Fabric of the Year 2017 Again

FOTY 2017 - early June 2017
FOTY 2017 – early June 2017

It was the end of April when I last posted an update for FOTY 2017. I am still cutting, but the endless Carpenter’s Wheel and brief detour into designing for FOTY 2016 are just two of the projects that have distracted me.

These fabrics reflect a couple of projects. First, the text prints were cut as I was cutting more squares for the Carpenter’s Wheel. The light blues are for the En Provence Mystery Quilt, clue 3.

I also started cutting for a new project. This is the reimagined Daisy QAL. Yes, my podcast pal, Daisy, is leading a Quilt-A-Long. I wanted to do it, so I bought all of the materials. After looking at the pattern carefully, I decided I didn’t like the alternate block. I looked around to see what I could add that would be interesting, then decided that was stupid. At the same time, I saw the quilt I have been wanting to make at Back Porch Fabrics, Triple Star (n.18/19) by Kim Brackett from Scrap Basket Beauties.

I changed direction. I am using the materials from Daisy’s QAL to make the Triple Star. I know I have a zillion other projects, but I bought the fabric and am cutting it up in between the Carpenter’s Wheel and En Provence.

The fabrics on the bottom row in the FOTY picture above are from Alison Glass’ Sun Prints collection. That brown probably has to go. I cut it up, but find that there is a lot of it and I don’t like it enough to put that much in. I won’t have enough fabrics from the layer cake to make the whole quilt, so I am adding in other fabrics as well, including some Philip Jacobs. I need to make it more cheerful.

Following up on Ugly Fabrics Post

I was so pleased to get so many comments on my Ugly Fabric post! I really enjoy comments, so keep them coming. 😉

The comments you added were full of great ideas. There was also a string of comments on FB when someone posted a link to this post on a secret quiltmaking group in which I participate.

Jackie said “I’m using my “ugly” (no longer my style) fabrics for testing pattern ideas and donation quilts. I know someone will love them.” I thought this was a great idea, if you can do it. I can’t always work with fabrics I don’t like which is one reason the nieces and nephews don’t get a choice in which quilt design they get for their quilt. I do ask them their favorite color, but they don’t get to choose the shade. If they say something like dusty rose or forest green, they are usually out of luck. I haven’t had a quilt returned, so I guess it is ok.

Nonnie commented “I have a ton of fabrics that may or may not be ugly but definitely fall into the WHAT WAS I THINKING category. I have been dividing my stash into two sections. …. LOVE THE FABRIC, use for family quilts and WHAT WAS I THINKING, use in experiments and donation quilts. I often trial a block or technique in a quilt I later donate to various charities or organizations. I work hard to make them beautiful and desirable but I am happy to know … I WILL NEVER HAVE TO LOOK AT THEM AGAIN. ” (Nonnie likes her capitals 😉   ). I guess a ‘what was I thinking category’ could be added to my list of fabric categories as well. I do pick up fabrics from the depths of my fabric closet and really wonder what I was thinking when I bought it. Often these are fabrics with some kind of strange dot or bold pattern choice. I have taken to pinning a note on new fabrics when I have an idea for them. I have so many ideas flitting through my mind that they don’t stick unless I make a note somewhere.

The other thing I noted was that was that fabrics that look great in a shop don’t always look great in my house. I have figured out that this is for a lot of reasons:

  • I like colors that I never use
  • The other fabrics in the line don’t always come home with me.
  • The light in the shop made the colors look different than they do in my workroom
  • etc.

I have really begun to look at fabrics I am considering buying in order to think about how I would use them. I have thought about this with regard to Tula Pink fabrics.

TFQ asked “Now the question is, are you going to get rid of those napkins so you don’t have to risk having an ugly fabric reaction every time you see them?” This is a good question that cycles through my head as I unearth fabric. I have been picking out pieces and giving them to BAM when I don’t think I will use them anymore. The Charity girls cut the fabrics up into 2.5″ squares and my uglies, which may not be someone else’s uglies, get lost in the 16 patch blocks.

Napkins are another story. Despite the poor fabric choice, the napkins are actually really nice. They are thick and do a good job cleaning faces while hiding stains. My SIL volunteered to take them off my hands as the dusty pink goes with her Desert Rose china. We’ll see.

Peg commented “Why should spend my money or my time on something I do not like. But, we may not agree on “ugly.” ” Peg is a new quiltmaker, though an expert knitter so knows her way around textiles. She reiterated what I thought, which is don’t listen to those who say to add some ugly fabric to make your pretties stand out. My Scrapitude Carnivale quilt is all pretties and that is a gorgeous quilt, if I do say so myself.

Of course, we cannot agree on ugly. I like pink, but not dusty pink. I like bright clear colors which may come from living in an environment that has bright, bright sunlight alternated with grey foggy days. Both of these weather phenomenon require colors that can stand up to those kinds of light. I find that bright, clear colors do that. I would be interested to hear what colors you find you use a lot and why you think that is.

Fabric Usage

I first mentioned tracking my fabric usage formally on a V&S post a few months ago. Peg recently asked about it, so I thought I would write more about it.

First, if you are a beginner, stop reading and go sew. You are too young a quiltmaker to be worrying about fabric usage.

Second, if you are prone to anxiety, stop reading. Fabric usage is not something you need to add to your list of anxieties. Go sew and enjoy your quiltmaking.

Everyone else may continue reading with the understanding that this tracking system is not to judge, but to understand how much fabric my projects actually take and my fabric usage over the course of a year.

I have been tracking my fabric usage since 2015. I did it all last year as well. Having more of a handle on how to use the spreadsheet helped me to understand what fabrics I was using and how much. I made much better choices about fabric purchases and continue to do so. I am not perfect, but getting better and fabric is so yummy that sometimes it is hard to resist. 😉

I use a spreadsheet that I originally got from Pam of Hip to Be a Square podcast. I have modified to suit my needs. Pam has a blank copy of her fabric usage spreadsheet available on a post from a few years back. It is a good way to start tracking your usage as long as there is no guilt involved. Cheryl, a BAMer, wrote a great post about her spreadsheet for the BAM blog. She talks about her theories around it, why she does it and how she does it.

While there is no shortage of fabric at my house, this spreadsheet is not intended to keep me from buying fabric. That would be a effort in futility and acknowledging that fact feels like a victory. I started so I would know how much fabric I am using per year as well as how much I am adding to my collection. I have a good idea of how many different fabrics I purchase in a year based on the Fabric of the Year quilts, but quantities were always a mystery.

Knowing that I used:

2015: 107.16 yards
2016: 181.34 yards
2017: 62.48 (YTD)

There is no adjustment for how much fabric I have purchased and that changes the numbers a lot. The numbers above are gross, not net. I have to say that knowing how much fabric I used in 2015 spurred me on to sew more in 2016. Using a 100 yards is not out of the realm of possibility and if I made goals like that, that would be my goal. Less than halfway through the year, I am already well on my way.

I find the statistics interesting, but I don’t think you should track your fabric usage unless there is no guilt involved.

Ugly Fabrics

Women's Work Valentine's Day Napkin
Women’s Work Valentine’s Day Napkin

After putting the used napkins from last week in the wash I pulled out new ones. I had rearranged the napkin drawer in order to circulate in some that hadn’t been used in awhile. One was folded back to front and I immediately had an ugly fabric reaction. It really isn’t hideous fabric, but not my colors. The print is interesting. It is a classic design. I don’t think this particular shade of pink has really ever been my color, but I bought it at some point in the past so I must have liked it or had a use for it.

This napkin brought out a whole slew of ugly fabric feelings and thoughts. I was especially reminded of things I had heard I must do.

-Buy a little ugly fabric.

-Put a piece of ugly fabric in your quilts so your nice fabrics will look better.

-Sew ugly fabrics as backs.

You know how well musts work with most people.

I went through about 5 seconds of buying ugly fabric. Then I decided that, for me, that is a seriously dumb idea. I am not spending my hard earned money on ugly fabric when there is so much great fabric out there. I don’t have enough money to buy the fabric I love (bolts of Philip Jacobs prints, please). I also don’t want to devote precious space to ugly fabrics.

The other thing is that ‘ugly’ is relative. My ugly fabric might be your favorite color. I am not here to tell you what you should or shouldn’t like. Ugly for me will be different than your ugly. Buy your favorites.

Also, what I think is ugly today might not have been ugly to me 10 years ago. Tastes evolve. Also, as a new quiltmaker, you might be trying out different styles to find what suits you. You might also mix what you like. I don’t buy many repro prints, even the cheerful 1930s prints. They just aren’t for me. However, there is a blue in the Civil War arena that I love and periodically I will buy an FQ of one print. I am careful, though to make sure it is more blue than beige.

I worked on a quilt called Thoughts on Dots when I was having a big, fat creative block. This quilt was so painful to make, because I was forcing myself to sew. I was forcing myself to work through the creative block.I had a small child who was going through some stuff. DH was going through some stuff. It was a tough time. I moved around 6.5″ squares for weeks. I finished the quilt top and decided to use some ugly fabric for the back. To be thrifty, I decided to use fabric I wasn’t going to use for a front. The ‘ugly’ fabric isn’t hideously ugly, though it is beige. I interspersed the beige with leftover squares, so the back isn’t completely beige and hideous.

We act like we will never see the back so backs can be a dumping ground for ugly fabrics. Thoughts on Dots is on our bed, so I do see the back pretty often and I sincerely dislike it every time I see it. This is why I have used small pieces of beige for donation blocks. I don’t want beige in my fabric closet. This quilt is nearly the sole reason I use a lot of Philip Jacobs prints for my backs. I have decided I want to enjoy backs as much as my fronts. It doesn’t mean that I buy special fabric for the backs. It means I use fabrics I like from my fabric closet. Those Philip Jacobs prints are so well displayed on a back that I can’t possibly NOT use them now.

I also should have realized that being thrifty didn’t mean I had to use that beige fabric. It isn’t as though there has been a shortage of fabric at my house in a while.

My final thought is that everyone should just use the good stuff immediately. Don’t buy it and save it for some other day. That day is today and you will love whatever you make even more if you can see your new favorite fabric immediately.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

I probably shouldn’t have gone to BAMaQG on Saturday because I was still hacking up a lung. After Grand Parlor, however, I needed to see my peeps and get reconnected with some quiltmaking. Despite leaving my lungs everywhere, I enjoyed myself and was pleased to be able to talk to people I care about. This is Kelly’s last meeting before she moves, so I was especially glad to see her. It also got me back in the mood to sew and I sewed a lot on Sunday.

As usual, the group has a door prize drawing. Right before they announced the name, I thought “I am going to win”. Then Gerre announced my name. I couldn’t believe it. I am really not psychic and I am very distrustful of my intuition*, so it was very strange.

May BAMaQG Door Prize
May BAMaQG Door Prize

The prizes included fabric. Yay Fabric! Ugh Fabric! I only say UGH Fabric because I am keeping track of my usage and I am in the hole.

Still, it is fun to win a prize.

May BAMaQG Door Prize
May BAMaQG Door Prize

The fabric colors aren’t really ‘my’ colors (except the lime), but the little packet of peaches is kind of growing on me. I can definitely use them for this month’s Color My Quilt. I also have the idea to make something small out of them. A small bag or journal cover or another gift grouping. I’d love to find a pattern that used the exact amount of fabric I have.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* After being certain I was having a girl and getting the YM, my intuition has been suspect.

Up Next: Poolside Tote

Poolside Tote Fabrics
Poolside Tote Fabrics

In Portland, I bought some fabric for the Poolside Tote. And the pattern. I thought I had the pattern, but I didn’t, so I bought that as well.

I really found the perfect fabrics for two totes. The text print is home dec weight and will be the inside.I hope my machine can handle it. I’d love this fabric for some chairs in my living room.

Stitch Purchases
Stitch Purchases

The dots are scheduled to be used for the outside of the totes. I have some grey already that will make great straps. It might be too many dots or it might be super cheerful.

FOTY 2017 end of April Update

FOTY 2017 - end of April 2017
FOTY 2017 – end of April 2017

After not cutting for a long time, I am on a jag. Here is the most recent group. They are  clear and cheerful. I am pleased that I finally have so many of the mini Pearl bracelets washed finally. I am thinking of making another Sew Together Bag with them.

FOTY 2017 – mid April

FOTY 2017 - mid April
FOTY 2017 – mid April

After stalling out on cutting fabric early in the year, I have cut a lot this week. I have needed fabric that has languished in my ‘to wash’ pile, so I have washed quite a bit of fabric as prep for cutting. Clean fabric cannot pile up on the back of my new chair, so pressing and cutting it is.

I love the mini Pearl Bracelets Julie bought for me as a gift. Having them on the wall makes my imagination go places I wasn’t considering. I having been thinking of making another Sew Together Bag for my embroidery supplies. Except for some Philip Jacobs fabric like I used in my recent One Hour Basket, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to use. I wonder how it would look with the Philip Jacobs on the outside and all different Pearl Bracelets on the inside?

FOTY 2017 – April

FOTY 2017 - Early April
FOTY 2017 – Early April

The cutting for FOTY 2017 is going slowly. A lot of it is that I am using fabrics where I only have a fat quarter and I don’t have enough to cut a big chunk out of. I may have to add in some squares in addition to the rectangles to get a good representation for the year.

FOTY 2017 Starts

First Batch of FOTY 2017 Rectangles
First Batch of FOTY 2017 Rectangles

I know it is confusing to have two of these going at once.

I had to clear off my ironing board in order to put a new cover on it. Mine had a big hole, which wasn’t really bothering me. However, my ironing board is a unique brand and I came across a cover in a store and snapped it up. In order to actually use the new ironing board, I had to move the pressed fabric waiting to be cut. The above picture shows some of it, but also fabric from a recent wash load.

The shape for 2017 is a 3 inch x 6 inch rectangle. I chose that because I want to play with a subway tile look. I think I have decided not to cut smaller pieces for used/in my closet fabric. So far I have only cut new fabrics, so I still have some time to decide. I think I will just make all of the patches the same size. I am also thinking I will stagger the rows like when a bathroom is tiled. This means I need something for the ends. At the moment I am thinking white Ta Dots on Grey. Stay tuned.

FOTY 2016 – Early December

FOTY 2016 - early December
FOTY 2016 – early December

I have another group of squares for the project. For awhile they came fast and furious as I pressed and cut like a possessed thing. Now I am back to sewing up a storm. I have a bunch of fabric pressed, but not yet cut. It is such a frustration to have only two hands. This is one of the few times in my life where I’d like to be an octopus.

FOTY Squares – end of November 2016

FOTY - end of November 2016
FOTY – end of November 2016

You got a little peek at the FOTY squares yesterday when I posted about last week’s design wall.

Here are most of the squares in all their glory. I really couldn’t fit all you could see in the photo into the space I had on the design wall. Yes, you saw them all on, but in order to take a photo, you will have to wait for the rest to show up in the next installment.

There is a lot of yellow in the group. I had forgotten about those pieces. they will make an interesting addition to the FOTY 2016 quilt.

It hasn’t been that long since I posted about this project last. I am gearing up to start placing squares in order as soon as I finish the Peacock, thus I am cutting diligently. I want to get it started and done, though I am afraid the size of the squares will make a piece that is too large for my design wall again. Sigh.

Finished: FOTY 2015

Someone asked me why I finished FOTY 2014 in 2015 instead of in 2014. This was before my trip, so the comment annoyed me. Now that I am much calmer and have had time to think about it, I realized that some people may not understand the concept. Don’t worry I am not going to rehash it here, but you can see a detailed explanation of the concept on the Works in a Series page about the Fabric of the Year quilts.

Fabric of the Year 2015: Finished!
Fabric of the Year 2015: Finished!

I finished FOTY 2015 last week (or perhaps the week before). I was still sewing on the sleeve when I took it to BAMQG last weekend for show and tell.I needed DH to help me photograph it and that didn’t happen until last night.

I am pleased with how it came out. I really like the layout using rectangles and squares. The two different shapes add interest, I think.

Fabric of the Year 2015 Back: Finished!
Fabric of the Year 2015 Back: Finished!

I used large pieces for the back, which should come as no surprise. I have been trying to minimize the fiddly little piecing I can get into for backs. I like large print fabrics and the ultimate goal is to get backs done. I need more of that yellow fabric as I used the last bit for the EPP Stars and was short one leg of the EPP stars.

I have started cutting for FOTY 2016.

Progress, New & Possibilities

The other day I had to go to Santa Clara to take the YM to a one day job. He actually got paid! He could have ridden the train, but Julie and I decided to get together, so it worked out.

We went to lunch and went to Golden State Sewing. I hadn’t been to this store before (sorry no photos), but I had been to their booth at PIQF. The store was crammed with fabric, but in an organized way. I looked at fabric for dress for next Grand Parlor and some upcoming events. They had an excellent selection of Kaffe Fassett fabrics.

I looked very seriously at a couple of Kaffe prints for dresses, but didn’t end up buying any. I did end up seeing the Pokemon fabric from which I promised to make a pillowcase for the YM’s new roommate.

Golden State Sewing fabrics
Golden State Sewing fabrics

I bought a few things. I bought the Pokemon fabric. I also bought a boatload of black solid for the Peacock. The other fabrics are fat quarters. The two Kaffes are the ones I am still considering for dresses. The center fat quarters are similar to the blue I used for the Midi Bag. I had never seen that print in other colors. While I like the blue best, the red and grey are nice, too. The grey is a little too dark for the Flying Geese, but I have to admit to trying it out on a few FGs anyway.

Friend Julie wrote about the shop on her blog this week as well.