The quilting world isn’t all perfectly flat quilt tops, eating chocolate by the pound or quietly hand quilting with a harem of men to rub sore shoulders. Sometimes you can sit frustrated for hours trying to get your points to match or watch helplessly as your red fabrics bleed all over the rest of your quilt in the wash. Other times are sheer elation, enabling you to enjoy a rush of Quilting Warm Fuzzy Feelings (herinafter WFF’s) from the satisfaction of having done something just right, or to your highest standards. Following is the first of the Quilting Warm Fuzzy Feelings.
WFF#1: When you find the perfect fabric, it’s already in your stash, AND there’s enough of it!
There’s almost no better feeling in the quilting world as finding the perfect fabric for your project, and that feeling definitely gets warm and fuzzy when that perfect fabric is already on hand, and you have enough for your project. If you have a large stash, the chances of this happening to you are greater, but having a large fabric stash comes with it’s own challenge. How to store all that fabric, yet keep it visible, accessible and undamaged? A few tips for the stashaholic:
- Use some kind of a shelving system, hanging baskets, tubs or drawers to hold the fabric. Shelves are great, since you can see it all at a glance, and drawers and hanging baskets have the advantage of portability.
- Keep un-washed fabrics separate by not putting them away with your other fabrics until they’ve been through the washer and dryer.
- Fold all the fabric pieces neatly the same way, into the same size bundles. Fabric is easier to store neatly if you’re dealing with similar sizes and shapes, without raggedy edges hanging out.
- When you fold, consider how you’ll use the fabric: if it will probably be used for rotary cutting strips or small pieces across the grain (from selvedge to selvedge), fold the selveges together as if you were preparing to rotary cut, then fold again taking the center lengthwise fold up to meet the selvedges. Then fold width-wise into a bundle that will fit with the rest of your fabric in your shelves, drawers or boxes. This will save time when you rotary cut, since you can unfold a bit, cut what you need, and put it back neatly.
- If you use shelves or hanging baskets or any other storage system that is open to view, keep the sun off the fabric to prevent damage. A curtain or drape in front of the shelf will do the trick and cut down on faded fold lines on your fabrics.
- Arrange your fabrics by color family for easiest usage. You’ll spend less time searching for that certain blue fabric you know you saw months ago (that just might be the PERFECT fabric), and more time quilting. However, don’t obsess over it, either. You’ll always have fabrics that defy classification (these are the perfect “bridge” fabrics: is it green? is it blue?), so just stick it where it looks like it should go, or if there are many that look like they might be green, or might be blue, put them in a family by themselves. This organization is also a great way to practice blending colors together which can help you create a successful color scheme for your quilt.
So, take the time to treat your fabric stash to some TLC if necessary, for more frequent Quilter WFF’s.