Thursday, October 28, 2010

I Don't Buy New Fabric!!....until I do!

I very recently (and publicly! Sheesh! What was I thinking!!??) announced a fabric buying moratorium at Cheaper than Therapy Quilting...much good it did, but I've been doing my best to do the "Stash Shopping" thing and make do with the mountains of fabric I already own.

My stash closet - or at least what you can see
with one door open, seated across the room!!
As I have 50 bazillion projects in the works (ha! you only think I'm exaggerating!), stash shopping makes good sense, but I have to have a loophole or two in my lay-off-the-shops!  (I've heard it said that one of the first signs of addiction is making "rules" that allow you to partake...  Hmmmm? Wonder what my addiction is!?! Starting things? Fabric? Shopping?....Like Scarlett O'Hara, I'll think about that tomorrow!!)

So here are my exceptions to my "no-buy" policy!! Use to your heart's content -- they are what help me sleep at night! LOL

1.  Invest in good background fabrics.

Topmost shelf in my closet!
Whether you are a scrappy aficionado or love all things coordinated, background fabrics are often the "glue" for a project.  I buy major yardage in background fabric.  I keep it all together in it's own little section of the closet, and I can audition fabrics with it by holding up a handful and seeing which one speaks to me. 
2.  Buy colors that are lacking in your stash (but be project specific)!

Clearly I'm an "earth tones" kinda gal. Greens, reds and golds, galore!!!  My sister asked me to make her the Baltimore Halloween Album quilt which she's gotten through a Block of the Month (You think I'm bad? She's not even a quilter! :-D).  Looking at it, I've decided I'd like one, too (why not!! It's another project to start! LOL)....I have all the fall colors you want, but NO purple. 

I have in my stash some fabulous hand-dyes from Liberty Homestead and Cherrywood that I think I'll use, but guess what colors they are!? NOT purple.  So I gave myself permission to purchase some purple and handdyes to go-along with what's in my stash!

3.  Get out of your color rut!! 

Kaffe fabric I've added for the
Roseville Album quilt

Since I've been doing the same-o, same-o for as long as I can remember (earth tones, and repros and what not!), I have recently felt the need to break the mold (mold is very bad for you!!). 

Following the brave, daring quilters over at Glorious Applique, I'm trying some of that glorious color myself.  Again, I turned to my stash to see what I have -- and I've added to it.

4.  Make room in your stash by GIVING!

Over the years, I've accumulated seven tons of fabric (you only think I'm exaggerating! Again! LOL) -- some of which I've used or sold or cut up for scrap bins.  The most satisfying use of fabric that's not been or being used is to give it away.

Gifts for blogging friends!
I open my closet to quilty friends ("What color do you need!?"), to charities, to projects for people in need, to new quilters who are afraid they'll get bitten by the addiction! :-D  I try to bless others who've been a blessing to me.  When I teach, I open my bins and say, "If there's something you can use, take it as my gift to you!"  All that is passed along to others give me license to explore new possibilities!  I have faith that the "perfect" fabric that gets passed along to someone else will come back to me again in an unexpected blessing or a cool shopping expedition.

Scripture tells us "From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more." (Luke 12:48b NASB)  Heaven forbid my family gets profiled on some reality show because my stash took over the house!!! :-D  Use it or lose it, I say!

So, yes. A fabric buying moratorium. With exceptions that I can live with!  Maybe you can, too!

Thanks so much(!), Madame Samm, for the wonderful privilege of adding my $0.02 worth here!! It's been such a hoot!


  1. Clearly Penny, I cannot join you in the not ever purchasing any more fabric until I need it...What is all that about??? lol
    Kidding aside of course..I am all over you about background fabrics...It is the one thing I do purchase many yardages of ...and back of I love flannel, sew needed here in the North of Canada. Your most entertaining post was refreshing and honest and most of all a delight. Here let's toast with our coffee...? piece be with you madame samm ps. bazillion projects, I would believe maybe 1 trillion?? lol

  2. Thankyou so much for your funny post, you have definitely made my day!
    Thankyou also for sharing your great ideas and "exceptions". That's a really good idea about background fabrics; I think backing fabrics could possibly be an exception too!
    I am relatively new to quilting so I find that each of my quilts have been so different as I experiment and try to discover my own style so I don't think I am in a "colour rut" (...yet) I am in a bit of a pink phase at the moment though. I also try to make something different each time which is the perfect excuse for fabric shopping! Love those Kaffe Fabrics; they are perfect for the quilt I have been dreaming of! Thanks for sharing :)

  3. MaryLou it is, you make so much sense. That is one closet full, wow! I want to be your next best friend, we certainly share the same color choices. I love coming here in the afternoon to see what you are all up to.You just never disappoint.Great story.

  4. Great post, MaryLou! I've started collecting up background fabrics, because you are right, it does make it easier to have those on hand, and it will keep you out of the fabric store (where other fabrics just hurl themselves into my cart....) And anytime you need a place to foster out your unwanted fabrics, think of me - we have a church quilt ministry that thrives on donated fabrics, and we will find your pretties a good new home with a person who needs the love and comfort of a quilt. Then you will have an excuse to go shopping for more!!

  5. An awesome post! I can agree with everything on there except the last one. For some reason I have no problem giving away whole quilts, but NOT my stash! LOL!! I think you're first rule is probably the most important.

  6. Wow, Mary Lou, a guest blog on Stash Manicure. Good job and fun read! You are not alone and I like your rules! I think we are all addicts!

  7. Love the story. Buying background fabric is a great idea. I love your stash. It's like going to a quilt store. Would love to see all the projects you have in the works.

  8. I buy background and backing fabric by the bolt - need those staples on hand. And I love "gifting" fabric you just aren't going to use or get to.

  9. That was a fun read! I've been only quilting for a few months now and I can't drive past a fabric store without going in. I have already purchased fabric that I just had to have without a project in mind. It has been maybe 4 months and I am already addicted to buying fabric and creating beautiful things. My stash is still small, but it's coming along. I don't think the husband has noticed yet. :)

  10. Oh what a post to read when I a) have packed up most of my stash to move overseas b) have what I need for Christmas sewing c) am planning a trip to the quilt shop this Saturday just to see if they have anything new. Love you Kaffe. I'd love the selveages for sure.

  11. Great post! I have been destashing alot of my Christmas fabrics and sending them out to my blogging friends....

  12. Everything you said is right on! I came from a clothing sewing background and vowed not to do what I did there with quilt fabric. Results: better but not great. I did the "no buy (for new projects)" thing this year too - lasted until the summer. And I have friends who are Kaffe Fassette fabric addicts and I resisted the urge until this summer (again) so now I've got a whole new list of WHIMMS to deal with. Sigh!!

    But I agree with you about the background stashing (did that a few years ago, really helped) and buying colors you don't have in stash. Now giving stuff away? First I've got to find some friends with less fabric than I have!!

  13. That was fun to read. I also have way too much. I try to use what I have and allow friends to "shop" at my house when they're over sewing. Thanks for giving us all a smile today.

  14. Hey Mary Lou! Are you sure you don't have purple? I can tell you, sometimes it's lurking there and you don't know it! LOL

    Good for you! It was so much fun to find you here this morning!

  15. Fun Post! I too made "rules" regarding when I would allow myself to buy fabric. Aren't we humans funny?

  16. When my husband died four years ago (and my income decreased by half), I went on a very strict no-fabric-buying diet. But I do allow myself to buy background fabric when it's on sale. I recently got an almost full bolt of Kona cotton Snow when our local quilt store had a 25% off sale. (That's my favorite background because it seems to go with everything.)

    And when another store drastically marked some bolts down to about $2.50 a yard, I splurged on fabric for quilt backs. (Heck, that's cheaper than unbleached muslin!) So I definitely believe in Mary Lou's concept of having exceptions to the rule.

  17. You are reading my mind....I have just decided to go on a "NO-BUY" crusade EXCEPT for... things I need. I was going to announce it to the world, but reading this post, I have second thoughts.

  18. As hard as I try....I always find a sliver to buy....dang those fabric designers for enticing me to open my pocketbook! Something I'm learning is to USE it when I LOVE it! Otherwise...if it sits and I quit "petting" it I don't love it near as much and do part with it....paid good money too!! Sigh...darned those fabric designers!!!

  19. Hi friend...GREAT post! I was on a strict "shop the stash" diet too until I saw those adorable Dr. Seuss prints, but as I've already turned them into 2 quilts for Christmas gifts, I feel justified (my other rule: "rationalize it any way you have to, Teresa!!" - LOL).

    In stitches,
    Teresa :o)

  20. Girl...what's up with the purple??? My purple 'stack' is indeed tiny too!!!

    Great post!!!!

  21. Now I know I'm an additct! I can relate to every word of this blog post. Particularly as my teenage daughter banned me from buy fabric for 3 whole months earlier this year! I didn't cave either! I learned the difference between need and want!

  22. your to do list sounds worse than mine, and i thought mine was bad!

    can't wait to see what you are working on


  23. You are a quilting gem~truly~
    I'm so glad to have met you through blogging.
    You are always so nice, commenting and replaying back to me.
    I am the same way about all my stuff, not just fabric~you want it, have it lol.
    I've made so many charity quilts~I own very little of them now.
    I'm slowly trying to build my stash again after donating it all last year. It kept side tracking me from life and getting things done. I miss it terribly now~so I'm back to starting to build~not fun. too much $ lol.
    hugs girl! so glad you got to post here.

  24. I'm the same way that you, "USE IT OR LOOSE IT", I gaveaway some of my fabric recently to the young womans group in my church, so they can make headbans. :D

  25. Oh wow one can only dream to have a stash like yours,with the high cost of fabric here in Australia it isn't that easy.
    Love your story and thank you for sharing.


  26. We went to a councilor one time to help one of our kids deal with some life issues. One of the things she taught us has proved very useful to out family. Set some basic unbreakable rules. Things that you and your family feel are unbreakable. And then the rest are guidelines.

    Guidelines are things that you follow unless or until circumstances change.
    Our family rules are based on "Is it Illegal, Illicit or Immoral?" If it is don't do it. The rest is guidelines based on circumstance.

    I of course follow this so that I can be a good example to my kids. I no longer have rules for quilting (because I have never run into breaking the 3 "i's" while quilting or fabric buying.) I have guidelines which are subject to change without notice.

    Maybe I should put that as a disclaimer sign in my sewing room?

    I enjoyed your post!

  27. I love that word... EXCEPT...

  28. Well, MaryLou, as soon as you quoted Scarlett O'Hara I knew we were bonded! Your observations are right on!

  29. I buy most of my fabric online, since I live in a fabric wasteland. I try to not even look, but they tempt me with those darn sale emails and of course there is always a color I lack. Then if they have the perfect color I have to buy more so I can save money on shipping, right? LOL.

  30. I definitely agree with you about background fabrics. That is one area you can never have too much of. I do, however, try to buy it up when I find it on sale.

  31. Love this post . . . I'm a stasher too. My closet runneth over. But I do share, and I make charity quilts too. It is soooo hard to resist the newest fabric lines when they come out. I love the new modern quilting, the simplicity of it, and the modern prints. Just something different to work with. And I am a big Kaffe fan. There is something cathartic about feeling all that fabric between your fingers and thinking about what you might make with it . . .


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