Tuesday, 18 April 2006

tales of disgraceful hoarding

Let me start by saying in most aspects of life I am not a hoarder. I am happy to pass on the things I no longer need or hold dear. If I don't wear things I give them away, if I don't use it I pass it on to someone who will. Neither am I tremendous shopper. Mostly.

But I have a shocking weakness for fabric. Well, all craft supplies, but fabric is the killer. I just can't throw out anything, and can't go past a fabric bargain - though of course because it's use what you have month I am staying away from the shops.

In fact the use what you have theme was so enthusiastically pursued by me for this very reason - I could clothe several small villages in the fabric I have. Like most fabric lovers I sometimes find it hard to part with a piece I have, to cut the virgin cloth so to speak. I'm always worried a project more worthy will pop up tomorrow or the next day. Or perhaps ten years hence. If the end of fossil fuels comes in my lifetime and they stop manufacture I aim to be prepared.

I usually do use stuff though, I don't cling to pieces forever, just a while. I am happy to fight my urge to save it for another day, I kind of perversely enjoy the inner dialogue of treasure and save versus use and move on. But I have this amazing treasure I just can't seem to work out what to do with.

David's grandmother was a very talented sewer, and for many years taught seamstresses at technical college. She was also a champion hoarder. Although I didn't know her for long before she passed away, we really clicked. I had total admiration for her depression era make do and save philosophy and cleaning out her cupboards after she died was revelatory. Great swathes of fabric and blankets and tins of buttons and packs of cards never openned and boxes of glasses and jars of bobbins and every other conceivable thing.

Quite a bit of sewing paraphernalia (including whole suitcases of fabric) was passed on to David's mother and sister and over the next few years a bit of it gradually made its way to me. The most amazing thing in the collection was a set of fabric samples from 1962. I guess it was part of her teaching that she came to possess sample cards for the year's seasonal fabrics - perhaps students even ordered their yardage directly from her.

The samples are small and when they came into my posession were even still stapled to the original cardboard backing. Each print has one larger sample (around 30cm2) and then a smaller one for each colour in the range. Some of the prints are absolutely divine, others much less to my taste, but they are all undeniably vintage. I have used one or two of the pieces to make dolls clothes, but I feel the need to somehow do something really special with the collection. And now, I feel April should perhaps be the month to you know, use what I have.

Any ideas?


red swirl / ginevra said...

A quilt! If I knew how to quilt, that's what I'd do. It's sorta still preserving the beauty of the fabrics and keeping them in one place, but making something ueful too, (for Winter?). I'd use the fabrics less to your taste as fillers & cut them up mercilessly, but I'd find a pattern that keeps the bits you like mostly whole.

But maybe you've thought of that already? Or a quilt jacket / child's dress...

sooz said...

The quilt idea of course seems perfect, but quite a few of the bits clash horribly - both in style and colour - and I'd hate to lose the gorgeous prints in a mess of overwhelming crazy quilting...

The Shopping Sherpa said...

Give them to me! (especially that black houndstooth with the green leaves and those other black bits).

Seriously though, have you seen what Pink Rocket did with her samples? (http://pinkrocket.blogspot.com/2006/04/pillow-talk.html)

Aud said...

A remember quilt for this woman, for handcraft/sewing, a good life and a lot of hours... you will also need to do the quilt.

Greetings from your backtack - you will do me a hard job ;-)

red swirl / ginevra said...

Oooooooo, Sooz, have you seen these? http://whipup.net/2006/04/20/aichaku-and-placemats/