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"Project Simplify"

Hello & welcome to “Project Simplify” – my plan to:

  • reduce my fabric stash (& finally learn how to free-motion quilt already, I’ve only been quilting for 24 years!) as I
  • make every quilt/pillow in Simplify with my daughters so I can
  • donate (quilts & pillows, not daughters) to help raise money for non-profit organizations and hopefully
  • inspire you to reduce your fabric stash (if you want/need to) for a good cause as I
  • share my journey with you
  • Oh, and there just might be a giveaway or two!

How did I get here? 

Well, to say I’ve become borderline obsessed with Camille’s book lately is an embarrassing accuracy.  I hope you won't think I’m banana-nuts-crazy but - in the interest of full disclosure - I’ve been carrying it around with me everywhere.  (For example, when I had to take my little one to the hospital to deal with this, I wouldn’t leave the house without it – you never know how long a wait you'll have in the Emergency Dept. and I needed something pleasant to pass the time.)  I love the photography and the projects look like so much fun (and pretty, and easy). 

I met Camille at Quilt Market in Minneapolis 2010.  She’s so nice and I’ve been reading her blog since.   I’ve gotten to really like her as a mom, a quilter and a very creative person.  For me, her blog has been a source of beautiful pictures, charming tales of motherhood and general quilting loveliness.

Now, I have a problem.  Well, two.  (Ok, several.  Way too many to mention.  But only two that pertain to this conversation.)

  • I have a hard time making a quilt for myself  “just because”.  My house is too small for a prolific quilter and I’m running out of beds ... and sofas ... and closet space.
  • I’ve been “collecting” pretty fabric for a long time and have this fear of cutting it & sewing it and using it up until it’s all gone and I don’t have it anymore. Clearly this hoarding thing isn’t working for me.  I need to let my fabric fulfill its destiny by making it into quilts for people to love.

Last month I received a request for a fundraiser donation.  I quickly selected some fabric from my shelf and whipped up one of the quilts in the book.  I was done in a few days.  That felt so good – helping a worthy cause, making something from the book and using up fabric I wasn’t ever likely to use for myself. 

A few days later I found myself feeling very stressed (ok, maybe it was a hormonal PMS thing) as I faced the overwhelming task of organizing my fabric.  This is what it looked like AFTER five hours of re-folding & rearranging.  I didn't think to take a before picture.   I would have been too embarrassed to show you anyway.

Obviously, my fabric addiction is way outta hand.  There's more in those boxes, in the cupboards below and under my rather large sewing/cutting table.  Plus the shelves are deep and even more fabric is hiding in behind many of those piles.  I thought, “I reeeeeally need to get rid of some of this stuff.”  Followed by, “Maybe I should make another quilt for the fundraiser.” And then “I really want to make more quilts from Camille’s book.”  These three ideas – and having recently watched the movie “Julie & Julia” - suddenly converged into an idea:  “Project Simplify”.

So here I go.  I’m so excited.  Over the next few months I’ll be sewing my way through the book - starting with Chapter 1 - and sharing with you things like:  when & why I bought fabric, what (if anything) I’ve previously made from it, the process of making each project, the experience of including my daughters (8 & 9 ½), the finished quilts & pillows and whatever else happens along the way.


#1 - NO BUYING FABRIC.  None.  Not even a little FQ.  I must make due with what I have. 

#2 - Get over fear of free-motion quilting and just do it already!  If that means hours of practice (and I hate practicing) then so be it.  I've had it up to here with my safety-net crosshatch!  I really need to expand my top-stitching repertoire.  Seriously.

#3 - Donate at least four quilts and all four pillow covers to fundraising intitatives to raise money for causes that are important to me and/or you, dear audience.

One more thing, just for fun:  I see this project as a "stash diet".   During the marathon five hour tidy-up I was reminded of just.how.heavy fabric is!

And as many of us know, when you go on a diet, both weight & inches are very important things to track.   It’s motivating to see results.  I think it’ll be fun to see how many pounds/kilos & yards/metres (in fabric) I use up. 

Maybe you’ll be inspired to simplify your stash and share your time & talent - as a quilter - for a good cause too.

Wish me luck and I'll see you next week with the first quilt!

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Reader Comments (23)

What a glorious idea! I will be watching eagerly as you sew your way through one of my favorite books. Oh, and by the way, I am in serious, crazy love with your stash.

March 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

LOVE this idea! It is like Julie and Julia only better - fabric and quilting! As soon as a big deadline is over I may just try this myself. My fabric supply is WAY out of hand, and if I want to continue to buy new fabric as it comes out, I need to make room by using up the old fabric, right? May I talk about this idea in my blog, jerisew.blogspot.com?

March 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJerilynn Lijewski

I'm ashamed to say I have more fabric than you! I'm learning how to quilt and continue to want more fabric. Now that I'm on retirement I'm forced to be very picky with what I buy. I am giving some of mine away to family. Thank you for your pictures and comments. They mean alot to this fabric hoarder.

March 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJudy Blinkenberg

I nominated you with the stylish blogger award! =)

March 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJennie

I have thought about doing this too! Can't wait to see your journey!

March 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarcie

These look absolutely fantastic! Great job!

March 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterClaire

Thank u so much for the comment! I'm in the middle of making my mum a quilt for her birthday but I'm still very much a beginner so after reading ur post earlier I've been off on a quilt book hunt down! Ive seen so many! So many links with advice too! jeez louise. I really like your destash idea. Luckily I'm too poor to afford much fabric lol n the only fabric I've been buying recently is for making clothes as part of my year of the fashion ration. Mums quilt is a destash project too and got Moses of my fabric from vintage bed sheets I started collecting last year. Looking forward to seeing your creations!

March 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterClaire

Wow, that is some stash you have!!! :)
Vivienne x

March 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commentergreenrabbitdesigns

You are so awesome for so many reasons! This will be very special for so many people! Being a "way beginner" I will try and quilt along but I can't guarantee I will abide by the fabric diet....in fact I may as well confess that I can't give up buying fabric at this time. None the less I'm REALLY looking forward to Monday : )

March 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGigi MInor

What a positively, gloriously fabulous idea! I look forward to seeing the progress and the quilts!

And seriously, isn't Camille just the coolest, nicest, funniest girl? (We could start a fan club but I'm sure there are already about 283 of them.) <g>

March 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarrie

I LOVE your fabric stash...so beautifully organized, too! I also love Camille's book...so many great projects!

Great idea and all those fabrics to be inspired by. Lovely photos!!!

March 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterleslie

Well I don't even know what 'free-motion' quilting is but it sounds hard!!! A lovely, lovely idea... oh, and I think your fabric stash is incredible and so very pretty!

Angela x

March 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAngela Steyn

Hi Kristyne, This sounds like such a brilliant idea, and I look forward to seeing the results. And I know now is probably not the right time to say how amazing your fabric stash is, and that I would probably just want to spend a good deal of time looking at it each day. I totally get your fear of running out!

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

What a very cool idea and you picked the perfect book to 'quilt' through. I have never met Camille...not yet at least..but how fun will this be to watch you. Best of wishes, we are all behind you cheering you on! Lisa in Texas

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa LeBlanc

HI Kristyne,

I just came across your blog from Camille's. I love what you are doing. I got her book for Christmas and do not have the time or room to sew anymore, very jealous of you for sure. I will be following you adventure the whole way through and can't wait to see your finished projects.
p.s. i love Julie & Julia, one of my favorite movies.

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJazz

I came over from Camille's blog as well ~ what a fun project / idea you are doing. I too am a big fan of everything she does - her fabrics, her book, her blog...love it all! Will be so fun to follow your progress. I bought her book but haven't attempted anything more than browsing through all of the pretty photos. :)

March 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelody

What an awesome idea! I'm going to subscribe right now, so I can see all the projects. Oh man, and not even buying a fat quarter- you have got some will power!!!

March 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJen Eskrige

I love this idea!! I just started quilting, and my goal this summer is to make all of Camille's quilts too! I am going to make one for everyone in my family for Christmas this year! But I love your idea of donating them to special causes, I hope with practice I'll feel good enough about my quilts to donate them!

March 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWhitney

Hi...I've popped over from Camilles blog too. Love love love your idea...but not as much as your stash! LOL

March 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSuzitee

What a fantastic idea! And I am drooling over your fabric stash. I am going to be back plenty of times to see how you're getting on. Fab blog.

March 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFiona Humberstone

Your blog's header is gorgeous! And hello from a fellow BYW'er.

April 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie A

Dear Kristyne, When I read few of your Simplify posts, I actually had no idea that you explained the concept in this very one. Seeing the image of your cabinet filled with fabrics not only explained it all, but foremost, put me in the state of love, admiration, and general well-being and good mood. I would not want to touch this fabulous display either and I'd resolve to live the rest of my life a hoarder. The collection is just too gorgeous to disturb and some things need to stay as they are. Although your motives for sharing are equally admirable. xoxoxo Gosia

April 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGosia

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