Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I have declared a fabric-buying "moratorium" -- a suspension of activity...

No, really! I have!! I need to slow down and finish some projects and stash shop, complete the kits and blocks of the months and what not that I have piled up in the available closet, floor and shelf space in my 12' x 15' sewing room.

I've noticed a pattern, though, in my fabric buying of late. I'm a sucker for a good background.

I took stock after I got the Kaffe/Phillip fabric and started pulling stash for Roseville by Kim McLean.  What would be a good background?!

In my closet there are bits of Marcus and Moda and Andover and Thimbleberries, Buggy Barn and Maywood and Makower....creams, beiges (I'm partial to those that complement the darker tones! :-D), whites....You just can't have too many good backgrounds.  But nothing that really "spoke" to me for Roseville.

I ended up buying a Moda piece from the Bliss line  (it's second from the left in the photo) -- similar to Kim's recommended "dotty" background fabrics, just a bit subtler with a light creamy white dot on a creamy background.

I didn't even blink when I bought the required 9+ yards -- it seems I buy background fabric in bulk! LOL  Most of the pieces I have in my stash are a minimum of 3 yards, and some are even more, upwards of 6 to 8 yards, with whole bolts of Kona cottons in cream, bone, snow, khaki and white!

In most of my quilts, even the scrappiest, I notice that I often use the same background throughout to "unify" the piece.

I think that's why I like investing in good backgrounds.  The quilts I make "feel" better to me if they are unified with some element throughout -- theme or color or background.  Background gives me more options; I don't have to have a "matchy-matchy" quilt if the background pulls the design together around my other color choices.

And now that I'm applique crazy....well, good backgrounds are the framework for all the intricate design and work of beautiful flowers, stars, vines, folk-art, etc., that make up my current projects.

I'd like to think that my life is like that, too.  That there is a "framework" for all the details of my existence, some unifying element that binds it all, that coheres the varying pieces of Mary Lou.

The apostle Paul wrote about such a framework to the church at Colosse.  It was a time of economic crisis, immorality, and false teaching (does that sound at all familiar... like anything we've been experiencing in our time and in our country?), and Paul told them that there is One who holds it all together:

"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." (Colossians 1:15-17, emphasis, mine :-)

With Christ as my Cohere-er :-), I don't have to worry about holding it all together myself.  With Him as my framework, I can bring all the disjointed pieces -- scraps, many of them, some that others might even throw away! -- and present a beautiful Quilt that glorifies the One who created all things, including me and you, and blesses those who touch it, day in and day out.

So no fabric buying for a while.  I think I'll see what One can do with the pieces that I have!


Lindah said...

Beautiful post, Mary Lou! Right on the dollar, as my dad would have said.

antique quilter said...

oh I want to come over and play in your fabric closet!
yes backgrounds are important but lately I have been liking a varitey of fabrics used for the backgrounds instead of just one.
my next applique quilt will be using what i have (what a novel idea!) and a variety of different beiges/tans.
stay tuned!

Becky said...

I am going to try doing the same thing in the new year. If I just finished UFO's and BOM's that I have stashed away I should finish up by the time I am 80 years old (57 now). My thing is that I don't buy backing material up front,
so I might have to purchase that....I don't like backings that have different fabrics in it, so I probably won't pull those from stash. BUT, it will be fantastic if I don't buy anything other than that!

Debbie said...

OK, now I'm jealous and I admit it!What a glorious stash to work from and create marvelous blended backgrounds. Your post is right on and I am blessed everyday.

Crispy said...

My you certainly have plenty of fabric LOL. It is hard to pass up a good background piece and they never go to waste....there, I justified your purchases :0)


Becky said...

Oh Mary Lou! You've hit the nail on the head with me alright! I recently began a fall bear's paw variation for my dad - the border is full of leaves and he does so love the colors of fall. Perhaps the best part so far was going through my stash and laying out colors that coordinated - and surprise - I had a pretty good mix! Alas, what I didn't have enough of because I use it all up as soon as I get it - was background fabrics! But, that's okay, I'll find a solution to that as well. I'm working on my next sermon - having to do with pollution in our lives - part of it coming from TOO MUCH STUFF! So, yes, you're right on! Thank you and blessings, B

Sarcastic Quilter said...

Letting go and letting Him lead your quilting? BRILLIANT. I think they will be your best pieces yet and I cannot wait to see the creativity of One in the quilt art. :)

~Niki~ said...

wow! you sure have a stash. nice.
i have a dilema myself, my hubby won't let me buy fabric and i'm wanting to make an orange, yellow, green quilt for a baby. i have NONE of these colors. wAHHHHHHH . you see my dilema? lol.
I really wish we had the $ to build my stash, hubby won't hear of it. MEN!
btw, you want to see how many tools he has in that darn garage of his?? grrrr

Lori said...

Love your stash!!
I buy my favorite background by the bolt!!

WoolenSails said...

Yes, you need to use up some stash, lol.
I have enough to make projects, but there is always a color I need to work into it. I tend to use black a lot, so I stock up on that and use a coupon to get yardage.


Stray Stitches (Linda G) said...

If you ever need some help in reducing your stash of background fabric - send it my way - LOL!!

Barb said...

Inspiring post today!
I'm a non- buying binge myself, and yet am overflowing with fabrics.
I actually never buy backgrounds, which is interesting. I do stock solids and shirtings.
happy wednesday

Anonymous said...

I love this, Mary Lou!

Do you mind if I copy your thoughts down and use them on my blog? Giving credit to you, of course.

So reassuring to know that He holds all things together. Even our messed up, pieced together lives! How awesome is that!!!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

Ale jc said...

Mary Lou....yoohoo...this would be a great post for stash man manicure, please connect with me if interested...blessings madame samm
( stash manicure)

Jenni said...

I wish I had that stash of yours! I have been sewing exclusively from my stash for some time and am struggling to find backgrounds. It seems I just don't buy enough background fabric, all the pretty colors dazzle me and I forget. lol

Teresa Rawson said...

I'm right there with ya, as I have been collecting backgrounds lately. Sometimes I like scrappy backgrounds, but I totally agree with you about usually needing something "constant" to tame the scrappy. I am totally on a "shop the stash" movement right now!

Great post!

In stitches,
Teresa :o)

Rhonda M said...

You struck a cord with a lot of fellow quilters! That is my goal for the rest of 2010 and all of 2011 (or however long it takes) to use my stash. I have bought every single piece of fabric with a specific project in mind, whether it be a large quilt or a small wall hanging or pillow. I am trying my best to complete all my UFOs before the end of the year and then start fresh. My plan is to have one big project and one little project going all the time. I will save the big projects for the times when I have a few hours to sit down and quilt. The little projects (pillows, stockings, etc) will be for those crazy days when I only have a little time to quilt. I hope it is as beautiful in your part of Kentucky as it is in mine. Blessings!

Anonymous said...

What a blessing to have all that fabric!!!
Love the way you saw the meaning of Paul's scripture with your fabric. That is how the Holy Spirit teaches us through simple things in life.

Linda said...

Wow! what a stash. I came over from stash manicure. My how long have you being buying fabric?
Our fabric here at a local quilt shop ranges in price from $14,99 to 19.99. At that price many of us only buy what we need for a project. Thanks for sharing with us.

Elaine/Muddling Through said...

What a wonderful post. I see that I need more background fabric. LOL!

Browndirtcottage said...

Great post! Yes...I have just begun to dabble in some hand applique...picked a pattern and then realized I didn't have enough yardage for the matter which pattern design I chose....not enough background fabric...sooooo, I have begun to see the importance in 'stocking up' on backgrounds!!!