I am a saver by nature – money, books, ideas….fabric. I want to save the fabric I love for the special project that might come along. While it is good to be prepared and have something extra special in the bottom of the fabric drawer, sometimes I wonder if I will end up holding onto untouched fabric forever. When I was little, I had this same tendency. I would save my stickers, nice notebooks, fancy pens or coloring books for the perfect time to use them. As an adult, I have come across these in a box or on a shelf. It always made me a bit sad that these things I treasured were never used or enjoyed. Even as a kid, was I overthinking my strategy for using art supplies?
I don’t want the same to happen to my fabric. The other day, I came across a retro vegetable print fabric that I bought 6 years ago when I attended the International Quilt Festival Regional Show in Cincinnati to take classes and see the exhibits. It was the first trip I took away from my kids who were 2 yrs. and 9 mo. at the time. I vividly remember buying that fabric (and of the whole weekend, really), thinking it would be perfect for a summer tote bag; maybe for the farmer’s market? That fabric is still sitting in my drawer. I haven’t forgotten it. I look at it every so often but never cut it. Not because it is so precious and rare, but because I have such strong memories attached to buying it. And I don’t want to mess it up.
I am the same way with some of my hand dyed fabrics. I have a beautiful low water immersion three color set of fat quarters that I dyed. It came out better than I expected – I love the muted colors and the fractal quality to the dying. I was so excited to see how perfectly this fabric turned out. I know it would make a beautiful gradation of half triangles – kind of a geometric modern/art quilt. I would love to sew it, but I always hesitate before starting to cut. I have the same hesitation for the hand-dyed silk I mentioned in my post on sewing with silk and for the fabric I marbled last summer. None of it is so perfect or precious that I should be saving for years. I enjoyed making it all and could probably replicate it and improve upon it.
I think part of my hesitation is remembering how excited I was when I made these pieces. It might sound silly, but some fabric is colored with emotions for me. And I don’t want to regret using that fabric for something insignificant or something that doesn’t turn out quite right. It can be tough to find the balance between using and saving. What if a better idea comes along and I’ve already used up the fabric? How do I know when it’s time to use the good stuff?
I am going to make an effort to cut into more special fabric thoughtfully and enjoy it as finished pieces of products instead of letting it languish in drawers. Twenty years from now, I don’t want to come across it and wish I had been enjoying and using it all this time.
I will start with that vegetable tote bag for spring…
What about you? Do you use or save the good stuff?