Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Story of Two Chains

The Irish Chain is a traditional pattern that is made using strip piecing techniques. Like many patterns, I have made a pair of quilts using the same design, because I have a hard time making fabric choice decisions. When I begin to look for fabrics for my new quilts, I go and play in the fabric stash stored in clear boxes in my sewing room. Before I know it ,I have created quite a mess around me and have more than enough fabric for at least two quilts.
My quilty friends often tease me about the size of my fabric collection. The stash has grown exponentially over the last few years.

As a last hurrah, My good friend L. and I went out to one of our favorite shops on Thursday and found some good deals in the clearance section. She found a beautiful backing for 5 dollars a meter. It will be a spectacular back. She is in the process of packing her house to move to Calgary a city that is 200 hundred miles south of here. I will miss her but know that she will enjoy being closer to her children and grandchildren. I will look forward to her visits and our occasional trips to the quilt stores to add more cloth to the stash.
Perhaps this is a good time for me to think about being a total stash buster - just using the stash without additions MMMMMM --- Nah- I am not sure that I could commit to such a decision- it is too much fun to add new fabrics to the collection. In fairness, when I make a new quilt, I make it almost exclusively from the stash- its just that I have continued to make additions to the sizeable collection.VBG

Currently, I need to buy more boxes to store the overflow on the bed at the top of the stairs.VBS I have sorted it into groupings so that I can find what I am looking for- at least most of the time. There are some things where I am organizationally challenged in my house but my sewing room is more organized than some places.
Both of the Irish chain quilts belong to our parents- the burgundy and gold one belongs to Bruce's parents and the red and black one to mine.

Getting the corners to matchup on the golden border of the burgundy quilt was a bit tricky, as I applied the border as a whole unit and then realized I was going to have problems in the corners. Sometimes I have to put something together before I can visually see what the problem is, and then I have to figure out a solution. In the end, this quilt needed me to learn how to make a mitered corner so that it turned properly. Quiltmaking helps one become a good problem solver - each quilt has its lessons and its story. Some quilts offer many lessons- perhaps you have a quilt that you have made, that has done just that?

The black and red and white Irish Chain belongs to my parents. The beautiful baby is our great niece, K. She turns 8 this week- (Happy Birthday Miss K.)
I think of the black and red quilt as my art nouveau quilt- The fabrics were bold and rich and I really loved the big flowered designed border. In previous posts I have talked about how my process has varied over the times that I have quilted. This quilt was one that I made because I wanted to experiment with the design. My later quilts were made for particular people.
Currently I am back experimenting again with fabric choices and designs.

This next week I am on holiday from School so my goal is to begin to clean out some areas like parts of the basement to make it a more liveable space.
There are lots of books these days on how to declutter your life- I can see the sense in that but find the prospect overwhelming. It is picking a spot to begin and do it some bits at a time.
I am by nature, a collector and have various collections -some small- ceramic Boyd's bears and paperweights, and some larger - quilt books and magazines, books, jewellery and fabric. I also have nice dishes and love to decorate my house seasonally. None of these things are sinful- just problematic when you live in a small house.

Part of me will need to be somewhat ruthless and get rid of a bunch of stuff we no longer use or need. I will let you know whether I was tough enough or if I wimped out... There will need to be some intermittent quilt time too to keep going- we all need carrots to stay motivated....

Until next time, Be well,
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