Thursday, June 18, 2009


We've been talking all week here at KH about the economy and its impact on our hobbies (and animal family members). Quilting is an art that traces its beginnings back to frugality. Not that long ago, folks made their own bedding. Quilts were made from clothing scraps or feed sacks, and used until they were in tatters. But even our frugal ancestors made quilts just for the beauty of them and used new fabric bought specifically for that purpose. Quilts were utilitarian as well as beautiful, practical and artistic.

First quality fabrics is something I won't skimp on. I learned my lesson years ago. I made a quilt from cheap yardage from a chain store. None of the points matched, none of the seams lined up. The quilt looked off kilter. I bought good fabric and made the same quilt. It turned out great. The good fabric didn't stretch or behave in odd ways. Well worth the extra money. That second quilt, now well loved, is still going strong.

If you can't afford to add to your stash right now, how about trading with your friends? We all have fabric that has been sitting in our closets for too long. Have a fabric swap. Of course, this is good for more than fabric. Patterns, stamps, extra rulers. Set up a date and have a swap party. Everyone brings things they want to get rid of. Go home with something new-to-you.

Our guild has a table of bargains for sale each month. Members donate fabric, magazines, notions and the guild sells them at a deep, deep discount. A dollar goes a long way at this table. Many guilds have booths like this set up at their annual quilt shows. Shop on Sunday, when buck a bag deals saves you even more. If your guild doesn't have this, why not start one.

Many of us have huge investments in our books. Make sure to pass on those you're not using any more. I find it easy to let go if I imagine a new quilter finding the book and enjoying the new-to-her information.

Don't finish projects you've grown tired of, or lost interest in. I know it feels like the economical thing to do, but believe me, you won't hate it any less after you've finished it. Save the money you'd have spent on batting and backing and move the project along to a good home.

But if you're like me, you've got plenty of projects awaiting you. Borrow some DVDs from friends or the library, and start making those quilts you've been meaning to get to. It costs nothing to dig into the sewing room and finish up a few projects.


Anonymous said...

I recently found a few unfinished quilting projects stored away, one even had the top, batting and backing basted together and the tying of the quilt started. I immediately pulled this one out to finish. It's almost done and it looks great. I'm planning to give it to my niece who just bought her first house.

A few weeks ago, I finished a flannel rag time quilt for my other niece's baby due this fall. It's very soft and pretty with lots of different colors. I have enough leftover material to make another baby quilt so I started a new one.

Then, I'll dig into my stash and find something else to work on. It's more fun to find material you forgot you had than it is to pick it out at the store--and much cheaper!!!

Terri, I really enjoyed reading your Quilting mysteries. When is the new one due out?

Shirley in Baltimore

Terri Thayer said...

Hi Shirley,

OCEAN WAVES came out in April. The next one is underway, but I don't have a pub date yet.

Our stashes are wonderful resources, aren't they? Your nieces will be thrilled. Everyone loves a quilt.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Great ideas, Terri. I love books about scrapbooking because I never toss books whereas I often read and discard magazines. But with scrapbooking you have to be careful because a lot of what is called a "book" is really just a magazine with little or no instructions and information---just pictures.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Good quality in anything we buy for our hobbies--or family members--is important, Terri. I like your attitude! Interesting, though, that a craft evolving from using scraps works a lot better if those scraps start out being from good quality materials.

Betty Hechtman said...

Good idea about sharing books and magazines!

Camille Minichino said...

Many good points and ideas, Terri.

I didn't realize that "early" quilts were also made for aesthetic reasons, but not surprising!