Posted on January 29, 2014
It's hard to throw away fabric. Consider the process of cotton growing in a field, being picked and cleaned, spun into fibers, woven and finished, then carefully printed with a unique design some amazingly talented individual artist created sitting in a studio somewhere. Executed by a production team of detail-oriented textile professionals working at a company that has the ways and means to look at strike-offs (printed samples), adjust color, hand, and finish as it begins to take on a life of it's own within a collection in the hands of the sales and marketing team who will introduce it to the crafting public.
The process continues when an individual makes a commitment to purchase it and the sometimes long journey, as is the case of most of the fabric I sell, begins in a Priority Mail flat rate envelope, passes through the sort facility, into the air, over the ocean, through the Custom's clearance process, and is ultimately placed in the hands of the "end user", a designer, seamstress, quilter, or artist, who is actually not the 'end user', but rather the "beginning user", as each individual piece makes it's debut into the world to become an article of beauty and industry, or 'saved' in an ever expanding stash in order to savor it for a future project. This is why it is hard to part with fabric, even tiny bits and scraps. Because they have potential.
Today I would like to offer you some ideas, over 500 actually, for what to do with your fabric scraps, by way of this Pinterest board that I was inspired to pull together is titled "Fabric Scraps ~ What to do with them." In reviewing the collection I have finally selected what I want to work on. I thought I might select something simple and restful after the busy holiday season, something pretty with a nod toward Spring, soothing, or useful in an organizing sense. But that was not the case. I choose Happy Scrappy Scarves, a holiday project created by ceramic artist and textile designer Jennifer Heymen, "Maker of Happy Things".
Jennifer's scarves are truly happy and they look like they would be just so much fun to design and sew. She graciously offers the tutorial on her blog. She does offer kits in her Etsy store and although she is sold out at the moment, you can sign up to be notified when she has more available. Unfortunately, I can't offer you anything except inspiration because I don't sell knits, and you will have to use your own scraps. You just might be motivated to start pawing through your stash and designing your own scarf pronto. A word of advice: make sure you know what you're serving for dinner, because while scraps are delicious, you can't eat them, and eventually someone is going to be looking for something real to eat, perhaps also made by you.
P.S. Special thanks go out to Buzzmills.net who made this superbly simple scrap ribbon and allowed us to use her image, above.
Posted on November 14, 2013
When asked the question, "Who is the person you would most like to meet?," my answer has remained the same for the past 12 years: "Amy Butler." Meeting Amy is a wish fulfilled every October when I attend the International Quilt Market in Houston, Texas. And this year, like a moth to the flame, Amy is what this fabric show was all about for me.
Amy at the Quilt Market. "Happy girl in Hapi voile! Enjoying the gorgeous sunshine & local color!" she says on Instagram.
In her colorful booth she stands, year after year, tall and beautiful, with her radiant smile that just exudes the energy, passion, and brilliance of her outstanding fabric designs and collections. I tried to remember the year I first met her there. It was sometime around 2003. She had recently launched her Gypsy Caravan Collection with great success, and "Charm" immediately followed, opening doors world wide that had never before been accessed by American fabric suppliers. I bought over 5,000 yards of these two collections, all on 60-yard rolls, lugging them up to my second floor studio, and selling them through my little eBay Store. I often used Google Translate to communicate with international buyers in Canada, Germany, France, and Japan. And of course, the Australians could never get enough of Amy's fabric. Hence, the "International" was added to my official store name, Fabric Connection. The name "zeetzeet" was my eBay ID back then. It was a nick name for my youngest daughter, Zelda, and it stuck because it was easier to find online than Fabric Connection.
More than a decade later, she stands in her booth, the belle of the ball, for me anyway. Amid hundreds and thousands of competing collections from scores of other young and talented designers, her latest collection "HAPI" appears surprisingly fresh, new, and somewhat bohemian, with rich, saturated colors inspired by her recent trip to Egypt with her husband David and textile design genus Kaffe Fassett. Anticipating the shortage to come in January when this exceptional line becomes available and quickly sells out, I am buying as much as I possibly can for the designers, quilters, and sewing enthusiasts I supply. You can even pre-order so you won't miss out! Need more inspiration? Take a look at my Hapi Pinterest Board. So please feast your eyes on these images while you wait for the real deal: January is Amy Butler Month at zeetzeet!