I spent some time feeling horrified and embarrassed by my piles of quilt tops yesterday, until I stepped back and realized that most of them are class samples or pattern prototypes I have created over 28 years of quiltmaking. There are only a few that I made “just because.”
- I don’t have backing fabric and batting for all of them. I couldn’t afford it for many of those years, and I can’t afford to buy it all now.
- I don’t have time, or at least I didn’t have time for the quilting when I finished the quilt top. It’s only been in the last 15-20 years that machine quilting has been an acceptable option. I had to move on to new things for new classes.
- I don’t particularly like some of them. I actively dislike a couple of them. Some were made with the fabric provided by the owner of the shop at which I was teaching the class. It wasn’t my choice and I didn’t like it enough to spend time quilting it. Some were trendy 10 or 15 years ago but look dated now. At least two of them are just hideous color combinations. I don’t know what I was thinking.
I finished many quilts during this time. At a guess, I have finished 250 quilts, table runners, quilted garments (yes, they were in fashion for a while), and other quilted items over the past 28 years. That doesn’t include these unfinished ones, and it’s a conservative estimate.
My confession, to spur me to work:
- Bed quilts I am willing to sell: 6
- Bed quilts I want to keep: 10
- Large lap-size quilts I am willing to sell: 7
- Large lap-size quilts I want to keep: 5
- Wall quilts I am willing to sell: 4
- Wall quilts I want to keep: 2
- Table runners I am willing to sell: 2
- Baby Quilts I am willing to sell: 2
- I made an honest assessment of what I actually have to do, getting all of the tops out and placing them in the appropriate piles on my cutting table.
- I went through the attic and sewing room stashes and pulled out the larger pieces of fabric and then started pairing up quilt tops and backings. I won’t use backings that don’t complement the quilt tops, so I will not be able to match all of them.
- I will finish pairing as many as I can and fold them together with the tops.
- I will clean the fabric off my sewing room shelves and replace it with the the paired and single quilt tops – in sight, where I can’t ignore them forever. ( I wonder where I can put all that fabric…)
- I will make a list of what backings I still need, and put it in my purse, so I have it when I am shopping
- If I have time, I will start piecing quilt backs.
- Quilt – it’s possible I will tie some of the simpler bed quilts
- List some for sale
I am not saying I won’t start new projects during this time. I need to sell quilts – that’s an important part of our income – and I will probably find things I want to make for myself or gifts, especially with Christmas coming up. I hope to promote my Bridal Quilting Bees and other quilting retreats, so I might even make some new bed quilts, for a portfolio of bridal quilt options. But I am making this project a priority. I feel burdened when I look at those piles, which means I don’t enjoy my quiltmaking. I want to feel good about myself and my work!