Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Stewing and twitching

The idea of a bit of a break from piecing was to push on with my quilting, but to be honest that's not happening.  It's ticking over just fine but I haven't managed to give it much more time than I usually would. No harm in the pause, though, and I have been using it to have a bit of a think about the quilts I have been making recently and the idea of Modern Utility.

I now have six quilts I have made using a combination of recycled clothing (mostly shirts) and fabric from my stash.  In each case I started with the bundle of shirts and then pulled extra fabrics that seemed to fit. Here they are.


The most obvious issue, for me at least, is that shirts come in a wide range of blues, reds, browns, greys, but that it can be harder to track down more interesting options.  I sometimes find one pale green shirt, or one peachy tone, but what I really want is three or four that will work together.  Probably I need to apply myself more to the search, but on the other hand you see a lot more men wearing blue shirts than peach ones.

It is also much easier to find appealing stripes, checks and tone-on-tones than, for example, large scale florals.  Well, I hear you say, what did you expect?  And that's a fair point.  It is also, for me, where the stash fabrics play their part, allowing me to build a wider palette, introducing extra colours and a ore varied range of pattern.  It's a balance I find visually appealing and searching out the stash additions can be lots of fun.

Then there's the issue of quantity: even an XXL shirt contributes a finite amount of fabric and, unlike yardage, when it's gone it's gone.  At least twice in making the quilts above I started off thinking there would be some sort of pieced border and then reached a point where I had to acknowledge that wasn't going to be an option.  On the other hand, I don't think either of the quilts suffered from the omission.  

The plus sides?  

I have used some colours I might not otherwise have chosen; sometimes the balance of stripes/plains/plaids seems to push me towards a certain feel or approach and I quite enjoy that.  

I like that I am using fabrics with a past life, carrying an extra bit of meaning into the quilt. 

There's something very liberating about chopping up an old shirt - I think maybe it's easier to be brave: after all it's only a shirt so if I don't like what I've done, it's not that big a deal.  I have also learnt to be both more relaxed about the prospect of being a bit short of fabric and more resourceful  in eking out my bits and pieces and in finding substitutes when I need to.  

Finally it seems to me that these quilts want to be used - they are for sleeping under, sitting under, wrapping around yourself (or at least they will be once they are quilted).

But enough of this...I have been stewing but I am also getting a bit twitchy.  Must be time to pull another pile and start chopping again.

In the meantime, since this happens to be Wednesday, I'm linking up with sew, stitch, snap, share with Linda and Julie.


21 comments:

  1. LOL, I guess your break was as successful as mine! But, I guess the end goal is a sustainable rhythm, so as long as there's flow, you might as well go!

    It's so great to see all the quilts together like this. It really does give a different perspective. :D

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  2. I like them all, but the yellow/gray is still my favorite! Your thoughts on balance in your fabric choices is a classic quilting technique. What goes around, comes around.

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  3. You have become very adept at using what you have and being resourceful about stretching the use of your fabrics. It has been a fun journey to watch.

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  4. Happiness is seeing all of your recent quilts together. I like the approach you're using and your process seems completely real and unpretentious (which I like).

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  5. So interesting to see all the quilts together from this 'series'. I really love the unique feel to each of the quilt, but can understand how you feel a certain limitation as well. I have loved seeing these all come together. Such an inspiration!

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  6. You have done amazing, creative things with these shirts. I like them all too, with the center one being my favorite.

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  7. Lovely to see these quilts together, unique and yet similar, a 'shirt series'yes? I too have wondered about the limited range of colour with shirts, but I thought that was just because mr D has a very limited colour range - blue, blue, oh and blue!

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  8. I like the variety of quilts you've produced with shirts as the starter. These are just how grandma made quilts...she'd save up old clothes and scraps from making clothes and make a quilt when she had enough. That's how I started making quilts. I didn't know you actually could buy fabric for making quilts only!

    The gold and gray is my fav. I was given a few fabrics a couple of years ago for my birthday in that color range and am waiting for just the right quilt idea to hit me for them.

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  9. Well, I'm in with everyone else and love the yellow and gray. They are all stunning, but wow, the sunbursts on yellow and gray just adds something that I can't quite define. Whatever it is, I want a piece. :) It's smart of you to build your stash around your shirt collecting. Luckily almost anything will work with blue but I'd understand how you'd like to find a different color on occasion. BTW maybe Linda is on to something--a shirt quilt QAL. Haha! I say this while thinking I don't even know how many shirts are needed to begin a quilt.

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  10. So good to see the collage of your past five quilts. I think Bonnie Hunter uses lots of shirts in her quilting, I once saw a video she'd made on "destructing" a shirt in double quick time - fascinating.
    Hope you've settled down now and no longer twitchy - I do know what you mean!

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  11. I find that I am more creative when the amount of fabric I have is limited. I like the idea that your recycled fabric quilts are utility quilts. They all have a lot of interest and it would be hard for me to choose a favorite.

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  12. At first glance I thought your heading was stewing and twerking !
    I love all your quilts but I can see you having to drive further and further as you exhaust local supplies !

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  13. Ps the yellow and grey is my favourite too

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  14. I admire what you have done and the amount of thought and time you have put into each truly original quilt. It's so nice to see them all together. You can be proud of these tops.

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  15. Your quilts are simply beautiful. I appreciate how you share when you're creating them.

    I've missed you, but I'm back now.

    Hunter

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  16. Necessity is the mother of invention. Setting 'limits' often jumpstarts creativity.
    Good things are going on here, thanks for sharing.

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  17. It's great to hear your thoughts on mixed recycled with stash. I think its a great idea to combine the two.

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  18. You do amazing things with your shirt stash! I like that the limitation in quantity challenges one's creativity and resourcefulness. It's a big part of the fun, I would think. I've looked at women's clothing at thrift shops, but there tends to be less of it, and it's often a blend (poly/spandex/rayon, etc.). Do you stick to 100% cotton in your quilts?

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  19. I don't think specific constraints need to be adhered to. If the goal is reuse, repurpose, recycle; any fabric that falls into those ideas are fair game in whatever proportions that make the design work?! Having said that; personal challenges however you define them are great for flexing designing muscles. All your quilts are wonderful and unique, eco friendly and your own designs. What's not to love?!

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  20. I have a question for you. How do you choose your shirts.

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  21. It's a beautiful collection, Kaja. As different as they are from each other, they all reflect something relaxed and lively--YOUR style! I always prefer quilts that include something old in them. I agree that working with old shirts and other clothing is a joyful journey. These quilts really show your joy in the making.

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