Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Stash.

Well, it's a fairly serious situation in there. If you're a quilter I know you know I know you know what I'm talking about. There's a large tote of 30s. Another stuffed with Amy Butler and Joel Dewberry and Denise something. There's a bunch of American Jane, some miscellaneous Moda. A little Kaffe - although not as much as I'd like... a smallish, heavy bag of sock monkey coordinates... You're getting the picture.

But the heart, the soul, in the belly of the beast are the civil war reproductions. Ahh, just typing those words fills me with feelings of 'happy tree.' How did I end up with a collection of - wait, whut? something with 'war' in the title? Well, that's a story for another day. Suffice it to say it's quite a large collection and I had a collector's sensibility about collecting these treasures - learning names of manufacturers, designers, lines, and organizing everything by designer and line. Upon closer inspection, I realize the number is double my first estimate of 1000. I think it's got to be closer to 2000 different fabrics. Uh, which is not only enough to achieve my original goal of having 'no repeats' but more like 8 or 9x the number of fabrics I actually need for this undertaking. Yeah okay, maybe I got carried away. As I confessed earlier, it was a genuinely classifiable (certifiable) hoarding situation, no doubt. But as i stood on the brink of starting 'Jane's Addiction' in earnest - something I've been planning for years - I knew the stash would have to be tamed.

...soooo... I spent many many (many) hours this past week going through five big bins' worth of civil war repro scraps, fat quarters and yardage. Since most of it was organized by designer and line and not by color/value, which is what i would need for selecting fabrics for individual blocks, I had a lot of work to do. I worked my way through the bins, sorting by hue and value, and also pulling out the large florals and the high contrast prints I've pretty much decided I'm not going to be able to use... I had to go through the various project totes and pull fabrics from those and deal with finding the odd bag of stash that never quite made it to the mothership - or the piles that fell off the back end of the table... Ooh, there was some good stuff in there. Ok, and I'll admit, I did take some quality time just getting reacquainted with these old friends again... They've been away on a major holiday. Locked up in a castle dungeon more like.

Once I had everything grouped by color and value/hue within the color, and had the oddballs sorted out and banished the uglies and the scratchies, I took a loose count of each grouping to be sure I had enough "medium blues" to cover all the diamond shaped blocks, for example. It was quite a project but even though there are still a lot of unknowns, I feel better prepared now, knowing approximately which blocks are going to be made using a given color group, I can now start making these little puppies. I am starting with Indianapolis in green. Next up will be four stars in yellow.

Side note: if this were a book this would be a sidebar... I'm doing this 'Jane' in a TATW (trip around the world) which means there will be concentric diamonds of blocks that carry both a common pattern theme and are in the same color family (e.g., blocks with circle motifs in pale pink). The 'original' did this in color but not in motif or value so it was harder to decipher that TATW pattern visually. My idea, quite a few years back already, was to reorganize the blocks based on motif and value (light/dark) and then reassign position and color groupings based on that. It took some doing but I achieved that, thankyouverymuch. And yes, that took quite a bit of time but it was definitely a labor of love - or at least an attack of compulsiveness I don't regret. And thank god I saved a few printouts of the design because the dear Jane software (probably user error) did not save my masterpiece! At the same time, I really like the overall color impression of the original so I want to keep it looking somewhat scrappy - not 'too organized,' not 'too clean.' Sounds like a challenge... Can she do it?


  1. It's hard to say no to all those nice quilt fabrics...good luck with you Dear Jane! I kind of stuck with my black,grey, white and creme version.

  2. I will enjoy watching your progress!

  3. Ha, yeah, I had a problem there! I think it's under control now... I think it's cool to see all the different ways people approach a given quilt pattern... So much diversity and creativity