By Edie McGinnis
I’m in the middle of a few projects. Not just one, mind you, but several. And every one of these projects requires fabric. Fancy that.
I have just about every piece of French General fabric dragged out that I own. It’s all hanging on a drying rack, except for the pieces that I’ve cut so far. There are 19 blocks completed in that stack you see. Another is laid out and ready to be sewn, and there are others that I have planned out toward the bottom of the stack. I will get to them soon. I hope.
I’m not sure how many yards of fabric I have purchased for this quilt. I want it to look scrappy but coordinated at the same time. So I have mixed it up from the many lines the designers have done in the last few years. Each time I found another piece, I bought a little more. OK, I confess. Sometimes it was a lot more.
The blocks I’ve made so far are looking nice, very nice. And I am happy about that. But I am about halfway through the quilt, and the drying rack looks as though I haven’t removed one piece, not even a fat quarter. Good grief, I probably should be measuring this stuff in miles rather than yards.
This pink and white pinwheel quilt is languishing at the moment. It’s for my granddaughter Sophia. I was going great guns on this one until I realized some of the fabric choices I had made weren’t quite working. I was getting a sloppy, disjointed look when I put some of the pinwheels together. Not good, not good at all.
I either need to repeat some of the pinwheels that are working nicely or I need to find more fabric. I have no other pieces that have that warm pink in them in my stash. What to do? What to do? I guess I’ll get it figured out. I better hustle though because she’s 3 months old now, and it’s going to be cold before we know it.
When I watch television in the evening, I work on the blue and white yoyos you see. I have enough made for at least four of the blocks I have planned. Here’s the sad part about this project. Originally, I had chosen a wide array of pinks, whites and reds for the quilt. Then I took a picture of someone’s yard filled with bachelor’s buttons and decided I should add a blue to the mix. The more blue yoyos I made, the better I liked that color choice. It’s not looking real good for the pink yoyos anymore.
However, I now have yards and yards of the pink fabric for the quilt. And I have those blues to work with as well. I’m taking a great deal of consolation in the fact that I can still measure in yards rather than miles. I know, I’m grasping here.
The last stack I’m working from is reproduction fabric. There are many mourning prints in shades of purples and grays, as well as indigos, double pinks and blues. They are perfect for making scrappy-looking quilts that will have the look of the early 1900s.
So far, three quilts have been cut from that stack. I have three or four more to go. I think I am going to have some leftovers –yards and yards of leftovers. Yikes! My fabric stash keeps growing by leaps and bounds.
I can somewhat rationalize having so much fabric. I write books, and I have to make samples. To do that, I must have the necessary supplies. Of course, that doesn’t explain all the other bins of fabric in my sewing room.
As I sit here in my sewing room surrounded by all this beautiful fabric, I am grateful that I live with a couple of cats and that I do not have to explain to another person why I have bought another piece of fabric. I also don’t have to account for the money I have spent, like some quilters I know.
I look at my bins of fabric and I think about a woman my sister knew. I don’t remember the woman’s name, so I’ll just call her Mary.
Mary wanted to learn to quilt. Of course, if you are going to quilt, you must have fabric. Mary took to fabric shopping like a duck takes to water. Like quilters everywhere, she visited quilt shop after quilt shop. She was able to find something she liked, no matter where she went.
Mary accrued quite a fabric stash in very short order, and she slipped it into the house when her husband wasn’t home. She took it upstairs to a guest room that was seldom used. In about a year, the guest room was overflowing. Mary had still not sewn a stitch, nor had she cut into even one fat quarter.
Mary’s husband began talking about painting the upstairs bedrooms, and Mary got nervous. Her husband had never seen her fantastic fabric stash. And that wasn’t the half of it: Mary didn’t want him to see it.
Mary called her quilting friends together and asked them to take her fabric. One of the ladies had a pickup truck that she parked under the upstairs window of the guest room. Mary and her friends threw yards and yards of fabric out of that window into the bed of the pickup truck. The truck was filled several times before the room was cleared out.
I don’t believe Mary ever bought another piece of fabric. Nor did she ever learn to quilt.
I am going to have to get very busy and sew every day for the rest of my life to use up even a portion of the fabric I have on hand. Either that, or I’m going to have to find a friend with a pickup truck and take a lesson from Mary.
Edie McGinnis is an author and editor for Kansas City Star Quilts. She writes every Friday.