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Building a Fabric Stash

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slowstitches posted on Mon, Jul 23 2012 1:22 PM

I am a new quilter and wonder how much fabric to buy when I am just buying something because it is nice but have no current project in mind for it.  As a knitter I know how much yarn to buy for certain projects, but how much fabric do you get for 'stash'?  Is a fat quarter enough?  Half a yard?

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Ramona replied on Mon, Jul 23 2012 1:59 PM

slowstitches,

First of all WELCOME! Glad to have you on the site.

As for fabric,  you have to go by your personal budget but when I first started quilting I bought fabric that all coordinated for that special quilt I wanted to make. Backing, binding and all.  I would have a pattern in mind and bought fabric according to the pattern with some left over for pillowcases or errors in cutting. Then I couldn't keep up with the fabric I was buying so now, if I love the fabric, I buy no less than 4 yards. I don't necessarily go by patterns now when I'm shopping....I just shop and worry about a pattern later. Besides, it doesn't really depend on the pattern does it? Just depends on if you like the fabric, right? LOL Anyway,  Keep in mind that it does depend on the size of quilts you make. I make from king down to baby and I hate to run out of fabric half way through a quilt or not be able to use a pattern because I'm short a 1/2 a yard. You can always use leftovers for another project, pillowcases, runner for the dresser or pieced together for a backing. I have a fairly decent stash and I don't keep my fabrics in "quilt" order anymore. Just pretty much by color.  I'll never catch up on all the quilts I would like to make so keeping them in quilt order stopped working for me. 

It is always nice to have fat quarters on hand for that "you just never know" moment.  :-)

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Nana replied on Mon, Jul 23 2012 6:23 PM

Slowstitches

I always buy at least 3 yds of any fabric that I get.   This way I almost always have enough to do anything that I want to do.

Vinton, Virginia

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Slowstitches

I completely agree with Nana and Ramona. Buy as much as you can afford. If you like it buy 3 yards, if you love it buy 4 yards or more, if it's incredible buy, Oh I don't know, 6 yards? The whole bolt?  For me it also depends on if it's on sale.  If I see a fabric I really like, I may buy a few yards of coordinating fabrics at the same time.

But since you're a beginner quilter, you might want to be a bit more conservative and stay in the 3 yard range until you find your niche. I'll also pick up fat quarters when I'm trying to fill in a particular project. I no longer buy fat quarters for my stash. 


In the beautiful Pacific Northwest!

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I would start with buying fabric for a specific project.  That way you can begin to get a feel for the different types of quilts and how much fabric you use.  Will you be making lap quilts, twin, queen??  I wouldn't buy a lot of fabric just to have it.  If you find a fabric you love, find a project for it and buy all the fabric you need to complete it.  This is a "do what I say, not what I did" advise.  Unless it is really cheap AND you love it, don't buy it.  If you want it, find some coordinated fabric to go with it.  That is my new strategy.  And with the leftovers, you will still have a good stash building up for lots of scrap quilts.

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MNnancy replied on Mon, Jul 23 2012 10:00 PM

I agree with the advice you're getting about yardage.  I used to buy one yard at a time, and it turned into an exercise in frustration.  Never had enough for a project!

After swearing off fat quarters, I am back to buying some.  I've started doing applique and paper piecing, and I'm using my small cuts again.


On the banks of the Mississippi River in north central Minnesota (Brainerd lakes area)

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Bobbie replied on Fri, Jul 27 2012 8:26 AM

Slow stitches,

Thanks for asking this question. I am also new to quilting and I was wondering the same thing. These are some great answers and it makes me feel better knowing that I can buy a fabric even if I don't have a quilt in mind to use it on yet. There have been a lot of fabrics that have grabbed my attention but I ended up not buying them because I didn't know what quilt project I wanted to use them for. 

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I to agree with buying a t least 3 yards. It is so frustrating to do a project and not have enough fabric . It will never go to waste , I like to hit the fabric that is on sale and then you can build up your stash really quick. there are also some great online stores that sell for really good prices. Check them out .  Connection Threads . and Eleanor Burns has been having some good sales on her fabric,  Calico Cottage Quilt Shoppe ,has good fabric at 5 dollars a yard and you can get some nice fabric.  these are just a few I can think of .

Liberty,Missouri

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Nana replied on Fri, Jul 27 2012 11:33 AM

Oh my Bobbie.  If I only bought fabric for a project that I have in mind I would never get anything done.  I don't get to go to the LQS frequently so I like having a big selection of fabrics in my stash to "shop" from when I think of a quilt I want to make.   Thus I buy lots of fabrics just because I like them...LOL

Vinton, Virginia

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I have filled my stash w/ fat quarters.  I buy yardages of stuff I love, such as Mary Englebreit fabrics.  My stash is pretty huge now, so I tend to just buy fabrics for particular projects now.  I LOVE fabric, so it is pretty hard to restrain myself if I'm in a shop...

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Bonnie replied on Fri, Jul 27 2012 6:54 PM

Well, my intentions today were to just buy some quilting thread that I need to quilt a quilt. Hmm, I ended up buying more bobbins, prewound bobbins and thread at one shop, then DH and I headed out to Erie and I stopped at another LQS and bought lots of stash. So what is to much stash? Who knows. I guess it depends on whom you are and whatcha gonna do. ;D I have big ideas for this fabric. LOL Of course I needed other stuff too. You can never have to much stuff.

 

Bonnie B

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As a new quilter I think you will quickly see that there are all different kinds of opinions on quilting. I follow the Jinny Beyer philosophy that if two shades of green are good, then six shades of green must be better, and 16 shades of green is the best yet. So I very rarely buy more than one yard of fabric unless it is for the quilt backing (and then it needs to be on sale.) I have lots of fat quarters, and lots and lots of one yard pieces. I do make an exception for good blacks and buy 2-3 yards of a good black because they are hard to find. Do what works for you.

And another place to buy quality quilt  fabric on sale is at www.fabric.com. Sign up for their daily days, they are great.

 

Denise Smart

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Bonnie replied on Fri, Jul 27 2012 7:27 PM

I have an addiction I think. I did get the variegated thread I wanted. It is King Tut's and it is a combination of yellows, gold, orange and reds. Exactly what I was looking for. So tomorrow I will start working on my quilt. Stay away from the Quilt Shops! LOL

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Welcome, Slowstitches ! You have already gotten lots of advice so all I will add is I love the precuts, fat quarters, 5' sqs.(charms) 10" sqs,(layer cakes) and 2 1/2' strips (jelly rolls) .  Along with Yards of course.   Susan

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