Since the start of the year I know a lot of people have been on ‘fabric diets’, determined to work through their stash before buying in more fabric.  It sounds like a great idea, and for the most part, from a quilting point of view, I’ve been on board with that (bags are another matter I’ll get back to later!).

It was interesting though, when I took a sudden notion to make a vintage style quilt to be a photo prop last week, and wanted to make it *right now* that having identified the main fabrics (2 charm packs of School Days) I hadn’t put any thought into the rest of it!  Could I shop my stash?  Turns out that I could.  Just.  (It also turned out considerably bigger than I first imagined, but we’ll let that pass ;o) )

So for this project I had the 2 charm packs (bought just before Sewing Summit 2012, as Danny brought these to me!) and I took a flyer that I’d be okay with cream for the background because I usually have a healthy stash of white, cream, grey and black solids (I get a little twitchy when they get below about 1m).  When I made the centre part though, which was all I’d originally planned, I made the mistake of checking out Irish Chain quilts online, since seeing one on Debbie’s blog had inspired me, and most of them had borders.  So, of course, I needed a border too.

The border was where I nearly came unstuck.  The problem with starting with a charm pack is that you have no yardage at all to fall back on, and I certainly hadn’t bought any from this line with this in mind.  Given its age, and the fact that I wanted it done yesterday without stepping outside to try going shopping for something, I experienced feelings of mild panic.  Whilst I have a healthy stash of FQs from the Stash Stack Club that I use on bee blocks and scrappy projects, this is my entire half/full yard collection of prints:

On the left are general prints, on the right text prints, and just peeking into shot are the low volumes.

Because of the gargantuan size of the ‘chain’ centre, I would need just shy of 1 yd of fabric for the coloured border, and some frantic rummaging ensued.  Thankfully I found a half yard each of a red print from the Punctuation line, and some red multicoloured pezzies, both by American Jane, and both with the same colours as the charm packs – phew, crisis averted!

Now I have 2 charm packs remaining – Potluck and Adventures With Alice.  I know the second one is a 2 year old line, so I’m unlikely to be able to get anything substantial from that line to help out, even if I did want to go shopping, but Potluck is actually only 6 months old, with plenty of options out there.  From my stash, however, the options are now distinctly limited, and certainly nothing remains from any American Jane or Darlene Zimmerman lines, save for one wee half yard of black pezzies down there.  It’s a moot point now, however, as the notion to use charm packs hits me about, err, once every 6 months to a year…

You’ll also notice from the collection above that there aren’t any entire fabric lines (except for the Architextures and Botanics, scattered about), because I don’t normally buy that way, the one exception being my hoard of Prince Charming (hidden away), which I bought when I first started quilting just before it vanished forever.  Any creative notions going forward, therefore, are going to have to be entirely reliant on scrappy quilts!  Scrappy doesn’t bother me, but I suspect the fabric pulling may take some time, with much debate and sucking of teeth, so my ‘quilt top in a day’ thing might be out the window ;o)

What about you?  Can you shop your stash with the comfort of knowing you can create something from full lines, or at least entirely from one designer, or are you entirely scrap-bound?  Do you rely on the ability to just nip out to pick up that missing fabric, or to find something to fit in?

I’m especially curious about that last question because it’s not an option I really have, but it’s nice to see how the other half live ;o)