Monday, 29 April 2013

By the Yard

Years ago I wrote a children’s story called ‘The Patchwork Pony’. It was about a little girl, with a favourite stuffed pony that she carried with her everywhere. The pony became torn and worn and she went to the grandmother to have it fixed.

Grandma mended it by sewing on patches, made from leftover fabric, to cover the rips and tears. Each piece of fabric was a remnant of something the grandmother had lovingly made for her family. As she added the patches to the toy, the grandmother told the child the significance of each piece.

I was reminded of that story when I pulled my fabric stash from the bins stored under the bed, and from the boxes in the closet. There were the leftover bits from dresses I’d made for my granddaughters, from the Roman blind for my daughter’s living room, the drapes for my grandson’s bedroom.

And I found fabric, cut into strips and ready to sew, for the quilt I was going to make for my son in 1985. We moved from that house before I started piecing that quilt, and because moving was not the only major change in our lives that year, I never went back to it.

It seems I frequently bought fabric for some kind of home project, and moved before that project ever got started. There’s a lovely floral print I know I bought at ‘Covers’ in Toronto. Since I moved from that city in 1999, I’ve held on to that fabric for awhile.

I think, while I’ve been sorting through my stash, that I’ve discovered rules to live by, to control my yardage collecting.

  1. I will not buy fabric just because I like the colour, print, texture or sale price.
  2. I will only buy fabric for a specific project which I’m to start immediately after purchase.
  3. I will not buy fabric in anticipation of a new project.
  4. If rule number three is broken, I will not start said second project until the first is complete.
  5. I will not save scraps and remnants for some day, might use, just in case projects.
I have made many things from my very extensive stash. Last year I made seven quilted door stops from a pattern I found on line. I gave them as Christmas gifts, and made the majority of them from material I had on hand.

I also made flannel pillowcases for three of my grandchildren, complete with their names appliquéd on the edge. The flannel was supposed to be for sleep pants, but the kids grew faster than I sewed and I didn’t have enough fabric.

Oh, and don’t forget the bed caddies. I made one for each of the grandkids, complete with flashlight. And made five more for a friend’s nieces and nephews.

In March I went through my stash, matching prints and solids, and started to make tote bags for the kids. It was going well until the end of the month when I set it all aside to start my blog and took on the a-z challenge.

You’d think with all these projects I’d have depleted my hoard of yard goods. But, alas, no, far from it.

I need to add another rule to my list.

  1. I will not accept donations to my fabric stash from people who are trying to reduce their own. They are enablers with a friendly smile.
I’ve seen pictures of those sewing rooms on line, the ones with the fabric all neatly and uniformly folded, and colour co-ordinated. That would be so nice. It never fails that I’ll get into a project, and too late, find the remnant that would have been just perfect.

Or, I realize the remnant I recently tossed, after hoarding it for years, was the missing print I needed.

It’s all Fabricland’s fault. They have these sales, buy one, and get two free. How can I say no? That’s probably why the remnants in my stash can be measured in yards rather than inches.

I was sewing this morning, a thank you gift for a friend. The tote bags will have to wait until May; I should have lots of time then.  
Except, I have the newsletter from 'Sewing It Up…15 Stash Busting Designs' on my favourites list. No, I will not look. I’ll be strong, and wait until my current project is done.

Well, maybe just a peek.

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