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In the Quilting World

While Looking for Holiday Gift Ideas ...

While making my Christmas list and checking it twice, trying to make a few creative decisions, a brilliant idea popped into my head. Well, for me, it seemed brilliant, and for many of you quilters it may also. The idea is to give my quilting friends something that is quilt related, something I feel they would truly enjoy, such as a pattern, a book or -- wow! -- possibly even a kit!

The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. I started really thinking about what each of my quilting friends like in fabrics and patterns, and the things I have seen them make. I recalled conversations I had with them about things they were making. Then I thought about the number of times, while I was working on a particular project, friends mentioned that they would love to make the same thing or that they loved the fabrics I was using. The more I thought about it, the more the ideas grew into a plan.

To start with, I never buy just enough of any fabric for a project. If I like the fabric, chances are I will like it again and will find the perfect project to use it once more. So I always buy more than I need. This can sometimes be a problem. Unfortunately, I seem to move on to the next new collection with great excitement and find that I almost never revisit past purchases. I am not a scrappy quilter, though I would truly like to be. Working as an editor, I see everything new and exciting, and I rarely find time to use my stash. I'm always on to the next new collection or pattern.

I began my plan by compiling a list of quilting friends and some of the things I know they like to do. To the list I added projects I've worked on and noted which friends had commented that they really wanted to make the same project just as I had made it. A few basic patterns came to mind that seemed to be a hit with most of my friends.

Now, I know how busy I get sometimes, and most of my friends are just as busy. So, instead of making these projects for my friends, I've decided to make precut kits for them. That way, each of them will have a project they can work on when they have a free afternoon. I know this would really appeal to me. Having a kit ready to go at a moment's notice would satisfy that need we all have sometimes for "instant gratification."

I spent a recent Saturday evening sorting through my stash, digging out all those extra yards of fabrics I couldn't seem to leave at the quilt shop. It was amazing how much of the original fabrics I still owned, and believe it or not, I had enough, in many cases, to make one or two more of the exact same project.

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Stacks of fabrics in sorted piles.

After several completed kits were cut and bagged, I realized I still had plenty of stash I could share. But what about the patterns? I needed to purchase the patterns for each kit. Now this is where it really got fun.

I went to my computer and put "Annie's catalog" in the search box. Then, once I was on Annie's website, I went straight to the quilt patterns. Now this was better than shopping at a department store. I ordered the patterns needed to complete each kit. I could look at my piles of sorted stash fabrics arranged by possible projects, and I was able to match my stash with patterns I knew my friends would like. I bought several patterns to download, which meant I had the cutting instructions instantly. I had several patterns I wanted sent to me by post. Once my shopping was done, I checked fabric requirements and began to cut.

Making these kits was so much fun that I decided to go back onto Annie's website and look for more patterns for stash-friendly projects and was amazed to find even more great patterns that I could also kit from my stash. I am sharing a few pattern ideas with you just in case you want to try this for yourself or your friends. Here are several wonderful patterns I chose from AnniesCatalog.com.

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Hot Fingers! Microwave Oven Mitts Sewing Pattern Triplet Table Topper & Place Mat Pattern
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Which Way Table Topper Pattern "Cheers!" Wine Bag Sewing Pattern
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Uptown Debbie Brown: Thread Bag & Pin Cushion Pattern Peeking Snowmen Table Topper Pattern

I may just make lots of kits to have ready when I need a quick gift.

Now, this solves a couple problems for me. First, I really needed to reduce my stash. I have a very hard time parting with fabrics I love unless I have a plan, and what better plan than giving those treasured pieces to someone who will truly enjoy and appreciate them?

Second, I managed to create not only unique gifts for my friends, but I have also given them something I know they will enjoy. I've managed to give them projects they can do on a busy schedule.

And last but not least, I've created an awesome way to share something I love to do with my friends. I've given them kits that are ready to stitch. They don't have to find the project pattern and the fabrics, and then take the time to cut out the pieces. When they have a free evening or a rainy day to fill, all they have to do is get out the kit I've made for them, and they're ready to go. I know they will realize that I've packed each kit with them in mind and have shared something that is near and dear to me -- my time, my love and my stash.

Hmm ... I hope someone does the same for me!

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