Quilter’s Color Quest: Stash Challenge

The Quilter’s Color Quest is drawing to a close and I have a bit of catching up to do! The Challenges set in August by Rachel Hauser of Stitched in Color revolve around stash fabrics. The final chapter in her book , The Quilter’s Field Guide to Color, is all about ‘Working in Cloth’. There’s a wealth of thought provoking advice about evaluating a stash of fabric and how to categorise fabrics by style which helps identify personal preferences as well as how to destash unhelpful fabrics and how to build a stash that will be ready to use when the creative urge stirs.

The first part of the stash challenge is to distinguish between helpful fabrics (simple pattern, one colour, tone-on-tone or solid) and limiting fabrics (multicoloured, large scale or novelty print).

I had a sort through my scrap boxes , selecting nine fabrics that to my eye meet the criteria for being ‘limiting’ fabrics.

Next I had another rummage and found helpful fabrics to sit along side the limiting fabrics. (I realised too late that I’d turned the Challenge on it’s head as I should have been selecting fabrics and proving them to be ‘helpful’ by pairing them with tricky limiting fabrics!)… Anyhow these are the pairings I made:

A helpful fabric to the right of each limiting fabric.

The Quilter’s Color Quest has been such a boon for me through all this pandemic craziness: A series of short, absorbing tasks; learning about colour whilst handling lots of fabric :-); with the promise of a super scrappy Bear Paw quilt at the end.

Picking up the August Challenge today has been a bit of life-saver. Well! ‘Life-saver’ is an exaggeration, maybe ‘mood-saver’ would be more to scale. I’ve read posts by other quilty bloggers who have struggled with the pro-longed social restrictions and found their creativity dwindling. For some reason that’s the place I’ve landed in just lately. This was brought home to me this morning when I pinched my thumb nail between two hard surfaces – ouch! Tears sprang to my eyes. Then I started to cry. I realised the tears and the crumpling of my face had nothing to do with my thumb hurting and everything to do with all the emotions swirling around in my head through this strangest of years. So, I had a cup of tea (as we Brits do!) and disappeared into the sewing room to sort out fabrics for the Quest Challenge! I also put away the FMQ quilting project that wasn’t working – no point testing my resilience at this point, we know it would end in tears and/or rude words!

There is a popular hashtag on Instagram that I often use: #quiltingismytherapy I can truly say patchwork quilting has been a great restorative therapy for me today.

Having worked on the Color Quest Challenge and made some Bear Paw blocks I am ending the day feeling far better than I did at the start. Helped in no small part by my daughter’s prayers and a loaded phrase that pops up in the Bible with reassuring frequency, ‘But God…’ We try so hard to sort things out, plotting and planning events with a particular purpose in mind, forgetting or ignoring the fact we are not in charge! Today I read Paul’s speech to the Jews in Antioch,

Though they found no proper ground for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him executed. When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead…. We tell you the good news: What God promised our fathers he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus…

Acts 13:28-32

There is no promise in the Bible that we will not have to face great hardships, maybe injustices too. Joseph certainly experienced some deep lows in his life, spoiled by his father, his brothers plotted his murder before selling him as a slave, he rose to a position of trust only to be falsely accused and imprisoned. Eventually he become Pharaoh’s right hand man, all so that he could give aid to his family in time of famine, saying to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (The history of Joseph is given in Chapters 37-50 of Genesis.)

I hope you are not struggling at the moment. If you are then don’t lose heart. If at all possible take a little step towards creativity – the simpler the project the better 🙂 I do believe creativity is a core part of our being – we are made in the image of a creator God – we function better when we have a creative ‘outlet’, even more so if we can share our creativity with other people.


4 thoughts on “Quilter’s Color Quest: Stash Challenge

  1. Cheerful scrappy bear paw blocks, Allison! And thank you for an encouraging post! I am an essential worker, so I have not stayed home. I am required to go to work every day. So even though I know how blessed I am, I am still saying, “But God…I wanna stay home and sew!” Ha, ha!
    I do recognize that these are tough times, and it has been a tough year for so many in so many ways. We need to encourage one another, and believe that God has it all under control!

    • Thanks Laura! Yeah! We do need to be encouragers (if there is such a word) especially reminding each other to trust in our eternal Father – Creator and sustainer 🙂
      The pandemic and it’s restrictions have affected us all in different ways. Most of the time I can keep perspective and acknowledge how blessed me and my family have been through it all. I think this week, with the seasons changing, I got too worked up about all the social gatherings that aren’t going to happen this Winter – no quilt group meetings, no Church (unless you book, wear a mask and don’t sing!)- and lost track of all that I can be so grateful for – the wonderful tech-bods at Church who have managed to live stream services right from week one of lockdown, internet meetings, family and friends living close by and keeping well…And the opportunity to quilt and sew just about whenever I feel like it while others, like yourself, are having to work long, tiring hours to keep life as normal as possible for everyone.

  2. I never thought of it before that the phrase “new every morning” is found in Lamentations of all places! Thank you for this encouraging post. I need it this week as two of my grandchildren have started in-person school, which has me worried for their family and reminds me that we will not be interacting with them for some time. We did get to see our other grand kiddies this week for the first time in about 8 months after carefully distancing ourselves for two weeks. We met at a nature center for a walk outdoors and it was the best time in many weeks. There is so much on my mind these days—the pandemic, the natural disasters, social injustice in my country, and then intertwined in all of it, our deplorable political situation. I need to remember But God—I’m impatient for resolutions and civility. Yes, quilting is therapy—and meditation, too.

    • Thank you for your writing your comment. I’m encouraged in turn 🙂 It is very hard when ‘doing the right thing’ means we see so little of the people we love. I’m so glad you had that time with your grand children – precious indeed.
      So many difficult things all happening at once can certainly get us feeling quite overwhelmed at times. As you say we need to be patient, waiting on God’s timing and trust for his intervention as we see our God working out his plan!
      ‘The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.’Isaiah 40:28


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