Have you had “Phases” in your quilting? By that, I generally mean choosing certain colors or patterns such as cheddar, pink and brown, red as a neutral, or hexis, stars, log cabins… I am currently in a poison green phase. I love it and find myself putting it in everything. I’ve seen antique quilts that will have a stray piece of poison green amidst mostly brown or other fabrics and am AMAZED at the quilter’s restraint. Of course, that tiny bit of poison green is, to me, the most striking thing in some quilts and something I endeavor to emulate. But I can’t. I find myself saying, it needs a bit more…a bit more…just a bit more. And then I am drunk with poison green. Last night I saw a very charming antique quilt on Pinterest which inspired me to pilfer some hand pieced stars from another project and to even dip into my poison green stash for a whole half yard of that precious fabric.
The inspiration quilt had poison green setting squares — one I wish I had a reproduction of, by the way — so it gave me an excuse to use more than that stray bit. But now, my single half yard piece of that great print will be gone which is where thinking about economics comes into this post. See econ explanation of Scarcity below.
I have an economizing problem with two colors of reproduction prints: poison green and Turkey red. This is because the current reproduction fabric manufacturers don’t make these fabrics in what I deem to be the “right” shades. Green is a bit easier because they can stray into the yellow-green and blue-green ranges and still make good greens. The “right” Turkey red appears to be harder to produce. What I don’t know is, is it actually harder to produce or do these manufacturers not agree with which red is the right red? So, scarcity has resulted in 1) me making a doll-size quilt instead of a larger one because I don’t have any more of that green and 2) me actually managing to put just a smidgen of Turkey red into the quilt because I’m even more parsimonious with that color than the poison green.
My fear of running out of poison green and Turkey red is resulting in me making more scrap quilts with smaller and smaller pieces so I can stretch my precious fabrics. Here is a pile of little quilt tops (yes, there is one there from 2015 – it was actually made on Jan. 1, 2015) that are waiting for hand quilting. Making a lot of very scrappy little quilts can make a huge mess as demonstrated by this picture of just a portion of my cutting table. I should probably call it my scrap display table.
Back to my econ lesson. The chart above illustrates options our fabric manufacturers have with regard to reducing the scarcity of Turkey red and poison green. I know they can do it because I used to hoard cheddar (also a neutral) and now it’s very available.