Economics and my poison green phase

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.

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  1. Taryn… I recognise those lemoyn stars! I remember when you were making them. I loved them so much, I was inspired to make some very much like yours. I managed to make nine, before I realized I suck at EPP. I like how you are setting yours with the green. Who knows when I'll get back to mine…

    Meanwhile, try looking up Barbara Brackman's "Stars in a Time Warp". Google it, and plug in turkey red, or any other color you are unsure of. She gives lots of examples.

  2. Oh yes, I have a tendency to gravitate toward certain colors all the time–it just goes in cycles. Then eventually I move on and later on find myself with oodles of all these fabrics that need used up and they don't feel quite as precious as when I first started buying them!

  3. If they make them we will purchase! The fabric makers need your econ lesson!
    I do not see myself moving away from repros for some time, if ever!!

  4. I hoard those poison greens and turkey reds too as well as double pinks. Why are the colors in repro lines so often "greyed or browned" = dull. I want bright repros!!

  5. Great post! I too go in phases, but I always gravitate back to my staples – poison green, chrome yellow, cheddar, Turkey red and Lancaster blue. Even though my birth certificate says Maine, I think I was really born in Lancaster, PA! I always have loved the bright antique fabrics. I love those wonderful saturated deep colors. But of course I also love soft madders and toiles and ….. O.k., I love them ALL! I am fortunate to have Cyndi's (Busy Thimble) shop fairly close by, but it does have its drawbacks when we have beans and rice again for the third time a week – wink! Maybe we reproduction lovers need to be more forceful as group and say "more, more, more or we quit" – ya right!

  6. I get so confused too about turkey red. My copy of Colouring The Nation (Turkey Red Printed Cottons from Scotland) shows really bright clear reds. Then you look at antique quilts and often see softer almost rose color…and then how do you tell true turkey red from the later artificially dyed? My head spins! And here we are hoping the 21st century shops keep supplying us with just the “right” reds and greens…may the search continue!

  7. If hoarding worked for cheddar maybe it will work for poison greens and Turkey red, too! We can only hope, can't we?

    Like Robin and Janet, I'd like to know exactly what shade/tint of red turkey red is.

  8. I too hoard turkey reds and poison greens. And while we are on the subject, what about chrome yellows?!?!? And yes cheddars are more available but seriously? The reds and greens. Come on!

  9. Great post, Taryn! Got a chuckle from your charts. But it does concern me when I see less and less repro fabric in local stores!
    Like Robin, I feel confused. What is and isn't Turkey Red?

  10. Love this post. I know there aren't as many manufacturers of 19th century repro fabrics currently and so it has made me hoard what I already have. That being said, I don't honestly know what turkey red is anymore. I'm confused by all the fabrics they say are turkey red but, are differing shades so they can't be. I'd love to see some pictures of a few pieces in your turkey red stash so I could clear up my confusion.

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