My quilting bookshelf....
And below it, my old Engineering textbooks.
How's that for contrast? It's like Jekyll and Hyde.
After sorting all my magazine patterns into organized idea notebooks, I tackled the bookshelves. I have bought quilting, embroidery and needlepoint books for almost 30 years, and had filled a shelf and a half in my bookcase. Looking at that area, I decided yesterday that some of them hadn't been moved in years and needed to go. I can always donate books to the local library, and they're glad to get them. Whatever doesn't go in the collection, the library can sell at a yearly book fair to raise money. Either way, it's good for them and I get more room.
So I stacked up the books on my desk and started flipping through them. Had I made anything from them? Did it include new techniques I could master? Did the author's design sense mesh with mine? Authors ended up on the discard pile that you might not predict. For example, I had two Jinny Beyer books that did not come back to the bookshelf. I love her fabric lines, her technique is impeccible and her quilts are beautiful, but her design asthetic and mine never meshed. Forgive me, but her quilts always reminded me of the Indian bedspreads we all had in college! (I wasn't a hippie, but I knew plenty of them.)
The books also documented changes in taste. I used to make very planned, color-coordinated, 5 and 6-fabric traditional quilts. As time goes on, my quilts get scrappier and scrappier. I still like the traditional patterns, but I also experiment. The Linus quilts are helping me break out of the traditional box, too.
I kept finding designs in old books that I had made and given away, some I had forgotten about. One was a birdhouse design from Lynette Jensen's first book. It was made in the Thimbleberries color palette, with the birdhouse blocks strip set, and was lap quilt size. I remember hunting for the plaid for the binding. After a good friend was diagnosed with cancer, I gave him the quilt. I was told it was on his bed when he died. I'm glad he enjoyed it.
I found a small photo album of some of the quilts I made from 1991 to 1993. That was the time I made a quilt for everyone in our immediate families. The quilt I made for his mother was returned to me after she passed away and is in my quilt closet. It shows years of washing and wear; it makes me happy that it was used, not just admired.
There are a couple of pictures of baby quilts in this album, and for the life of me I can't remember who received one of them! A lot of fabric and thread under the bridge.
After I decided which books still had things to teach me, I returned them to the bookcase and was delighted to see that I had emptied half a shelf. Uh oh, nature abhors a vacuum...........