Friday, May 22, 2009

Everything But the Kitchen Sink


"Everything but the kitchen sink" is a wonderful ideomatic expression originating during World War II ....when everything possible was used to contribute to the war effort. Women gave up silk stockings and lipstick. Metal of any and all kinds was re-used or saved for the US arsenal. It was collected, melted down, re-used and re-purposed.The only objects left out were porcelain kitchen sinks.

Suddenly, a simple concept became a cultural phenomena befitting the frugal, scrap saving economy.If you grew up in the forties and fifties, as I did, it was a common expression. I grew up with a mother who put 'everything but the kitchen sink' in her stews, in her potluck meals, and the description of what she bought, packed, hid away, or put into already stuffed suitcases, handbags or our Fibber Magee closets.

In quilting, it became most popular when quilters began using the term for scrap quilts that included almost every fabric they had leftover in their scrap basket.

Highly popularized by RJR Fabrics who introduced their "EVERYTHING BUT THE KITCHEN SINK "SERIES of reproduction fabrics to hark back to an even scrappier time in quilting.
(Thimbleberries did the same with their own Kitchen Sink Fabric Line as I believe, did Moda.)

Many others followed suit and suddenly that kind of 'kitchen sink' quilts began to be a popular art form amongst many quilters. You can see this style in everything from the quilts of Gee's Bend (who use everything they can find including clothing in their quilts), to the art quilt, to the down home and cozy comfort quilt. Not everyone might have known or used that term, but we were certainly all frugal enough to be doing it!

Once quilters began using the actual term 'Kitchen Sink Quilts' in books and TV shows (Eleanor Burns etc.) it became a more common and generalized term for scrappy quilts of all kinds..specifically those with unusual or odd combinations thrown in for good measure. So whether you call them scrappy, kitchen sink quilts, or fungly's...they're quilts that cry out to be noticed and examined in fun-loving detail.

Often consider the predecessor or even the origin of the "I Spy" quilt style for children, because of the great fun children had in finding their favorite quilt square or crazy quilting patch amongst the general hodge-podge of colors, soup to nuts patterns, styles, periods and fun.

I've always loved kitchen sink quilting, especially for picnic quilts and frequently toss my donated scraps into my hodgepodge scrap bin for combining later.


It's only when I look at the finished product that I'm suddenly aware of the oddball extras...Budweiser Beer fabric from the 70's is a prime example.... that I wonder if the quilt recipient might wonder...'why in the world did she buy that'. Well, she didn't.

'She' was given it an an orphan block section or perhaps a whole stack of pre-cut squares, or maybe her mother passed them onto her from her own collection. And so,
it was thrown in, as well...this time right along with everything else... but the kitchen sink!

Most of my 'kitchen sink quilts' made in the 70's fell apart years ago, or they've been 're-purposed' and turned into other items.... but because I'm also famous for saving 'everything but the kitchen sink' (in runs in my family) I'm sure they're probably all packed away in bins and boxes in the attic along with my other vintage 'early Goodwill and Grandma's attic decor.

My 90's on quilts are still considered new quilts in my mentality.... and in active use...I'm the Frugal Friday lady with 5 quilts on her bed, remember? And one of them was actually made in the 70's....."Everything's on my bed but the kitchen sink."

Frugal Fridays

I'd love to see a wonderful showcase of quilts and quilting across America showing our scrappy nature and ability to combine unusual fabrics to encourage fun and frugal creativity.

Link to the theme above from my own blog post and show me your fun and scrappy quilts...whether it is an ancient scrap quilt, your typical scrappy favorite of all time, a hodge podge assortment of I Spy fussies, or Everything But the Kitchen Sink !

Please contribute this weekend through Monday in honor of my 'Memories' theme (Monday is Memorial Day (observed in the US).....or do so on any and all Frugal Friday posts! Or be truly scrappy and just do it any old time, any old where, with any old things!

We need to truly think about this world of ours and how we can "live our best lives" in the ways we use fabrics!

And yes! Please do share how YOU best epitomize that scrappy philosophy as you both live and quilt in your own life!

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