A fresh start for 2019 means going through my fabric stack.
I purchased every piece with good intention. I either had an idea for the way I wanted to use it, or the fabric was simply too beautiful to leave at the store. Textile lovers know that our fabric stashes can grow to legendary proportions, one yard at a time, for those reasons and so many more. It’s hard to resist the call of a gorgeous fat quarter bundle.
But personal tastes and styles change. Other times the vision of that perfect pattern never manifested in reality. So a couple of years ago, I decided it was time to let go of some of the fabrics I’d loved so much. I performed a major clean out. I won’t lie. It was hard. It was very hard to let go of yardage I’d purchased with such good intentions. Hard to let go after I had allocated each purchase from my quilting budget.
As I looked at all the fabric that I was ready to part with, instead of being sad, I found myself excited at the prospect of where it was going and knowing that each carefully chosen piece still had joy to bring to somebody else. What began as a simple closet clean out turned into something much more meaningful. I donated the fabric to a local charity that makes quilts to help spread some kindness across the community.
They used the fabric to help make quilts for those in need. They used the fabric to help build soft, fluffy beds for fur-babies in shelters. The fabric went to good use and purpose.
I’ve kept that experience close to my heart, and I have made it an annual tradition to review what I’ve got and think critically about what I truly will use. If it no longer fits into the vision of future projects, I ask myself if the fabric can bring abundance and kindness to others. The answer is always yes. And that yes fills me with a renewed sense of creativity, joy, and love for the quilting community I am apart of.
Today I am working on the first part of a clean up. This effort is not just about my overcrowded studio space, although it’s somewhat related. It’s about my project stack. There are several things just lurking. A binding for a friend’s antique quilt find. A group project with a deadline. And the numbers on the list just keep going. It’s a lengthy tally, but I really do want to get these things done!
While plentiful, each task will only take a short time to complete, and will bring me a ton of satisfaction. They also require a little deliberate action of simply “doing”…when I really want to go play with new fabric I was gifted or watch a video of a favorite Instagrammer. It takes a little focus and discipline to make sure I don’t just ignore the stack completely in favor of almost anything else.
But I know that if I will take this weekend to chip away at these little tasks, I will be able to cruise into the upcoming new year with a lighter load of obligations. Having fewer things lurking on my to-do list means more time to play. As an added benefit, my studio gets cleaner, too!
Sometimes, less really is more!
This weekend I’m going to be all about wrapping up loose ends so I can jump into 2019 with creative abandon.
I am very excited to be participating in a 6 person “Round Robin” that will carry over into the new year. I consider everyone in our group to be extremely talented and I cannot wait to see my quilt when it comes back to me late next summer.
A Round Robin is a fun cooperative project for a group of quilty friends. Everyone makes a center medallion to start the fun and it gets passed along to each participant in turn. Everyone adds a round of their own design (basically an inner border) meant to highlight the medallion and create a beautiful quilt. So, in typical Round Robin fashion, I passed my medallion to the next person in the group knowing I wouldn’t see it again for about 9 months. It’s super secret sewing!
I had the choice of requesting certain particulars related to adding fabric, applique, any blocks I don’t like (there aren’t any) but I chose to be let go of creative control this time around. It’s a little bit scary, but I realized that if I want a quilt that looks exactly like I envision, I can just make it myself. This participatory project allows me to reap the rewards of other talented quilters’ ideas, visions and skills. That’s an opportunity too good to pass up!
A Round Robin also tasks me with thinking differently about my own quilting. When I get a kit full of someone else’s fabrics I am, at first, curious. What kind of colors, patterns and textures did they choose? Often, it is nothing I would have ever picked for myself (not the point, right?) Instead I get to move outside my comfort zone and craft something for a friend without my own personal fabric bias. I also want to be respectful of my quilt friend’s fabric investment, so I tend to plan and cut more carefully than I otherwise might. Finally, it forces me to use my very best quilting and pressing skills because I want the wrong side of their quilt to look as well-crafted as the right side.
Today I am also thankful that I am actually ahead of the game for this round! I used some template cutting and piecing techniques that are definitely not my norm. I didn’t want to wait until the last minute to try my hand at something unfamiliar, and somehow during the busy holiday season, I managed to be both inspired and productive.
I will definitely share pictures of finished quilts with you, eventually. Meanwhile, have you participated in Round Robins before?
Photos of your favorite returned quilt are welcome in the comments!
I have always been a fan of putting pen to paper when it comes to telling someone that I appreciate their thoughtfulness. Despite that, I confess to missing opportunities to do this when life inevitably gets busy.
Handwritten notes are never out of vogue, so I try to send them more often than not. And while I can’t send all of you a handwritten note, I do still want to offer my sincere thanks.
Thank you all for following me on this blogging journey. We are coming into the final week of the #31dayblogchallenge for 2018 and you have steadfastly taken the trip along with me. It’s given me a great opportunity to think about all the wonderful things we share as quilt makers, and this amazing community we call our own.
Like many people, I’ve been counting down the days and am both thrilled and relieved that it’s finally here. Cookies have been baked. Parties have been attended. Presents are wrapped and waiting.
Today feels like crossing the finish line and it’s a great ending to a joyful season.
Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice, or one of the other amazing winter holidays during this season, it is my most sincere wish that you experience good fortune, good health, and great happiness.
From mine to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!