Monday, February 7, 2011

Fabric Diet

"The one way to get thin is to re-establish a purpose in life."
Cyril Connolly

When the new year started I decided that I had to go on a fabric diet because I have just about run out of room to put my "collection" of fabrics, threads and tools.  So far it has not been that difficult to keep from buying fabric because it has been so cold I haven't even wanted to venture outdoors much less go shopping.  I am into my second month and so far have done well, I have purchased fabrics for custom orders that I could not do without purchasing new fabrics, along with some stabilizers and threads for an embroidery class I took.

In order to use up my fabric stash and thin down I signed up to do an online sew along with a group of quilters from one of my online forums.  We are working on one block per month which is perfect for me since I have my Etsy shop and custom orders to work on.  Keeping my diet, I  decided to chose fabrics from what I had on hand which meant that the background fabrics would not all be the same but would all be tone on tone off whites.  We are using patterns and instructions from Eleanor Burns' Quilt In A Day book "Underground Railroad Sampler" and so far we have made two blocks.  I am happy with the outcome, but need to remember to read through all instructions before starting out so that I make sure my blocks come out the right size. 
Wagon Wheel Block

Bear Paw Block

Even as an experienced quilter I sometimes get ahead of myself and assume that it will all work out in the end, only to find that my blocks are not turning out the right size.  I may have missed a measurement or squaring up sections of the block before sewing things together and then it is time to back track and start over.  I have to either re-cut pieces or unstitch seams also known as frogging( rip it, rip it) to make sure that the unfinished block is the correct measurement.  When putting together a block that has several pieces it is important to be precise, if you are off in your cutting or stitching it can add up to a big mistake in the end when squaring up the whole block, stitching the quilt top together or doing the finishing quilting.

Working on this project is helping me lose some fabric weight and keeps me in touch with old and new friends as we work on this together.  I hope that in the end this will turn out to be a queen size quilt for my own bed and with only one block per month it will, hopefully, be done for next winter.

Quilting has brought me together with so many wonderful people and helped me make some great friendships along the way.  It is one of those "obsessions" that, for me, has had a positive effect and encouraged me to move outside of my comfort zone, to try new things from sewing, traveling and volunteering to do things I would never have thought of before.

How has your craft encouraged you to move outside your comfort zone?  Share and comment on what positive effects your craft, whether it be quilting, scrapbooking, knitting, etc, has had on your life.  I always love to hear what others feel about what they are doing now or have done in the past.