Saturday, December 1, 2018

Enhancing the stash

Those close and dear to me know I am an enthusiastic shopper.  Both online and in-store, patchwork and nonpatchwork related.  My fabric purchases are often of a similar nature... enhancing the stash, as opposed to buying for a particular project (although obviously that happens as well).

One of the fascinating things about patchwork in general is that is allows so many variations in project, technique and catering to different personality types.  I've found my general mode of operation is to add fabrics to my stash that I like and think would be useful into the fabric cupboard...

... which I have roughly sorted into colour piles, and I realised that by taking a photo it doesn't look half as bad as you would expect... after acknowledging the enthusiastic shopping above 😆.  Not surprisingly I have masses of greens, neutrals and brown's and it looks super boring.

Living in the country at least an hour's drive away from fabric supplies has shaped my process, if I see something and want to start... which is how things always start... the first step is to approach the cupboard and start selecting fabrics that make me happy.  I also enjoy the eclectic nature of scrappy quilts, so having more variety of smaller cuts is never a problem.

I purchase fabrics from three broad groups: backgrounds or backing, feature fabrics and generally useful.  Having a selection of each of these main areas means shopping my stash can sometimes produce most of the supplies for an entire quilt!

I recently received a package from an online shopping experience, which illustrates this.

First up was this beautiful feature fabric chosen because it had a great variety of ontrend colours in a larger scale print.  I bought enough it could be used as a feature or for borders, or as part of a pieced backing.

Then I selected a variety of half metre cuts of fabrics I just liked.  They tend to have smaller tonal prints and were not chosen to match with anything in particular.  These are the useful bunch!  I included some purples this time as I have hardly any in my stash, and you can never have enough greens.  Navy prints are a new favourite (they now have their own colour pile separate from the blues) and amazingly I have few blues, but two piles of bluey greens... so more blue blues need to be purchased immediately!

And lastly was a fabric chosen as backing.  This was the only fabric chosen to hopefully coordinate with another project, as in general it is not so vital that the backing fabric be a perfect match to the front, and means that online colour variations are more acceptable.

Assessing my online fabric selection, I am very happy.  Quite by chance, these fabrics all combined nicely into a colourful bundle that would work well together.

 One of the greens has already been cut into to make bias stems and leaves for the Timeless Traditions BOM (photo coming soon😆) so that counts as a win in my book.

The backing fabric greys are very similar to the grey solid I want to combine it with...

... for the backing of the North Star quilt!

I still haven't decided on exactly what I am going to do with the butterfly print, but it would look dramatic and match beautifully as the backing to my Patchwork City quilt.  We'll just have to see what happens.

And now you know a little bit more about how my tiny pea brain works!  For anyone curious, I didn't order anything over the Black Friday weekend specials, although I did a lot of looking!  Post Black Friday I have ordered three different fabrics to add to my dressmaking endeavours, so fingers crossed when they arrive.


  1. Love your bold feature fabric! I find it's always interesting to read about how others shop... it's a shame with the way the $NZ is just now, even postage has risen.

  2. I love all your fabric purchases Suz! I don't think I could analyse my purchase patterns- more 'hit and miss' really! And I too have few true blues in my stash. Blue-green, turquoise, aqua, jade green, and everything in between, just not blue-blue!

  3. Your feature fabric looks very promising. I look forward to seeing how it inspires your future quilts. I tend to do most of my shopping on Black Friday and other big sales like that. I bought basics this time - mostly primary colors. I think the fact that I buy the bulk of my fabric in the winter really explains why my colors are so bright. There are many yellows in the stack this year.

  4. An interesting post Suzanne - sadly my stash shopping is not as well organised as yours! Although I do love to have a good variety at home so I can go shopping in you know, the closest shop to me is a quilt shop (only 20 mins!) so my stash gets added to far too frequently!

  5. I love your North Star Quilt! The gentle colors and design really speak to me.