Unloved Fabrics - fabrics that you own, but no longer adore, having fallen out of love with (or having never loved at all) and now wish to use up as a tribute to their enduring usefulness. Unloved fabrics are not ugly nor are they wrong, but they have been found wanting in this moment, in your eyes.
It is OK to unlove fabrics.
Let's move from a place of frustration (why did I buy these? ugh, why can't I still be in love?) to a place of acceptance, a place that allows us to move on. As long as you're still trying to force love, you're sabotaging your hobby. Refuse to let guilt to take hold. This is not about your feelings for the designer or the person from whom you inherited these unfortunates. This is just about you, about a subjective aesthetic feeling. And you can work with it, once you admit to your feelings.
So gather your unfortunates and repeat after me, "I do not love these fabrics."
|photo by Completely Cauchy. She's awesome.|
Deep breath. Ok, now what can you do?
- Use them in patchwork in small cuts - 2" finished squares, for example. Small cuts tend to disguise prints so that one sees the color, not the print itself.
- Use them in patchwork that is values-based. Value refers to the light or darkness of a fabric. A patchwork pattern that relies on value also disguises prints themselves since the eye sees the entire value pattern more so than any one bit of patchwork.
- Use them in patchwork that has strong repetition - a checkerboard layout composed of just two fabrics, for example. Repetition tends to please the eye, regardless of the fabrics themselves.
- Use them as pieces of a wild quilt back. Sometimes quilt backs can be more about "personality" than preference. What if you make a fun, scrappy quilt and then use up all your unloved fabrics pieced together for the backing? Or, if you're making a bed quilt, use them for its backing. Bed quilt backings are rarely seen, especially towards the bottom!
- Use them to make a fast project that you can give away. If you feel it's impossible to happily patchwork with your unloved fabrics, use them to make pillowcases for charity or Little Dresses for Africa or Britches for Boys. You'll feel good about doing good with them and be able to focus on the usefulness of the fabric, rather than its shortcomings. Also, some fabrics that make you cringe for patchwork really could work for a little girl's dress...
- Just get rid of them! Think they're so nasty that no one would want them? Think again! Bundle them up and list them at rock-bottom prices on Etsy or through Instagram. Donate them to a second hand shop or to a school's art department or an art therapy business in your town or found online (click on a state here). Let them go, and good riddance. Focus your attention on the ones you love.
Getting specific, consider the Scrappy Trip Around the World phenomena. This quilt, which can be made with scraps or yardage, is an unloved fabrics home run. It has small cuts, lots or repetition and can be crafted to focus on value.
|photo by Amy Smart|
For example, Amy Smart at Diary of a Quilter used the same value/hue for the center strip of squares in her blocks, to bring unity to her finished quilt!
Are you game to join The Purge? Turn those unloved fabrics into something you're proud to call your own? You could make anything with your unloved fabrics, like a postage stamp quilt, a Scrappy Trip or maybe join me in The Purge quilt, a simple design for unloved fabrics which I'll be starting and sharing soon. Or you could make something smallish to donate - totally up to you! We'll set some goals and see if we can help each other along.