Tag Archives: free

Finishing small things

Here is the word added to the small Journal Quilt.  I think of ‘freedom’ as something robust and tawny (who knows why), and yet here it is in a whispery pink. . . freedom as something subtle and fragile.

This is the finished piece.

The moon gave me a few problems.  The chenille vine upholstery fabric was thick, and seamed, even thicker.  Next time, lay flat and don’t seam?  In any case, to cover the bump, I added lace.  And, to balance things out a little, I tore some of the blue netting.

The lower lunar section reveals an inkjet fabric print of an antique map of the constellations.

“Free” has been on my mind in the wake of handling all of my free fabrics.  “Free” is on my mind thinking about what holds me back.  Something about spring sets a little piece of me free.  So grateful.

Junker Chronicles, IV and Feng Shui for a Major Leak?!


This under-the-staircase area was so crammed with crap that I could not enter it, Before Flood.  Now look at it!  My husband built me some shelves (AFTER insulating the space).  He only used wood that was on-hand.  Now, I have a place for my batting THAT I CAN GET TO, and a place to put fabric that I think my students will like, but that I don’t really want getting in my way.  As soon as I find a BEFORE picture, I’ll post that, too.

And perhaps somewhere in my studio, I should post the picture below, of the apartment of the Collyer brothers in New York who literally collected themselves to death:

Collyer Brothers mess

Infamous hoarders, indeed.  (THIS blog’s subtitle is “saving the world, one room at a time” — funny)

I like my cousin’s philosophy of circulating her finds (read her entertaining and visually beautiful blog here).

She thinks of herself as a ‘foster parent’ to finds rather than a collector.  I like it.

In the last three weeks I have:

  • Thrown out 10 to 12 huge bags of stuff from the studio (probably all worth saving to someone);
  • Filled two huge garbage cans with cardboard, frames, ruined boxes, etc.;
  • Given away 9 large garbage bags of fabric and sundry items to a ‘free on Craigslist’ responder (a sewing/crocheting mother of five, so THAT felt good & it meant I was able to throw in a couple pairs of boots and snow pants, too);
  • Added 26 new drawers to my workspace that allow a whole new level of organization — including THREE drawers for works-in-progress (these were buried here and there all over, largely forgotten);
  • Coralled all my rubber stamps into one area; and
  • Decided to leave sump pump well area empty — and will ‘dress’ it somehow soon — any suggestions?  It also happens to be the ‘Wealth Corner’ of my studio — eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeks — could that be why I’m not making much money?!! and
  • Begun to bore myself on the topic, so the Garbage Picking Annals will not reach No. 5 anytime soon.

But, I’m serious about the Feng Shui request — What would YOU put in the wealth corner of a room that was seriously rendered negative by a sump pump well and drain pipe being located in it?  This isn’t even SYMBOLIC of draining — it IS draining!

Chronicles of a Garbage-Picking Crafter, III

Or, When free is not free.

Beware of the trap that yawns at the edge of free — it’s a trap toothy with labor and storage.

After our recent basement flood, I gained a renewed appreciation for the cost of housing fabric…

The cost of free fabric includes not just washing and drying it (and depending on the disaster of the month, sometimes two or three times), but folding it, stacking it, stuffing it or heaving it, trimming threads off its edges and negotiating around it while working.  And if it’s fabric you don’t even like but are keeping because it was free?  It becomes an exercise in idiocy.

One of the worst offenders is a manufacturer’s sample book.  I know that I lauded them yesterday, but they have unique requirements for use.  Every piece of fabric needs to be cut OUT of the book (some of the bindings can be removed with a screwdriver and a good tug), and every paper ID strip that edges the swatch needs to be cut off.

Then, if the swatches are intended to be pieced up into a blanket (and I often use them this way, because it’s a nice way to make crib quilts with fabrics that are not primary-colored hand prints or farm animals), then the swatches need to be washed, dried, and pressed.  That’s a lot of work for a 5×5″ floral print that you may or may not like and may or may not use.

Here is a commissioned baby quilt top made last year that makes good use of the tropical-plant-print samples in my collection.  Contrary to any labeling, these linens and cottons washed and dried beautifully (that is a requirement for all of my baby blankets).

On the plus side, these books are great for classes, especially with young people — the fabric stays flat and is ready for collage without ironing.  And, if you get a few books in a rainbow of hues, they can be used to audition colors for a work in progress.