Thursday, September 22, 2011

Quirky about my fabric

Are you quirky about your fabric?  Gotta fold it just so?

I'm quirky about mine, and I admit it.  I have very particular ways I like to fold my fat quarters, and my yardage.  (Did I say like?  I should have said have to.)  I bought some fabrics last weekend and it has been sitting in a pile on my kitchen table waiting to be put away, which can't be done until it's refolded the right way.

First I iron it to remove the creases (they are always in the wrong place), then I hold the fabric up to the windows (this step requires bright daylight) to see if I can spot any manufacturer flaws or strange staining (it's rare but it happens).  Then assuming all is fine, I square it, fold it, iron in the new crease, square it again and fold it a second time, and iron in the second crease.  That's when I know if I've been the victim of a badly folded bit of cloth.  This is a pic of my worst off-cut in this batch of new fabric after squaring.

Less than 1 inch on both ends of yardage is acceptable, since they usually cut a metre plus an inch or two. The worst one I ever had was an American fat quarter that needed two inches trimmed off both sides!  A fat quarter minus 4 inches is no longer a fat quarter.  What's the difference between an American FQ and a Canadian FQ?  We sell our fabric by the metre - approx 39 inches, so our FQs are a bit bigger.  Anyway 4 inches off a FQ of any nationality is shameful.  I bought it from an online store based in the USA and sent them a complaining email. They sent me an apology and a complimentary fat quarter to make amends. I still buy from them five years later.   I love good customer service.
But I digress... Then I take my 6" wide ruler and flip the fabric around it, then slide out the ruler.  Nice and tidy.  All my folded fabric the exact same size.

If there's a bit left over as I'm flipping the fabric around the ruler, I cut a strip from it.

I used to cut a few strips: 2.5", 2" and 1.5" because I like strip piecing and have a few dozen scrappy patterns I want to make that use strips.  But....ahem....those strip bins are a little on the full side right now.  Alright, they're overflowing!  So, now I just cut out a 3.5" strip and only if the folded fabric has a bit to fold over.  I figure a 3.5" strip or strip remnant can be further subcut into 2" + 1.5", or a 2.5" + a string. I really need to stop blogging about organizing and get productive and start making quilts (plural) to use up my strips because I've also got a large bin on wheels full of scraps and trimmings that need to be tamed into whatever size can be cut from them.

If the yardage is more than 3 metres/yards, I fold it on my 8.5" ruler.  I can tell at a glance based on the width of the folded fabric if the yardage is enough for a backing or not.

When I bought my Ikea wardrobe and basket organizers, I found that each basket could hold three stacks of of the 6" folded fabric (two side by side and one cross ways), or it will hold one stack of 8.5" + one stack of 6" with room for fat quarters. Serendipity! It was as if I had been prepping my fabrics and folding it this way for years for just this storage unit.  Things don't usually work out this neatly for me.  I didn't think to measure when I bought the storage unit either.
Here are those yummy new fabrics again - the 3.5" strips I cut from them.

I have this gorgeous orchid and it has been in bloom for 30 days now.  30 days!  You want to know the secret?  I haven't watered it the whole time it's been in bloom.  I've been ignoring it as I got the stash reorganized.  The last time it bloomed, I fussed over it, watered it, fertilized it... and the blooms rotted and fell off in less than a week!

Now I think there is a lesson in this for me.  Don't obsess or fuss if you want to enjoy the flowers.

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