Wednesday 22 April 2015

Things I've learned #5

It's only fabric.

That's right, it's only fabric.  I know we love it: we love the colours, the patterns, the endless choices.  We save it, stroke it, and maybe a few of us even roll around in it.  But still it is only fabric and we shouldn't respect it too much.

What I mean by this is that we shouldn't be too afraid to cut into it. After all it was bought to be used, not to sit in boxes looking lovely.  At least that's what I bought mine for.

I have learned that if I care about it too much, am too reluctant to chop a special piece, that's when my quilts don't work.  It becomes about the fabric, not the quilt, and that's all wrong.  

The most recent case in point was Inner City.  I had a fabulous piece of fabric I wanted to use, but I couldn't get that quilt going. It looked lumpy and clumsy and not at all what I had imagined.   It was only when I took a deep breath and starting cutting that things started to work.

Take a look at the original fabric:

Now my first go...

And finally, the same fabric after I got over myself and used my rotary cutter. This is what became the core of the quilt.

It is sometimes a bit scary, but maybe that's not a bad thing, and it's not like it's irrevocable (unless of course you cut 1" squares).  Here's a quilt where I had cut my favourite fabric into chunks, then decided I shouldn't have.  If you look at the bird on the right you can see where I sewed 2 bits back together.

And another.  I know that somewhere in this quilt I pieced together two bits of the Charley Harper nuthatch print, but looking at the picture I can't see where.

 In short, be brave.  What's the worst that can happen?


Leanne Parsons said...

You're absolutely right!! I love to look at new fabric, but it's even more fun to cut it up and make something from it!

Barbara Sindlinger said...

I've been working myself up to cutting up and using some of my favorite fabrics. And I like what I'm making with mine too.

Ann said...

You are so right. Use the best stuff first. Who "deserves" it more? When I've held fabric for a long time, it eventually becomes less attractive. And quilts are always better with when we use what we like best.

Mary Marcotte said...

What a great line: It's only fabric. It's not a baby or a puppy or money or favorite plant. Cutting into it won't make it howl or look ugly. Cutting into fabric is playing. There really is no such thing as a bad cut. Those are just opportunities to rethink, puzzle, engineer something new, design something (now) more exciting.

You really have a great attitude with "It's only fabric."

Maryse said...

I try not to hold on to fabric too long as there is always something new and let's face it, fabric style and colors goes out of style and become less attractive.

audrey said...

So true! It's really hard to take the plunge and cut into the fantastic fabric though. I find myself hoarding the best and then having to force myself to use it!

Lara B. said...

That is so true Kaja and I need to remember it more often. I am often hesitant to cut up fabric that I love, thinking that the pattern and purpose have to be absolutely right. And it doesn't help to keep a fabric too long on the shelf...our tastes change. Just a half an hour ago I was hesitating to use fabric again. But now I am going to toss those fabrics in the washer and start planning how to cut them up.

LA Paylor said...

oh you are preaching to me. I get so precious about my favorites. It's not like I won't get to see them used! I think it's something about using them takes them out of the possibilities for the future--I have trouble with that part. I would have had a hard time cutting into the city scape. Of course now that you've made your art it looks fabulous and one can't imagine anything better for it but when it's whole, it's just so hard to slice. I am currently using four fabrics I have loved and hoarded and it feels good actually. I hope the quilt ends up being worthy of them!! LeeAnna