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Thread: Dearth of interesting fabrics

  1. #1
    Senior Member k_jupiter's Avatar
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    Dearth of interesting fabrics

    I am so glad i got interested in quilting when I did. I have enough fabric (excluding existing started projects) for at least another ten to fifteen quilts. But I'll tell you, I go to the shows, I get ads from places like ChristaQuilts.com, and I am completely uninspired.

    What has happened to Robert Kaufmann? He use to hire some of the most innovative designers like Sherill Kahn. Now, we get Starwars (how tired is that?) and a thousand theme designs all aimed at 6 year olds. Michael Miller? Him of Fairy Frost fame as well as many more lines... now, just nothing.

    Here is the kicker... I am down to maybe $150 bucks in fabric purchases a year. usually only pieces I need to accent (or backs of) what I already have.

    How do you get inspired with the selection of mostly retro and bland pattern fabric that most quilt shops and on line shops carry?

    tim in san jose

  2. #2
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    Sorry, I don't seem to have this problem. I want to keep buying, buying, buying...

  3. #3
    Senior Member Tashana's Avatar
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    I rarely buy fabric without a quilt in mind, but when I do it is an outstanding timeless type of fabric, something that will look fresh even 20 years from now. Same is with fashion. I hate the clothes that was imposed to us in the last couple of years, but wearing classics will never go out of style. I guess I brought ideas from my 30 years of garment sewing into my quilting. I get inspiration from the world around me and that's when my hunt for fabrics begins. Good luck and happy quilting!

  4. #4
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    Not a problem for me -- I like both classic things and of-the-moment things. There is always far more that I want to buy than I can afford or find time to sew. I do sometimes have trouble finding bright, clear colors in fabrics other than children's designs, and at the moment I'm going mad trying to find good greens.

  5. #5
    Super Member pollyjvan9's Avatar
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    Oh, Wow, I wish I had your problem. Mine is the opposite. I try to keep it at about $50 a month, but don't always suceed.

  6. #6
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    I do like the new fabrics but I don't usually buy them because they are too expensive. They don't go with my stash so I would need to buy enough fabric from the same line for a quilt top. They do tend to need the bigger pattern pieces too due to the fabric designs which limits what pattern I could use.

  7. #7
    Super Member MartiMorga's Avatar
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    I also do not have that problem, matter a fact, I could possibly have the opposite problem. Although I refrain from buying too much, I love so many of the new lines being released, can't make up my mind which ones I should buy for the next project.
    God Bless Quilters and Sewers
    Marti

  8. #8
    Super Member willferg's Avatar
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    I wonder if it has something to do with where we are at in our quilting journey. My friend who got me into quilting used to give me all her scraps (often not my taste, but still fun). She gave me less and less because she bought less, and she was never interested when I was given fabric from other sources. Me, I love fabric, especially when it's on sale!

    But lately, I have felt less inclined to buy and more inclined to use what I have. I rarely see a must-have fabric. I see lots of collections that I pass right over. But maybe it's just me and that I'm satiated by my stash and I'm not as hungry for new fabric as I was in my early days. Or maybe it's just a phase – we'll see!
    People who start projects and never finish them are cooler
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  9. #9
    Super Member JenniePenny's Avatar
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    In some ways, I have had similar experiences as the original poster. I've been super excited to have the day off, have extra spending money, and make a long trek to a fabric store, only to hunt and hunt and hunt for something to buy. I chalked it up (mostly) to being in a quilting slump. But I am also a quilter that does not have young children in my immediate circle of family and friends and thus I pass by on all the kiddie stuff.

    As for the inspiration part, I have found that if I flip through an older magazine, I can see a pattern that was done in calicoes that I know I can make look more timely by using my own stash. Scrappy quilts become more interesting to me.
    Here is an example of something that motivated me. The pattern, called Pulsar, was published in a magazine 18 years ago. I used up a good amount of leftover scrap stash for it and then only had to hunt for the dark blue border fabric.
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    "He who masters the grey everyday is a hero."
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/PeachPalaceDesigns

  10. #10
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    I personally think that there is a pretty good mix out there. I still see things I want, although since my stash is huge I don't buy unless I need it for a project or have a pattern that it would be perfect for. There are a lot more juvenile lines coming out but that is because we have a lot of younger quilters (moms) and a lot of us who have been quilting for years are becoming grandparents or great aunts/uncles. Also a lot of the newer retro and modern lines are aimed at the younger quilters (although I like a lot of them) and personally I am thankful - need to keep them interested. For those of us who are very traditional, Civil War lines and traditional/timeless fabrics (beautiflu florals and Jenny Beyer).

  11. #11
    Senior Member asimplelife's Avatar
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    I love having so many choices in fabric! I feel lucky to love my stash AND have my pick of current fabric lines... my only problem is deciding what to make and being patient while I focus on finishing UFOs.

  12. #12
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    There are times I go into the fabric store and just don't see anything I like and then there are other times I think I'm trying to buy out the store. There's 3 LQS shops within a 20 mile radius (God bless them!) and each has a different specialty. Some days I'm into the more traditional, and some days I'm into more bright lines.

    It may help if you try some different shops to see the different lines and examples of those lines. Many times I've thought why would anyone buy that fabric only to see it worked into a beautiful quilt. It took me seeing it used verses me thinking of a project to get the beauty of fabric.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Daffy Daphne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JenniePenny View Post
    In some ways, I have had similar experiences as the original poster. I've been super excited to have the day off, have extra spending money, and make a long trek to a fabric store, only to hunt and hunt and hunt for something to buy. I chalked it up (mostly) to being in a quilting slump. But I am also a quilter that does not have young children in my immediate circle of family and friends and thus I pass by on all the kiddie stuff.

    As for the inspiration part, I have found that if I flip through an older magazine, I can see a pattern that was done in calicoes that I know I can make look more timely by using my own stash. Scrappy quilts become more interesting to me.
    Here is an example of something that motivated me. The pattern, called Pulsar, was published in a magazine 18 years ago. I used up a good amount of leftover scrap stash for it and then only had to hunt for the dark blue border fabric.
    That's a beautiful quilt, JennyPenny!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by JenniePenny View Post
    In some ways, I have had similar experiences as the original poster. I've been super excited to have the day off, have extra spending money, and make a long trek to a fabric store, only to hunt and hunt and hunt for something to buy. I chalked it up (mostly) to being in a quilting slump. But I am also a quilter that does not have young children in my immediate circle of family and friends and thus I pass by on all the kiddie stuff.

    As for the inspiration part, I have found that if I flip through an older magazine, I can see a pattern that was done in calicoes that I know I can make look more timely by using my own stash. Scrappy quilts become more interesting to me.
    Here is an example of something that motivated me. The pattern, called Pulsar, was published in a magazine 18 years ago. I used up a good amount of leftover scrap stash for it and then only had to hunt for the dark blue border fabric.
    Your quilt is a perfect example of using older fabric! The pattern seems to glow which would be completely lost with the larger print modern fabric.

  15. #15
    Super Member grandjan's Avatar
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    This is an interesting thread. Like several of you, I've bought lest and less fabric recently; had chalked it up to the fact that I have a great deal to choose from in my stash, and the fact that many of the prints that are very popular right now just don't appeal to me much. It may be, though, as one person suggested, that you just go through stages as a quilter and this is one of them. I doubt I've bought $150 worth of fabric in the past six months--and that mostly backing. The quilt JenniePennie posted is stunning, by the way.

  16. #16
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    LOL, I try to keep my purchases to $50.00 a VISIT! I wanted to work in the muted tones but didn't have any to use - I usually buy bright. I was lucky to find a whole line on sale - from 40% to 90% off. Bought 85 yards of fabric that day and have been working happily from that stash ever since. As I find other fabric that works with those tones I buy a yard or two so that part of my stash is happily evolving.

  17. #17
    Senior Member k_jupiter's Avatar
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    I would guess this just makes the point that when the fabrics are there and hit your creative fancy... buy lots.

    tim in san jose

  18. #18
    Super Member DOTTYMO's Avatar
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    I adore fabric but now adays so expensive. Without the backing and batting. I have just priced how much it will cost to purchase fabric for the labrynth walk quilt. Here in UK 150 due to the prices goin up so much. What. Do I do dye my own?
    Finished is better than a UFO

  19. #19
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    My problem is that I love too many different types of fabric design. I wish I loved one like clear brights so I could develop a "style". Met one woman at a retreat like that. She scoured the stores for clear brights and made the most beautiful and original designs.

    I have never found a quilt store with inventory I did not love. I often do not find much at Joanns because their colors are often muddled but there is usually something. Not that I buy it but these trips encourage my creativity. Even our "modern" shop makes me think about design in a different way.

  20. #20
    Super Member mom-6's Avatar
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    I've been trying to use stash first and mostly succeeding. However as you all know there's always that one fabric you don't have or don't have enough of. . .
    I'm discovering that the ones I'm drawn to are focus fabrics but the ones I always need more of are the blenders and ones that play the supporting roles.

    A long time ago a friend told me to always get coordinating colors at the same time (or at least the same season) or you may not be able to find the right ones later as the color pallatte changes each season. ie. the lime green from last year will be more blue or more yellow next year and won't match. Of course it will resurface five, ten, twenty years from now as the "new" color of the season. Lol!

  21. #21
    Super Member ptquilts's Avatar
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    I solved that problem by making scrappy quilts with small pieces, so, as the old song says, "Anything Goes"!!

    I will be shopping from my fabric stash in my attic for years to come. Over the years we were lucky enough to get a lot of unwanted scraps from 3 ladies, each of whom had a cottage industry making quilts. I guess to modern eyes the small prints look old fashioned, but I love them.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Sideways's Avatar
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    I just love it all. I consider my stash my palette and love to add to it. Would spend lots more if I could!! I love the old stuff and the new brights!! Color just makes me happy.
    Never met a scrap of fabric or vintage sewing machine I didn't like!
    Many a lost and lonely vintage machine has found a home with me, 26 and------ uh oh lost count, who is counting anyway!

    Susan

  23. #23
    Moderator kathy's Avatar
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    About the only thing that inspires me now is Civil War reproductions and some of yhr 30s repros.
    Maybe that means I'm getting old!
    Glad to see you're still with us Tim

  24. #24
    Junior Member RGAY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JenniePenny View Post
    In some ways, I have had similar experiences as the original poster. I've been super excited to have the day off, have extra spending money, and make a long trek to a fabric store, only to hunt and hunt and hunt for something to buy. I chalked it up (mostly) to being in a quilting slump. But I am also a quilter that does not have young children in my immediate circle of family and friends and thus I pass by on all the kiddie stuff.

    As for the inspiration part, I have found that if I flip through an older magazine, I can see a pattern that was done in calicoes that I know I can make look more timely by using my own stash. Scrappy quilts become more interesting to me.
    Here is an example of something that motivated me. The pattern, called Pulsar, was published in a magazine 18 years ago. I used up a good amount of leftover scrap stash for it and then only had to hunt for the dark blue border fabric.
    Your quilt is stunning!!!!!

  25. #25
    Super Member grann of 6's Avatar
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    Oh My Gosh! I don't know where you are shopping, but I look at Moda fabrics and want them all. I think the choices now a days are beyond fantastic. I am not too crazy about the modern stuff and some of the colors that are current, but find that there is always something to chip away at my creative thoughts. The newer batiks are just phenomenal! I can't even imagine going into a store and not falling in love with at least a half dozen fabrics.

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