When I shop for fabrics, I first look for ones that I have not seen anywhere else. I like stripes, dots, spiral motifs, beautiful colors and patterns. I buy half-yard cuts so that I can get many fabrics within the budget I set for myself. Quite often as I watch the seller measure and cut, someone will say, What are you going to do with it? My first reaction to the question is an immediate, I don’t know, and sometimes I’ll say it out loud. Then I realize I know I’ll be making a quilt, but the person asking it doesn’t. So I often say, I make quilts. I’ll use it in a quilt. But usually, I have no idea what the project will be or when I’ll do it. And sometimes I think, Am I supposed to know what I’m going to do with it NOW?
At other times, the question What are you going to do with it?, comes when someone sees an in-progress or a finished quilt top or quilt. Most of the time my answer is the same as in the fabric store, unless it is a commissioned piece: I don’t know. I usually have in mind to make a quilt to be hung on a wall, but whose wall is a mystery.
With the exception of my first few quilts made over twenty years ago and a few commissioned works, I rarely purchase all the fabrics at once for a specified project. And after that much time collecting (amassing, piling up) fabrics, I begin a quilt from my own stash. When I am looking for a border or backing fabrics, after completion of a quilt top, I do shop with a specific intent.
I make quilts because I love the feel of fabric and color and pattern. I have an idea I want to try. Most times I don’t know what size it will end up. I just do it. I like the process, and one experiment or experience leads to another. And I like to finish things. It gives me a sense of accomplishment and a good feeling that I made something that didn’t exist before. But What are you going to do with it? doesn’t usually enter my mind until it is finished.