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Thread: Stash or Buy as Needed?

  1. #1
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    Stash or Buy as Needed?

    Which do you think is better?

    Having a stash - (having more fabric on hand than one can use in a lifetime) ?

    or

    Buying only enough for a given project and all fabric on the premises will take up less than a cubic yard of space?

  2. #2
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    I have a small stash, thanks to a generous friend, so I only buy as needed, to either compliment what I have, or just what I need to do a certain pattern. Space and money are a major concern I have to work within. I also see no need in being overwhelmed with fabric and forgetting what's really in that mess.
    Ageing is an extraordinary process where you become the person you always should have been............David Bowie

  3. #3
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    I have a small stash of fabric and am very grateful for it but I'd rather have the space. If I could go back in time (before losing my job) I wish I had purchased everything it would take to complete a quilt and waited until I finished it to purchase for the next quilt. My taste has changed over the years but my funds have greatly diminished!

  4. #4
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    I have a very large stash and trying to use up what I can but ----don't you know it----I need just one certain fabric to match what I am making!!! Try explaining that to my DH when he says "with all of your fabric you don't have something to match?????!!!!" Long story short-my daughter and 3 DGD moved in and had to make my sewing room a bedroom and so had to buy a shed for back yard and sometimes I go shopping out in the shed and I am surprised to find fabric I don't even remember I have. Tons of fun to go shopping out there and not spending any money!!!

  5. #5
    Super Member thimblebug6000's Avatar
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    I was gifted lots of fabrics, but mostly small chunks under FQ size, a few years back. It was fun to get, but does take up a lot of room... I love quilting shops and we make some huge detours when on vacation just to check them out. I always try to buy at least 1 metre of fabric... so I collect with a theme idea each year. The last 2 years were the Row by Rows.... but a couple weeks ago I had to purchase fabric to keep adding borders to my peacock project. One fabric was $18.99/m and the other $20.99/m .... whew.... that's a lot of money, but hopefully the quilt will be worth it.
    Long story.... short..... I guess I would choose not to have a stash if I was to start over....

  6. #6
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    I am very fortunate to have a nice stash. My dgd moved out so I took over the sunroom! I find that I love shopping in my own stash before I go out. I have it all organized which really helps.

  7. #7
    Super Member Evie's Avatar
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    I'm glad to have a small stash, as right now I'm on a buying moratorium, although I may have to buy some backing fabric.
    "I keep my end tables full of needlework and quilting so I don't have to dust them." ~ Author Unknown but I agree!

  8. #8
    Super Member cashs_mom's Avatar
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    I definitely think it's better to have a stash. I love all my fabric and love to "shop" from it. I'm a big Saturday evening and Sunday sewer so I keep a lot on hand since I can't run to the store to pick up extra. I do use my stash. The only fabrics I've bought besides something to go with a certain collection is once a year at Quilt Festival and I don't buy that much. Mostly its just if I see a collection that really catches my eye and I can picture using it in a project.
    Patrice S

  9. #9
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    When I first got the quilting bug, I found great buys at estate sales and bought about 4 large totes of fabric I like at very reasonable prices (from 1 to 5 yards). Two years later, I've used almost none of them. Meanwhile, I've accumulated a large tote of new fabrics for planned projects and have used almost none of them. If I don't donate them, most of them will be in my estate sale.

    I also have 5 small totes of "I spy" fabrics and squares, which I use regularly to swap with other "I spy" users. I've only made two "I spy" quilts.

    I've come to the conclusion I like searching for fabric and buying it better than sewing. Given I've retired, that has to change.

    My cousin, who is about my age, has 70 something quilts planned. She has the patterns, fabrics and backing for all of them. Plus, some are very complicated projects that will take hours and hours to complete. (She's working on 2 hexagon I spy quilts for her DGSs that are fussy cut with triangle corners between charms.) She told me last week that she'll never get all of her projects sewed.

    So, my advice is not to buy fabric you don't have a project planned to use it in. Also, limit how many projects you have in the works as what you want to make will change over time.

    bkay

  10. #10
    Power Poster RedGarnet222's Avatar
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    Actually both! I have some purchased pre-assembled kits, also (kitting myself) fabrics I have bought that I keep with the pattern so it doesn't get used that need a couple more colors to make, and I have a good sized stash I acquired when two different fabric stores went out of business. (Hancock and Ben Franklin's) Sometimes you run across something that you can't leave without, right?
    I also sew home dec and occasionally clothing. So, I have some tubs with that in them. I also have a very large tub with charity donation fabric too. And of course, a couple tubs with scraps from quilting cotton.

    Hard as I try, I never seem to make a dent in it. But, I live outside town and when the snow flies I want to know I have something fun to work on.
    Last edited by RedGarnet222; 06-16-2017 at 08:01 AM.
    RedGarnet222

    "Take your needle, my child, and work at your pattern ... It will come out a rose by and by. Life is like that ...one stitch at a time, taken patiently."
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  11. #11
    Senior Member Fabric Galore's Avatar
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    I have a fabric stash but not by intention. I usually buy the fabric required for my project but I buy a little extra fabric to allow for mistakes in cutting. I have also bought the fabric required for a quilt and when I start to make the quilt I will realize that 1 or 2 of the fabrics just isn't working in the color scheme and so I buy some more fabric to replace them. After 37 years of quilting I have a larger stash than I imagined. I have made so many scrap quilts but I think the fabric breeds during the night when the lights go off because I barely make a dent in the stash.

  12. #12
    Junior Member Altairss's Avatar
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    I started quilting only a few years ago and was amazed how quickly my stash began to accumulate and then I was gifted a larger amount. Its very easy to get overwhelmed and I find unless I keep it very organized I don't use it as I should. I forget what I have and then end up buying more. Out of sight can be out of mind and sometimes what you have is not what you want to use. I have quit buying for the most part and only add solids, neutrals and blenders and I am trying really hard to work with what I have first then if after I go thru everything and I mean everything I let myself buy a bit more.

    I see others struggle with their stash, can't find anything, find they don't like it anymore or are not using it. I think it depends on the person some like the rush of buying, some will use what they have first and others like to buy as they go and only maintain a small stash. Space, money and your own personality should guide you a bit.

    It's really easy to get carried away so I find now I want just a moderate stash that I can keep up with, keep organized :not my strong suit at all, that still allows me to pull a project together. With a smaller stash I don't really feel guilty if I occasionally buy something.

  13. #13
    Super Member Kitsie's Avatar
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    I buy per project. It's a large part of the fun of making a new quilt! "Yay, new fabric!" My stash is all scraps and I use them to make 6" blocks that I see on line.
    http://s1248.photobucket.com/albums/hh485/KitsieH/
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  14. #14
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    I have a big stash of ufo's. wish i would get busy and finish them. I like buy fabric only as needed but I usually buy more then needed so I have a med. size fabric stash to.
    Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind see.
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  15. #15
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    I think what's better might depend on the kind of quilting you prefer. I recently pulled a bunch of large floral prints from my stash along with coordinating fabrics, matched them with patterns and began making the tops, and I found that I wasn't as happy with these more spontaneous quilts as I've been with my planned quilts that spring from a specific idea or inspiration. So this leads me to believe that in the future, buying by project might be a better approach for me.

    I think if you're a scrappy quilter, you pretty much need a stash.
    Lisa

  16. #16
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    I think it depends on what kind of quilts you like to make. My favorite quilts are "I Spy" so I collect the fabrics such as kids, animals, Christmas, Halloween, etc. And I like to make the GFG. I know that I am going to need fabrics to compliment the others, but I don't buy the coordinating fabrics until I need them I tried to "stock up" when there are sales but I found most of that didn't work within the quilts, or it was a few inches short of my needs and ended up giving a lot of it away. It is fun to buy for a new project.

  17. #17
    Junior Member Quilter 53's Avatar
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    Mostly I buy for a certain project, but within the last year my daughter found a bargain at a garage sale. Since she doesn't quilt, all of the cottons came to me. We started out with 6 large lawn and leaf trash bags, 2 of which were non-cottons that she kept, 1 bag was all flannel, mostly kid themed, 1 was yardage of good quality cotton, 1 was mostly fat quarters or larger, and 1 was scraps of all sizes. All of this for $40.00. It's taken me awhile to get it all organized as my sewing room was under construction, but just this week I was able to iron and cut into usable strips that bag of scraps. There is some scrappy quilts in my future!

  18. #18
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    i'm so glad i bought a stash while i was still working. i9 love petting the fabric as much as sewing with it
    Nancy in western NY
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  19. #19
    Super Member cashs_mom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltnNan View Post
    i'm so glad i bought a stash while i was still working. i9 love petting the fabric as much as sewing with it
    That's me! I've always said I was stockpiling fabric while I was working and had money so that if I fell on hard times, I could still quilt. And I do love looking at and petting my fabric. I'm going to start picking out fabrics for my next project this weekend. I love going thru all my fabrics and deciding what to use.
    Patrice S

  20. #20
    Super Member Doggramma's Avatar
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    I have a pretty big stash. But I still buy pretty fabric. It sits out in piles in my sewing room, so I start using it, going to my stash to add fabrics. I think if I only worked from my stash, it would be harder for me to pull it all together. Unless it's reds and whites or blacks and whites, for instance. And I'm another one who bought and bought while working thinking I'd use all of that after retirement. It hasn't worked out that way.
    Lori

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  21. #21
    Super Member Watson's Avatar
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    I buy per project and that's how I got most of my stash..leftovers.
    I DO buy the occasional piece of fabric when I can't stand to leave it behind, even if I don't have a plan for it, but not too often.

    Watson

  22. #22
    Super Member Juliebelle's Avatar
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    I have a pretty decent stash and I have really been using what I have, I also have lots of scraps cut into the sizes I use the most. From my stash and scraps I have made 15 project Linus quilts and I an currently working on 2 baby boy quilts for a friend of my daughter who is having twin boys. I did have to buy 1 yard of green for the border all mine looked to girly. I used to buy a lot more but I find that I tend to buy the same types all the time so before I go shopping in the LQS I shop my stash.
    Juliebelle

  23. #23
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    I have a (seems to me) pretty big stash, mostly 1-2 yds, maybe 8 big lengths for wide borders or backing, and a lot of 1/4 or less pieces including my scraps. I rarely buy purposefully but instead intuitively and usually find fabrics in stash that go well together, often unexpectedly. All this is not to say that I don't go looking for the "right" fabric for a project, but not too often. And I always buy (online) on sale, except for muslin and small quantities of solids, which I don't use much. And yes, there are fabrics I don't like much, but they go into backings or small pieces where only the color matters.

  24. #24
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    I am of the small as in tiny "stash". usually scraps/leftovers from other projects which I am using now. I don't have a huge monetary investment in anything so can buy what I want when I want it. I read of fellow quilters who become overwhelmed with all that fabric and end up giving a lot of it away when tastes change or when room runs out, (of course there are those who love having all that fabric) but I think it would overwhelm me and I don't want to feel any kind of pressure to use it or to think of all the money invested. So far this is working well for me.
    Alyce

  25. #25
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    yes..... have a small/medium stash of fabrics that I have found that I like and were discounted (very rarely buy full price for stash)....

    then I have been known to supplement with full price as needed for a project.

    I hope by the time I retire to have enough stash to not need much on a more limited budget

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