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Building up a stash

Building up a stash

Old 01-18-2021, 05:05 AM
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Hmmmm, if I could go back in time how would I build my stash? Blenders, small prints with a limited colour palette and batiks, batiks, batiks!

What I would change?

Drop dead gorgeous large print I must have? Small cut that is enough to make a tote or large cut that is enough for a pieced back. I don’t like large prints for borders because to my eye they overwhelm the piecing. Most of the many many pretty large prints I accumulated ended up being cut into increasingly small pieces so that I could use them up in scrap quilts.

I would stay away from precuts as they make a mess when prewashing and I now prewash everything. Also too many collections have as many ugly fabrics as pretty fabrics.

Anything else would be for a specific pattern I want to make. I find it difficult to work the other way. The fabric I have never seems to work for the pattern I want to make. I find myself searching for a pattern to accommodate the fabric I have and I am rarely thrilled with the outcome.

Last edited by Cattitude; 01-18-2021 at 05:08 AM.
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Old 01-18-2021, 05:28 AM
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Originally Posted by scrappingfaye58 View Post
From my own experience, I would echo much of what has already been said. I would start with patterns, or at least a plan, and purchase enough for that plus an additional half to full yard. I have discovered over the past few years (since I was forced into retirement by a cancer diagnosis. Thankfully I am doing well.) that each "season" they change the color pallate. I was depending upon my modest stash, but unable to find anything that went together. If anything, I might suggest the cash that you would plan to spend be put into a savings account to spend when you find a pattern after retirement that you want to make
I echo- "loudly.and empharically" - the suggestion to put the cash you might spend into a " fabric savings account".

I had a few years that I must have been thinking that fabric would not be ever made again and bought a lot of it..

turns out my buying way outpaced my making.. now my kids are worrying about what to do with it when I pass on.

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Old 01-18-2021, 05:41 AM
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Default Building up a stash

These are all very good suggestions. Just wish I had read some of these a year before I retired. Another thing to think about are all the supplies you will need such as thread, scissors, rulers etc. Also add blenders as others have suggested. The fabric not only changes from time to time, but so does your taste.
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Old 01-18-2021, 06:25 AM
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That's a tough one to answer because we all have different tastes and ways of doing things. I've been quilting forever and I don't remember how I got my large stash started!
I love fat quarter bundles. But you need some yardage to start off with. If I had it to do from scratch today I would buy some neutral yardage and my favorite fat quarter bundles. I love them for the variety and theme. But that's me.
You have been given some great ideas. Making kits? Yes! In fact I may do that with some of mine. I have a lot of patterns waiting to be made up. I like that idea.
I get tired of fabric easily so I purge every now and then. Send it off to a donation site. Lots of "what was I thinking" goes to them too.
These days I have most yardage I need and buy precuts.
I don't wash fabrics before using either, unless it's red or looks like a bleeder. I've had no problems at all.
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Old 01-18-2021, 06:26 AM
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When I first started quilting, I had an unfortunate experience of having friends decide to help me build my stash. At the time, I thought it was a great idea but in the end, their ideas of quality fabric and my ideas were two completely different ideas. I ended up with almost one hundred fat quarters that I did not know what to do with and they ended up being used for a nine patch quilt I made last year to stash bust and restart. That said, if anyone tells you they want to help you with your quilting, I would give them a small list of tools - rulers, cutting mats, pressing mats, things of that nature and tell them you'll pick your own fabric and thread. It will save you time and a lot of space.

I would look into getting fabric bundles - jelly rolls, fat quarter bundles, layer cakes, even honey buns. By using those, you'll be able to find out what fabrics you like to use, what the colorways and values you'll lean to most and it'll allow you to sample an good selection of the collection in one shot. I've been finding myself getting into the deep jewel tones lately, I never would have considered those years ago, so keep an open mind when you fabric shop and realize that your preference may shift a few times over the years before you finally settle down and decide what's pleasing for you to work with.

Online shopping definitely has its big pluses, places like Marshal's Dry Goods always have fantastic sales and clearances going on and it'll save you some money in the long run. I just bought a full bolt of unbleached Muslin several months back for only $37 - when you consider that the average price for it per yard is upwards of $3.50/yard and the bolt I bought was a 50 yard bolt, you see how much money I saved. I now have more than enough Muslin to make a lot of quilts, depending on how much background fabric I need per pattern and learning from my first quilting go-round, I had a ton of fabric, but zero background. And when you figure that the majority of the quilt is the background fabric, you'll be able to shop for the rest of the fabric for whatever quilt you're working on with a free mind. I'll be buying a bleached Muslin bolt sometime this year, I have to get over my phobia of working with pure white fabric somehow, lol.

Consider keeping a 'stash journal', this is something that I wish I had done back when I had so many fat quarters. When you buy fabric, write down everything about the fabric, who manufactured it, where you bought it, how wide it was, how much you spent, etc. You may come across a fabric that you want to use later and when you find out that you don't have enough, you can track down that fabric much easier. I keep receipts in my journal just to be safe, but writing all that down will be a lifesaver if you can't find your receipt. The more information you keep, the better your chances are if you want to revisit that fabric later and you're not able to find it in a fabric shop. If the selvage edge has all of the information on it, when you cut off the selvage, save it and add it to the journal, too.

Last thing I do is that when I'm buying fabric by the yard and I've fallen in love with it, I'll add up to three yards more to what I need for the pattern. If it's ridiculously marked down because it's on clearance, consider buying the full bolt. Also, check with the shop that you're in, they may have bolt discounts, at least places like Hobby Lobby and JoAnn's used to have them years and years ago. Check for incentive plans, if you buy online, too. The gal I get my hand dyed fabrics from has what she calls a 'Frequent Dyer' club. As soon as I get ten yards of fabric from her, she'll custom dye up to a yard (I think) for me for free. Local quilt shops and small businesses sometimes run those kinds of deals to keep you coming back as a customer. If you're happy with what you're getting from them, sign up because that will save you money in the long run, too. And the more money you're able to save, the more fabric you can buy.
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Old 01-18-2021, 06:44 AM
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I make mostly 30’s and Civil War quilts and I love scrappies so I buy a lot of small yardage. Background fabric is always short in my stash because it doesn’t really speak to me. I love Grunge and Kona “snow”. I buy snow by the bolt. I would decide what type of quilts I was going to make first. I knew I would make 30’s because my mom and aunts did and I grew up loving them. I have evolved into making Civil War quilts and I now have a very healthy stash. I also have lots of books by favorite Quilters. Good luck.
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Old 01-18-2021, 08:13 AM
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When I started quilting 20+ years ago, I bought a 100 FQ bundle of rainbow colors from a well known online source. I've used many of them. However, since then, I buy for projects, and occasionally a yard or two of fabric that I just love. I've also won fabric in shop hop drawings and once, 25 FQ in the Row by Row quilt contest.

I save leftovers and that has led to a moderate size stash (some laugh at it as they don't consider 3-4 small, flat storage bins a "stash" at all) and seriously, if I could bring myself to do it, I'd like to get rid of most of it. I've made a few scrappy quilts for charity, but that's not "my thing." In fact, I'm doing needlework (knitting, crocheting, tatting) now as a break from quilting. I have finished several large quilts in the last year and needed a change.
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Old 01-18-2021, 08:23 AM
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I buy basic solids by the bolt. Backgound is always needed. My favorite solids are Marshall's Dry Goods Dream Cotton. I can't tell any difference from Moda Bella. A bolt will last a long time and save me money. I buy print fabric in yardage or precuts. I buy batting and various backing fabric when I find a sale and put those in my stash. Right now I'm using up a lot of print fabric I'm not crazy about anymore making quilt bags for my sew group. Each bag will hold a king size quilt, perfect for taking quilts to show and tell or wherever a quilt needs to go.

Last edited by Onebyone; 01-18-2021 at 08:26 AM.
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Old 01-18-2021, 09:15 AM
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Really, you want help in building a stash? That is pretty unique around here. Most of us want help in reducing our stash! It builds up way too fast.

Last edited by mmunchkins; 01-18-2021 at 09:15 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 01-18-2021, 09:37 AM
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I would buy for a quilt you plan to make and after its made, put the extra fabric on a shelf, in a box or wherever. You'd be surprised how quickly a stash will build up!
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