Ages ago, as a new quilter, I purchased fabrics only as I needed them, totally according to whatever pattern I was making at the time. In short, there was no stash, and I didn't see why I needed one. To top that, I wasn't comfortable choosing a grouping of fabrics without the company and approval of my friend, Sharon. Dare I say, I quilted like this for years.
Fast-forward to three years ago when I discovered modern quilting and started blogging. I'd progressed enough to have the confidence to choose fabric by myself, but still pretty much purchased fabric project by project. I think I can honestly say I'd never purchased a fat-quarter. But things were about to change big time.
I joined a bee or two, and began participating in swaps. I started to gather fat quarters in order to build a modern stash so I had a variety to work with. It was a good thing. Really. I hopped onboard the For the Love of Solids Swap, and entered a world previously unknown. At that point, solid fat-quarters found their way into my growing stash.
So what about today? I thoroughly enjoy my closet stash. I have a good variety of color and I can reach into it and satisfy most of my fabric needs, and for bees and small projects, it's great! But. When I'm ready to bind a quilt, I've got maybe a 75% chance of finding something that will work. For a backing, the chances are much, much less. And that impedes progress.
So I'm beginning to go about things a little differently. Fat quarters are rarely the way I go these days. I more often buy 1/2 yard cuts of fabrics that might possibly becoming a binding. If I love something and want enough to 'play' with too, I'll buy a yard. When I come across a great sale, I might even grab 4-5 yards and stash a backing. So far, my luck has been pretty good that I'm able to put these finds to good use.
So I'm not saying no more pre-cuts ever; in fact there's even a fairly new fat-eighth bundle that I'll mix in with a collection I already have. But in general, I'm cutting back on the small cuts. And overall, things have definitely changed. Five years ago, I could not have imagined that I would have a roll of batting in my closet. I keep my favorite basic solids on hand at all times, in quantities that allow for some creativity. I guess we all need to find what works for us and indeed, it's a process. I feel like I'm adjusting to a new stride. What about you? What works and what doesn't? Inquiring minds want to know.