"The ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest."

Thomas Moore

Friday, September 11, 2015

The two tone decision...

After chatting about my desire to make a two-tone quilt earlier this week, I've done a wee bit more pondering about colour choice and whether I should spend precious $ on more fabric or shop from what is already on my shelves. 

I should mention that I don't own a big fabric stash, mostly because I'm a stitchery designer who only makes a handful of quilts each year, but also because in the past I bought on impulse and ended up with fabrics that languished in my craft room for years without ever finding their way into a project.
I eventually sold a little, gave a lot away, and only kept what I truly loved and could envision being used in my future.  

I do still purchase fabrics from time to time, choosing carefully and making sure I have a clear and valid idea already formed in my mind (or on my sketch pad) as to how I will make use of them - but I'm not perfect and every so often a few Tilda fat quarters make their way home from the quilt shop 'just because'. And I think those very occasional treats are just dandy. 

 Something quite profound occurred to me a while ago with regards to long term fabric ownership. As I was sorting through which pieces to keep and which to give away or sell, I noticed there had been a very obvious yet subtle change in my style and preference over the course of just a few years.
I wasn't quite as enamoured with those gushingly 'romantic' prints as I'd once been and my foray into deeper, darker tones had also dissipated. The longer I examined each piece of fabric the higher my pile of 'discards' grew! 

There was a big lightbulb moment for me standing in front of those two stacks of fabric when I'd completed my sorting.

I had no regrets about giving away, nor temptation to keep, the large stack of 'discards' - just relief, like a burden had been lifted.

But looking over the second stack, examining the fabrics I'd decided to keep, I saw "me" and "my style".
All was clear and I felt such excitement about immersing myself in what I knew would be a true reflection of me.

So, let me ask you a question.
When you stand before your wall of fabric do you see yourself, your personal style?
Or do you feel confusion?

I think it's a good exercise for all of us to do once a year, just so we can take stock of what we have, what we love, and what we will honestly use. 

Back to my two tone quilt plan.
I pulled all the green and pink prints from my stash that were big enough to cut 5" squares.

Pink & Green.
That's going to be my two tones.
Did you decide on yours?



  1. All the fabrics you show here I like... Funny while at Michaels today i saw tons on crafting papers and it made me think of you. I loved all the blues you had yesterday with your fabric but at Michaels I chose all these pinks in the paper form. I liked the Blues but I didnt take thise papers. I love color most i have at times hard time chosing which I want and at other times i know esactly what I want the only permanet colr in my house is Blues... Which is my Kitchen dinning room the rest of the rooms change all the time ... I love all these colors alot with love Janice

  2. I get what you mean Jenny. I have two top at the moment which I am reluctant to part with but really are not so my style anymore but......... ha.... And then my style changes so. I love stitcheries and pretty colours, but I love the aqua, blues and pinks of Miss H's room and then the reds of French General, and just at the moment have a slight obsession with Elizabeth Hartman patterns of cats, dogs and foxes... ha... I am one crazy lady!
    Have a great weekend. It is pouring with rain here but hopefully will be a bit sunny on the weekend for us.
    Love and Blessings

  3. It's interesting you posted this. I have quite a large 'stash' now however I can honestly say there is probably only a handful of fabrics where I didn't have a project in mind. And I also mean having the pattern too. I just can't seem to find the time to do it all. (I know three little kids does take up some time!). I've also only just realised that the one of the current quilts I am doing is pink and green - like your choice- but it is actually the third quilt I've made in this colour range. My daughter chose the colours the first time however I've obviously gravitated to this colour scheme subconsciously.

  4. Pretty choices, so 'you'! I will be a joyful side line watcher as you progress in this yummy prettiness.

  5. I am very proud that I have a small collection of fabric - it is my stash. I am very fortunate that people donate fabric to our church and all they ask is to make a quilt for charity. Past years it has just been myself and another person but this year I have a few more people interested.

  6. OOoooh!! Such pretty fabrics you've decided on. It's going to be so pretty.
    I have quite a large fabric stash, and admittedly, they're not all favourites, but useful when I need to make quilts following specific briefs or requirements.

    Here's another question to ponder (if you're so inclined)... what to do with all of the quilts and projects once they return from publishers? :-)

    1. Anorina, I've had well over 200 projects published in six years and it can be overwhelming to think of what to do with them. But these days I only make what I love and what is very much Elefantz so I don't do much magazine work by choice. Maybe two or three a year.
      I kept the projects from those six years if they were things I'd use, gifts my family or close friends would love, but more than half I donated to Fresh Hope to sell for fundraising. Perhaps you could consider something like that?

  7. Your pink and green fabrics are delicous together. I completely understand the reasons and need to reassess fabric stash. What I once needed and used is probably no longer accurate and therefore need to find new homes to bless. I just purged a ton of very beautiful but too heavy to sew on my machine tapestry and home dec fabrics. Now that was a weight off my shelves! Refreshing my "keeper" fabrics is very rewarding and less overwhelming as to when and what will I ever do with all this! Love your choices...

  8. Such pretty colors. Oh yes my style and color choices have changed and I have cleaned out lots of fabric. I used to like bright and bold colors when I first started quilting. Now that I don't quilt or sew that much I find that I like softer colors.

  9. It is interesting you have brought this subject up! I find it hard to make something for someone who is outside my color or type of fabric, I will drag my feet on making it. But if it is a gift in the colors I like, bright colors (Camille and Bonnie by Moda) or Tilda I am eager to jump in and get it down. I gravitate to blue, reds, aqua and yellows, some pink.

  10. My choice yesterday was pink and green too, Jenny! I love the combination.

  11. The combination is truly lovely Jenny. Looking forward to your chosen quilt design.

  12. Your fabrics are so pretty and feminine Jenny! Those pinks make me happy and I am learning to embrace my love of pink even though my friends don't like it. I like it and that is what counts, right?

  13. Love your choices Jenny. My problem is a don't have one style that is me. There are a number of looks I like which is why I'm working on my Di Ford quilt in 1800's reproductions, Rosie's Flowerville in 30's reproductions and my Farmers Wife 1930's in going to be in Tilda. I love them all, depends on my mood each day as to which I love best.

  14. I think my style is more traditional 1800s but I also like brights as well as greys. Go figure! I definitely prefer hand piecing and handquilting but do use the machine occasionally. WE all change as we get older and I have found even my reading genres have changed over many years. I know this because every book I have read over the past 20 plus years is listed in a special notebook I keep. Thanks for another lovely post.

  15. A good choice. Use what you have, the fabrics are beautiful!

  16. Me gusta tu elección porque nos has explicado que "te sientes tú" cuando las miras. Eso es lo que importa. Yo tengo bastantes telas, pero en trozos muy pequeños. Las uso como "paleta de colores" , que diría un pintor. Es que yo amo los proyectos "scrap".Muchos besos.Bless you.

  17. Green and pink for me also......so lovely and fresh!
    There is great FB page called Aussie Destash Patchwork Fabric......quite dangerous!
    Take care!

  18. I was looking at my stash a couple of weeks ago and thinking whether or not to get rid of everything I don't love. For now I have sorted and ironed all the smaller pieces ready to cut at some point and piece into a scrappy quilt! I do love your soft colour choices in general and the greens and pinks are beautiful together. Hugs. xx

  19. Hallo Jenny, du hast dich für wunderbare Stoffe entschieden, sie gefallen mir auch sehr gut. Ich freue mich schon auf den Quilt den du daraus machen wirst.
    Liebe Grüße AnneRose

  20. We are at our trailer on Prince Edward Island for the summer so I bring three projects to work on for Christmas gifts. But when we go home for a couple of days at a time I have been sorting and rearranging my material. I have been putting larger pieces on the cardboard rolls and bought some clear shoebox containers to arrange all the small pieces. It is coming along quite well. I just have two small container that I throw my scrapes in to cut up in sizes of 1" to 5" pieces. They will be for my scrape quilts. I am glad that I decided to do this this summer. When we go home in three weeks from the trailer it will be all organized.
    I am like you, I have stopped picking up pieces unless I have a use for it. So many pieces sit there waiting for a place to go. It's beautiful at the time but unless I have an idea for it, it sits.
    Love the colors that you showed today. I can see something beautiful coming from that.

  21. Oh, dear Jenny! I think I am at a similar place with you regarding my fabric stash. Although I do have a good-size stash as I don't do so many small projects. My shelves are getting too full, though (!) so I have stopped buying fabric just "because," and only buy fabric that I need for a specific project--like clothing for GranddaughterStitches. I'm using up my stash. I, too, recently went through and found quite a few pieces to give away to someone I "sort of" knew. That felt good. Several years ago I had the revelation that my fabric does me no good sitting on the shelves. So why was I saving "special" fabric?!? Fabric is meant to be used, so now I feel more free to use up my favorite, special fabrics instead of just holding on to them. My stash is still too full for my shelves, but I'm working on it. I think I'll make another sort-through and give away some more fabrics--to friends or to my guild for comfort quilts.

  22. Do U wash your fabric before u use it?.

  23. After 35 years of buying fabric I don't have a huge stash but it is pretty diverse! Needless to say the perfect fabric for each project is never there but I do have a lovely collection to choose from and I am sure that one day they will be used. xx

  24. I have done this just recently and gave several bags away to Project Linus. It's a win-win because a great charity gets the fabrics and a huge burden was lifted from my shoulders. I too, have decided that future fabric purchase will be with a definite project in mind.
    I think it's important to purge in many areas of our lives from time to time. I think most of us can agree that we all have too much and simplifying is good for the soul.

  25. Back in January, I opened 'the stash' to find what I needed and realized how much fabric I had that was left over from this quilt or that one and the occasional , "I wonder what I was thinking that day." of the last 20 years.
    I began thinking about time and interest and the sewing arts teacher I had met New Year's Day.
    I sorted and sorted both the sewing room, and stash closet. I cut favorite scraps into squares and yo-yo circles. I made a list of each piece I was keeping and what I would do with it. The rest; fabrics, threads, notions, buttons, laces, patterns, books... all boxed and delivered to the teacher.
    It was a school day and the teacher announced our presence and the gift and opened the boxes for the girls to explore. And they did.
    It still makes me smile to have invested in the future years of creativity for these young women.
    It was a gift to me as well as I too experienced a burden lifted in a de-cluttering that allows for fresh creativity.

  26. I'm so shocked to see the fabrics you chose. ;) I steadily choose the same things year after year, mostly classic Civil War repros or batiks. I don't go in for much else, except red/white/blue for the soldier quilts. I use a lot of fabrics that are donated, so I've learned to like most anything. =) I look forward to seeing what your pinks and greens turn into.

  27. I would have to say it would depend what room I was going to use the quilt in. If it were the living or dining room I would have to say I would choose multi colors of lt. blue, pink, medium green, and red. Those two rooms are sort of a mix of "Cath Kidson" "farmgirl" type. But if it were my bedroom, then lavender and mint green would be my color choices with maybe a little soft pink thrown in. I am more of a tri-color person and most of my projects include at least three of a color family.

  28. I read this post right after making an on-line fabric purchase. Maybe this was meant to be a message/warning for me! Your wise words have made me think and realize several things. First, while it is true that fabrics I have "outgrown" can always be turned into donation quilts or pillowcases, I may not have the time (even after retirement) to make that many items. Second, there will always be new and pretty fabric. If I pass on something now, something else (maybe even better) will come along later. Third, I need to think and buy more for "today" projects than "someday" projects. One of my purchases falls into that category -- a half yard of off-white Essex linen to stitch some of your beautiful designs that I got during your recent sale.

    Cindy in NC

  29. What an interesting question. I can not stand in front of all of my stash....some have been cut into sizes from one and one half inch squares, 2, 21/2,3,3 1/2, 4, 4 1/2, 5, and 6 inch squares and put into clear totes one for each size in lights and one for darks. Then I have several totes that are in the spare bedroom and two shelves downstairs all sorted and folded into colors their sizes vary from fat quarters up to about a 10 yard radias. I am a Scrap Quilter the majority of time and very seldom do I actually buy fabrics from a fabric store. I have just been given about half of my stash by fellow quilters who have done the exact thing that you described and the other half I have bought at garage sales and second hand stores. Recently, in just the past 6 months I have actually won some beautiful fabrics from blog give aways! Kevin has informed me that in my 10 years of quilting/sewing that I do use each and every piece. Although right now I do have a couple of fabrics that were given to me that I am not sure I can or will use. I love the fabrics that you have made your style. Just from the short time I have been reading and getting to know you; I feel they are perfect for you. They make me think of your soft and considerate manner, the peace and comfort that you are finding in your home and family, plus they suit the type of hand embroidery that you create so beautifully. I have not made my choice yet, but will begin choosing tonight. Thank you for sharing and have a wonderful creative day! LOL at myself for gabbing your eyes off. See why scrap quilting is perfect for me....LOL.

  30. I walk by my wall of stash every day on my way to my quilting room...not all of it is "me", but I can shop my stash and pretty much make a quilt that will fit just about any decorating style. Other then a couple of solid colored fabrics, I am not buying any fabric until I can use up my stash...will probably take decades, if the Lord blesses me with that amount of time!!! Otherwise, my girls can take what they want and give/sell the rest. But I am really trying not to make any new quilts until I get the 50+ I have as flimsies quilted and bound!!! Those pinks and greens are totally you!!!

  31. I've just been going through my stash the past couple of weeks, and I have separated out some fabrics that say "Mom" some that say "Sister" and some that say "Best friend". Those are now set aside on their own shelves for when I want to make gifts for that special person. The fabrics that are "me" are also together on the shelves. There was also a large pile that I'm giving to the local quilt guild, those ones weren't anyone's style!

    Love your pull for the 2 tone quilt - it's going to be so pretty!

  32. I love your fabric choice.

  33. Lovely choices, my dear!!! Yep, I can relate to this post, and it's why I'd much rather get the fabric I need AS I need it - instead of buying something I love just in case I might use it someday, which never comes [usually] and then my taste changes. I do like different styles, though - love the soft romantics, the Civil War repros, the mid-century moderns....but from now on, each fabric choice will have to match the project. No more buying "just because"!

  34. Interesting how you have struck many chords by talking about fabrics to quilters. We all love fabric is a common trait for sure. I think what you chose is
    'so you', a true Elefantz looking combination...gentle and comfortable.

  35. I am so random when it comes to fabric buying which is why I sometimes struggle to get stuff for a project as nothing goes with anything. I have in the past often bought a fat quarter because it was cute and then when it comes to using it struggle to match things if I want to make a bigger project.
    I did sign up to a stash club a couple of years ago for solids in different colours and that has really helped as I can usually find something in there to add.
    I have started buying more charm packs though, especially mini ones for things like hexagons and love my Liberty scraps, it is a nice way of getting a variety of fabric that you know will go together without spending a lot.
    At least now I have the coloured drawers my fabric is more accessible so I should be able to use more up!

  36. Beautiful color choices! I love pink and green. My favorite fabric of the bunch is the top one in the top photo. :-)

  37. LOL when I stare at my wall of fabric... I see lots and lots of me.


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