Tuesday, May 10, 2022

On Supplementing My Solid Stash

When I shared about enhancing my solid stash recently, I received lots of good advice. Good enough that I thought you all might be interested. (All commenters listed gave permission for me to share.)

  • Choose a color (or colors, depending on what you can afford) and buy a half yard of every one the store stocks. Usually the colors you need to make a quilt sing are not the ones that were fun to buy. [pieladyquilts]
  • Don’t overlook the drab, muddy, dirty colors that’ll make the clear colors pop and sing and dance!! Think olive, rust, burnt, heathered, maroon, grayed, drab colors. I love them. [monicathequilter]
  • When I retired I was gifted a similar generous card. I was just starting to use solids so went crazy. But everything I bought was medium to dark in value. My stash suffers still from this. Your stash (like most of ours probably) appears to have fewer low value fabrics. I might recommend making a good chunk of your purchase in that group. They may not make your heart sing, but they certainly make the quilts sing. [tinwoman48]
  • I’d just buy what I love but make sure I have a good range of values. [kathycookquilts]
  • If I’m buying without a project in mind, I usually stick with the colors that make my heart sing or new shades/palettes I’ve been meaning to try. Then I fill in my lesser used colors as I overbuy for specific projects. [hellomynameisquilt]
  • This probably isn’t what you’re asking, but here’s what I do: Each Christmas I receive a very nice gift card to my LQS from a family member. I use mine throughout the year to buy backing fabric as I get quilt fronts finished. It’s nice to have gift card money to help cover these costly purchases. [bluebellridgehandworks]
  • I'd select a number of very unusual unique pieces for the accents that make a quilt stand out. [karenholseth]
  • [A] few years ago I joined Fat Quarter Shop fat quarters solids. I use these just about as fast as they come. Fat quarters are great for small pieces needed. I am still in club. I have been buying fabric by bolt ! Black, white, white on whites, cream, cream on cream. Then anything that needs a solid back that’s bought by bolt. I love ❤️ making scrappy solid quilts. [debsews19]
  • I think I would note what colors I have and buy colors you don’t have - even if you rarely use them. You might reach for it in the future if you have it but might not buy it if you don’t. [lisarcast]
  • I guess I typically go with 1 yard if I like it a lot but don't have an idea for what I'll use it for and 4-5 yards if I think it would make a good backing. [quiltingjetgirl]
  • Buy a lot of one color and use it in each subsequent project - a little or a lot. [dinglebobbins]

So obviously, I couldn't follow all that great advice right now; but I did do some of it, and will remember the rest for future purchases. For now, I selected:

  • a half yard of all the reds in the shop, including 2 yards of Rich Red, which I plan to use in several upcoming projects, restocking as necessary
  • a half yard each of a lot of blues - being sure to choose some very lights, very darks, and grayed blues, and one yard each of a couple of favorites I'd run out of
  • several very light and very dark yellows, greens, and purples
  • 2 yards each of three commonly-used neutrals - a light gray, a darker gray, and natural
  • one yard cuts of a few favorites I like to always have on hand, like Kona Pickle and Wasabi
  • and finally (not shown) a handful of blenders, a restock of 1/4" black and white stripe, and a Diamond Textiles' Nikko woven in a new-to-me color
So... 32 yards were added to my stash, 28 of them solid, in 44 colors. And over the weekend, I totally revamped my storage area. It's hard to see in its entirety, since that 'post' hides a whole column of cubbies, but 'before' I had a cubbie for each color of prints, and then combined solids in just a few cubicles. Now, each cube contains a color - with both prints and solids combined - prints on bottom, solids on top. This worked fine for most colors, though blue prints fill a cubby all their own (behind the column). Interesting!

Besides the 'color' groupings, you can see there are some special categories - all Carolyn Friedlander prints and text prints (a past favorite!) on the left; three groups of non-quilting-cotton substrates and Christmas fabrics on the right; and for the first time, a cube with a few unfinished projects. That may all look and sound very confusing, but to me it makes perfect sense, and I'm looking forward to working from my newly sorted stash in the months ahead. 


  1. Having it make sense for you is the most important detail of all! I love the variety of advice you received and look forward to seeing what you make with your new acquisitions!

  2. Thanks for putting all this great advice in one place! And what a fun purchase :) Enjoy your sewing time and all your new squirrel-y ideas ;) xo

  3. I love reading about everyone's different perspectives on stash building! I hope you have many hours of fun with your new fabric.

  4. as long as it makes sense to you that's all that matters! looks like a fabulous stack of solids to me.

  5. I've never worked much with solids but I do have a small stash of them. I need to work on my values- most of my fabrics probably are medium. If I really need help I consult with my daughter who is a color expert- she can just "see" it. Lucky me!

  6. 'Buy a lot of one color and use it a little or a lot in subsequent projects' I like that advice. I couldn't do that absolutely but I do get infatuated from time to time over this or that color. Interesting reading about your colors and fabrics.

  7. Lots of good advice here, I enjoyed scrolling through your post! While I don't work much with solids, I have found I certainly buy more 'medium' fabrics... so lately I've been varying things. And, I also have many more big florals than I'll ever need, so when buying I try to add in a few of those "not so interesting but essential" staples, like tone-on-tones and muted colours. I've learnt by lots of trial & error!