Thursday, July 18, 2013

Joining the Discussion:  Fabric Love & Creativity

Yesterday Audrey of Quilty Folk started a series of quilting discussions which she's calling "The Courage to Feel Creative."  I understand that she'll post a new discussion topic every Wednesday for the next few weeks.  The subject of the first post was Fabric Love.  I think this is a really interesting discussion and I encourage you to click over and her post and the comments before you read my thoughts here. 

She wrote that she thinks of buying fabric as the first step in creating a quilt and believes we should buy fabrics we love because we'll be more inclined to use them.  She continued,
If each of us can draw from a pool of fabric that speaks personally to our senses, invites us to play, and makes us feel good about what we’re making, then we’ll have more courage to open up and take risks.  We'll be practically itching to pull it out and DO something with it!...

Simply put, I think that making a conscious effort to build a unique stash is essential to having confidence in what we make and being happy with the results!
I've been thinking about Audrey's post since I first read it yesterday.  Like paint to a painter, fabric is the medium we quilters use to make beautiful creations, no matter the style of quilts we make. 

There are several aspects of fabric that I notice when I'm making fabric choices:  color, print/plain, style, texture, and quality, to name the essential ones.  If I love the print but the fabric is stiff and unyielding, I'm not interested.  If the fabric is soft and inviting to the touch but the color is one I can hardly look at I'll leave the bolt on the shelf.  They all have to work together for me to want to buy the fabric, though occasionally I'll sacrifice one attribute in favor of the others. 

I don't believe I have to love every single piece of fabric I buy or own.  I don't like blue or yellow very much but omitting them from my palette limits options.  That's not to say that I buy fabrics I really can't stand to look at or touch.  I have to at least be able to make eye contact with my fabric choices!  But I also think that some less-favored or less appealing fabrics, especially when it comes to color, push me to be more creative.  Sometimes a fabric that have been languishing in the cupboard for a while seems suddenly to be perfect for that new idea for a quilt. 

I'm a scrap quilter and my fabrics come from various sources.  Some I purchase new, some come from barely-used shirts and skirts from thrift stores, and some are given to me by other quilters .  I don't love everything on my shelves (and I'll probably never use everything on my shelves, only because I don't have enough time left on earth to sew all of it!) but most of it stays. The fabrics that I pass on most often go because of texture or quality.

How about you?  What are your thoughts on fabric choices and the creative process?  Do you buy only what you really love?  Do the fabrics on your shelves drive your creativity or are you creatively inspired and then choose fabric?



  1. I think this is great! Being a scrap quilter myself, there is no way I can LOVE every fabric in my stash. I had to add that in my post today because there's no way to get it all into one post!:) Ahhhh... so much to write about and so many variables. I WANT to love my fabric and I know that adding in a big chunk of fabric that I feel is incredible makes me want to play. I also understand the joy in 'using up' and even using 2nd hand. Love that you added into the discussion!

  2. I may have loved each fabric as I chose it, or at least I knew the person receiving the quilt would love it. But I honestly do love the variety in scrap quilts. I get inspired by patterns and pull from stash to make it work.


I appreciate your comments and look forward to reading what you have to say. Thanks for stopping by.

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