel" and was rearranging some pieces that have been hanging up there for ages to make way for a new project when I spied a little rectangle of red fabric I've been saving for more than 10 years. It's from a BOM I bought when I really had no confidence to make my own color choices and live with them. Since the puttering included cutting pieces for more hand pieced houses I thought I would finally use that little bit of fabric. How special it was going to be to finally include it in something. Then, when I went to put the house together last night I realized I cut the darn thing backwards!

This started me thinking. What was so special about this little scrap? I like it a lot, couldn't get any more of it and it was the essence of the color sense I admired very much in my LQS owner. I used to rely heavily on her choices but using this fabric made me realize I am now making my own choices. If you aren't there yet then I encourage you to mimic those you admire but choose projects where you feel comfortable experimenting with some choices of your own and one day you will realize you have some quilting confidence.

Second, how did that fabric spend over 10 years stuck to the wall? It was literally right in front of my face and I no longer noticed it. I need to step back and reassess what I have and USE IT. I have a lot of fabric and plan on getting more (lots more). But, if I love it enough to buy it and live with it then surely I can make quilts with it. I spent some time today fishing around in my fabrics just to see what inspiration I could get from them.

Finally, it is now making me compromise on the house project. I was following the little pattern faithfully so I figured the backwards piece was trash and tossed it. Then, this morning it hit me...make one of the houses face a different way. Duh! So I fished my little roof out of the trash bag and it will go into my house quilt. Those will be the neighbors who thumb their noses at the home owners association rules.

That's a lot of thinking about one measley little piece of fabric. But, you are quilters and you can understand. There is something about the color, pattern and potential in cloth that inspires us, warms us and makes us smile. We just can't resist it. It even calls our name from the trash can.


Thanks to all of you who took the time to comment about my red basket project. The overwhelming favorite was the on point setting with the red alternate squares. The top is finished and it is ready for hand quilting. I will be donating this as a raffle for the Quilts in the Barn breast canceer fundraiser this coming fall. This is my small way of remembering and honoring my late mother-in-law, Barbara, who passed away four years ago this month from breast cancer.


We have a new neighbor in the "Building Houses from Scraps" project. I finished block #2 and #3 is well on its way to completion. I will be checking that template a little closer from now on so no other pieces come out backwards.

26 comments:

Betweens said...

What a thrilling raffle quilt!! I love it so much what size is this beauty. I am sure with the funding that you will get with this quilt it will surely help breast ca.

I will be starting my wee house construction this weekend. I have 31 days to catch up on hard to believe that Jan is almost done.

regan said...

I love that you will have a 'crazy neighbor down the road' house included in your neighborhood of little houses! Fun! Glad you were finally able to give that little scrap a home! And your baskets quilt is gorgeous! Love it!

Janet O. said...

Beautiful raffle quilt!
I have seen house quilts where one house faces a different direction than the others. I love the effect!

Annette said...

I love your way of thinking and I will take your advice and use up those favorite pieces of fabrics. I also love your idea of a wayward neighbor. So fun!!

Karen said...

I like the red and white basket quilt.

I think your backwards facing house is the perfect solution and you get to use that "special" fabric. I had to chuckle at how long it had been on your board. I have a few pieces of fabric that I don't want to part with or use the last bit of. But putting it into a quilt would display it better than hidden on a stash shelf.

Kimme said...

Love your 'solution' Taryn :-) I think it must be that time of year when we look at our fabric stashes and think why am I not using this great fabric? My answer to that question is to use 'holy' fabric this year in as many projects as I can. After all isn't this what it was purchased for? Shouldn't be too hard lol.
I just love the red and white basket quilt. Hopefully I will make it to Linda's this year to be able to purchase a ticket.

Jeanneke said...

Hi Taryn,
I LOVE your little houses! Now I'm curious about the choise of your sashings...

audrey said...

oh how sweet to have a house facing the opposite way and it will be the one to always make you smile.:) totally enjoyed your post!

Sue said...

Lovely post Taryn. I agree all fabrics should be used but some just need to be stroked and made to feel at home in their new home before they are cut.
We don't have home owners associations here in the UK but think its a wonderful idea even if you do get to rub them up the wrong way occasionally!

Elyte said...

I will buy some tickets for your raffle quilt when I visit Linda's barn later this year. Who knows, maybe I can be the lucky winner. Enjoy your house building.

Cheryl said...

Sweet, romantic homes! Makes me want to move into the neighborhood...I would be tempted to buy the home that defies the design review committee.

Sue said...

It's a very lovely quilt and how nice to raffle it off.

Love the story about your little piece of fabric. Good that you could use it after all :) And your house blocks are very nice too.

Carla said...

I had one of those moments yesterday in my sewing room. I was putting together my peony quilt and the setting triangles were made out of a piece of fabric I have had for years. I was just a bit short but ended up piecing enough of it to do the last three corners. It made me so happy, a homage to ladies on the prairie who had to make due.
Love your red and white raffle quilt, and what a wonderful tribute!

Lori said...

What a great idea to have a reversed house!!!

Janet said...

I laughed out loud when I read "I plan on getting more - lots more" Oh yes - me too!! :0) The potential in cloth excites me like nothing else and I also get that about the little piece of red. I love to turn on the computer and find people that understand and love the same things I love. A great post!
Your basket quilt looks wonderful - what a beautiful tribute. An your little houses are adorable - I can't wait to see more!

Betsy said...

Taryn, I love the basket quilt and the little houses! I also appreciate your comment about the fabric on the design wall and no longer seeing it...I have a little house quilt that serves as an inspiration wall above the sewing machine to cover a closet door, anyway it is covered with so much stuff that I don't even see, much less know what I have pinned there! Interesting...I like your introspective post.

Maureen said...

Glad you were able to do something with that little scrap. Maybe at some level you've been looking for a way to use it for 10 years.
Gorgeous basket quilt - so good of you to donate it.

Sew Create It - Jane said...

I got my templates backwards too! So easily done ;o)

Greta said...

Just like there's two sides to every story, there are two sides to fabrics. Just a thought for next time. :-) I love your solution too! Great basket quilt for a superior cause.

merumo said...

Beautiful raffle quilt and cute houses! I'm very tempted to go back to sewing room right now.

MARCIE said...

I was so relieved to know that you reversed the house to save the red scrap! Your houses are so darling! And I love your baskets! Can I pin from your blog?

Pam P said...

Oh Taryn - LOL!! I love it that you pulled that scrap back from the trash :) The very first quilt that I ever made was a kit that I pulled out of my cousin's trash can (and, um, the trash can was already in the alley for pick up -Eeewww!). I've been making "kits" from my stash now, but I'll never forget that Trash Can Quilt! I love your little houses and those baskets are so great!

Jill said...

I love this blog post. Especially the part about your sewing room (a corner of the laundry room). And here I thought I was the only one using part of the laundry room for my sewing room. I am so glad I am not alone. Unfortunately I end up doing more laundry than sewing.

pinewood said...

Love your house blocks,and the story behind them. I have not started mine yet. I am keen to use all my scraps and see how it turns out.
The red and white basket quilt is stunning.

Sharon said...

What a generous donation, I love this quilt and I'm sure it will raise a lot of money for a cause very dear to me and many other quilters, thanks so much!

Diane said...

Hah, I'm the person who lives in that backward house! Every Christmas, our neighborhood is lit up like Las Vegas. It's always easy to distinguish our home which looks like a black hole on the street. I'm so pleased you fished that miscut piece out of the trash. I love those quirky elements in a quilt.

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