Saturday, 15 March 2008

My Stash

Most patterns in quilt magazines are designed to showcase a particular fabric range, so it was refreshing to see the gorgeous quilt designed by Valli Schiller in March's 'Quilters Newsletter'. This quilt is made from fabrics from her stash. She says she rarely buys fabric for a specific quilt, buying instead "on speculation". Here are are the five reasons for her to choose a particular fabric.

  • it's so beautiful she has to have it

  • it fills a colour/style gap in her stash

  • it's useful from a design standpoint

  • it's polka dotted or striped

  • it's on sale and she felt sorry for it.

Since I buy fabrics in exactly the same way, as and when, it made me think about the reasons I buy fabric.

1. It's so beautiful I have to have it.

I love colours (all of them) and don't often buy 'pretty' fabric.

2. It fills a gap in my stash.

I often have enough fabric to start a quilt (look before you leap has never been my motto!) but often have to go and buy more fabrics in a particular colour or style to finish it off. Here are some of the 'extra' fabrics I have had to buy recently.

3. It's wacky.

I love novelty fabrics and always buy them. Sometimes I use them as feature fabrics, but often just go with the colour and use them in scap quilts - they add interest to the design.

4. It has writing on it.

As a teacher, it is my mission to bring literacy to the masses, and I try to include a piece of fabric with writing on it in every quilt. I like scrappy quilts, and many of these fabrics are neutrals, which blend in well.

5. It's reproduction or vintage.

I am very interested in social history, love old fabrics, and old quilts. While I'm not especially interested in reproducing old quilts, there is something charming about their look, and I cherish the link I feel to our foremothers who made such beautiful items.

6. It was in the sale bin, and I thought it would 'do' for backing.

I am such a cheapskate, that I have quite a few fabrics which seem to lurk in the bottom of my boxes. Sometimes they come in, but often are sludgey and difficult to use. Sometimes they are just what is required for a certain design, when they give me a great feeling of achievement (and keep the bank manager happy!) Never mind, they were all bargains!

When I first started quilting, I bought lots of cheap fabrics, but now I try (and try is the operative word) to be more discerning. My current maxim is to buy 75% of what I need and 25% of what I want. Except if it's in the sale bin, of course!


dot said...

Sounds like a good plan to me. It is funny when I see fabric I have in someone else's stash or quilt. I buy what I like and it all seems to work together. I don't know if I have specificly purchased fabric for a quilt other than the red/white for my sons two wedding quilts.

Exuberant Color said...

I buy most of my fabric on sale, but now and then treat myself to half yards of something new, just for mental health.

Karol-Ann said...

Loved this post! I shall have to go home and have a good long look at my stash and ask myself why?

Although having said that I hardly have any fabrics I regret buying anymore (used the last uglies for a quilt back and then they didn't look so bad :O) )

blackbearcabin said...

What a fun blog!
i almost always buy fabric that is on sale...ex....hmmm thats a nice price for batiks, perhaps ill pick up a few fat quarters (with no exact purpose in mind, except to add to my stash). I also like to stock up on colors...gee...i seem kinda low on browns, better pick some up! Ive only recently collected enough fabric to build from my stash on hand. Its nice to be able to say...i think ill work on a quilt today...and its all there waiting for you :)
On a rare occasion i buy a fabric "just because", however, it usually ends up just sitting in my fabric bin being fondled and not used :)
I really enjoy buying quality fabric on line! There are always great deals out there!
Well back to it!
Happy National Quilting Day! :)

loulee1 said...

You mean we need a reason other than ''I want it''?

katelnorth said...

I love fabric with writing on it - I can understand your attraction to them...

Katie said...

My reasons dito yours. Very interest post.

Valli said...

So glad you liked my reasons for buying fabric! I have another must-have category of fabric that I didn't mention in the QN article: anything with a food theme. I started collecting food fabrics several years ago when I was thinking about making a quilt called "The All You Can Eat Buffet." I'm STILL thinking, but now I have so many food fabrics that it's going to have to be a SERIES of quilts. ;-)

Valerie said...

Sounds like you are really smart. I am just learning to quilt and just building my stash. Thanks for sharing this great info.