Two loaded questions appeared in my class Quick Techniques for Classic Blocks: Wrenches Stars & Twists from Craftsy member giantz29150371:
Is there a “go to” amount of fabric you buy when you have no particular project in mind — you just like the fabric? Fat quarter? 1/3 yd? Tell your secrets of building variety in your stash without breaking the bank or drowning in fabric.
If something catches your eye, I say go for a fat quarter. I make scrappy quilts. If that fat quarter isn’t sufficient, I’ll add something else. Besides, if you’re crazy in love with that fat quarter you can find more of it somewhere. Believe me.
Do you have fabric you regret buying (or looks dated — my problem)? What do you do with it?
I was fortunate that early on I purchased fabric I truly liked. I don’t think fat quarters existed then. Two weeks ago I gave 70 pounds of excellent fabric to some friends. This didn’t make a dent in my stash but I knew I wouldn’t have an opportunity to use it. Making quilts for “work” takes precedence.
Love the class! Thanks for info on 4″ squares — I have bunches at the tail end of a quilt project so now I have a use for them. Thank you.
In the image below, I can easily identify the eight strips of fabric on the left. I also know exactly where each piece is located in my stash. My strategy is to store and choose fabric by background color. I have separate niches for imported fabrics. Stripes, solids and serious yardage are separated out as well.
When only a small scrap remains of a fond fabric, I return it to its native home. Someday, I’ll search out that dear fabric. I’ll find only the scrap, realize I used it up and most importantly, stop looking for it. Incidentally, I have no qualms mixing fabrics within a quilt, regardless of era or style.
The four half-yard pieces below are each about 18″ x 44″. I didn’t want a fat quarter. I need at least a long quarter to get all eight stripes, not four. I rarely opt for 1/3 of a yard because it won’t easily fit in my shelving system.
In testing patterns for my last book, I accumulated a stupendous variety of stripe fabric. Along the way I discovered what I liked best. When I spotted Matchstick fabric from Alexander Henry I bought gobs of it. I never would have seen or realized its potential when I was a new quilter.
The image above on the right is the quilt top during its construction, the Matchstick yardage hanging beside it. The quilt was made from only that one fabric.
The print below is another example of my occasional preference for a long, rather than fat, quarter to take complete advantage of the motif. I wound up buying yards of it from various sources.
Something old, something new. I’m currently making blocks of “old” browns and modern greens. My longtime fabric attraction is 19th century reproduction prints. They will never appear dated in my collection because they were old-looking from the get go.
I purchased the border fabric on the left after completing the top to accentuate it. If I select a border ahead of time I’ll subconsciously make blocks that match it. The Asian floral sashing on the right is an Alexander Henry. I like big prints but I cut into them as if they were ordinary in scale. Two and a half yards has proven effective as my ‘go to’ for sashing and remarkable fabric.
Lately I’ve been applying my rule of ice cream to fabric. When I pass frozen food in the supermarket and see pints of ice cream on sale, I won’t allow myself to buy it. I tell myself a sale isn’t a license for me to gain weight. My rule is that I may only buy it when it’s not on sale. I can’t remember the last time I ever bought ice cream at the regular price.
When, not if, I am tempted by a fabric sale I ask myself, if it weren’t on sale, do I desire it enough to buy it at the regular price? Keep in mind I already possess a major collection. I acquired it without any encouragement and it’s not the least bit fattening.
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