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Thread: Fat quarters question

  1. #1
    eweandme's Avatar
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    I'm new to quilting, so bare with me. I've been told "if you are going to spend the time making a quilt, you should only use the best fabric". On Monday I went to Jo Ann's and saw fat quarters selling for $1.99 and then I go to a quilting store and they are selling their's for $2.75. Is Jo Ann's fat quarters a cheaper fabric and are they worth spending the money or should I buy the more expensive ones at the quilt store? I could sure use some advise and opinions.
    Donna

  2. #2
    mamatobugboo's Avatar
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    I personally have found that the quilt store fabrics are a higher quality, but I have bought plenty of Joann's fabrics because they are such good prices and they do have a really nice selection. Also, since they purchase their fabrics in such high quantities, they are able to sell them for a lower price.

    I would suggest that you don't intermingle the fabrics - if you start a project with joann's fabrics, complete the project with it, and if you start with the quilt store fabrics, complete with the quilt store fabrics.

    If you do "mix" the fabrics, I would recommend that you wash and dry the fabrics first to pre-shrink the fabrics in case there is a real quality difference between the fabrics!

    I have always found that it is just easier to buy what you like - because then you will use it!!

  3. #3
    Super Member vicki reno's Avatar
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    Those are good points about not mixing farics. You never know about shrinkage or how the fabrics will wear. In the wall hanging that I just pieced, it wasn't an issue,, but I would definitely heed that advice for a big quilt.

  4. #4
    bj
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    Super Member bj's Avatar
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    I buy from both places. What I find with JoAnn's FQs is that they are a lot stiffer and they are wrapped around a piece of cardboard. I'm not sure why they are so stiff, their fabric isn't so much. The FQs at the quilt shop here are just folded and soft. I find more novelty FQs at the quilt shop. I like those a lot because I make mostly kids' and baby quilts.

  5. #5
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    Hi Donna- You are 'allowed' to use whatever fabric that you want to play with. My first quilt was made from mens' flannel shirts I bought at the goodwill. It lasted forever and I got to learn through many mistakes without spending a ton of money on fabric. Just enjoy yourself and have fun. As alot of people say on this site- there are no quilt police :):):)

  6. #6
    Super Member Harmony's Avatar
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    I also use both quilt store fabrics and JoAnn's. But the quilt store fabrics are quite expensive, so I generally only use them for special projects. Jo'Ann's is a great place to buy fat quarters to build your stash, especially when they go on sale for 99 cents each! Keep your eye out for sales there!

  7. #7
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    i don't usually buy fat quarters at the quilt shop unless they coordinate with something else i've got going. they are getting really expensive! but never say never . . .

    this quilt was made entirely from jo-ann fat quarters (20 of them) for 99 cents each (except the borders, which came off the bolt at jo-anns). i've washed it several times and haven't had any issues (except black pen that my sweet baby got on it that i haven't been able to get out!).

    [img]http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e3...ng20again4.jpg[/img]

    you really can't beat the 99 cent fq sales at jo-anns! and starting the 29th? all of their notions and quilting notions are 50% off! can't wait!

  8. #8
    Super Member mpspeedy's Avatar
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    Hi,

    One of the best things I like about this board is the "no quilt police". I belong to two guilds and they have their share of members who are "quilt police". I buy my fabrics everywhere and anywhere. It all depends on what I am making and for whom. There are plenty of fabrics in my stash that came from Wal-mart, JoAnns and even the Dollar store. I don't consider any of my work Masterpieces. If I am making it for a child I want it to be sturdy enough to hold up to rough use and lots of washings. I handquilt anything that is not going to be given hard usage. I judge fabric by the way it feels to the touch. As a hand quilter I am going to be touching it a lot. Many years ago when I first started quilting it was not unusual to put a sheet on the back of a quilt. With the advent of blends and the very high thread counts that are now available I would not recommend doing that unless you are going to be machine quilting.

    A big part of quilting for me is collecting fabric and dreaming about using it. I have more plans in my head than I have years left on this earth Purchase any fabric that makes you happy and fits into your budget. Remind yourself it isn't fattening.

  9. #9
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    The only time I get real picky about fabric choice is when I am doing hand applique. The higher thread count fabric is much easier to use for that purpose.

    If you are making quilts for kids, people you dont know well, football games, experiments, etc. The lower prices might be your deterining factor.

    I have a friend that buys the JoAnns fat quarters for her beginning quilters. They can learn, make mistakes without any guilt about the price.

    You will learn as you gain experience which ones you like to use and which ones to leave alone.

    I have found some very good quality fabrics at discount stores.

  10. #10
    Moderator Jim's Gem's Avatar
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    I started out with the JoAnns fabrics and after having quite a few fade on the folds or simply fall apart after a while, I tend to be very picky about the fabrics I use in my quilts. Feel them, see how many threads are woven in them. JoAnns does carry their quilters "best" for a couple dollars more per yard. I occasionally pick up those with my 40% coupon to use as backs. I have a couple of my first quilts that are having issues with the cheaper fabrics and after spending all the time I do making them, I'm not going back there. I do look for great sales and the good fabrics and stock up and buy my backs when they go for 3-4 per yard.

  11. #11
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    As with everything else in life, best does not always equal expensive. I am new to quilting too so I have yet to buy from a quilt shop. I do oggle what they have alot. All my fabric I have bought so far has come from Hancocks, Joann's, or Walmart. I can't see spending alot on fabric then making an 'oops'. I've read alot of post on here and one thing I can say, everyone has their own opinions about where to get the best fabric! I say go with what you like, at the prices you like. Until I know what is 'not so good' and what is 'great', I will stick to choosing by price. I can tell you that after my first quilt, I did learn about which fabric I like to use. All of them came from Joann's but they were all different to use. Make some quilts and have fun!

  12. #12
    Super Member Quilting Aggi's Avatar
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    I just finished my little visit to quiltville.com . I absolutely love her work and in thoughts on quilting. I read an interesting blog from her. Someone asked her why she doesn't buy all the high end fabrics and the big names and the kits.... this is what she said... and I quote it. I printed it off for myself.

    "I am a Quiltmaker because I make quilts. Not because I buy the latest fabric at whatever price it retails at.

    I am a Quiltmaker, driven to create by what I have on hand, not by the kit I can buy so my quilts will look just like everyone else's, so we can list the designers and collections by name in mixed quilt-company.

    I am a Quiltmaker, not blown in any direction by the winds of change prevalent in the fashion and home dec industry. I make what I want to make, no matter which colors or fabrics are "in" or "out".

    I am a Quiltmaker inspired by designs of Quiltmakers Past, who used the scraps they had from making the family's clothing, bedding,and more to make the quilts that covered the ones they loved at the most vulnerable times of their lives...while they slept, keeping those they loved safe and warm. This is also what drives me, this connection to those who came before."

    Smart woman in my eyes.

    Cheers

  13. #13
    Super Member Quilting Aggi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shellyp
    As with everything else in life, best does not always equal expensive. I am new to quilting too so I have yet to buy from a quilt shop. I do oggle what they have alot. All my fabric I have bought so far has come from Hancocks, Joann's, or Walmart. I can't see spending alot on fabric then making an 'oops'. I've read alot of post on here and one thing I can say, everyone has their own opinions about where to get the best fabric! I say go with what you like, at the prices you like. Until I know what is 'not so good' and what is 'great', I will stick to choosing by price. I can tell you that after my first quilt, I did learn about which fabric I like to use. All of them came from Joann's but they were all different to use. Make some quilts and have fun!
    Another smart woman!!!

  14. #14
    eweandme's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cathy M
    Hi Donna- You are 'allowed' to use whatever fabric that you want to play with. My first quilt was made from mens' flannel shirts I bought at the goodwill. It lasted forever and I got to learn through many mistakes without spending a ton of money on fabric. Just enjoy yourself and have fun. As alot of people say on this site- there are no quilt police :):):)
    First of all thank you everyone for your advise!
    Cathy... I've been working on a quilt using fabric that was given to me, it's old curtains, I felt it was a cheap way to practice and learn. I'm backing it with flannel. I have an old white blanket, I was wondering if I could use it instead of batting? I plan to quilt it by just tying it with yarn. If it turns out, I plan to give to my friend who gave me the curtains. So far it has turned out OK. I see some mistakes, but I know my friend won't care.

  15. #15
    Senior Member johnette's Avatar
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    I feel the same way as a lot of you. I pick fabric because I like it and I am always aware of the price. I buy JoAnn's, Wal-Mart, Hancocks and online once in a while. I have picked up fabric that I could tell was just way too flimsy and put it back. I make quilts because I enjoy it, not to impress people I don't know by using "designer" fabrics, patterns, etc. Do it for the love of it. You'll figure it out as you go along. Welcome to our board.

  16. #16
    Super Member ScubaK's Avatar
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    You know...it seems to me that quilting is getting to be an elite practice and I am all about quilts/blankets to use.
    Isn't this what they were intended for?
    Years ago I made some quilts for my bestfriends children, she packed them away and never let her children use them...at all.
    Well, the oldest passed away at 19 this year, never to have snuggled under his quilt I made him at 10...the daughters haven't seen their quilts in years...
    SO...I send them a lap top every year for this reason...I figure one of 'em will get used...
    Use the fabric you want to use, be it JoAnns, A Quilt shop or scraps. Quilts are labors of love for most of us. A Blanket to comfort, warm us and secure us...
    Create...dont worry about the other stuff...
    K

  17. #17
    Super Member Joan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KO24
    You know...it seems to me that quilting is getting to be an elite practice and I am all about quilts/blankets to use.
    Isn't this what they were intended for?
    Years ago I made some quilts for my bestfriends children, she packed them away and never let her children use them...at all.
    Well, the oldest passed away at 19 this year, never to have snuggled under his quilt I made him at 10...the daughters haven't seen their quilts in years...
    SO...I send them a lap top every year for this reason...I figure one of 'em will get used...
    Use the fabric you want to use, be it JoAnns, A Quilt shop or scraps. Quilts are labors of love for most of us. A Blanket to comfort, warm us and secure us...
    Create...dont worry about the other stuff...
    K
    I couldn't have said it better and agree 100% with your sentiments KO24!

  18. #18
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    Go ahead and use the blanket for backing and have fun tying it. Your friend will love it cuz you made it. Sometimes that is the best part of quilting- sending those invisible hugs and loves.

  19. #19
    Super Member retrogirl02's Avatar
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    I noticed the elitist comment and had to say that there have been and will continue to be the rule followers and rule dictators, they are not necessarily elitists, but "purists" in my opinion.

    There are also a lot of people who want the very best, regardless of cost and can afford to do so. Whatever makes you happy.

    I'm a practical person and I do use what I have on hand but enjoy the process of purchasing at my local quilt shops. The material is a better quality and I do mix with my less expensive JoAnn material and my hand-me-down material from the 70s and 80s...I prewash everything in my stash and some people will insist that these can't work together....they can and do. Experiment, find rules to break, and enjoy the process. Buy what you want and create your art.

  20. #20
    luvmy2bts's Avatar
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    I do mix fabrics as well. Can't always pay the quilt store prices. Could I make a suggestion eweandme? Instead of using yarn to tie your quilt I use embroidery floss. It always looks nicer longer than yarn. Just a suggestion. I use the whole strand. I agree, just feel the fabrics and if they feel stiff and scratchy in anyway I would steer away from them. As you go along you will begin to tell the difference in fabrics. Just go with what you like.

    Debbie

  21. #21
    community benefactor Knot Sew's Avatar
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    I'm with you, most people can't guess the price unless you like telling them :wink:

  22. #22
    racnquilter's Avatar
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    I too have "seen" some fabric snobs that "must" buy $8/$9 a yard fabric to make their quilts. I personally can't afford that, therefore, I lovingly/laughingly call myself a "fabric snob" because I can't justify spending $60/$70/$80 or more on fabric for just one quilt. I would pretty much be limited to probably one quilt a year at those prices.

    Use what you like and what you can afford.

  23. #23
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    As you may have read already, there are also the pre-washers and not pre-washers.

    If you are relatively new to quilting, and you have a limited budget - start with lap quilts. There is a smaller investment - and you can learn as you go.

    One of the ladies in my group is always trying some new technique with the baby quilts she makes for her many nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grand-nephews.

    I look at the fabrics I have in my stash - about 20 years worth - and I'm still happy with some of my choices - and there are some fabrics in there that wouldn't even make good rags.

    As many of the other posters have said - it's a learn as you go process. But I can understand the desire to not reinvent the wheel - no need to make the same mistakes others have!


  24. #24

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    KO - I so fully agree with you. The things that are stored away don't mean anything, because they were never used. The things you remember (and cherish) are the particular bowl that Mom always put the gravy in, or the old beat up silverware that you remember using to dig in the dirt.

    My other personal opinion is about labels. So much is made today about putting a label on your quilt. If a quilt I have made is pretty to look at, and keeps someone warm - and I would hope makes them happy - then the quilt has done its job. I'm not looking for a monument to me. I want it to be used up - not kept in a cedar chest. If you use it, and take reasonable care of it, I will make you another if that one wears out.

    Just my thoughts.

  25. #25
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    I bought several fat quarter sets from Jo-Anns a few years ago.

    Most of the pieces weren't even a full 18 inches long.

    I much prefer to buy off the bolt than buying fat quarters from JoAnns.

    Some vendors seem to have rulers that measure shorter than mine do.

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