Stash Building Advice for QuiltersIf you are a new quilter, you probably buy quilting fabric as you need it, focusing only on your current project (and maybe throwing in a few extras). But you'll nearly always have leftover yardage, so your stash will grow with each new quilt pattern you tackle.
As your fabric stash gets deeper, don't be surprised if you begin buying fabrics for future projects... just in case. And maybe you're already at that point, but unsure how to make the best use of your fabric budget. I hope these tips will help as you begin to build a fabric stash.
- Fabric is an investment, so buy 100-percent cottons of good quality. You'll spend lots of time making a quilt, and I know you want the finished piece to be durable. Poor quality fabrics will shorten the life of your projects.
- Your first inclination might be to purchase lots of fabrics in your favorite colors. There's nothing wrong with focusing on your favorites, but try not to narrow your selections so much that other colors are missing from your collection.
- Be careful not to focus entirely on a specific type of fabric, florals for instance. Include many styles if you want to diversify your stash.
- Be sure to pick up fabrics of all color values, from deeply colored cottons to the very lightest shades -- when used together the differences will add definition to the design elements in your quilts.
- Consider color warmth, too. Choose a range of colors from cool to hot (see Color Wheel Basics for Quilters for advice about working with cool and warm colors).
- Buy plenty of tone-on-tone fabrics -- fabrics that appear to be solid from a distance, but are actually subtle prints in different shades or values of the same color. Tone-on-tone fabrics are wonderful replacements for solids, since they add both color and visual texture.
- Try to include all sorts of shapes in your printed quilting fabrics, from angular geometrics to circles and arcs.
- Buy prints of varying scales, from teeny-tiny upwards.
- Examine your stash periodically. Ask yourself what's missing? List gaps in your coverage and try to find fill-ins each time you shop. Update your list as needed.
- Branch out. Buy colors you don't necessarily like -- at some point you will need them, even if only in small amounts.
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