Friday, January 5, 2018

New Year's Resolutions, 2018: I Resolve to Buy More Fabric. And I Resolve to Drink More Wine.

...And I'm not just saying that to be funny, either, y'all -- I am SERIOUS.  I have made up my mind, my resolve is firm, and no one's Sew Your Stash goals or Fiscal Frugal Fishy Business is going to stop me, either.  I am going to buy more fabric in 2018, and I'm going to do it ON PURPOSE.

I wanted to have my new Tabby Mountain quilt all cut out by today, laid out on my empty design wall, and be sewing the triangles into rows this afternoon while listening to the Poulenc and Verdi music I need to prepare for tomorrow's VOX chorus rehearsal.  I already had all of the fabrics I needed for this project at the beginning of the week, all prewashed and ready to go in my stash, and I got the special 30 degree ruler I wanted three days ago to streamline the whole cutting process.  So, why isn't this quilt cut out yet?  I'll tell you why -- it's because I only had fat quarters (FQs) of each of the eight solid fabrics, the pattern called for a THIRD of a yard of full width fabric for each of those fabrics, and I could only cut 5 triangles out of each solid FQ instead of the 11 triangles plus 2 half triangles required by my pattern.  I have wasted hours of valuable quilting time hunting unsuccessfully through my stash for alternatives, finding nothing that I had enough of in anywhere close to the right color.  I considered mixing in prints or tonal solids with the solids called for in my stash, but I believe what I like most about this particular quilt design is the way the rows of solid fabrics separate the bold prints and set them off, keeping it from being a jumbled mess of busy prints.  I don't think I would like the result nearly as well if I swapped out those rows of solids for anything else.

Tula Pink Tabby Mountain Quilt 
See what I mean?  What really makes that quilt for me is the strong graphic impact of the rows of solid triangles separating and setting off the gorgeous kitty cat prints.  If I can't have a full row of each solid fabric, I don't want to make that quilt at all.  So then I wasted MORE hours of precious sewing time surfing the Internet in search of an online quilt shop that stocked all 8 colors of the Free Spirit Designer Solids called for by my pattern, as well as the additional yardage I need of my Tula Pink Slow But Steady backing fabric for my Paint Me A Story quilt.  (Because I calculated how much backing fabric I would need when I was only planning to add one border rather than the three borders I ended up with.  I am short 5" on that backing but I needed to buy another 2 1/4 yards in order to have just the one seam down the back of the quilt).  I finally found all nine fabrics that were holding up my projects at the same online shop, Missouri Star Quilt Co., and I ordered them.  And then I was horrified when my order confirmation email informed me that they were "a little backed up" and my order wasn't going to ship out for 2-3 WEEKS.  Um, NO, I'm not going to wait that long!!  So my husband and I drove all the way down to my not-quite-local quilt shop this afternoon and, since they don't stock the Free Spirit Designer Solids, I matched each of my insufficient FQs to the Bella Solids line and purchased a half yard of each one.  I also found my Slow But Steady backing fabric there and bought small pieces of a few other prints that caught my eye for my scrappy projects.  I had fun ogling and petting all the fabrics like I always do when I shop for fabric in person, but the trip ate up most of my day and then I had to prewash all the new solids before I could use them.  

Also for my Paint Me A Story quilt, I wished I had more of the orchid batik fabric that I used for my bear paw centers, and I had to stop and reorder my Kona Snow background fabric THREE TIMES when I decided to add borders, decided to add another border, and then miscalculated how much I'd need for the final borders.  I ran out of the center square fabric for all of my pineapple log cabin blocks and had to hunt all over the place for more.  I've done this with other projects, too -- and WHY?!!!  It's not like quilting cottons are expensive.  I mean, yes, quilting fabric can add up quickly at the quilt shop, but an extra half yard of fabric only adds about $5 to the bill and can save hours of aggravation and weeks of delays hunting down additional fabric later.  Remember that adage, "Time is money?"  And what's so bad about having a half yard of fabric left over?  I only buy fabric that I like, and I like using as many different fabrics in my quilts as possible.  None of my "extra" fabric is going to go to waste, but think of all that TIME I wasted.  We can get more money, we can go out and get another yard of fabric, but we can never get back a minute of wasted time.  I'm pretty sure this gentleman's tattoo is a reminder to himself that he should always buy extra quilt fabric so he won't waste time hunting for more later:

(Don't Worry, Bernie -- I Don't Need a Tattoo to Remind Me to Buy More Fabric!)
If I'm making a quilt, I have the flexibility to change my mind and to incorporate new ideas midway through the project without the necessity of sticking to the exact design that I started out with.  Sometimes -- lots of times -- I make cutting mistakes that require additional fabric.  It's bad enough to have to stop your creative groove to hunt down more fabric, and even worse to find that the fabric you desperately need is now out of print and out of stock.  I have had fabulous ideas that I have had to abandon just because I shorted myself a measly quarter yard of a fabric that was only $11/yd.  Can you believe I would let a lousy $2.25 of additional fabric hamper my creative process on a quilt that I work on for months and months, or even years?  What's more, all of the time I spend going back for more fabric and hunting for discontinued fabric online and trying to come up with workarounds for fabric shortages is cramping my style, slowing me down, and preventing me from creating all of the lovely, exciting ideas that are swirling around in my mind begging to become quilts.  Saving money buy skimping on fabric is NOT WORTH IT, and I'm not doing it any more!  

From now on, for real, I am going to start padding the yardage for my quilting projects, buying a half yard when I would have bought a quarter yard and buying an extra half yard or more of background fabrics, backings, and basic.  There are only about 15 yards of fabric on a bolt of quilting cotton, and even if you're buying at retail, you can get an additional discount for purchasing a full bolt sometimes.  I know Judi Madsen's Green Fairy Quilting web site will special order bolts for customers and sell them at a steeper discount than what they charge for cut yardage and other retailers probably offer similar discounts.  So why didn't I just buy a stinking bolt of the lovely Kona Snow solid white fabric in the first place?  This is what a sensible quilter's home studio supply of solid fabrics should look like:

This Is How Much Fabric I Need
Well, maybe not QUITE that many bolts of fabric, but you get the idea.  I don't need my husband to start telling everyone that I've opened a quilt shop in our home...

Oh, and my other resolution is to drink more wine.  Wine smells good, wine tastes good, and drinking it lowers my risk of heart disease, improves my mental health, reduces my risk of developing type II diabetes, dementia, depression, and certain cancers, prevents some causes of vision loss, and will help me to live longer, so I can finish more quilts.  I read all of this on the Internet, people, so it must be true.  I also read that drinking a glass of red wine before bed every night could help me lose weight, and I'm pretty sure that if I drink my wine slowly, I can stretch that glass of wine into a full hour of cardio and burn just as much fat as those ladies who run around the neighborhood freezing their butts off in cute little exercise outfits.  

I should probably disclose that the scientific study that found a connection between wine consumption and weight loss involved honey bees rather than human test subjects, but at the molecular level we're all pretty much the same, are we not?  

Well, my wine glass is empty and it's time for bed.  I have rehearsal early in the morning tomorrow, and then when I get home I'm going to resume cutting out triangles for my Tabby Mountain quilt.  If all goes well I'll be blogging about my progress within the next few days.  And if all does NOT go well, I'll probably be blogging about the health benefits of chocolate cake consumption.


I'm linking up with:


Chris said...

I've been there, too, fabric wise, and learned to buy more. Now if only I liked the taste of wine, all my problems would be solved!!!

SJSM said...

And it seems you resolved to blog more often. I’m glad to see the mind of yours courses through solid reasons to enjoy yourself. Life is short. You seem well balanced in the giving and loving part of life. Pampering and being good to yourself will help you continue those qualities. Life is mostly good. Enjoy life.

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

wine gives me a sinus headache and clogs my sinuses - but I have found hard cider to be tasty and it has antioxidants in it too - well need to think on that.

yes if you are going to quilt from your stash you need a large enough stash to do it - but I believe only do that if you are really going to use it and not just look at it. I have a stash from years of quilting and a lot of it has just been staring at me from the shelves for years while I pass it over and buy new stuff - having a good size stash is really good when you do not live near a quilt shop and must drive several hours to get to the "local" shop - then it is no longer local and hence the reason I do so much shopping on line and yes have to wait for it to arrive. I hope you will be able to get to work on your quilt soon - I will be watching to see how it turns out.

Ramona said...

Oh my goodness... this is so true! How many times have we all had to go back to the drawing board because we don't have enough of the chosen fabrics. But how much is enough? That's my problem. I usually do buy extra, but mainly for cutting errors. It doens't happen often, but... I am totally on board with drinking more wine. Thank you SO MUCH for finding all of the research on line as to how good wine is for us. :D

Shar said...

In the late 80s, when I was machine piecing a lot, I bought a bolt of fabric at a really good sale. It was a white background with a little, tan geometric pattern on it. I forgot the name of the company it was from. But I used that fabric in at least 2 quilts for the background, as parts of scrap quilts, and backs on at least 3 quilts of different sizes. I still have a little bit left in my scraps. It was something that fit into my style of piecing and I was never sorry that I purchased that. On the other side of the spectrum, I bought more than enough of a navy print when I was making a quilt for a wedding in my family, but something changed and I needed slightly more and then something else changed and I ended up buying the rest of the bolt. There have been several fabrics that I have really loved in my quilting life and wished I still had. So buying bolts is not a frivolous thing in many cases.

Karen in Breezy Point said...

I have been buying larger pieces of fabric for a few years--fat quarters are just not enough! I do have to admit that not having enough of a particular fabric has forced me into some "happy accidents" though!

Janice Holton said...

Rebecca, you are so entertaining. :) That Free Spirit quilt you are working on is a stunner! I can't wait to see your version. I really like the way you think regarding fabric purchases. Your logic is spot on!

Beth @ Cooking Up Quilts said...

I wholly support your resolutions! I have also started buying more fabric than I think I'll need (except for that stinking tan Grunge...). I knew I had to change my buying habits when I sent my sister a pic of my fabric cabinet with the complaint that not one single piece was what I needed for a binding! Now I have an entire bolt of Kona Snow in my closet, a bolt of wide back fabric by the longarm, and I can't wait to add more. Drink up, and let the fabric buying begin!! :)

Tu-Na Quilts said...

Now these goals are certainly attainable! I enjoyed your post and found myself chuckling through most of it because, well, I can identify!!

Cheryl said...

Great goals! I buy my full bolts of white Bella from my LQS which gives a great discount.

Cheryl said...

Great goal! I typically buy my bolts of solid white fabric from my LQS, they give me a great deal and I don't have to pay for shipping.

Jocelyn is Canadian Needle Nana said...

What a great post! Enjoyed it all and especially your new year's resolutions. So true what you say about us wanting to practice frugality and in the end, wasting our very valuable time and energy. I've done exactly what you did and now do what you will do (hope that makes sense!). Happy Stress free Stitching in 2018.

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