Monday, 25 February 2013

Taming the inner control freak

In Friday's post I showed you this scrummy stack of Art Gallery fabrics that I picked up at the Hobby Craft and Stitch show at the NEC earlier in the month and left you with the question: What could I make with these?  Well, as much as I really want to make a new quilt (I think the last one I made was about ten years ago - correct me if I'm wrong, mum!) and this stack would have made the most amazing quilt, I thought that was a bit ambitious given that I had only three days in which to complete said project.
So, seeing as we love the flexibility of Art Gallery's fabrics, I thought I'd make a patchwork scarf instead of a patchwork quilt (I love projects you can complete in an hour or two - makes me feel very smug!)  The weight of the fabric really does lend itself beautifully to making clothing and I simply adore all those rich colours.
Seeing as this really is a very easy project, I set myself a little challenge:  Could I do what I've been told is a real skill in patchworking: be completely and utterly random with what goes where?
I thought it would be easy - but it's so very very NOT easy (for me, at least) to let the fates decide. I think the logic is that Nature is random - and beautiful - so to mimic Nature = beauty.  Here goes then!
I knew I couldn't use all the fabrics in the stack, unless I wanted tiny blocks of each - the patterns are too gorgeous not to be shown off so I left out the two most geometric . . .

and then got cutting! 
Once I'd cut the strips I cut them again into smaller strips, trying to be as random as possible.
Then came the really hard bit:  I threw all the fabric strips into the air, closed my eyes and picked them up randomly and put them into a pile. I then divided the pile in two and sewed them together in the order they were in the pile I'd made.  Boy this was hard for me!  Would they look OK?  What if two of the patterns next to each other are too similar?  I really didn't know I had such a hard time accepting randomness, although this comes as no surprise to my husband who groans every time I ask him to hang a picture - out comes the tape measure to make sure it's EXACTLY in the centre of a wall - 'Does it REALLY matter if it's 5mm off?', he pleads.  'YES!' is my unfailing answer.  You are beginning, no doubt, to see why this was so hard for me. 
Anyway, two sides of the scarf sewn together and laid top sides facing - shock, horror, there are two strips of the same fabric touching!!  Let it go . . . it will be alright . . .  

. . . and it was!  I am sooo in love with this scarf!

  . . . and it goes beautifully with this t-shirt despite the hanging thread left in my haste!
. . . and now I can do random-ness?  Well I did move ONE piece of fabric - only one, I promise! Two of the cream backgrounds were together.  To be honest, I think it would have looked just a cool if I'd left alone!   Random-ness: 1 - Rae: 0.
The Art Gallery fabrics are all so absolutely gorgeous that we are having trouble deciding which ones to get first - Watch the 'Coming Soon' page of the shop for details of which collections we will have, erm - 'Coming Soon!'
Is it just me or do you find it hard to leave fabrics combinations to chance? What do you think of the scarf?  Better if I'd planned it?  Be honest now - I promise I won't be offended!  Do you have a tried and tested method you use for choosing fabric combo's?
Let us know what you think or if you have any tips and tricks on random-ness to share by using the comment box below. We always LOVE to hear from you!


  1. LOVE IT!! you are very clever and the scarf is gorgeous and a credit to your randomness (and inner control freak!). will try to do the same x

  2. Gorgeous scarf. I do try to be instinctive in my fabric choices and not over think it. I am making three memory quilt commissions at the moment and that is a good way to push you out of your comfort zone. A pile of precious clothes in the most random selection of colours. Bringing it all together is .....interesting.

  3. Thank you for letting me borrow it this morning but as you want it back can you make me one please. I love it and it looks beautiful with my coat! Clever girl, not sure who taught you to sew but they must be good ;) Mum xx