When I was newer to this quilting addiction, I would have a hard time pulling fabrics together to make a quilt be cohesive. I usually did not follow a pattern that had specific colors already chosen, and I did not usually purchase a line of fabric where all goes together with no thought involved. If I did have a pattern in mind from a quilt magazine I would invariably not like the colors the designer used and would still have to either buy fabric to make my version or I would have to pull fabrics from what I already owned.
Back in the day there was a wonderful fabric store a county south of me and I LOVED going there. It was called the Craft Store and there was quite a choice. The bolts were not arranged by designer but by color, and it was so easy to go buy a palate of colors to satisfy my scrappy needs and the fabric was priced very reasonably. There was also a cubby or two with sale fabric for $1 a yard and that was my first stop. I would buy the whole bolt if I liked it because it was $15 for a quilt back or two and lots of leftover to seed the stash pile.
Unfortunately, the man who owned the store wanted to retire and what I did was amass a huge assortment of everything imaginable at bargain prices. I did not go when he called on the last day to say everything was 90% off and it was like he was giving it away. I had NO ROOM anywhere in this studio for 1” more of fabric. As a matter of fact, that became my mantra when on an outing with friends who ended us up in a fabric store and I restrained from buying fabric for several years.
Now that I have this huge assortment of every color imaginable it is so much easier to pull a quilt together. After quilting the trimmings were not thrown away, but put in a tub. My sister was aghast one day when she saw the mess of colors in the tub and felt obligated to help me use up at least the leftover bits.
I would spend my evenings on the computer playing games on Pogo and between games I would pull the papers off the backs of the paper pieced blocks I made from my scraps. Joanne decided any idiot could sew fabric to paper and she commenced to “reducing” my tub of scraps. (Ha!) Not only had another person been hooked on fabric; she found it never really goes away no matter how many pages of a phone book you have sewn into strippy blocks.
Yes, phone books. I sew scraps of fabric to old useless phone book pages. For some reason I have an unbelievable number of old phone books. My choice to recycle instead of putting stuff in the trash found a use for phone books. (Don’t be thinking you found a place to drop them off, my brother brings his here each year, too and I have an endless supply!)
This way of using up fabrics gives a sewer a sense of freedom. It does not matter what colors you choose to sew together, there are no wrong choices. Because pulling a palate of colors together had always been so hard for me, this new found freedom was invigorating. All I need when using telephone book blocks is one color or one value of color to tie them all together. This is accomplished with the border or the sashing.