Monday, April 18, 2016

Five fabrics, five threads...

Shopping for fabric and thread is serious business.
So serious in fact that I think long and hard about what I'm buying, and most especially about why I'm buying it in the first place. 
Most hand embroiderers and quilters are becoming increasingly mindful of their stash purchases these days and I am one of them, which is why I thought you may like to know the guidelines I follow when visiting a quilt shop.

In the photo above you can see five fabrics and five skeins of embroidery thread which were purchased last week.
The fabrics are a cream cotton/linen blend (perfect for embroidery), two Tilda prints, and two Tilda basics in spot and check. The threads were purchased to blend with all five fabrics...

As simple as it sounds, this is my criteria for a shopping trip to the quilt store...
* Can the fabrics be used together in multiple settings?
* Can I mix and match the threads with the fabrics?
* Exactly what projects will I make from these items?
* How much do I need of each fabric? 
* Are any of the fabrics likely to be out of stock soon - if it's possible I may need more later should I buy an extra 1/4 metre now?
* Am I sure there's not a similar print sitting in my stash at home? If there could be, how needful am I of the fabric in my hand? 
* Are any of these purchases an impulse buy? If so, what will I make with it? Only buy if I have a clear purpose in mind.
* Can I afford the items?

Note: If buying fabrics for a quilt or a large project you may ask yourself different questions, and hopefully you would have a detailed list of what you need to avoid being tempted with things you don't need.

 Now I'm not perfect, and the odd 'impulse' fat quarter will occasionally travel home with me, but not very often. There were too many impulse fabrics left holidaying on my shelves in the past and I no longer desire their company nor enjoy adding to their numbers, so I've become rather 'Scrooge-y' and fussy about fabric acquisition.

The five fabrics and five threads I purchased last week all mix and match to my requirements...

 I can use the linen, pink spot, or blue check as backgrounds for my stitchery designs....

 ...or I can blend the check and spot with the two florals for a patchwork design.

Each of the threads will sit beautifully on, or surrounded by, the fabrics I chose, plus in my home thread drawer are more colours which will marry with these new skeins (such as a deeper pink, mid-range green, and a cream)...

Back home unpacking the bag after my little shopping trip, I was excited about these carefully considered purchases; not guilty nor regretful, just very content knowing I would use them all.

If you're wondering how much I bought of each fabric -

1 metre cream cotton/linen blend
1/2 metre blue/pink/green floral
1/2 metre blue/cream floral
1/4 metre pink spot
1/4 metre blue check

Do you have a list of questions you ask yourself before you buy fabric?


  1. Beautiful thread color and yummy fabric
    Great choice my dear
    You amazing x

  2. I ask me the first : I need that fabric? Really? And second, I have cash? When I am sure, go back to ask me now :))

  3. Thanks for sharing your "way to choose and buy"
    beautiful fabrics and threads...

  4. Great Jenny, thanks for sharing such great tips. I'm trying to be more budget and stash aware this year, your guidelines should really help. Thankfully my local fabric store is bursting at the seams and has regular 20% off events to clear space, it's great for my purse and I try to wait for a sale for larger purchases but it's then that I'm most tempted to impulse but!! 😉

  5. Great Jenny, thanks for sharing such great tips. I'm trying to be more budget and stash aware this year, your guidelines should really help. Thankfully my local fabric store is bursting at the seams and has regular 20% off events to clear space, it's great for my purse and I try to wait for a sale for larger purchases but it's then that I'm most tempted to impulse but!! 😉

  6. After re-organizing my fabric stash recently, I found that I need to be more mindful when purchasing fabric. Your post will certainly be helpful! I really love the colors and threads which you have chosen, and I look forward to seeing the finished projects!

  7. Good Morning Jenny! Oh such lovely fabrics and threads that you purchased! I rarely do buy fabrics; I am such a scrap quilter and have been blessed by so many wonderful people who have just given me loads of fabrics that they just did not want any more. Plus, I also really enjoy shopping garage sales and second hand stores. Which brings about a totally different set of questions than what we face buying new fabrics. The main fabrics I do buy are whites, off whites and blacks. Then I usually ask myself the same questions that you do. Thank you for this fun and informative post! Have a fantastic and creative day!

  8. The colors you chose for your project are gorgeous and go so well together!
    Thanks so much for sharing how you buy fabric and floss/thread. My problem when buying floss and fabric and trying to match them is the poor lighting in the stores. Any ideas on carrying a kind of flashlight that won't shine a yellowish tinge to everything?
    Congrats again on becoming a grandma!

  9. Those are really great together, and I love the fabric choices. I would ask myself similar questions in a similar situation. Lately, there's only one question. Is this a need or a want? It's been a want every time, so I haven't bought anything in months! I really want Backyard Roses by Riley Blake - very like the Lecien Sugar Flower which I haven't found at any local shops, though there is one online that has quite a few. So far, I haven't bought it.

  10. Donna, the best thing in that circumstance is to walk to the window or stand in the doorway to see them in natural light. :-)

  11. Reading your wise words of what and why you are acquiring in supplies reminds me of the very reason I am not just buying because I "want" something. I have come to know I do not "need" anything more than health and love. I have far too much in the supplies department. This is my mantra - S.A.B.L.E.
    S = Supplies
    A = Acquired
    B = Beyond
    L = Life
    E = Expectancy
    This is the perfect reminder when I am out shopping and "thinking" I "need" or "want" things!!!
    Your carefully purchased 5 fabrics and 5 threads are lovely dear.

  12. ooh lovely - I ONLY buy when I have a plan for it, anymore. Too much was just sitting for years, and I got tired of looking at it. I do splurge on floss - last gift card, I bought one skein of every color of DMC that I didn't have. I no longer have a fabric store close to me - and I only shop the sales, lol. I wanted that floss on hand!

  13. Jenny, my stash almost overwhelms me at times, so I should take heed of your advice. I am a terror for buying remnants on impulse because they're so well priced. Fortunately they do all get used eventually, but I'd prefer they didn't take over my craft room. It's a bit like shopping for clothing isn't it? Will this go with three other things in my stash/wardrobe...a good strategy! Love your choices today...very pretty. I hope all is well with your little family. Mimi xxx

  14. Lovely fabrics and threads. Looking forward to seeing what you create.

  15. Jenny, I like both of the window blocks for May, but I tend to agree with you and I really prefer the one with the rounded corners. They are both really pretty. Your work is superb!


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