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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Comment Up For Thought...



I received the following comment, and I'm wondering how to answer it. Maybe you have some insight. Maybe you feel the same way as this commenter, or maybe you feel the way I do. In any case, I believe there is room for both sides of the spectrum and every degree in between.

She writes:
Do you ever use good quality $9.00 yard fabrics or just the old stuff. Seems you put so much work into the quilts but we never see any of the latest fabrics. Would you like me to send you some. Are you going for the utilitarian look. Rag muffin?


So what do you think? Do you ever feel a reason to justify why you like to sew with scraps you've collected over the years?

I just LOVE this picture, and the saying is so true. "The happiest people don't have the BEST of everything, They just make the MOST of everything!

In one of my lectures I talk about the difference between quilting with a pre-cut jelly roll or fat quarter pack from a designated fabric line or collection, versus sewing with remnants from other quilts I've created over the years. My quilts hold my memories, and that includes the scrap quilts I make, revisiting each fabric and remembering where I was in my life at the time that fabric came into my collection. Good memories, hard memories, fun times, sad times. They are all woven into the threads of these fabrics, and the pieces of my quilts.

I think there is a definite difference between a true "scrap" quilt, and a multi fabric quilt. Scraps are those pieces saved from the creating of a "first quilt" or project. Until it is a "left over" it isn't a scrap. To me anyway.

Did you ever realize how quickly we can pin-point the approximate year in which we acquired a particular fabric? If I showed you a dusty blue paw print or heart print, would you be able to remember where you were in your life journey when that fabric was the rage? I can tell you! It was the mid 80's to the early 90's and I was having my babies, buying our first house, exploring my creativity as a doll designer and getting my patterns published through Butterick at the time. The scraps from making those dolls and stuffed animals ended up in my scrap quilts then, and as I come across them now, they make me smile. I love revisiting!

Those hearts and paw prints were in my pre-longarming days definitely, but was I still fabric addicted? Oh yes! I am that same person as I always was, but now as I look back.....I marvel at where the journey has taken me.

Can I go out and buy $9.00 a yard fabric and make quilts with it? Surely I can. I have manufacturers sending me bolts to use in the quilts I am designing. But these fabrics are no better/no worse than the ones I have in my collection. In fact, they sometimes appeal to me less. Maybe like faux-pearls they are pretty from a distance, but they don't hold real value for me.

I often combine new fabrics with my old fabrics to give new life and feeling to the quilts I make with them. And then something miraculous happens.......I now have SCRAPS of those new fabrics to cut up and combine with my strips and squares and bricks of my old fabrics. They each compliment each other, and once used and purposed, those new fabrics have memories too.

My scrap palette is going to be different than yours. My quilts will have different memories than yours. No one is either better or worse. At my bee retreat day, I was given a WHOLE HUGE BAG of trimmed off bonus triangles. I am excited to include THESE scraps in with my own and combine my memories with the quilter who gave me her scraps. This is the essence of quilt making to me.

I am a Quiltmaker because I make quilts. Not because I buy the latest fabric at whatever price it retails at.

I am a Quiltmaker, driven to create by what I have on hand, not by the kit I can buy so my quilts will look just like everyone else's, so we can list the designers and collections by name in mixed quilt-company.

I am a Quiltmaker, not blown in any direction by the winds of change prevalent in the fashion and home dec industry. I make what I want to make, no matter which colors or fabrics are "in" or "out".

I am a Quiltmaker inspired by designs of Quiltmakers Past, who used the scraps they had from making the family's clothing, bedding,and more to make the quilts that covered the ones they loved at the most vulnerable times of their lives...while they slept, keeping those they loved safe and warm. This is also what drives me, this connection to those who came before.

Utilitarian? Absolutely! Rag Muffin? Well, the jury is still out on that one,but maybe I'll consider that a compliment. Thanks!

And with those thoughts at the fore front of my mind, I think I'll go play with those gifted bonus triangles!

84 comments:

  1. Well said! We all do what makes us happy...I think you are very happy and I love seeing what you create. I, too, love to connect with the past. You are such an inspiration!Thanks for all that you share.

    Mary Jo

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  2. You have your own style and your quilts will be a legacy of that style. Many, many people appreciate it and, as I'm sure you've noticed from your classes, try to emulate it. Some people may find it hard to understand why you would want to be different from the main stream. Maybe it is they who lack vision. Thanks for doing what you do. Life would be so boring if everyone was the same. mckie2

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  3. Bonnie....lol...that comment makes me laugh! Really, that is soooo funny. Why would anyone say such a thing. The way that you use what you have is a time honored tradition. When you mix in a new fabric, it is like adding a little spice to a well-used recipe. I like your quilts because I know that I don't have to go purchase a certain fabric or update the look. There is nothing wrong with vintage fabrics ( in your stash or in the stores) Fabric manufacturers/designers alike are reproducing "old" fabrics....that is why that comment is so funny to me....oh well, DIVERSITY, now that is the spice of life....lol... I am patiently waiting for your book release and the new fall mystery....take care
    Pam

    autumnstylequeen@yahoo.com
    http://versana-creativedawn.blogspot.com

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  4. I visit each blog to see a DIFFERENCE in quilting style. We could all buy the latest style fabric and use the same patterns and that would be okay, but where is the individuality in that? Do we really want our quilts to look like they are off the rack like our clothing has become? I don't! I like to use new styles of fabrics, like my old fabric this too will become part of my history and the history of quilting across the world, I just don't feel a need to use them the same way as everyone else. We should celebrate each quilter's style and individuality...heres to celebrating yours, CHEERS!

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  5. Bonnie, I flaty refuse to spend $9.00 for a yard of material, although I do not use or collect scraps as you do, I'm not that creative. So let this persons comments slid off your shoulders. Keep doing what you do, we all love it! I so admire how you take nothing and make a beautiful quilt out of it.
    Julia

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  6. I am a scrappy quilter - for whatever reason ... I surely DO NOT want someone to see my quilt and say "Oh I just saw those fabrics at so-and so"! And while I LOVE those batiks, I don't want someone in 20 years to say, Oh, that was made during the early 2000s. "Making do" is what quilting is/was all about and I think making do, is now taking the quilting process to a new, more valuable level. And, I DO think $9.00 a yard is just a bit much. At that rate, my current scrappy quilt would have cost over $300.00 after quilting!

    I LOVE what you do with fabric! And apparently all of us who follow you love it also. Keep up what you are doing. Anyone can walk into a shop and purchase (if they have $) all the 'right' fabrics for a quilt - but it takes talent, artistic skill, to make a beautiful quilt with what you already have.

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  7. Oh my, Bonnie, I have an idea she is upset that she can't look at your quilt(masterpieces) and make one exactly like them. Some of us will never be able to learn what goes together. I for one. I stuggle with every quilt. That was one apple and you know what to do with the bad apple. Toss it so it doesn't spoil the rest. Don't worry be happy.
    hugs,
    Charlotte

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  8. When your quilts are all heirlooms and being enjoyed by your grandchildren and great grandchildren, will any of them know (or care) that THESE fabrics were bought new and THOSE were use-'em-up scraps?? Of course not--they will just know the love and warmth and beauty of your quiltmaking.

    And as you pointed out somewhere in your "gospel of scrap", those scraps all cost $9 a yard too.

    And I would be HAPPY to find places where new fabrics are as reasonable as $9 a yard. LOL

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  9. I read your blog everyday and am inspired by your quilts and what you write. I thought the comment was shallow, but your response is the best collection of purpose for what we do that I have seen. I am going to copy it and post it in my studio with credit given. Thank you so much!

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  10. I don't think anyone should have to justify why they make whatever kind of quilts they make. Though I admit to being a "fabric snob", I admire anyone who makes quilts from whatever is at hand. As you said, that's how quilting started. Back in the day, I don't think anyone went out, purchased yardage of fabric and started cutting it up to put back together! To me, it's the same thing as the big debate over traditional quilts or art quilts....hand quilted or machine quilted. I quilt for my own satisfaction, not the approval of someone else. You go!!

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  11. My first immediate thought was....Bonnie's fabric is good quality and at the time of purchase was top of the line! Granted you didn't pay the $9/yard it is now (due to inflation and all) but it was and continues to be good stuff. There is nothing wrong with "old stuff".

    I agree with fellow commenters, you don't have to justify your quilting, but I understand the commenter's question.

    I think you actually show more creativity using the scraps from your stash verses new lines that come out with their own patterns already in printed.

    I hope you weren't offended, I'm sure the commenter meant good intentions and maybe now they will understand you point of view, because you spoke point blank about your quilting intentions!

    Hugs Bonnie.

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  12. I make quilts because I like to see what will happen if I do this, combine these two fabrics, and just because I want to be creative and this is my medium. I use what I have, I purchase what I like. I don't use a certain line. I use what I think works. I admire othes quilts but like you I don't want mine to look like everyone else's. I want people to look at my quilts and know they were made by that quirky lady, the one who maybe didn't know you weren't supposed to do that or put those colors together. I don't want to follow anyone else's rigid rules. I want to make mine up as I go along and see what happens. I like my creations and others don't seem to have a problem using them. Keep thinking outside the box, live life, love life, and sew baby sew. How do new ideas or concepts come along unless there are those that thing outside the box and quilt unconventional.

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  13. Thanks for this post Bonnie. I've been thinking about fabric and scraps too lately...

    I resently finished a scrap quilt that was simply whatever I pulled from my scrap bin. I love it. Some of the fabrics are things I got in a scrap exchange or two I've done with people, and they add realy "zing", but they aren't nearly as fun as the pieces that have a story I know well with -- the fabric that connects this quilt to my history of quilting/sewing. I love the feeling I get from that "adult I spy" effect.

    I'm glad I use newer fabric in a number of things so I have lots of fabrics going into my scrap bins, but they are completely different end products... even when I make a multi-fabric (35+) fabric quilttop with the newer stuff...

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  14. I wouldn't give her comments another thought.
    I can't afford quality fabric and I always thought quilts were made from scraps or another use for clothes.
    I have really gotton into shopping resale shops and garage sales and collect 100 % cotton shirtings, or long skirts. I also collect and recyle denim and flannels, and wools.
    we should all do what makes us happy. Kathyinozarks

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  15. I wouldn't give her comments another thought.
    I can't afford quality fabric and I always thought quilts were made from scraps or another use for clothes.
    I have really gotton into shopping resale shops and garage sales and collect 100 % cotton shirtings, or long skirts. I also collect and recyle denim and flannels, and wools.
    we should all do what makes us happy. Kathyinozarks

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  16. Wouldn't it be a boring world if we all watched the same tv shows and read the same books and used the same fabrics??? lol And we all know you CAN use newer fabric instead of "the old stuff"...you still have that killer stash, right Bon? LOL But you LIKE scraps, maybe in a year you'll get an infatuation with batiks or whatever.

    That's the great thing about quilting...it's so diverse. You can take a pattern and make it a million ways.

    Lori in VA

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  17. Asking you that question is like asking Thomas Kinkade why he doesn't paint high-rise downtown buildings! Every one has their own style. It's what makes the world go 'round. It'd sure be one dull place if we were all alike. Keep doing what you do! Have a great day. D~~~~

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  18. Bonnie,

    You quilt for your heart.... not for what is 'in' or is 'now' or is........ well 'IS!'.

    I honestly think that while many of the 'new stuff' is beautiful, and yes there are times I drool, and wish and dream about having it.......... we are too conditioned to think that all of the fabrics in a quilt have to 'go together' or 'match our decor'. That is why people have such trouble with 'scrappy'.

    This person sounds like he/she has too much money in his/her pocket and too much time on his/her hands and cant' see the love for the fabric lines.

    Just my two cents.

    Hugs!
    Nancy

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  19. Well I like new fabrics as well as the older ones in my stash, but I'm not throwing out old stuff just because it got old. People just want to be ugly..jealousy I guess.

    Take her up on the offer of free fabric though!

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  20. Hi: Actually, I don't love a lot of the "new" stuff out there, so I use what I love. I'm not up on quilt fashion, but I make quilts to last decades, not to be up-to-date. And I've been very inspired by you to keep doing that. I'd rather work with value and colour than fabric lines anyway.
    I have to say that $9 sounds cheap to Canadian quilters -- new lines here cost more like $15 per metre, and our dollars are nearly equal, so I've got more motivation that my quilting friends south of the border to use scraps and pass-along fabrics.

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  21. I wouldn't give it another thought Bonnie. We quiltmakers do what we do because it pleases us and we needn't explain anything to anyone. The comment did result in a great blog post and lots of feedback, so it can't be all bad, eh?
    xoxo
    jan

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  22. That comment makes me angry!! What is wrong with some people. Does trying to be critical make them feel superior to others?!!(I have a sister who is critical of everything, needless to say, the family is not rushing to have her over.)

    You have been so generous with your patterns and ingenious ideas. Do not change! I admire your work and energy. Too bad some people can be so small minded.

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  23. Wow Bonnie,
    I have been thinking about this since I read it this morning on your blog and first off I want to thank you for showing us that we can use every bit of what we have, that some of the best quilts have bits and pieces of everything in them. I LOVE your designs and wish constantly for more time to sew Bonnie Hunter designs. Now with that said, I will always buy new pieces of fabric...won't we all, we are quilters we have an addiction. But using what we have and making beautiful items for ourselves or others, or for a charitable organization, well isn't that what are craft is all about. I truly believe those women in my life that taught me this love of sewing and sharing are shouting huge hoorahs, everytime I pull something from my stash. Quite honestly sometimes that is harder and more challenging than going to the store. I am saving it because I love it so much and want to use it in just the right thing. My first official BKH quilt was the Orange Crush (although I frequented your site long before). I say go to the store if you must or need, but I give thanks to Bonnie who showed us you don't have too, and that we can be the happiest without everything, because we make the most of every little piece of fabric!
    Tricia
    http://uniqueinspirations.blogspot.com

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  24. I think that person must not have seen the 'no quilt police' sign on your blog. Or maybe she really and truly wants to 'help' you with expensive fabric and a 'new' look?

    I personally like to quilt with 'found' fabric. I rarely use clothing, but 99 percent of my stash came from a garage sale, estate sale, a friend's closet, remnant sale at some fabric shop, etc. Some of it is old, some of it is newer, some of it cost a lot, some of it is cheap - I love all of it and I love working with it! When I go to the fabric store I am overwhelmed with all of the choices and I have a terrible time matching/blending/coordinating/deciding. It is so much more relaxing to work with what I have in my room and the results are so much more satisfying.

    I love being a scrap quilter and I am completely unashamed to say so! Anything else wouldn't be 'me'.

    Patricia
    rpngso@gmail.com
    www.knottypineunderground.blogspot.com

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  25. "Quilt Nazis" just enjoy being critical of others' work. Your work is lovely and down-to-earth.

    One negative comment certainly has generated a flood of positive comments, huh?

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  26. That comment reminds me of the kids (I am a sixth grade teacher) who loudly point out to the whole class when someone has on "Wal Mart" clothes or knock offs of some of the trendy brands. I guess this commenter hasn't matured past the 6th grade level.

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  27. Bonnie, maybe they are jealous of your success, like your new book and all the trunk shows you do. You have no reason to change anything you do. If they want 9.00 a yard fabric, more power to them but it is no better than what you get at the Goodwill or thrift shops. Such a person must live a miserable life to measure everything by the money they spend.

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  28. Would like to add that, with most of the sixth graders, it is an issue of self-esteem. They have very little and try to increase it by knocking the other kids that they are jealous of down a few notches. My sixth graders call these people "haters."

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  29. I think your quilts are beautiful, and you have such a strong sense of color....so I cannot see why you should limit yourself to using the amount of prints in a certain fabric-line!

    I don't see it as a critical comment, it might have been, I don't know... Maybe the commenter was just wondering? Maybe I'm naive :-)

    Anyway, I think you have answered very well in your post, and I agree with you that it's fantastic to sew with scraps and be able to remember, where in your life you were when first buying it :-)

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  30. Bonnie,
    I honestly was not much of a scrap quilter until I saw your work...I love the way your quilts look and am so tickled pink with my first true scrap quilt (Orange Crush) and thank you for inspiring me to use up those scraps I couldn't bear to throw. I know I will continue to make quilts from the new stuff but I agree it is so heartwarming to look through a scrap quilt and remember where each fabric was from or what else it is in, etc. Keep doing what you love and keep your chin up against those who may think they have a "better" idea. YOU are unique and fabulous just the way you are!!!!

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  31. Well said Bonnie! I love the memories in my scraps, and love making those into a new memory. That for me is what quilting is all about. (and lately a lot of quilts have had hubby's old shirts in them - he likes that but gets nervous every time I get too close to his closet)

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  32. That post card sums up life perfectly :)

    I have probably made of 50 quilts (half a doz for my house , maybe 10 for family and friends , the rest were all donated ) not once have I bought $9 a yard fabric to cut into tiny pieces. If I bought $9 a yard fabric I would have never been able to make over 30 quilts to give away. I use whatever I have and that mostly stash that others have given me .

    My favorite quilt of all sits on my bed now and was made from shirts thanks to your ideas :)

    Your quilts are beautiful :)

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  33. Wow, that comment generated such an interesting, insightful and thoughtful post from you...it was really worth the little snarkiness in the original comment!

    Your thoughts on how/why you quilt echo the thoughts of many of us, I think, but you expressed it all so very well. Plus, I LOVED the photos.

    Thanks for all that you do, Bonnie. Thousands of us feel so happy to check in with you every day to see what's up. You are no doubt stirring the creative juices of women around the globe every day. And THAT's another aspect of the quilting legacy, and one we all appreciate daily!

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  34. I think you answered the commenter just fine.

    I would have told her to go stuff it in her scrap bag, but your answer is MUCH more polite.

    :)

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  35. Bonnie... as other said, ignore that person. My thought on that comment is that she is probably a quilt shop owner. Alot of them are very nice but there are some doozies out there.

    What you offer cuts into their profits as does the whole stashbuster thing.

    While I love to shop at my LQS and often do, it amazes me what is charged and even with the online shops. They have to know that we can search and find the same fabrics for less but yet they continue with their prices.

    I don't mean to start a war here and I understand overhead, etc., but come on folks...though we may not be in an "official" recession, we are in a very deep economic slump and quilt shop owners need to take that into account.

    Ok, off my soapbox and I can understand if you don't post my comment or delete it, that's fine with me but I really think you got snarked by one of those folks.

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  36. Hehe! I think you definitely should take her up on the fabric, mix it in with your palette. I am curious about her motives? Was she being nasty, or genuinely curious? Each quilter's mind thinks differently. Maybe she grew up in a home where everything was new, always, the lastest thing. She may not know about using every scrap, wasting nothing...because there was no more to have! Each person should have joy from their quilts, and if hers ( and yours) brings you joy, yahoo!!!

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  37. I always thought that quilts were made from whatever was around. Be it an old apron, an old shirt, an old pair of jeans, the sack that held the sugar and the flour, etc. Just because fabric manufacturers have found that quilt fabric is a great money maker, doesn't mean that we have to use that fabric. I'm into fat quarters, not yardage. Your scrappy quilt designs help me to use up my fabrics in a pleasing manor and I don't have to try to decide which fabrics I'm going to use, I can use ALL of them. I get really tired of seeing all the quilt patterns and then to find out that you really can't make most of them scrappy, that the only way they will look like the pattern on the cover is to use the fabric that was used in making the quilt. Bonnie, I love your patterns cause I can use whatever I want in them. I'm making a Smokey Mountian Star quilt now using pink and white fabrics, but a LOT of pink fabrics and I'm doing a Blue Ridge Beauty as a leader/ender. Just keep on keeping on with what you do, I just love it. I also hope you feel better. I was one of the lucky ones and didn't really go through the "sweats" but I do suffer from insomnia. Take care and I'm waiting impatienly for September for the book and the next mystery. Renée

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  38. Anonymous4:38 PM EDT

    Rag Muffin? WOW! Gosh Bonnie, thank the gal for the name idea and run with it! I mean, what a great name for the next scrappy quilt pattern you come up with!

    It is hard to tell if she was serious or jealous. I think as quilter's "today" we hear it all of the time....use good quilt shop quality cotton for all that work that goes into a quilt. Granted, there will be scraps.

    Now....she obviously doesn't know the Bonnie that most of us knows or has watched over the years. You can whip up a top, have it quilted and bound by the time we wake tomorrow! LOL

    For that....we can all be jealous! Love ya girlfriend! Keep on quilting and take it with a grain of salt.

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  39. Anonymous4:59 PM EDT

    "Amen" to what you wrote. I think the writer must have been the President of our largest guild here in Toronto, Canada (York Heritage). Earlier this year I wrote her asking for more speakers who are scrap quilters rather than art quilters. This is my first year in the quild, and her response was "the membership have evolved into art quilts", hence scrap quilt speakers are not on the list. On another point, here in Canada, one cannot buy designer fabric for anything less than $14 to $16/meter. Quilt shop owners would consider $9/meter inferior goods.

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  40. I think we each have quilts that appeal to us and those that don't.

    I love scrappy quilts and while many of my scraps come from previous quilts, I'll frequently add fabric from my stash to get the look I want and I still consider them scrap quilts.

    I rarely buy fabric for a quilt that's perfectly coordinated from a single quilting line but I did buy some beautiful fabric in July that will make a very, very coordinated quilt and it will end up being a present for someone who likes quilts like that best.

    While everyone has the right to their own opinion about what quilts they do and don't like, it was rude to come to YOUR blog and criticize YOUR quilts. If they're not to her taste she should remove your blog from her reading list.

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  41. Funny that comment came up today. I have been thinking how thankful I am to have found your site. I had a quilt I made 20 years ago, tore it apart recently only to make it again. I have begun looking for shirts in the goodwill to make. I also sew with the new stuff $9-$14stuff. I think there is room for it ALL.
    happy quilting

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  42. Anonymous5:21 PM EDT

    Well said, Bonnie!!
    Quilting and other fiber arts, for most of us, is about the process....but I guess not for everyone. Your fans are those who connect with your style and appreciate it!! Keep up the good work and let the RAGMUFFINS live on!!

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  43. I took a class with Dierdre McElvey & was unpleasantly surprised. . .the NEW fabrics that we are all paying good money for are actually of a lesser quality in both thread count and fiber used. . . meaning that those of us who have older fabrics are actually working with better quality yardage than the stuff in the store now-a-days (and I am not just talking about the Joanne & Wal-Mart fabrics here. . . but the fabrics that our LQS carries as well.

    It is definitely "buyer beware AND be aware" when it comes to fabric these days.

    That said, I have a stash to choke a 1000 head herd of cattle. . . .so I'll keep using my old stuff until it's gone.

    In peace & pieces,

    Sherry V.

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  44. Bonnie I think you have said it all ....... for all quilt makers ......I am a Quiltmaker because I make quilts. Not because I buy the latest fabric at whatever price it retails at.

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  45. This is an interesting subject, considering that 2 of the quilting magazines currently on the stands have big banners on their covers saying 'Go Green!' No one designs with the 'user-upper' in mind more than you do, Bonnie, and we all appreciate it.

    Cathy B

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  46. Bonnie, let it go. No explanation is necessary. We do what we do for a litany of reasons and to try and explain these only take away from the genuine, creative center. It wouldn't make sense to anyone other than ourselves and isn't worth the effort.

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  47. I'm in the process of putting together sections of a scrappy top, made during a Nickel Mystery while on vacation this past week. The fabric requirements were given in light, medium and dark nickels. The lights were from a centralized swap some time back - and they are "background" for the joyous nickels from friends, cut from scraps of other project, and from my mother's scrap bag. As you said, those pieces are what tie the quilt to my heart. Thanks for putting my thoughts into words.

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  48. Anonymous8:02 PM EDT

    I think people just make quilts in whatever style pleases them. No one method is right or wrong.

    Personally I think it takes more talent to combine scraps together in an eye pleasing manner than it does to go out and purchase new fabric.

    Having said that, yes I enjoy purchasing new fabric to create quilts and I also dye my own fabric. I can see the sentimental value in using older scraps but I also find it exciting to discover new fabrics as well.

    There is also this thought as well, if older generations hadn't used the fabrics that were current in their day then we wouldn't recognize the quilts as belonging to those certain time periods (eg - civil war prints)

    Karen

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  49. It marvels me to what people think they can freely say.
    She obviously reads your blog a lot so she must like what you make.
    I love your unique style because when I do not have $$$ to go to the quilt shop, I improvise and use what I have whether it be from Joann's, walmart or my local quilt shop. I actually enjoy getting fabric from many sources not just a quilt shop.
    I found her comment in my opinion in very poor taste.
    You have done so much for the quilting community with your wonderful free patterns, ideas and challenges.

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  50. What part of Quilt Maverick does she not understand?!

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  51. Hi Bonnie,
    I have been thinking about this post as I made a salad and had my dinner. We all quilt for a myriad of reasons and face our own finiancial considerations related to supporting our love of fabric. Like others have said, it can be an expensive activity and you offer some ways for others to develop a stash without having a large price tag. In Canada, LQS prices are more expensive and that is also true for quilters in other places around the globe.
    Quilting is a very personal expression and while, I have little desire to reproduce a quilt from a quilt kit, I know many other people who enjoy that process. My preference is to take a pattern and choose fabrics that I like- then the quilt is a reflection of me . These days a large part of the fabrics I use come from this stash that I have built over the last number of years. I love color and enjoy that part of the creative process. Like you said in your post, there is no right or wrong way of making quilts, there are reasons why we choose to make the kind of quilts that we do. You love antique quilts and create designs that reflect that love. You have developed your stash by gathering fabrics in a variety of ways. I admire the way you can envision a new pattern and play in a liberated manner. May you long continue to enjoy the process.
    Your love of quilting permeates what you do - what a great thing to share with others. Thank you for sharing your designs and process- the quilting community is richer for it.
    Regards from a Western Canadian Quilter
    Anna

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  52. Bonnie you have no reason to justify how you quilt or why you do it your way. We all quilt the way we want to and admire what we like from the way others quilt. You must be doing something right look how many people are on the Quiltville list and all the guilds who want you to come and talk and teach and to see your trunk show. So don't spend too much time thinking about what was said you are busy doing what you do best.
    Anita Owen
    Olalla, WA

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  53. I am comparatively new to quilting (almost five years sloooow progress), but have been knitting for a long, long time and have worked in yarn shops. Every time I've heard a comment along those lines, the speaker (or poster, in this case) has been trying to make herself (usually it's a woman being this catty) feel better by finding something this other person does "wrong." Your commenter is probably intimidated by your talent and productivity, so she picks at your perceived weakness--you don't use the "right" fabric. Then she implies you're poor, and can't afford the fabric. She's richer, (read: better) than you--she'll send you some. She probably felt awfully smug as she hit 'publish.'

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  54. Most quilts before 1970 reflect their times in that the same fabrics that were used for apparel and for home dec were also used in quiltmaking. The move to purchased home dec goods and apparel left the quiltmaker without the basic building blocks, scraps, for quiltmaking. What was available was historically reproduced fabric. Look around a quilt shop--very little of the fabrics would be chosen for apparel by anyone other than a quilter! It will be harder to date our quilts in the future if they are only made with fabric designed for quilters.
    I love the idea of found fabric--I love shopping the thrifts because it ties my quilts to what actually is being worn in 2008.

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  55. Bonnie: Quilting is a hobby and should be fun and "anything goes". Some folks prefer to use pre-chosen packs of fabric (i.e. jelly rolls) but I love the challenge of using older scraps, other people's scraps, or thrift store finds, and it follows in the footsteps of our grandmothers. I think it is more fun and more interesting. To each their own. I don't want all our quilts to look alike! Keep up your creative style..you are an inspiration! Louise

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  56. Anonymous4:13 AM EDT

    I love what you do and don't be put off by anyone, can I be a rag muffin too? Pleaaassseeee.
    You know producing cotton uses so much water and here in Australia we have big water problems, I am all for recycling perfectly good fabrics.
    big quilting hug

    Christine

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  57. I think the majority of quilters have stashes of fabric, and I know quite a few who add to their stash faster than they can sew. In a time when the future of our planet may be being put in jeopardy by over-consumption perhaps it is timely to consider using what we have rather than constantly buying more. Your inspirational scrap ideas could just be helping save the planet!

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  58. Some people never cease to amaze me with with their lack of manners. I love the patterns you give so freely to all of us.
    Have I ever made them?Of course and I've made them from stash( some newly bought) and scraps. And have done the same pattern both ways and love them both.
    I did another wowan's pattern that called for a million 2" squares and each time I grabbed certain ones I remembered what quilt it came from or who gave them to me at a retreat. Lots of great memories in the old fabrics, and more to be made from out new fabrics. I'm hoping to play this time with the mystery if I can finish at least ONE of the 4 patterns I'm doing of
    yours right now.....

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  59. Bonnie, your quilts are always amazing. Mainly because you do use your scraps and reuse. I've always been drawn to utilitarian quilts, because of their personality. Keep on scrapping and inspiring.

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  60. bonnie
    the essence of quilting is creating a 'bedcovering' that is both useful and attractive....traditionally scraps were honored and used to their fullest and that is what I do, and therein lies the challenge and joy of quiltmaking

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  61. Gosh, you do get an awful lot of critical comments! No need to justify yourself though because we 'get it' :-) (and we 'get you').

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  62. Wish I had your scrap stash... One day my scraps are old too! and my fabric stash is a big as yours ;-) and.. i will use them. I surely know!

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  63. I read your post this morning and then sat and thought about it for about 2 hours. I'm sorry, it's like having to justify why you like 3 Musketeers bars over M&Ms. Don't go go there. Everyone likes what they like. Your quilts work up beautifully with the new lines of fabric and when I'm done with the one I'm working on I'll send a picture. We all like what we like. Enough said.

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  64. I think what you had to say summed up completely why most women quilt. Thank you for the inspirational thoughts. I love fabrics that speak to me and inspire me. I have found fabrics from $1 -$9 a yard that do that. It doesn't matter how much you pay, the designer, or even the popularity...it needs to speak to you. That is how I feel. You make me proud to be a quilter!

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  65. Chacun a son gout, as the French say (though they use accents) -- each to his/her taste! I'm not a slave to my scraps--just last week I mailed a box full off to a woman whose stash needed stoking. I vastly prefer multi-fabric quilts, whether making them or looking at other people's. To me, even the coordinated fabric packs are too "matchy-uppy," to use Mary Ellen Hopkins' phrase.

    I echo the "ragamuffin"/"raggy muffins" idea for a future Bonnie-quilt.

    I can't provide the citations right now, but quilt historians have written that not ALL early quilts were made from leftovers. (For starters, I'd check Barbara Brackman's books.) Some fabric WAS purchased specifically to be cut up for quilts -- e.g. the flora/fauna prints used in broderie perse, and the bold "pillar prints" of the early 19th century.

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  66. I've spent a week or so going down memory lane, corraling my scraps into strips and squares. My sister pulled a really wild piece from my scrap box and asked about it. I immediately remembered where I bought it (over 10 yrs. ago), who I was with at the time, and what quilt it had been used in. That scrap has a history! It's not off today's bolt, but I love it just as much! Some of us like scrap quilts, others don't. To each her own. Don't let that person get to you!

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  67. Call it thrifty, utilitarian, "rag muffin," frugal, or even cheap--I love being able to use what I have on hand--95% of the time I have it because because I bought it because I LOVE it!

    I grew up hearing my parents say "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without." I still buy new fabric, but it's really got to call to me--lately I've been really into using up stash.

    Age of fabric, just like age of people or pets or houses or furniture or cars doesn't carry a whole lot of weight with me. Like you said, I am a quiltmaker for so many sentimental and creative reasons!

    If you ever start a club or group on your blog for folks who don't give a hoot about how new or old their fabrics are and ya call it The Rag Muffins, I'd be one of the first to proudly sign up!
    Connie

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  68. I'm thinking that was a great answer. I'll have to admit - you see scrappy in an awesome way! You have a great vision that takes some of us a long time to learn how to do... but I'll keep trying LOL

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  69. Tell her to send you all of the $9 fabric that she can afford!

    I'd lots rather give a quilt that is going to be used than one that is hands-off and only used for decorative. If it fades in the washer, than so-be-it...it was loved and made dirty...who cares.

    I like the saying "Rag-Muffins-Unite"! I've raised three of them and they are a chip off the old wrinkly block!

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  70. First, I have never heard that quote before - I love it! thanks! Second, why do people insist on wanting everyone to be the same? If you don't chose to pick your fabric the same way she does, how does that affect her? Personally I think it is a lot harder to make a beautiful quilt from scraps than from a fabric line that has already been coordinated for me.

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  71. Oh, I think some people need to just get over themselves.....that includes some people who daily blog!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  72. I read your blog on a very regular basis and am in constant awe of your ability to use it ALL. In the past we've exchanged e-mails about how to start cutting up all my scraps from past quilt projects and I've left you perplexed. LOL I'd love to have the talent and ability that you have to be able to just pick out fabrics.

    You keep doing what you're doing and I'll continue to be amazed. Thank you, Bonnie!

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  73. What the heck?! It never ceases to amaze me the rudeness of some people. Reminds me of the time a "friend" gave me back a signature block I had made for her when she was moving. She said I needed to remake it - it was not good enough!!! I guess there will always be people like that - the trick is to not let them crush your spirit! Hang in there!

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  74. You said it better than I could Bonnie and I won't try to say it some other way because your way was very eloquent as are your quilts.

    Hugs,
    Susan

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  75. You said it better than I could Bonnie and I won't try to say it some other way because your way was very eloquent as are your quilts.

    Hugs,
    Susan

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  76. Well said, Bonnie. If I have to buy the "latest" fabrics and spend at least $9/yard to be considered a quilter,,, then I guess I'm just someone who loves to work with beautiful fabrics ( no matter the price ) and make something that can keep another warm and loved.

    I will still call myself a quilter.

    Beth

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  77. I think working with scraps is often more challenging then working with a new line of fabrics that is already co-ordinated for us. We learn more by using our 'fabric sense' as we explore coordination or otherwise of varied scraps. Maybe that frightens some people. You've given me the courage to try this method and I'm loving it :)
    PS: Really love your vintage quilter picture :)

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  78. Very well said! Where I live fabric is imported from the USA and costs a whole lot more than $9 a metre. I make scrap quilts to make sure that I get every possible use out of the fabric that I can. I love cutting down my scraps following your system. I'm now cutting my smallest pieces into one inch squares in preparation for another scrap quilt that will be filled with memories of fabric purchased and gifted.

    I love looking at my quilts and seeing the leftovers from my (very new) quilting journey.

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  79. Like the old farmer said, "It don't TAKE all kinds, we just GOT all kinds!" *smile* I'll bet she's cringing when she reads all these comments. There's obviously lots of quilters that agree with you and your way of quilt-making. Just keep doing it, and we'll keep loving it!

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  80. I sometimes buy fabric at $9 a yard. I confess. I sometimes buy fabric at $1.50 a yard - did that last week. I sometimes cut up old shirts to put in a quilt. I sometimes buy a kit. We are individuals, made unique by God. Shouldn't our quilts also be unique? A mixture of what we're thinking and feeling at any given moment? I think so. I love the quilts I have from my grandmothers and my mother. I can look at each one and say, "I remember this fabric...and this one..." blessings, marlene

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  81. I recently completed a scrappy sister's choice quilt (based on your pattern) which I gave to my sister as a birthday present. When she unfolded it on her bed we had a great time looking over the fabrics and commenting what quilts we had used them in (I used scraps from both of us in it). It was great to remember all those other quilts in this one. (Photos of that quilt here if anyone is interested: http://tinyurl.com/62sw55 )

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  82. Bonnie, thanks for being YOU! I too don't look at fashion when it comes to fabrics. Fabrics are like an artist's paints. Variety makes it all interesting. I get more pleasure out of using left-overs and second-hand clothes, than ever I do out of new fabrics. When they are all cut up and made into a quilt, the unique result is what draws you in. Looking for that little flower or heart or bird poking out of a little strip in the middle of all the rest. Also doing my bit for the planet and recycling fabric that is way too good to throw away.

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  83. I am still using scraps from I don't know where they came from supply and love using them. Why not use up what you have if it works don't fix it.

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