October 21, 2012

Something From Nothing

Several years ago, I was contacted by an interior decorator who was clearing out her studio.  She wondered if I'd like her old fabric samples.  "Sure!" I said, never one to turn down a gift of cool fabric.  I drove over to her place, and discovered that she had enough to fill my trunk.  Wow.  
I brought it all home, sorted it out, gave what I didn't think I'd ever use to a grade school art room, and piled the rest into a big plastic storage bin.  

And there it sat for a few more years, until my kids grew up and there began to be more time for art.  What with parenting and repairing quilts, I hadn't done much play for the sake of play for quite a while.

I came up with a plan, my own personal challenge quilt project:
1. In each little quilt, I have to use all of the colorways of a print or a variety of prints that relate somehow.
2. I have to make the design of the quilt relate in some way to the print design on the fabric.  
3. I can't buy anything unless I run out of batting scraps or don't have a large enough piece for the back.

The series is entitled "Something From Nothing", and the title of each quilt is a word or two that simply names the shapes or colors or theme.

Here are the four most recently completed and photographed.  (Here's a post on how I photograph my quilts.)
Something From Nothing: Greenly Striped

Something From Nothing: Delft
(The tile shapes have a couple of layers of batting inside to make them stand up a bit from the "grouting" background fabric.)

Something From Nothing: 2 1/4"
(Uses 5 different fabric styles, all based on 2 1/4" units.)

Something From Nothing: Night Garden
(Flowers, stars, and leaves are all cut from the same print. The stars are the shapes left over when the larger shapes were cut apart.)

These are all machine sewn, except for the beading and some edge finishing.  

The title is a from song by Susan Salidor.  She was a favorite of my kids when they were young.  We heard her perform many times and bought her (at that time) tapes.  Many, many miles were driven while singing along with her songs.  This song is her re-telling of a Jewish folktale about a grandpa who is a tailor and is able to re-make his grandson's blanket into smaller and smaller things as each thing wears out - a jacket, a vest, a tie, a handkerchief, a button.  And finally, even Grandpa can't make something from nothing, but the grandson realizes that actually there's enough "material" to make a great story.  It's lovely!

Making these quilts really is my playtime - no deadlines, no goals, no rules except my own, no one else to please.  I'm having a great time.


  1. Beautiful series. The fabrics are refreshingly different from the quilting cottons.
    best, nadia

    1. Thanks! I see that you, too, like using repurposed and cast-off fabrics. I like having some parameters to work within, i.e. not always going shopping for fabric, and not dyeing the colors I need. I enjoy the challenge of making something with what I have on hand.