I've had people ask me how I built my stash and how to know what fabrics to buy. So, I thought I'd write down my Stash Building "Rules"
1. If you fall in love with a fabric, buy it. If you don't have fabrics to go with it you can find some later.
2. Carry swatches with you of your favorite "focus" fabrics and then if you run into a sale, you can buy what matches the fabrics you already have.
3. Build up a supply of different colors. For example, I realized one day that I had very few yellow and gold fabrics and no browns or oranges whatsoever, but I had tons and tons of blues and greens and purples. That helped me steer away from the colors I had in abundance and look for colors I was lacking.
4. Buy a variety of prints (as well as some solids and blenders) - tone on tones, small and large florals, plaids, stripes, polka dots, and some outrageous prints just for fun (like jungle prints or sparkly fireworks!) A mix of fabrics makes quilts interesting!
5. Don't forget border fabrics - and be sure you buy enough to make borders for a full or queen size quilt.
6. Shop for a variety of fabric styles - 30's reproductions, civil war reproductions, batiks, holiday fabrics, juvenile prints, flannels, and baby fabrics (baby quilts make great gifts!) Preprinted labels are also handy to have on hand.
7. Be sure to include a variety of values - darks, mediums and lights. And don't forget a good supply of background fabrics. For me, it's white, cream or beige tone on tones as well as some bleached and unbleached muslin.
And a rule I made for myself, 8 - know when to quit. I've come to the point where I know I have a big enough stash and to keep buying fabric just to pile it up is wasteful and indulgent. I have enough fabric in my stash that I can make quilts for the rest of my life and never run out. It was hard to break that habit at first but now I buy only what I need to finish a project I'm working on if I can't find it in my stash.