THE PORTFOLIO OF PAULA B. ENTIN
ORIGINAL ART QUILTS

Culling the herd

I made my first quilt top the summer of 1979. It took 3 ½ years to actually finish quilting it, as I was in grad school for my MLS. 15 minutes here, 20 minutes there, and grumpy housemates who didn’t want the thing draped over the end of the couch!

So I’ve been buying fabric for 37 years. About. Off and on. I have a shocking amount of fabric, but thanks to my mom (who is a brilliant woman and a very practical Maine Yankee), I found a solution!

Fabric shelves showing fabrics

I am now using chunks of fabric for backings, rather than buying one big chunk of fabric at the store. It’s delightful, I get to root through and find pieces that have a connection to the quilt top, and I get to ditch stuff that I am no longer in love with.

I laughingly refer to this as “culling the herd”, as I definitely make choices based on usefulness and beauty. Some fabrics are those classic “I bought this?? What on earth was I thinking!” My son prefers the phrase “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?”

Or the classic “Mo-om!”

But my tastes were different, the fabric selection was rather limited back in the day, and the style of fabric has also changed considerably. My backing selections are frequently those little calicos, or those funny greens that were in vogue at one point. And when on earth did I buy that much orange?

And why?

Of course, it’s also very economical, which is terribly satisfying, like buying books secondhand. And it loosens up space on the fabric shelves.

Which I will try NOT to refill. Really. No, seriously. Stop laughing. I mean it!