Thursday, February 15, 2018

February RSC18

I'm between big projects right now, so these last few days have been filled with purple strings. When I was a kid, or maybe much longer than that, I was crazy about purple. My bedroom was kind of an apple green with a purple and green flowered bedspread. I had a purple sweatshirt-like T-shirt dress and a dusty purple suedish pantsuit with lots of decorative grommets on it that made me feel way cool in the 70's. My aunt was shocked that my bridesmaid's dresses were peach and not purple when I got married. So you get the picture. Purple was my fave. 

So you would think that I'd gravitate toward purple in my fabric selections when I make quilts. I do put purple in rainbow quilts, I guess, but my purple stash is just kind of pathetic. Lots of dusty grayish purples from the 80's (I think?). And then those reddish purples that I can never decide whether they should go in with the purples or the reds. So my string blocks for February weren't as exciting for me to make as those blue ones were in January.

But make I did! 
Just as I did with my January blocks, I put a strip of the other RSC month's colors in each block for a jazzy little twist. I'm not terribly fond of these blocks. They sure do jump around a lot in value variation. But that's okay. I did have to force myself to use some "uglies," and I have to admit there are a few that I just kept rejecting. I suppose those are the ones that need to be shunted off somewhere instead of taking up space in the bins and drawers. And now I know that if I want to add to my fabric stash, I need to look for purples that make me happy (more bluish purples and more modern prints of any kind of purple).

Speaking of adding to fabric stashes, did anyone else respond to the news of the discontinuation of a major fabric line the way I did: with just a little bit of guilt about buying habits?  Or lack of buying habits? When I make a quilt for a friend or family member, money is no object. I buy what I like/need without one glance at the price. But when I make a quilt to donate (which is the majority of my work), I always try to find the cheapest way out. Sale fabrics, discount companies, giveways, big coupons, and--the latest--my stash. So far this year, I have spent just over 11 new dollars (not counting postage) on quilts, including a twin size quilt, three small quilts, and all these string blocks. I know I can make a case for having spent money in the past, because how else would I have built this stash? But if we all are always out looking for the bargains, are we hurting ourselves in the long run when we want a nice variety of quality fabrics to choose from for our projects? I know it's complicated. Just wondering. Especially this year when my mode of operation is to try to use up what I have on hand. 

Anyway, here are my February blocks mixed in with the January blocks.
I could play with these all day! 
Two things I'm noticing: first, I found that it helps to check my multi-colored and neutral scrap bins when I'm short on a color because there are some colors and some parts of fabrics that will work (see that butterfly in the bottom right corner or that sunflower print from a stripe on a panel); second, I see that I don't have as many modern scraps as old ones. Why is that (aside from all the years of scrap accumulation)? I think that since I started making more scrappy backs and scrappy bindings on quilts, I tend to use up almost all of the modern prints when I make a quilt. I guess there is a case to be made for buying a little more modern fabric than I need--or, perhaps eventually I'll get to a point where all my quilts are from new fabric and there are no leftovers. You think? One last thing that is dawning on me: when you make scrappy quilts, the amount of scraps don't really go away. In fact, maybe scrappy quilting actually increases scraps. They just get smaller. Uh-oh.

So that's it for this month's RSC18. It was a good project for a few evenings of watching the Olympics. To have something to do for the remaining nights, I've finally pulled out my Lake Michigan quilt to add the embroidered beach grass. I've started the skeletons of the stems. After I get those on, I'll start filling them out.

I've also been puttering around with the Hollyhocks quilt, filling in the background with stippled texture. It could be a bit boring, but doing it in hot pink makes me smile, even if it won't show that much when it's done.


I'm linking up this week with Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Bee Social, with Angela at soscrappy for ScrapHappy Saturday and with Cynthia at Quilting is More Fun than Housework for Oh Scrap (on Sunday). I'll update the links as they go live.

Have a good weekend, whether you're doing some TV watching/sewing or not.

19 comments:

Mari said...

I love your string blocks and think they look great! My cousin also loved purple as a kid and even had a purple bedroom. She still likes purple, and is also very fond of red. As for the Free Spirit thing, I think they must have been very badly mismanaged, but there are some bigger problems in the fabric business. This may be sacrilege, but I think there is just *too much* fabric. It gets so confusing, and fabrics are around for such a short time before they're replaced by other things. I know that the point is to sell things, but they have flooded the market and it's remarkably hard to keep up. What hobbyist can care about a new fabric line when they haven't absorbed last month's new fabrics? I could go on and on. Anyway, lovely projects!

Linda said...

I love purple (which I found out was a rare thing in quilters when I first started) but like you say, my purple stash is pathetic - not sure why! I love your strings, that is going to be beautiful.
I totally agree with Mari's comments about the fabric industry. My dilemma is that I tend to order 1/4 yard or a fat quarter of fabric to see if I like it. Then when I finally get around to using it, there is little or none left to buy, and I spend all my time searching the internet for it! Maybe that's my problem and not the industry's problem. ;)
As for Free Spirit, it does sound like mismanagement. So sad for the employees and the designers associated with the company.

PaulaB quilts said...

Your string blocks are really lively and interesting. You use a complete range of values, dark to light, so all the prints work together. I've been struggling with purple and have hardly any nice lighter prints. Your use of other jazzy colors gives them added zing. Keep up the good work! I'm with you on using my stash this year, so far so good.

Louise said...

Purple is a color that seems to go in and out of fashion, isn't it? Certain shades seem to evoke specific eras. I think your string blocks look super! Tons of interesting contrasts and textures, just how they should be :)

I agree with Mari's point that there is too much new fabric on the market too quickly. The fabric industry is mimicking "fast fashion" where there's a new line every few months or even weeks. I'm sad that FS failed because their fabrics are truly beautiful, but I'm not surprised to see a reset/culling of the industry. So many bloggers are writing about "sewing their stash" because it's just so easy to buy more than we can ever use and then our stuffed cupboards remind us that our lifespans are finite :)

In the long run, I feel the most important thing fabric can do is become a useful, loved object like a quilt or clothing item. As long as we're actively creating things we cherish, no guilt is needed. The talented designers of FS will regroup and move forward. Your heart is in the right place to feel concern for their well being, which does not surprise me :)

Janice said...

Interesting musings about scraps and how they never seem to go away and they get less and less modern. :) It's so true! I almost dread clicking on those e-mails I get from fabric shops just because I know I'll be lusting after some new line of fabric when I already have more than enough to make beautiful quilts. In spite of not having more modern fabrics in your string quilt, I think it looks great! And it's only going to get better the more colors get added in. Scrappy is happy!

Quilty Fred said...

Pretty butterfly fabric, and all other strings as well! Love your Lake Michigan quilt, what a beauty!

Katie said...

Great blocks! I, too, love purple but find my stash sadly lacking. But most of my quilts are for others and I choose fabrics based on how I perceive them, not what I like. (Of course, I still purchase fabric I like, but not everyone needs a P-U-R-P-L-E quilt!) As for the fabric industry, I feel bad that a bigger name has failed, but there are so many other big businesses that have failed recently, too. I remember K-Mart as a staple growing up...one in every town and now they are almost entirely gone. Restaurants, too, disappear with time. It's about supply and demand as well as management, but I truly don't think it's up to me to buy all the fabrics. If I'm bankrupt and homeless, I can't support any of the businesses, chain stores or not. And others have said as much, but at first the rapid release of new lines by known designers was fun and exciting. My pocketbook wasn't able to even try too keep up, so I didn't. By the time I had a good enough job to join in, there were so many, it was overwhelming. And the ones I liked 6 months ago were long gone anyways. The laws of supply and demand will sort this out in time, but until then, I do feel badly for those losing jobs when the company they depended on folds. Many of them had nothing to do with what happened and they are truly the ones we should be concerned with. The high-ups that made the decision? They've likely got a plan...they knew it was coming.

LIttle Penguin Quilts said...

The great thing about string blocks is that they make such neat patterns when you put them all together, regardless of the color of the individual strings. Yours are going to make a beautiful quilt!

Ivani said...

Your string blocks are looking gorgeous together for me, nothing wrong with then. Have fun making them, this is the point.

The Joyful Quilter said...

Seeing February's String blocks mixed with January's, I'm even more convinced that adding that spark strip in a different color was a stroke of genius!!

Linda said...

I love your strippy blocks, they all work together so well.

Karen's Korner said...

Your blue and purple blocks go well together.

Cathy Tomm said...

Great string blocks. Love to see them all together. I buy the good stuff when I want it. But if it is a donation, you bet I want backing on sale or some part on sale.

Cynthia Brunz Designs said...

Look at all those pretty string blocks. I think they look fantastic. Thanks for sharing with Oh Scrap!

Nann said...

My stash attests to how much I like purple, though in truth my stash attests to how much I like every color. I've been making HeartStrings blocks for so many years that other string blocks catch my eye and make me look again to see the differences. I agree with your observation and the previous comments: fabric production is like "fast fashion" nowadays. Longtime quilters are trying to reduce their already-enormous stashes. In her podcast Tula Pink said she would find another company to produce her designs. I'm sure that Amy Butler, Kaffe Fassett, and the other Free Spirit/Westminster designers will do the same. The consolidation reminds me of book publication. The English-language book market is dominated by The Big Five publishers. Consolidation, consolidation!

Marly said...

Snap! JanineMarie that makes two of us with green and purple bedrooms as children! Except mine was sage green and lavender (according to the paint pots!) I finally broke the monopoly of cream in our house.
I love your hollyhocks quilt; I'm looking forward to seeing a photo of the whole quilt. Is it from a pattern or are you making your own design?

Marsha Cooper said...

I have purple string blocks from last year when purple was the color....no idea when I will actually get to making more scrap string blocks. I did realize the other day just how many more I actually need for a complete quilt....it's quite scary.

Quiltdivajulie said...

I still love purple! Great post today. About the fabric companies - management got greedy and wanted to sell too much too fast and, just the like book/magazine industry, they flooded the market. As quilting has become big and bigger business, they became subject to the same kind of buy-sell and downsizing issues as other big corporations. And I personally think that we do not need to feel guilty about our buying or stash-shopping habits (aside from doing what we can to help support our local quilt shops in addition to shopping online).

KaHolly said...

When I was a teen, my bedroom was orange. I loved orange......and mushrooms! Your string blocks look awesome. How big are they? Paper backing, or fabric? Nosey, aren’t I? Your other projects look great, too. I want to make a landscape quilt someday. I’m hoping to get together with Sheila at Sheila's Quilt World this summer for a little tutelage! She makes awesome landscapes, too, like you!