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!