Sunday stash: countdown to the big one

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I’m very excited to be hosting Sunday Stash next week, but I’m also feeling a little Sunday morning guilt about all my recent purchases.

If you’re on Instagram, you were no doubt aware of the HUGE destash party that occurred under the hashtag #thegreatfabricdestash. (It’s still going, actually.) It was crazy fun, and it just so happened to fall on my birthday. I had already been planning a couple of acquisitions because I sold my Accuquilt, but now I had the opportunity to add to those funds by a little destashing of my own.

A perfect storm ensued and now I actually don’t even know how many parcels are coming my way. I sent off quite a few too, so it’s not as bad as it’s going to look. But I’m warning you now, it’s going to look bad. Come back for that next week and do your best to keep a straight face when you tell me it’s not that bad.

So this week I need to be sure I share everything already in my possession so my list next week will be a little lighter. Thanks to the uber-talented and generous Kelsey and Amanda of Everyday Fray I received this bundle from Westwood Acres.

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Catnap! So cool! And not something I necessarily would have thought of on my own, in a good way. The colors are fabulous and the prints are cute in a kind of hipster way.

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There are some great basics too, which is something I’ve been focusing on lately.

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I’m not going to set out to make a completely Catnap project, but I greatly look forward to the playful element it will add to many projects.

I gave you a peak of this happy bundle last week, but I didn’t really talk about it.

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I got a fat quarter bundle of Color Me Happy by V & Co. This is definitely her best line yet. So pretty, which is a welcome change after working with the more masculine prints of Botanics for my barn door quilt.

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My final recent purchase was this charm pack of April Showers.

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I’m loving the greens, navies, and grays of this line.

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Definitely some great basics – contenders for ordering yardage when it comes out.

Ok, come back next week and see my Sunday stash of shame! Maybe I’ll get lucky and some of it won’t come in time.

(Linking up with Sunday Stash, obviously.)

Sunday funday giveaway/ Sunday stash

What better way to celebrate the beginning of a new week than a giveaway?

Julie over at 627Handworks is doing a series of Sunday giveaways and inviting us along!

Here is what I’m offering today:

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A sweet little charm pack from Kate Spain’s brand new line, Sunnyside! I got one for myself and it’s already cut up for my hexi project.

To enter, simply leave a comment. Leave an extra comment if you’re a follower or if you become one today! The giveaway will close Monday at midnight and I’ll announce the winner Tuesday. *Yes, I will ship internationally.*

And since I had to order the charm pack anyway, I threw in a “few extra things” for myself (NOT part of the giveaway, ha ha)…

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I’m particularly excited about the design possibilities here:

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Today and tomorrow I’ll be frantically trying to catch up on my Penny Sampler blocks and I’ll be back to share those as soon as they’re done!

Linking up with Sunday Stash!

Sunday stash: just the text, and nothing but the text

After some internal debate, I decided that I not only like text, I love it and must buy a lot of it.

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Hope I don’t change my mind.

I’ve been having a real internal debate lately about my stash, and our recent stash showing party has only intensified it. I feel like I have multiple fabric personalities. Before I ever shopped in a quilt shop and long before I discovered the delightful possibilities online, I first discovered geometric prints via Denyse Schmidt’s line for JoAnn’s. I decided then and there that I don’t like florals or things that are… pretty. But lately that is really changing. I’m excited about florals from large scale modern Anna Maria Horner and Amy Butler to tiny, traditional Liberty London.

I’ve only been quilting a couple of years so I don’t know if these are cyclical moods or if I’ll eventually land on one of them. In the meantime, it’s a little hard to shop! I’m worried about building a (very expensive) stash that I won’t love in 5 years.

Oh well, I guess that’s what Etsy is for!

Do you have fabric moods?

Linking up my Sunday Stash with Finding Fifth.

WIP (sort of): shirt quilts

Remember when I said I don’t want to buy anything at Marshall’s because I’d rather buy fabric? (You can see that post about my stash here).

Well I found a solution: now I pass right by the rows of cute little tops and dresses and shoes and head straight for the men’s clearance rack. You see, I realized that Marshall’s sells fabric right there!

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Of course it’s not just Marshall’s: it’s the back of your husband’s closet, your parent’s basement, the local thrift store. Perfectly good 100% cotton fabric in every color of the rainbow.

I really must give some credit for this idea to Sarah Fielke. The quilt on the cover of her latest book, Hand Quilted with Love, is made with cast offs from a shirt maker who happens to be her neighbor. Yup, that’s right: her neighbor just stopped by with huge bags of free fabric. I spent some time feeling jealous but then I decided to take action.

I started collecting shirts from the men in my life as well as the local thrift stores. I check the labels carefully to be sure they are 100% cotton because many of them contain polyester. If it says “wrinkle free” you can skip it because those are all poly blends. Once I had a pretty big stack and a little more direction about color, I bought just 2 from the TJ Maxx clearance rack. These were a bit of a splurge ($12 and $15) compared to the others but worth it to round out my color scheme.

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You might be wondering how much fabric comes from one men’s shirt. Is it even a good deal? Here’s what an XL long sleeve shirt looks like all cut up and laid on a 36 by 44 inch area marked with blue painter’s tape. I removed the sleeve bands and collar but the buttons and pocket are still there.

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I think it’s fair to say that you can get at least a yard of usable fabric from this shirt. Obviously long sleeves are better than short sleeves and bigger is better. I found a XXXL shirt at TJ’s that would have been amazing if only it was the right color! Just the back of it alone looked like a full yard.

Now, personally I am keeping my shirt collection separate from my stash. I do not pre-wash my fabric but these are an exception since most of them are used. If I did want to work in some fabrics from my stash I would wash it first so that everything is equally pre-shrunk.

What quilts will I make with these beautiful shirt fabrics?

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The picture on the left is the Marcelle Medallion from Liberty Love. On the right is Sarah Fielke’s shirt quilt from Hand Quilted with Love.

I’ve been wanting to try both of these quilts for a while and I think the shirt fabric is perfect. Since these are both medallion-style quilts (one central block surrounded by multiple borders) and they’ll both be made with the same fabric I think they are likely to end up on my boys’ bunk beds.

It’ll be an epic challenge but I’m giving myself permission to take my time on this one.

I will warn you about one side effect of collecting shirts for fabric… You start to look at your husband’s wardrobe quite selfishly. “Um, honey, the next time you stain a shirt can it be this one?”

Theory Thursday: stash

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Today I want to take a break from talking about specific projects to talk about a more general topic: choosing fabric. I am convinced that this is the single most important aspect of a quilting project.

Or maybe I just wanted an excuse to do a fabric photo shoot.

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But really- think about it. When you’re shopping for a new quilting book or pattern, is it hard to buy it if the author’s fabric style is significantly different from yours? Think about the blogs you read: how many of them use the same fabrics you do?

When I made my first several quilts I went specifically to the quilt shop (ok, I’ll admit it was JoAnn’s at first) and purchased fabric for that project. When I started watching Quilty (I recommend it!) and reading quilting magazines and books I learned what quilters mean when they talk about their “stash.” A quilting stash is a carefully curated collection of fabrics that enable a quilter to make a project without going to the fabric store or hopping online (and then waaaaiting for the mail) before starting a project.

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Your stash is distinct from your scraps. Stash is generally a fat quarter or bigger. Scraps are smaller than that. I usually draw the line at whether the piece of fabric seems big enough to fold it. If it’s too small to fold into a neat square for my stash containers, it’s a scrap.

There are a couple of good reasons to stash. I am well-practiced at these arguments because I have had to remind my husband of them from time to time.

  • One of the reasons I believe in stashing is the inordinate variety of absolutely amazing fabrics that is available at any one time. If you like scrappy-looking quilts like I do, it can be really overwhelming to shop for 50 (or 150!) different blue prints and 25 different background prints all at once. It’s also hard to spend that much $$$ all at once.
  • On the other hand, despite the great variety there’s also limitations. Maybe you want to do a quilt all in stripes like this beauty. (Red Pepper Quilts again. Love her.) Could you do it with what’s available in stores right now? Maybe. But you’d probably have to make some compromises and include some fabrics that maybe aren’t your favorite but they’re striped so they’ll have to do. This is my point: if you have a collection of stripes you love and have collected over time in your stash, you are more likely to be able to achieve that amazing quilt you see in your head and not have to use any fabrics you don’t love.
  • Another reason I stash is because it’s so much easier to see what looks good together in person rather than online. Online coloration can be very deceiving. This is of course a good reason to shop local! But if your local quilt shop doesn’t carry the style of fabric you’re looking for, then you have to go online and that can lead to disappointment. If you are ordering fabric for your stash rather than a specific project, the exact shade is less important.
  • Yet another reason to stash: in my opinion it leads to more interesting quilts. Making a quilt out of a single line of fabric can be just beautiful. But sometimes it’s fun to challenge yourself to combine fabric lines in a way that someone else hasn’t done before. A good stash will enable you to do that.

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Now that you’ve thought through the reasons to have a stash, you might want some tips on how to build one. Here are just a few things I’ve been thinking about lately.

  • The easiest way to build a stash (especially in the earlier stages of your quilting career) is to identify a fabric line you love and order the whole thing. They will all coordinate and you’ll have a good start. Then research the designer of that fabric and find out if they have any other fabric lines available (maybe even on sale!). Very often a designer will have multiple lines available that compliment each other. In this way you can find your own favorites and have a good place to start when you are shopping. I have my favorites (Denyse Schmidt, Anna Maria Horner, Bonnie & Camille) that I always keep my eye on- what are they doing next? What’s on sale? What’s available on Etsy that might not be available in stores anymore?
  • But please please don’t forget to develop your collection of stash basics! These are things like neutral tone-on-tones, dots, and stripes. Rachel from Stitched in Color calls these “helpful” fabrics and has a great post on this topic. If I had all the money in the world I would have dots and stripes in every shade of the rainbow. Someday!

You know you’re a quilter when you consider other purchases in terms of fabric yardage. Walking through Marshall’s, “Oh that’s a cute top but I’d rather buy 2 yards of fabric.” or “Well, yes we need a new car but that’s 1500 yards of fabric…”

Sunday Stash: Anna Maria Horner edition

I said I wouldn’t post this weekend (on the day of rest no less!) but I couldn’t resist the Sunday Stash link up at Quiet Play.

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This is the really excellent mail I got from Anna Maria Horner this week! Sooo pretty. My main objective was to acquire some pearl cotton 8 for the hand quilting I’d like to do on the appliqué project I blogged about here. (Did you see Sarah Fielke herself commented? Best moment of my week!) 🙂

But then once you’re already paying shipping… you might as well add something from the sale section. I’ve seen people referencing and using voile a lot lately so I was curious to see some. That little stack was only $10! They’re fat quarters but a little bigger than quilting cotton fat quarters because voile comes on 54 inch bolts. I’m going to do some block tests with it and I promise to blog about it. I was thinking about being a complete rebel and making a mini that mixes all sorts of fabrics you’re not supposed to mix and see what happens!

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A couple more fun things I bought this week: the Liberty Love book, source of the famous Marcelle Medallion quilt that I desperately would like to try. Here’s a great example: Red Pepper Quilts (she’s a quilt genius). It’s a more challenging quilt (templates! Oh my!) but I think I’m ready…? I’d like to give it a shot anyway. Anyone want to join along? We could do a border per week…

I also got a Kwik Klip that’s supposed to make pin basting easier and a Clover open-side thimble that Sarah Fielke recommends for hand quilting in her free tutorial video.

Ok, see you tomorrow for my last WIP post! (Unless I started something NEW this weekend… I’ll leave that a mystery so you have to come back.)

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