finding the perfect fabric

finding the perfect fabric

Finding the fabric to make my napkins with has been a long road. Mostly because I have standards and won't settle for cheap, environmentally hazardous, chemically laden, made-under-terrible-conditions cloth. The problem is that I want to have integrity in every area of my creative process.

Just so you know, I didn't start out this way. With integrity, values and morals, that is. When I first decided to take my handmade items to market and sell them I was more concerned with how to turn a profit than what materials to use. My priority was financial, even if it meant sourcing from China and buying cheaper fabric.

Then I started printing and sewing with the cheaper fabric from China. It was thin, rough in my hands and it felt, well, cheap. So I packed up the chemically laden, scratchy, thin cotton that was probably made by children under terrible working conditions (check out the story if you want to feel badly about the T-shirt you're wearing), and left it by the dumpster behind my studio for someone else to use, or for it to be thrown away.

And as I walked back to my studio, I made a decision to never compromise my values for profit again. And that meant money was no longer the priority. Feeling good about what I make would be the new order.

By all logical and practical business sense this would be the end of making a living doing what I love. I had believed and told myself that making a profit was impossible if I didn't compromise. I mean, don't some corners have to be cut?

Maybe. This is an experiment that might blow up in my face and leave me applying for a job at Starbucks. But I don't think so. Because I believe that the people who buy my handmade items for their homes also care, and are willing to pay more for quality materials just like I am.

So I scoured the information superhighway of the internet as well as the concrete streets of New York to find the perfect fabric. After a gazillion stores, millions of fabric samples, aisle after aisle of yardage, I finally found it: perfect, beautiful, soft European linen. Not only amazing to work with, linen is also a renewable resource and biodegradable. It's eco-friendly and free of harmful toxins because it is easy to cultivate. And, as far as I know it is not produced by children.

Even so, I had to try it out in my own home under real-life circumstances. And I found that short of running it over with a tractor, it got even better with wear and tear. When washed and worn, linen starts looking both old-world rustic and urban-edgy all at the same time. It is truly the perfect fabric.

And most importantly, I feel good about it. Really, really good about it.

my finished quilt

my finished quilt

growing zinnias and why it's ok that they decimated everything else

growing zinnias and why it's ok that they decimated everything else

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