Fabric Scraps Obsession, Studio, Thrift Shop Adventures

A “Humane” Way to Eliminate Fabric Scraps

If you have followed my blog for awhile, then you know about my addiction to fabric scraps. This addiction seems to be incompatible with my desire to downsize and minimize my possessions.

The fabric scrap addiction began innocently enough – friends would give me their fabric scraps at quilting retreats. I would go for a “sew day” at a fellow quilter’s house and leave with some of her fabric scraps. As if that was not enough, I began to actually BUY scraps.

Yes, BUY FABRIC SCRAPS, you read correctly. There is a wonderful quilt shop in Central Oregon called The Stitchin’ Post and occasionally they would sell scraps bags of their beautiful high-end quilting fabrics.  I bought numerous bags from them.

Beautiful scraps or not, still I was buying fabric scraps.

In my post “Creative Inspiration: Organization???” I shared my new organization of my favorite fabric scraps by color. Although I had organized scraps by color I still had a GIANT box of remaining fabric scraps.

I knew I had to do something. I needed to let go of the fabric scraps I did not completely and absolutely love. However, I did not want to throw them away or try to convince another quilter to adopt them.

So I packaged them up into 30 bags and organized them into two baskets and DONATED them to our local Humane Society Thrift Store to sell! (How do I know that the Humane Society Thrift Store sells fabric scraps? Do you want to take a guess? Yes, because I have bought fabric scraps also from several thrift stores include the Humane Society Thrift Store in the past).

The Humane Society Thrift Store Volunteer accepting my donation seemed pleased that I had packaged them up for sale. I like to imagine if they sell each bag for a couple dollars or more each that could be over $90 – $150+ profit for a wonderful local animal shelter! Some of the bags are packaged by color and some are random – so many options for the Humane Society Thrift Shops’ customers!

A “Humane” way to let go of excess fabric scraps!

When I buy fabric from quilt shops in the future, it will be actual whole fabric (fat quarters or yardage). I still have plenty of fabric scraps and my fabric scrap collection contains only scraps I truly love and plan to use…eventually.


I am still working through the lessons from the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo that I discussed in the post “The Space in Which We Live“. 

Quilt Retreats

Getting Ready to “Retreat”

In my post Retreating is not necessarily “retreating” I discuss the pleasure of attending a quilting/crafting retreat with other crafters – whether they are old friends or new friends.

Well later this week I head to a 4-day  quilting retreat with my quilting friends from California, Oregon, and Washington. I am very excited to see old friends and to be able to just relax and work on projects. Or just goof off visiting with my friends and pretend to work on projects!

Now it is decision time: what projects do I select to take to the retreat (whether I am planning to work on them or only pretend to work on them)?

I usually bring TOO MANY PROJECTS to quilting retreats! In my mind I am going to be so productive and get a backlog of projects done. In reality I might get 1/2 to 1 project done.

Projects to bring to quilting retreat?
Projects to bring to quilting retreat?

I think I am going to bring two projects pictured above – both are UFOs (quilters slang for “unfinished objects”).

Next decision: do I cut the fabric according to the pattern ahead of time and do I start some preliminary piecing; or just wait until I get to the retreat?

I have a couple days to figure this out. I also have a couple of days to psych myself up on how much stuff I will get done at the retreat.

Yes I am being delusional and it is time to be honest: I will bring these two projects with me to the retreat under the guise of planning to be productive. I might even unpack them at the retreat and lay out the fabric and the pattern and mention my strategy to get my piecing done. Then I will set out to wander around and see what others are working on*, catch up on my quilting friends lives, and lounge around and read some crafting magazines. That is the proper way to attend a quilting retreat.

 *Refer to the post Creative Inspiration: What Others Are Working On! – I am easily distracted by the cool projects other quilters are working on…

Creative Inspiration

Creative Inspiration: Fabric

A quilter walks into a quilt shop and see fabric. The quilter does not just see fabric, a quilter sees INSPIRATION! In the post “Creative Inspiration: Family” I introduced a series of posts exploring my resources for creative inspiration. This post discusses another important source of my creative inspiration: FABRIC.

Have you ever browsed in a quilt shop and been strongly drawn to a particular bolt of fabric or to an entire collection? You do not have a project in mind for this fabric but you know you just absolutely positively have to have the fabric (or a sample of each fabric from the entire collection) as it inspires you to make something with it (eventually)! However, every quilter knows this is the primary source for an out of control fabric stash, eh?

Fabric/Textiles are a major source of creative inspiration for me. When I find interesting and unique fabrics they inspire me to create something that honors their beauty. Last year I was fortunate enough to be given a small collection of African textiles from someone’s estate. I was overwhelmed with the richness and colors in these textiles. This inspired me to create a piece, called African Windows, to showcase these fabrics. I used a basic “attic windows” pattern concept where shadows are created by piecing a darker solid fabric (in this case black fabric) strategically to create the illusion of a window.

Below are photos of my quilt African Windows (2014) which was long arm quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe of Guadalupe Designs.

African Windows (2014). Pieced by Tierney Davis Hogan, quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe.
African Windows (2014). Pieced by Tierney Davis Hogan, quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe.
Creative Inspiration

Creative Inspiration: Nature

In the post “Creative Inspiration: Family” I introduced a series of posts exploring my resources for creative inspiration. This post discusses another important source of creative inspiration for me: Nature.

There is so much beauty around us. Whether you live in beautiful Central Oregon like I do or whether you live in a busy urban environment. You just have to stop for a moment and look around. A solitary tree on a city block can be a wonderful source of nature based inspiration for your creativity as well as a panoramic vista in a national park.

Jean Wells in her inspirational books Intuitive Color & Design: Adventures in Art Quilting (C&T Publishing, 2009)  and Journey to Inspired Art Quilting: More Intuitive Color & Design (C&T Publishing, 2012), explores in depth how nature and the environment around you can be a significant resource for creative inspiration. I will talk more about Jean Wells and her influence on my creative inspiration in a future blog post on “Creative Inspiration: Mentors”. Check out Jean Well’s publications for inspirational ideas on your fiber art or just walk around and really see the beauty and inspiration around you!

To demonstrate Nature’s Inspiration, below are photos from a wonderful trip with my friend Michele to Red Rock Canyon State Park a couple years ago. I used the colors in the photos from this trip to inspire a batik art quilt I made.

 “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”

~Lao Tzu


Alien Sightings

If you are a quilter you are very familiar with the term UFO (Unfinished Objects). Quilters and other crafters are plagued by them, many UFOs carrying over year to year until they fester into a large stash/backlog of projects to finish. I once attended a quilting retreat which focused solely on working on UFOs, but I also brought new projects and worked on them!

Why do we have all these UFOs – why do we start projects, put them down to start something else, or just put them away (like in the back of the closet)? We would not live the other aspects of our lives this way:  imagine only brushing a couple teeth once a month and coming back to your mouth say 4 months later when you stumble across your toothbrush under a pile of fabric scraps? (of course then you discover you are out of toothpaste, so you put the toothbrush away for a couple weeks until you have time to find the perfect toothpaste to finish the rest of your mouth…)

A couple weeks ago I talked to a friend who belongs to a quilting guild which has decided to help their guild members focus on knocking out UFOs in 2014. Each guild member had to list 8 outstanding UFOs. Throughout 2014, the guild leadership will randomly pick a number and you have to work on completing the UFO you listed under that number or pay some type of penalty (like a $10 donation to charity) and bring it finished the following month to the guild meeting.  I decided to unofficially participate and my friend gave me a copy of the form to list your UFOs. There is no real penalty to me if I do not finish them but I wanted to participate in that kind of “pressure” to clean out my stack of UFOs and squelch the alien invasion in my craft area.

Yes, you read correctly –  my “stack” of UFOs. I have them all organized in plastic containers and they include the fabric, the pattern and the progress to date. Stacked, quite high. While trying to decide on which 8 of the 17 or so in the corner (some containers had 2 or more UFOs in them!) to list, I thought: “If something has been a UFO for say 5-10 years, maybe you are not really interested in finishing it. Maybe it is time to let it go”. So I did. I whittled down my extraterrestrial clutter down to just 8 UFOs!   Many of the UFOs that were not started I just reintegrated the fabric back into my general fabric stash and returned their pattern to my pattern binder or folder. One UFO that was partially finished I donated to the Humane Society Thrift Shop which has a nice craft section. It was quite a freeing to let them go!

Pattern calls for 409...14 are done...
Pattern calls for 409…14 are done…

So I thought I was safe. I now had 8 UFOs that I actually wanted to finish and I was ready to find out which number would be selected first by my friend’s quilt. Of all the numbers they could have selected, they chose the number that corresponded to my most tedious UFO of all – a yo-yo quilt UFO made with 409 yo-yos! To be finished in a month! Guess how many of the 409 yo-yos I had done already?  Three. So I have been slowly working on yo-yos made from pretty Asian fabrics in the evenings and I am now up to 14….only 395 more to go. I am seriously considering only making a small wallhanging and calling it good. I think the pattern was too ambitious and was for someone with a lot (I mean a lot) of free time on their hands!