Monday, October 09, 2006

The Fabric Annex

Several years ago, about four I think, I decided that I would use only fabrics that I had dyed, painted, or otherwise made marks on in my quilts. I would put aside my commercial fabrics. I boxed them up and stored them in a spare bedroom. I had about 15 file boxes worth of fabric. They came in useful as backs and for baby quilts and other non-art projects. After a few years of pulling fabric out they still took up too much room, so I went through each box and pulled out all the smaller sized scraps and gave them to Martha to give to her sister, who taught third grade. Except it seems that Martha culled some of them for herself first (but that's her story to tell)...

So now I'm down to about 10 boxes of fabric, not a very substantial reduction. And then we decided to turn that spare bedroom into a space for grandchildren to sleep over and the boxes had to go. Well, I couldn't just totally get rid of them, so I moved them up into the attic. However, our attic is 99% occupied by my husband's train layout. This is no ordinary train layout; it's the equivalent of a 40 room mansion compared with your basic 3 bedroom tract house. Anyhow, there wasn't much extra space up there - except there is this little cubby hole that's tucked in under the eaves and has enough space to store my boxes.

Getting to the space requires a flashlight and kneedpads because (a) there isn't a light and (b) I have to crawl under the desk and around the pipes.

Here's the view from the "door", which is less than 3 feet high. The reason I'm up here is that I need fabric for the back of my current quilt. The box with purple fabric is the easiest to access so I pull out some fat quarter sized pieces.

Jumbled up on the table, they need to be ironed and spread out.

I pin them up on the wall over top the quilt to make sure I have enough backing.

And then sew them together. Not particularly attractive, but it works for a back. I could use fabric that I've dyed, but it's a very dense broadcloth, and what with all the layers of fabric, it can get very heavy and a pain to sew through. Particularly if I want to do any hand stitching with big threads. It's hard enough with thick thread, big needles, and tightly woven fabric; don't need to make it more difficult by adding another layer of tough fabric.

Tomorrow I'm picking up the quilts from my show, Wednesday I'm giving a lecture to a guild in Bethesda, Thursday I'm flying to Chicago for the weekend. I think I'll take the pizza suitcase.

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