Oh, this is the bit I love. Like a kid in a sweetie shop whose mouth is watering just looking at the colours and shapes.
After years of "collecting" - ie, greedily snapping up designs that I fell in love with at first sight - I have amassed a large array of fabrics. Amazingly, they often go together wonderfully, if rather unexpectedly. Like discarded loves, some are destined to remain, with much guilt on my part, on the shelf. Some I know I will never use - they somehow just never look right, whatever combination I try - but I still delight in them. Others started out as a sort of duty buy, rather dull but worthy, but have proved their worth ten times over. Long since out of stock, they are guarded jealously.
But getting them all out, rummaging around, throwing them up in the air, introducing them to each other, plucking one out of the pile and bringing in another, is one of the main pleasures of quiltmaking. As the lovely Lynn Edwards OBE, quilt author and teacher, once said at the beginning of a workshop after each participant had spread out her selected fabrics: "Let's just stroke them all and then we can go home."
A year or so ago I realised that I had to get a grip and impose some sort of order. In came the box shelves. I found them not from grown-up, serious-minded companies such as Ikea and John Lewis - nothing in my price range was the right size or shape - but from Argos's children's furniture range, as if to emphasise that what I'm doing is, essentially, playing. Brilliant value (there was a three-for-the-price-of-two offer at the time ) and they're still available.
A happy day or two was spent sorting out the fabrics by colour (and yes, I still have plenty stuffed randomly into drawers and in boxes under my desk as well). Not an exact science by any means; after I've pulled them all out for a good rummage and tidied up again, they invariable end up in different, if perfectly valid, categories. Which again suggests further combinations... What joy
Visit my website at www.valeriehugginsquilts.co.uk
Handmade textiles for stylish interiors, off the shelf or to commission
email: email@example.com; 020 7515 0701 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 020 7515 0701 FREE end_of_the_skype_highlighting; 07518 885960