Check out our new Rosa ribbon.. Goldilocks! I love it! Thanks Rosa for making such super cute ribbon for me to hoard ๐Ÿ™‚

While I’m on the topic of supplies indulge me while I do a little bitching about my fabric stash will ya. I have two ginormous closets full of fabric, two!, and still I cannot put together a simple little patchwork without a mountain of effort. All my pieces are too small or the color is okay but the scale is wrong. Too many things on white backgrounds. Too many novelty prints. Too much japanese fabric that doesn’t work for anything (hello storybook prints). Too many scraps of vintage fabric that are too scrappy to make anything from. Not enough stripes and dots. Not enough basic florals. And somehow I can never find just that right green. Or gold. Or pink. Or lavender I’m looking for.ย  I feel like I spend a ton of money on fabric but maybe I don’t spend enough. I need to live near a quilt shop so I can fill those little here and there needs on the quick instead of making the biannual trek to the stitches and stuffing and hope that’ll get me through. No, I need a fabric store to sponsor me! And send me giant boxes of samples every month. Oh, wouldn’t that be heaven. Or maybe I need to just move into a fabric shop. Some giant emporium with stacks to the ceiling of every print imaginable. Somehow I imagine I’d still have quilters’ block when it came to picking my patchwork pieces. Or maybe I need to just take a day to sort my stash by color so I can flippin find anything. Anyway, here’s what I came up with. I just picked one color to go with, blue, and then it made things a little easier.

45 thoughts on “supplies

  1. Rebeca says:

    I understand your frustration, but I think you are being too hard on yourself. You are very talented-you need to go with that.

  2. Jennifer says:

    I had that exact same feeling about a year ago! A closet full of fabric, and nothing seemed right. I started stocking up on the basics, plus polka-dots, florals, neutrals, almost-solids, etc. and suddenly I could create again! I can put together scrap quilts so much better when I take out the Japanese novelty prints (I cut myself off from buying those two years ago), and so-and-so’s “new line” from “fabric company XYZ” that also tend to totally dominate every other fabric I put them with.

  3. Nancy says:

    So funny you wrote this… it validates my recent splurge on several spectrum bundles of solid colored fabrics at purl patchwork in NYC. I kept buying prints when what I really needed were solids. And then its so hard to find solids that have a nice feel to them. My daughter and I just finally unfolded them all – 60 fat quarters – and washed them. Now its time to iron them all.

  4. erin says:

    organizing my stash by color has been a big help. it’s still a mess, but it really does help. i also bought the kona cotton swatch card from hancocks of paducah so now i know what the colors are or what it will really look like if i buy it online.
    this bit of patchwork is really pretty, hillary.

  5. Sarah says:

    I so understand your frustrations with finding the right fabric, especially greens. I don’t know what it is about them–they never seem to look right with one another. If I didn’t love green so much, sometimes I think I’d cut it out of my work completely.

  6. Jessica says:

    I feel your pain sister!! Hoarding fabric sometimes feels like my reason for living… and yet, everytime I start a new project I need to go shopping. Whats wrong with this picture?! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. meg says:

    Yep. I’m right there with you, and also found that choosing a single color makes digging up the scraps and putting them together a whole lot less painful. (Because this shouldn’t be such a stressful activity, right?)

  8. Rachel says:

    Oh my. That ribbon is WOW.
    Fabric can get overwhelming. I try my best to keep it organized by color. I’ve always wanted to hang it all on a big bar, by movable hooks, so I could pull the ends out and match it up, kinda like a closet. Tons of work but it would be SO helpful!

  9. Elise says:

    I can so relate, especially about the novelty prints and Japanese fabrics that don’t go with anything. I spent over an hour last night pulling a few coordinating pieces to send in a swap packet with a doll quilt. I am resolving to buy fabric at least 3 coordinating pieces at a time in the future.
    Love the turquoise patchwork, I can’t wait to see what it’s going to be.

  10. Jess says:

    I have that problem with purples.
    I even work at a fabric store and have a biggish stash, but when I need a purple they are hard to find.
    I like that suggestion of buying coordinating colors from the start!

  11. meg says:

    sometimes I feel like a guilty hoarder when it comes to my fabric stash and sometimes I feel like there’s nothing there to work with. I have that greenish/gray print with strings of red circles that you have in your patchwork piece. When I bought it, I guess I liked it because I have a lot of it, but it’s been staring me down ever since. And I can’t stand it, but now seeing it against those lovely blues I may dig it out from the bottom of the pile. It thanks you.

  12. marymary says:

    I, too, have TONS of fabric already on hand, and yet whenever I have a project in mind, feel like I need to go buy something I don’t have. It makes me wonder if I should stop buying in advance. (Ha, ha, like’s that’s ever going to happen.)
    Your collection of blues there is really, really pretty, though.

  13. Michelle says:

    Um, not to be nitpicky, but… take a *day* to sort your stash by color? One day? Sheesh, with two little ones and that much fabric, and of course allowing for all the petting and rediscovering of little jewels that you’d forgotten you had, you’d need at least a *few* days, don’t you think?! :0) I do love the patchwork you put together, worth every agonizing moment.

  14. Tricia says:

    I read your post out loud to my kids…they hear me complain like this all the time! I feel like most of the time I can’t get going on a project because I am missing something-mostly plain-colored fabric or tone-on-tone these days!(I always want the cute prints!) I figure that ONE DAY I will have EVERYTHING because each project has made me stock-up on buttons, ribbons, zippers, wool felt, fleece, etc.
    At least I know that I am not alone!
    Thanks for the post!

  15. Nicole says:

    I’m also putting a quilt/patchwork top together and for me it made all the differences when I decided to cut the fabric into squares instead of strips of fabric. Strange isn’t it? Yours looks great by the way!

  16. Holly says:

    Once you’ve organised your stash by colour, you’ll decide that you want to do a quilt based on prints or something like that, and you’ll regret not organising things by print themes. And then vice versa.
    I live 8 minutes (I timed it!) from a fabric store and I dunno, I’m not necessarily sure it’s a good thing. I spend way too much time (AND MONEY!) there when I could probably make do with what I have at home already ๐Ÿ˜‰

  17. IamSusie says:

    I find that it is best to go easy on the novelty and multicolored prints when stash building. We fabric collectors tend to collect all medium tones and forget about how darks or saturated tones make quilts pop.
    My local quilt store has mostly batiks now. They are lovely, but I have wider tastes…

  18. amy says:

    hey, i live near several quilt shops and i have the same problem. if only we could see into the future and purchase accordingly!

  19. Jenny says:

    Oh I feel your pain on the fabric stash! From the looks of that pic on your flickr, you are at least 67 times more organized than I am.

  20. carol says:

    I’ve purged a lot and have also organized by color/solids. Something about having only what I need and will use has eased my mind…when I would stare at my stash I would just feel discontent with the fact and I wasn’t sewing enough and I had a ton of fabric.
    So now, if I want to make a shirt or a quilt I have been buying as I need…not sure if this strategy will work for long, but it helps with space/time issues big time

  21. Georgia says:

    Well Hillary, I think the best solution to your problem would be to design your own line of fabric! See! Problem solved. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  22. caron says:

    I don’t know if this will make sense, but I tend to work on the theory “the more you use, the more you ‘can’ use.”
    I like to make things with a really scrappy feel, so when I dig through my stash I find at least 3 or 4 pieces that will act as each of my color selections. I work toward having a dark, medium and light, albeit in a very narrow range, within each color.
    Also, go to the library and look for an old book called East Quilts West by Kumiko Sudo. She has an amazing gift for combining fabrics.

  23. erinn Johnson says:

    I LOVE the ribbon. I might have to get some and figure out how to use it in my cards.
    I have shelves full of fabric. All of my scraps are organized by color and arranged in drawers, I am a bit of an organizing nut.

  24. Amy says:

    A. I love your fabric choices.
    B. I went to a quilt shop (or 2) and still did not find a nice 30’s red – so that may not be your answer either.

  25. Pink Sky says:

    It’s tough finding the right color – even at the store. I highly recommend sorting your stash by color, though. It’s made my life a lot easier! ๐Ÿ˜€

  26. Maritza says:

    I know what you mean. Whatever the fabric situation may be, you did manage to find some lovely pieces that work beautifully together. That patchwork is just gorgeous!

  27. Carrie says:

    What you need to do is make friends with an interior designer, the get samples all the time, when the season is over, most will give them to you for nothing, just to get rid of them!

  28. Lotta says:

    I’ve tried sorting buttons (what I hoard) by color, by pattern, by size. I still am always missing “just the right one” to finish something.
    Very pretty quilt!

  29. Judi says:

    oh dear. I know EXACTLY what you mean about spending a ton on fabric and then not having everything I need when I try to go through the stash to make something. I hate when that happens. When I buy fabric I try to work on coordinating and think I’m making good choices which is the case when I purchase fabric for a specific project..but otherwise I get frustrated. I often times wish I could be locked up in a fabric/craft store for a week! Leave me there alone to help myself to everything and anything I need for projects. I live close to a fabric store…but still thats not enough. I like your colour choices.

  30. Carissa says:

    You’ve probably thought of this, but you could make a “fairy tale quilt” for some little person to love. I have collected some of those japanese fairy tale fabrics too and this is what I plan to make … someday. I just imagine my son or daughter cuddling up with this during nap or bed time and playing the tale over in their head. ๐Ÿ™‚

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