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Thread: Collecting fabrics ...

  1. #1
    DJ
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    Super Member DJ's Avatar
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    Collecting fabrics ...

    I've been thinking of the different ways my SABLE (Stash Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy) is accumulating. Here's what happens …

    I often find fabric when I am searching for something totally different. I might be looking for batting, backing or binding fabric for my current project and find some fabric that loves me. Then I need to think about what I could use it for and how much I might need. Or I just buy an arbitrary amount (1/2 to 2 yards), and hope I think of something to use it for. Sometimes I can resist the urge to buy it right then until I have a specific project to use it for.

    Sometimes I go to the bargain table and just for fun start putting fabrics together that I think would make a pretty quilt, and end up getting 1/2 to 1 yd. of each of the fabrics. I take them home and bundle them together for a future project. Then I occasionally end up using some of it for another project if it coordinates well.

    When I go to quilt shops in my travels, I like to have a pattern with me that requires many different fabrics (like fat-quarter friendly patterns). Then I can pick out a fat quarter to add to that project collection.

    Of course when I go to make a specific quilt and choose fabric for it, I always buy extra; so if I don't end up needing it for the quilt, it is added to my SABLE.

    I don't go to garage sales. I have never found any good fabrics at our local Goodwill which I occasionally stroll through; and haven't been the beneficiary of friends' unwanted fabrics.


    How does your SABLE amass?

  2. #2
    Super Member QuiltingVagabond's Avatar
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    I am a sucker for a sale LOL, and not afraid to buy fabric online so Crafttown Fabrics, Whittles, Hancock's of P, Bear Creek, Fabric Shack, and others see my name occasionally...
    QuiltingVagabond aka Kathy

  3. #3
    Super Member jcrow's Avatar
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    A few years back, I started spending money on fabric and precuts like crazy. My sewing room is hard to get around in it. I am making a table runner today and found a half yard bundle that was perfect...but I needed about ten inches cut off the ends of most of the fabrics and it made me sick to cut into it. I was thinking I could make a whole quilt with these instead. But it’s what looked good to me so I ironed the end of the fabric and cut. It didn’t hurt at all...especially when I saw how almost all of it was left.

    I can still make a quilt. See, I love my fabric that is bundled every which way and it hurts to use it. I know it’s stupid and unhealthy, but I finally took the first step today. Most my fabric is getting out of date and needs to be used.
    "Be yourself...everyone else is taken."
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  4. #4
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I amassed my stash by buying 4- 6Yd.s of any fabric I liked --- just in case I might need it.

    I have used many, many yards for backings for the donation quilts I make for kids in foster care. The fronts are scrappies.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  5. #5
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    I got mine over the years mostly from finding bargains too good to pass up from LQS and other stores. Then after I retired, I volunteered at the local help center. Before long, I was put in charge of the crafts department, which included fabric and since the price was set by the thrift shop at 50 cents a yard, I really couldn't resist. Now I have such a ton (or tons) of stash, I feel extremely overwhelmed! Almost all I make now are baby and kid quilts for donations, but too much fabric is... well, too much.

  6. #6
    Senior Member lyric girl's Avatar
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    After 15 years of quilting I have amassed a fair amount. It was a lot more manageable when I was just buying fat quarters vs. meter cuts or larger. Today, I came home with a fat quarter set (entire fabric line). I did better at all of this before I discovered modern quilting and modern fabric designers.

  7. #7
    Junior Member homefrontgirl's Avatar
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    Remnant bin mostly. Tuesday Morning and Missouri Star's daily deal too. I love to get a whole fabric line and that adds to the fat quarter collection.

    It's funny, but I have an impressive fabric stash. I love to knit too, but I have practically no yarn stash. I wonder what that says about me?
    Happy quilting everybody!

  8. #8
    Senior Member Faintly Artistic's Avatar
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    When I first started quilting i would buy a couple of yards of each fabric. Fast forward 15 or so years and my tastes have changed a lot as well as the kind of quilts I make. I destashed much of that fabric and now buy fat quarters or half yards. I like controlled scrappy and tend to put 90+ prints in a lap size quilt. I have a local warehouse type fabric store where I can buy designer quilt fabric for $4/yard. I do find good fabric occasionally at local thrift stores. Recently bought 17 yards of Moda, Robert Kauffman, Riley Blake etc at Goodwill for $1.87/yard. Guess someone else was destashing. I like thrift store sheets for backing as well. My new fabric stash doesn't fill 1 bookshelf but I have a couple of hundred prints. My vintage sheet stash is a different story...

  9. #9
    Super Member cashs_mom's Avatar
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    I've been sewing for more than 30 years, wearable art and quilting for the last 20 or so. I have a huge stash and am gradually using a lot of it up. Amazingly, my taste in fabrics hasn't changed that much. Possibly because I rarely buy what is considered the latest and greatest so I just keep chipping away at what I have. When I want to start a new project, I first look at what I have on hand and then buy whatever I don't have. I'm also making a strip quilt right now that has used up a lot of fabrics that I had that were left over from other projects.

    While I do need to use up some of what I have, it's not something that I actively worry about. It'll happen. Or it won't and some other quilter will benefit after I'm gone.
    Patrice S

    Bernina Artista 180, Singer 301a, Featherweight Centennial, Rocketeer, Juki 2200 QVP Mini, White 1964 Featherweight

  10. #10
    Super Member Krisb's Avatar
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    I inherited some of it—Fabrics, flimsies, and UFO’s. When I quit garment sewing, gave away all of the apparel fabric. Still can see those Pendleton wools in my mind’s eye! But kept the cottons. So thrn I had all my aunt Fanny’s cottons, all my aunt Lydia’s cottons, and all my mother’s cottons. Then I bought a bunch—listening to the advice of “if one red fabric looks good in a quilt, 20 reds will look ever so much better. Fortunately, this means I mostly 1/2 yd cuts. Then a friend had to quit sewing and gifted me with 5 Rubbermaid totes of fabric. Gave about 150 yds away and still had to “double bunk” fabric on my storage closet shelves (two layers deep front to back of fabric on boards).

    A number years later, the inherited UFO’s are down to one. The quilts in need of repair and/or total remakes are down to two. And there are places where I can see only one layer on a shelf. Not an entire shelf yet, but progress.

    It is impossible for me to imagine how much space my stash would consume if we had an average American home instead of under 1000 sq ft. To bring anything new in, something else must go out the door or we would be in “Hoarders”. Makes you think twice. Or three times.
    I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it difficult to plan the day.

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  11. #11
    Super Member busy fingers's Avatar
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    By buying nothing less than 1 metre everytime I see something. (For non metric a metre is 39" as opposed to 36" in a yard)
    Last edited by busy fingers; 06-30-2018 at 09:57 PM.

  12. #12
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    I love fat quarters, and have been known to buy them by the dozens! When Mill End Textiles went out of business I bought a ton. S.R Harris Warehouse is a favorite, and I usually can find several that seem to call my name as I walk by. I've also experienced the "it jumped into my cart" issue. My quilting friend, whose stash is the size of a small store is downsizing, and has been giving me fabric. I used to buy 1/2 - 1 yard cuts, but found I always needed more, so now I've been buying 2 -3 yard cuts. I try to stick to FQ when I travel, but sometimes that doesn't work. I've told DH to just bury it with me.... I believe you can take it with you!!

  13. #13
    Super Member Wanabee Quiltin's Avatar
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    I’ve stopped buying from quilt stores but will pick up fabric from a thrift store - if it’s really good fabric that I know I will use. I use to buy fat quarters all the time but no more. Recently I cleaned out my sewing room and found about 20 jelly rolls to add to the 7 I had on another shelf. I also discovered a bin full of excellent charm squares and I had too many on another shelf. I have a way too large stash but I’m going to get it organized, visit it often just to pet it and be certain to remember it when I get tempted. I’ve never bought much yardage except black and white fabrics, but I still have quite a bit of everything. My Stash is lovely but it’s too much.

  14. #14
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    When I first started making quilts, about 10 years ago, I was gifted a pickup truck load of fabric and a car load of fabric. I gave a lot away. Still have way too much. More recently, a friend's mom passed away and I was given a lot of the fabric she had. At this point, I seldom, if ever, buy fabric. I am slowly but surely whittling away at what I have. About the only thing I have bought since acquiring all that fabric, for which I am extremely grateful, is white fabric. More recently, I have been discarding some, passing it on to the thrift store or giving to friends. It can be very overwhelming.

  15. #15
    Super Member SusieQOH's Avatar
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    Before fat quarters and pre-cuts arrived on the scene I bought mostly yardage. These days I buy mostly backing fabrics and not much other yardage. I'm a sucker for pre-cuts.
    I gifted a lot of fabric that I've had a long time. My tastes have changed over the years. My stash is now manageable for me. If I have too much I get overwhelmed.

  16. #16
    Super Member ptquilts's Avatar
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    I think after quilting a while, giant arrows develop over your head and follow you around, letting people know you are a quilter and will take any fabric off their hands. Same thing happens with yarn if you are a knitter.

    We were lucky enough, when we started quilting, to meet 3 ladies (separately) who had cottage industries making quilts and buntings, and they gave us tons of scraps. All we ever had to buy was yardage for backings. And I mean they considered "scraps" anything up to about 2 yards.

    I still have some of it left.

  17. #17
    Super Member luvstoquilt's Avatar
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    I have a large “textile collection” and I love it! I adore scrappy quilts so I have many fat 1/4s. I run to the sale fabric when I go to the LQS and I buy enough yardage to back a quilt. I don’t like the wide backings as a rule. I find they don’t seem to be as tightly woven. (Just my silliness probably). I have found a great store in Bloomington called Bolines where fabric is $6.99 a yard. It is name brand fabrics and there is a huge selection. I love ‘30s and civil war fabrics and can sew from my stash for many years. I clean my scraps every month for the first couple of days. I cut them in strips, squares, etc. and I use them for donation quilts. I also sometimes use larger leftovers on the back of my quilts.

    Fabric prices are probably going to continue to rise since China has bought up the cotton futures. HAving a large stash doesn’t bother me a bit. I love having it.
    "You must do the thing you think you cannot do"....E. Roosevelt

    Sharon
    Yorkville, IL

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anniedeb View Post
    ....................... I've told DH to just bury it with me.... I believe you can take it with you!!
    Haha. I loved this. My husband has started telling me I need to “start putting a price on everything” so he will know what it is worth “if I go first”. Now I will tell him that I plan to take it with me. Haha

  19. #19
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    The least amount of fabric I buy at a time is 2 yards. Most of the time 3 yards or more. I have found if I only buy 1 yard, it is never enough for any of the patterns I want it for. I have become enthralled with mystery quilts and it is easier to pull together the fabrics if you don’t have to replace what you want with something else because you only have a yard (or less) of the fabric you want. (Hope that makes sense).

  20. #20
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    What a delightful topic DJ, thanks for introducing it. And I love SABLE (stash acquired beyond life expectancy). You have all made me feel less guilty about my lovely stash. I was a professor, teaching fashion design and interior design, so you can imagine my stash. I gave away my wearable art "collection" because now I love making art quilts. My fabrics are ruler folded (around a 6" X 18" ruler), then stacked by color on shelves so I can see everything I have and enjoy my SABLE. My husband used to say an artist needs a palette and I've done my best to live up to that!

  21. #21
    Power Poster feline fanatic's Avatar
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    Like QuiltingVagabond, I am a sucker for a good deal. I also tend to buy in 2 yard or more increments. If I think it will make a good border print I buy 3 1/2 to 4 so I can cut LOF. I also save scraps at ridiculously small increments. I like offset log cabins made with 1 1/2" and 1" strips so will save a piece as small as 1" x 1 1/2". I have baggies with premade HST as small as 1 1/2" square with plans for them in a scrappy quilt. (they are my leaders and enders ala Bonnie Hunter method). I also have baggies with other sizes. 2" strips are set aside in varying lengths for a one day strip quilt or possibly some other project. I refuse to buy precuts. But I have won fat quarter assortments and the one time I ordered from Missouri Star I got a charm square package for free. These are always problematic for me because I usually love the assortment but they are not what I would usually purchase for myself (in terms of colors and prints) so I have nothing in my stash to go with them so I end up buying yardage to go with them and end up with..... more scraps! But they do get me to step outside my color/print comfort zone which is always good.
    I try not to binge shop too often. And right now I have enough yardage that I don't feel compelled to go on a FART (Fabric Acquisition Retail Therapy) trip any time in the near future and I have plans for a lot of what I have. My fabric tastes haven't changed too drastically, thank goodness. So I still love almost every piece in my stash and want to use it. There are a few yards of that "sale too good to pass up" that I do like the fabric but am not totally in love with it. Right now my stash is sorely lacking in solids. I need to beef that area up a bit. I can always use neutrals and background blenders in all the varying shades of white, cream, ecru, eggshell, etc, they just aren't as exciting to buy. But a necessary addition to anyone's stash.
    Last edited by feline fanatic; 07-01-2018 at 09:34 AM.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Crispy_Frog's Avatar
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    I LOVE the term "Sable!" That describes my Stash. I'm at hoarder level. I do it with precuts on clearance. I buy nothing larger than fat quarters. I've given plenty away, and haven't put a dent in it. The Webster word-of-the-day yesterday was "armamentarium." That is the aggregate body of equipment, methods, techniques and materials needed to complete a project or undertaking. Our stash is a valuable part of our armamentarium!

  23. #23
    Super Member Rose_P's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Faintly Artistic View Post
    ... I have a local warehouse type fabric store where I can buy designer quilt fabric for $4/yard. I do find good fabric occasionally at local thrift stores....
    I may have to plan annual vacations to Gilbert!
    “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” ~Maya Angelou.
    One's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

  24. #24
    Super Member crafty pat's Avatar
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    I never buy less than three yards of fabric unless i am buying precuts. I have a large amount and need to do something with some of it as at my age I will never use it all. But I love it all.

  25. #25
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    Luvs to quilt I have two unique patterns for small wall quilts from Boline's that I bought at the Lancaster Show. I love them! Wish Boline's was near me! As for the stash DH installed a closet organizer in my sewing room a few years ago according to specifications I came up with. It really helps to be able to see everything. I have mostly half and 1 yard cuts-never fails though
    if I use the fabric for a purse of something I don't have enough for long pieces. 😏

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