I love my STASH (fabric that is) and Row by Row

I just read the funniest blog post titled “State of the Stash 2016” written by Barbara at www.stashoverflow.wordpress.com !!

Be nice and finish mine first, then you can go back and read Barbara‘s!

My comment to Barbara was “I am still laughing!!!!! I keep trying to explain the Row-by-Row “frenzy” to my husband. It was well defined by your post and he now understands what a great marketing scheme it is, to get quilters all worked up and out on the road into the quilt shops!! I too have fallen off the wagon already, big time. I am working on a mystery quilt with FROM MY CAROLINA HOME . wordpress.com and it is a scrap buster….except…I needed neutrals….lots of them. Like 6 yards! And how boring is it to shop for neutrals, so of course I had to buy something else! Go sew, have fun, play with your fabrics and tackle those bindings without guilt. Retirement usually means less money to play with, so I am glad you have a STASH to work with, and the resources to pick up a few bits and pieces, here and there!”

I am certainly glad for my stash of fabric, and glad for the bins and bags of scraps that have been “gifted” to me in the last couple of years.  I try to be a “good steward” when buying fabric for the quilts we make at church for our graduates, and bargain shop at every opportunity.    Retirement does mean “less money” for our hobbies and “more time” to pursue the hobby.  I am glad I “stocked up” before I retired.

You may remember that I wrote about listening to a shop owner, trying to explain ROW-BY-ROW to the listeners at a recent meeting of Helping Hands Quilt Guild.  Honestly – if it brings people into the shop, it is a GREAT marketing ploy!!!   My experience with the Row – by – Row was to pick up a license plate for a lady I didn’t even know and mail it to her.  Her big brother was soliciting friends to help her get one from every state, and they would be reimbursed for the cost of the plate and the mailing costs. Someday, I hope to see what she does with them all.  I listened to a lady at the guild meeting talk about how she loved some of the Row-by-Row patterns being handed out in shops out on the West Coast of the USA, and was unhappy that she couldn’t get a copy.  The speaker at the guild talked about ways people were trying to “cheat the system” to get their free pattern. For example, the person who called and claimed she was disabled and couldn’t get to the store; that also contacted more than 30 stores, trying to get the pattern.   Others who just could not understand why the particular store they were standing in front of had the NERVE to be closed on Sundays, etc.  So,  the buzz is real, the frenzy that Barbara wrote about is real, and I am so glad I didn’t “get on that roller coaster”.   My guess, the quilt shops see a low customer volume in the summer, and this is a great way to get live, breathing bodies in the store! Good for them and congrats on a great marketing tool.

So, one of the great debates I read about on line is the big box store vs the local quilt shop.  With the news of the 2nd bankruptcy filing by Hancock Fabrics ( news link )and the immediate closure of 70 of it’s 260 brick and mortar stores, you wonder how the great discounts and coupons and deals will all work out in the long run.  Stores like Hancock Fabric and JoAnn’s have branched out into far more than “fabric store”. With the additional crafting items, jewelry, yarn, decorator items, they off much more than the local quilt shops can. Additionally, they offer variety and volume.  Trust me, I love the 20% off on senior citizens day; and all the other coupon specials; and I hate to pay $12-14 per yard at the local quilt shop.   I do have to “wander the fabric aisles” to find good quality fabric and often “fill my cart”.  My recent excursion on Wednesday cost me about $56.  My receipt said I saved $54.  So, I wonder how you can stay in business with that model.    Yes, I do shop the local quilt shop, and occasionally buy the $12/14 per yard fabric.  More often though, I wait for those shops to have a sale and then I pounce.  This is an expensive hobby, no doubt about it.  I guess that is why I am such a “scrappy person”.   So, with the demise of big box stores, I think the local quilt shops will benefit. As it is, where I live, it is a 30 mile ride to the big box store, and only 12 miles to my nearest local quilt shop.  I have 2 in my circle of life, one 15 miles away in another direction.  I also love to shop at quilt shows, looking for the latest gadget, and I have been known to order fabric from online shops.

What do you do? Shop local? Shop big box? or Shop on line?

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11 thoughts on “I love my STASH (fabric that is) and Row by Row

  1. This is a timely post for me. I usually shop Joanns which has two stores close to home. My favorite quilt shop is about 2 hours one way from here, and I can’t justify visiting very often. So, this week I decided to visit a small fabric/quilt store in neighboring Portsmouth. Fabric was almost all $11.49 per yard which is a little rich for my budget but I only needed 1 1/4 yards for a project. I picked it out, took it to the counter, and she clipped the edge at 1 1/4 and ripped the material. I’ve never seen it ripped before, but I went with the flow. Interesting though when I got home and laid it out that I only had 1 yard and 4″ of material based upon the ripping. I complained, they responded, no resolution – they rip every time unless you ask it to be cut but who knows that on their first trip. I’ll be going back to Joanns. 🙂

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    • Wow, Judy — I purchased fabric at one quilt shop on a bus trip that ripped the fabric and I was horrified. I will never shop there again after I spoke to the manager and got a load of crapola about this is the best way etc. I had to trim away about 4″ on both sides of the tear. That fabric was stretched and awful. I usually prewash, so my first trim was with the pinking blade on my olfa cutter, and it did not fix the problem, so after the prewashing, drying etc, I still lost 8″. Now, in your case – 1 yard and 1 quarter is 45″, not 39″. You pay for every inch. I would be calling the store, taking the fabric back with my receipt and demanding a refund. I would ask to speak to the owner. I would also let them know that you want your fabric cut, and that you will not accept torn fabric, as it warps the first 3 or 4 inches. (on both ends of your cut) Not at $12 per yard. I would never buy fabric there again. I would tell them exactly why. If you get no satisfaction I would then tell them that you are going to all your favorite quilting groups on facebook and on every blog you know and let them know how they “ripped you off for 6” of fabric”….and no woman wants to get ripped off by SIX inches!!! You paid for 45″ of fabric and they shorted you. By the time you get finished trimming off the mess they made by tearing it, you will have 30 inches if you are lucky……YIKES…

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  2. Pingback: Tearing fabric Poll and Shopping On-line for fabric | stitchinggrandma

    • I am in awe of the 1000 yard of fabric in the stash, and knowing you are still working. If I had only realized I should have “acquired more” before I retired. I wasn’t quilting as much when I was working, so didn’t realize the value!! I just picked up more neutrals for my Scrap dance Tango. I calculated I needed 4.5 yards for my 715 light 3 inch squares; and 2.5 yards for my 572 light 2.5″ squares. I had some left over from my Bonnie Hunter Allietare, but not quite enough. So glad I am using scraps for the rest! 🙂

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  3. Great post! I shop online and at the local quilt shop in Lewes since its closest to me and I love the owner and gals who work there. I remember being taught to tear fabric when I was a kid – yikes! Not sure what they were thinking back then other than they thought they were being efficient. I prewash too by the way – have a great day!

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    • Thanks for taking time to comment Pat. I know what you mean about loving the people at the local quilt shops, both Mares Bears and Serendipity. I remember my mother shopping for fabric and the shop owner tearing the yardage and my mother explaining about “straight of grain”. It still gives me shivers! I am a convinced pre-washer too!!

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  4. I do both. I prefer to shop in person but sometimes the sales of fat quarter bundles are just too good to pass up. I would guess that 75% of the time I’ll buy a bundle on sale and then take it to my LQS and fill in the gaps. I have a small stash and try to pull from there. I just joined our church’s quilt ministry and they gave me a bundle to get started. Let me just say that every stitch will be a struggle. I’ll add in some fabrics and leave out some fabrics but for the most part it’s neither my style nor good quality. If I’m going to invest the time, I want to enjoy it. I’ll just provide my own fabric for the ministry from now on. I have never bought any fabric for quilting at JoAnn’s unless it was Kona. I just don’t know enough about what they sell. Our local JoAnn’s has gotten bad about not marking things on sale so I get to the cash register and try to use a coupon only to learn it won’t work. I finally contacted the home office last week and told them what I would have saved if I would have used the 50% coupons and they sent me a gift card.

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  5. I agree with you, you are investing a lot of time and effort into a project, you want to enjoy working with fabric of good quality. When we give something to charity we SHOULD be giving something that will hold up. I think the sales JoAnn’s and Hancock’s run are very deceptive. Good for you for taking them to task! 🙂

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