Monday, December 31, 2007

How much should I buy? part 2

I can see this being a 3 or 4 part subject if you can all bear with me. Thank you for all of the comments which I will address today. I am posting this picture of the blue strip pieced Kaleidoscope again to make a point about the number of fabrics in a quilt. I know a lot of people are more comfortable if they know they just have to buy 5 blue fabrics in a range from light to dark. I try to encourage people to get several fabrics in each of the value ranges to make the quilt more interesting. This quilt has 5 different sets of strips that lean all the way from periwinkle to aqua and I think that is what gives it such liveliness. Becky said she used to buy 7 yard pieces on the advice of a mentor and Joyce asked how much do I buy for backings. I buy most of my backing fabric when it is 40%-60% off and I buy 4 yards for lap quilts and twins less than 87" long with the seam going crosswise. For longer twins (up to 96") I buy 5.5 yards and seam lengthwise. For double bed size 80" wide or narrower I buy 7 yards and divide into thirds and seam crosswise. For queen size I buy 8 yards, again 3 pieces seamed crosswise, and for a square king (not CA king) 9-10 yards depending on its size. So Becky you have some good backings there or borders and fabric to put in the blocks. Longarm quilters will want a little more than I need so check with them for how many extra inches they like on all edges.

I have always found that if I have ingredients on hand I will cook/bake more often. I think it is the same for fabric. If I have a good selection on hand I will make more things. I like to store my fabric on open shelves so I can see it. Out of sight, out of mind. I have a lot of students who tell me they will just buy more fabric because they don't have their fabric all in one place or organized in any manner. That is kind of like telling me you keep the sugar in the bathroom, the flour in the bedroom and the chocolate chips in the family room. Only by organizing what you already have, will you know what you need.

Candy said she keeps large amounts of the fabrics she likes best on hand. I do too. I have been collecting (and using!) batiks since 1990. Sometimes the collection is overwhelming if I look at it all at once, but when I am looking for just a certain kind of green, I'm glad I have what I do.

Mrs. Goodneedle said she had been on a fabric diet because she has a lot of fabric. I think I am in the same category but I will still buy at a good sale. I also think half yard fill ins for the gaps is a good policy and is also good for our mental health. Vicki W mentions seeing too much good stuff in the past few years. I agree there have been some wonderful prints out there, some "have to have" things.

I will post one more time this afternoon with one more quilt top made last year, so til then.........


Barbara C said...

What a beautiful quilt! I also like to have multiple fabrics in the same value in a quilt. I think the more the merrier.

I love your metaphor of keeping the sugar in the bathroom. I keep each color stored in separate drawers and I find that I can't get much work done if too much fabric is strewn around. I guess I'm easily distractied. This way I also know what I've got on hand.

Joyce said...

I found out from using your scraps that any kind of colorwash or gradation is so much easier if you have lots of fabrics to chose from.

TB said...

Your suggestions make sense, and I like the analogy to baking. If I had a larger house with more storage space, I would definitely increase my stash. As it is, I usually have some of the fabrics I need for a quilt--as a good start--but I have to augment once I know where I'm going with a quilt.
The quilt pictured here is quite lovely. I love the blues.

Anonymous said...

I love all blues~ and the kaleidescope pattern you used enhanced the blues to the fullest. I enjoy your lessons, they inspire me to try and do more quilting. J~MT

Michael5000 said...

The quilt is a stunner!

I think my M.O. is to keep heaps and heaps of medium, small, and tiny chunks of fabric on hand for use in scrap projects, baby blankets, and casual pieces. If I am going to make a "serious" designed piece, though, I will probably work it out on graph paper first and then custom-buy the fabrics for it. Sooooo, that's why the 'as small as 4" x 4"' strategy works for me. In practice, I used to buy lots of quarters of bolt fabrics; now that I'm a little more flush it's usually halves or yards.