I love the feel of fabric. I love patterns that are subtle, patterns that are loud, solids that are muted, solids that are bright. Like most quilters, I buy quite a bit of fabric, and like most quilters I buy fabric I like even when I have no idea what project it will be part of.
From time to time, quilters find themselves with fabric they no longer love. In fact, in some cases we may even say we’ve come to hate it! About three years ago my quilting group, Dog River Quilters, decided to tackle this love/hate relationship in a creative way. We each brought two fat quarters to a meeting – one of fabric we loved, the other of fabric we hated. We put all the “loves” in one paper bag and all the “hates” in another bag. We each took a turn drawing one piece from each bag. The challenge was to create something using both the love and hate fabric we’d chosen and no more than two other fabrics.
The next month when we met there was an amazing array of articles: a doll quilt, potholders, wall hangings, place-mats and more. They were also amazingly attractive. It was hard for us believe that someone else took our hated fabric and incorporated it into something pleasing.
The “hate” piece I had drawn was a tropical print of bright pink with large flowers and I could see why it had made it into that group. As I thought about ways to use it I became inspired by the all the crabapples that bloom so gloriously in this area in late spring. To achieve the effect of the petals I cut the piece into tiny, tiny pieces which I then sprinkled onto an area I’d sprayed with temporary adhesive. I covered this with water-soluble stabilizer, stitched over randomly several times and when I removed the stabilizer and the piece had dried, there was the 3-D effect I’d gone for.
I can’t say I no longer come across mistaken purchases that were abandoned for various reasons, but I’m now less likely to categorize them as unusable. I know that given some time, and the right inspiration, it may be just what I need.