My Fabric Collecting

Before I start today’s post I want to say we had tons of comments on my post about my long arm.   I had a few follow questions and I’m putting together the answers for them and will be posting that on Monday afternoon.  That will give you a little time to get more questions in if you have them…and it’s been a busy week here and I haven’t gotten time to get some pictures snapped to go with the post…so you have until noonish on Sunday to get your questions in.

Now for today’s post:
You all have often heard me say that I’m collecting fabrics for this or that quilt.  I love doing this.  Sure, I could go to the fabric store and pretty much buy whatever I needed for a quilt…but I don’t.  Why?  For me collecting builds the anticipation of making the quilt.

I do it for another reason too.  I helps me to remember that I will be provided for.  Yes..I can go out and do it myself but, I have also learned that people like to help and the God likes to provide.

Here’s an example:

Cheryl Reagan sent me a box of scraps a long time ago.  At the time, I needed a baby quilt for my granddaughter Lucy.  As I looked through the scraps I realized there were lots of Kaffe prints there.  Oh I’d love them but never bought any as I decided I’d want a whole quilt of them not just a few pieces.

I ended up making this quilt for Lucy.

It’s a simple disappearing nine patch with a spot cut for her name and a mouse.  Her nickname is “Mouse”.

I got so I loved the fabrics even more after working with them.  Well then
I found this Kaffe fabric at Goodwill back in the summer of 2018 and that was the start of collecting vs going out and buying.


These were in a bag with other scraps for $5.  It was an awesome scrap bag.  That’s when I started telling all of you that I was collecting.  I didn’t know what quilt I was going to make…just a quilt with primarily Kaffe fabrics.

Then these came in the mail.  One might think these wouldn’t be very useful…

But they are perfect.  I love them.  I ended up cutting them up and started long term plans to eventually make a Wild & Goosey quilt, it’s paper pieced, with the tiniest scraps.


Along the way while thrifting, I’ve found some Kaffe fabrics here and there.

These came from Barbara and I was in SHOCK!!  YAHOO.  My collection was growing.

Then Connie gifted me these….

…and a scrap bag.

I’m determined that someday, I’m making a quilt from these…and then with the tiniest scraps, I’ll make the Wild and Goosey quilt.  Waiting for the fabrics and hunting for them, makes it all so much fun for me.  When they come in the mail, seriously, I do a HUGE happy dance.  With every tiny scrap that comes, I anticipate the “someday quilt” more and more.  By the time I get the pieces to make it, and the design in my head….I’m going to be bursting with excitement to make these quilts.  I’m purposely not buying fabric at the store for the project.  I will admit I just finished the Wild Child quilt that had a Kaffe fabric for the border and I did put the leftovers in the collection bucket.  Other than that, and possible more border leftovers, I’m not buying any Kaffe fabrics for the quilt.  Silly to some I know, but I love it.

In fact, I love it so much that I’ve started collecting for other projects.

I have a collection for Kaffe Stripes:
Long ago I made this quilt…
Ruby-Quilt-1
I saved the scraps.  Then I’ve periodically found more at the thrift store.

I have this quilt in mind for them…

I’ve loved this quilt for years.  I might have already made it if it hadn’t been for the applique centers.  I’m getting braver about that though.  I figure by the time I get the fabric collected, I’ll be brave enough to do the applique.

So what other fabrics am I collecting….

Orange shirts to make Mary’s version of Oregon or Bust.  It’s a Bonnie Hunter quilt.  Read about Mary’s quilt HERE.

I’m making this with men’s shirts.  I have enough blues.  I’m guessing I’m getting close to enough oranges too but haven’t officially counted.  If I don’t want much variety, I might be okay but you know me, I love variety.

I have this big pile of blues and yellows..I have something designed for these.  I’m holding out on starting as I could use a few more yellow shirts.

I really want to make this quilt.  Before I liked it and wanted to make it but the bug to REALLY make it has hit.  I think it would look great in my living room.

Originally I read the pattern and saw this was for a small lap quilt.  Then I decided I have to make about quadruple the blocks to get enough for a big quilt…well now that I want it for a lap quilt in the living room, I’m starting to think I might have enough shirts.  For this I am using only STRIPED shirts in black and white…maybe gray too.  Finding stripes and NOT PLAIDS has been a challenge.


I started collecting calicos after I found some at the thrift store one day.  I’ve continued to find them and you all have sent them to me too.  I’m not sure what I’m going to make with them yet.  Time will tell…for now, I’m simply collecting.  Something will come to me.

I started collecting grays when Bonnie Hunter said she was making a quilt with them.  
I knew I had no grays and never bought them so I made a plan to collect them.  I figured by the time she published her book with the quilt in it I might have enough grays.  Well the book came out and I saw the quilt.
Here is Bonnie Hunter’s Silver Lining quilt.


Then I saw the quilt….for me I thought no.  I want to make the gray part blue.  So I quit collecting.  Then I got my living furniture which is gray.  I’m back to making this in gray again and it will be a living room quilt.   I don’t have a lot but I get closer and closer to having enough every time I find a piece.

The last collection…I just started.  I can see that some of my other collections are coming to a close, so why not start a new one.

When Bonnie Hunter’s book String Frenzy came out I looked the patterns over picking which ones I’d like to make…this one, Emerald City was on the list.


I really liked it but I’m not a green girl.  I figured I’d make it in red.  I am a red girl.  I love all things red.  Besides I didn’t have much green fabric so I’d make it a different color as I didn’t care for green.

A blog reader must have been going through their stash as all of these were sent to me in one package.


I started to put them in the box to donate…and then thought, no. I’ll make Emerald City in green.  I’d just collect and wait.

I do like doing something different now and then and for me, making a green quilt is something different.  I don’t know that I ever have.

Seriously, collecting fabric for quilt is like anything else someone might collect, thimbles, Featherweights, pincushions, dishes….When you’re collecting, you always looking for “the thing”.  There’s excitement to the hunt.  Friends contact you as they too are part of your hunt if you tell them what you’re looking for.  I think it makes looking and hunting more fun than ever when you’re slowly collecting rather then just buying everything you need…especially in scrap quilts.

I know people that collect food themed fabric or “abc” fabric or fabrics good for eye spy quilts.  I think going on a shop hop is especially conducive to collecting fabric.  It also gives you and “out” to not buy things.  I know how easy it is to go from store to store and want to buy something from everyone.  If you go with the intent of “collecting food themed fabric” (or whatever you’re collecting) you can say, “Oh I loved your store but I’m on a mission, I’ll collecting food themed fabrics”.  It gives you an out to not buy…or only collect a fat quarter or two.

The best part of collecting, I think, is the savoring the anticipation of making the quilt.  It sure is that way for me.  I’d love to hear the types of fabric all of you are collecting…please share in the comment box.  I can’t wait to read them.  Who knows? It might inspire me to start a new collection.

23 thoughts on “My Fabric Collecting

  1. Cheryl Regan

    I have more kaffe and other bright pieces coming your way. I just about have a big enough pile to send a box. I love that you use these bright pieces of happiness

  2. New Quilter Brenda

    Sounds like you have some great projects in the pipeline and your way of collecting is so inspiring. I do get some material and scraps donated to me as well. My favorites are Christmas material and primitive material. I also like flannel for baby quilts.
    I do have a question though; when you get material that has been donated to you, that may not smell the best ( has a musty smell or tobacco odor) and is too small to wash, what do you do with it. I hate to throw it out. I have received boxes like this and it is GOOD material. But I noticed here lately, my sewing room has stared to smell like that material that was donated to me, so now I have to go in and start over and clean clean clean. I have used febreeze, dryer sheets, set the material outside, etc……any suggestions?

  3. Nikki DeRamus Moshier

    I am collecting browns (I am not a brown girl) for a quilt called Fractured by Kathy Doughty of Material Obsessions. I have the book and pattern and even a pinterest board! It’s fun! It’s been on my mind for two years now.

  4. Marilyn

    Hi Jo, do you or anyone in your circle have use for upholstery fabrics?. We get a ton of samples at the store and would love to find a use for them.

  5. Linda White

    I love collecting fabrics for a themed quilt! Right now I have several going. I am collecting cat prints for a quilt for myself. I am always looking for I Spy fabrics as I make a lot of these. I have a collection of striped fabrics but I don’t know what I’m going to make with them. I am also collecting floral prints on black background for a quilt, again I don’t know the pattern yet.
    I started collecting fabrics as part of my efforts to save money as much as possible by NOT going to a fabric store to buy them. I get most of mine from thrift store clothing, scrubs, sheets, anything cotton really.
    I agree it adds to the pleasure of making the quilt when you have waited till enough of that fabric is collected!

  6. Jean

    Love this post. Bet I’m as excited as you are anticipating your Oregon or Bust quilt in navy, orange and white.

  7. Sandra B

    I have been collecting blue fabrics for years…for a blue and white quilt. I think I have almost collected enough… My initial plan was to use white on white fabrics with the blues, but I am now thinking that I may throw in some white based neutrals to add some sparkle. Now I just need to decide on a pattern! I love basket quilts, so that may be what I do, but no decision has been made on that front…also considering a postage stamp quilt. Obviously, I need some more planning before I can begin anything!!

  8. Jeri Niksich

    Love the striped quilt you made! I collect Batiks actually I am on the edge of being a Batik hoarder. But I’m getting ready to make myself a quilt from a Batik jelly roll. Maybe that will break my cycle. Love your blog Jo.

  9. Lorraine

    I also collect fabric, even for charity quilts. Personally, I collect batiks, autumn fabric, and Basic Grey’s black and cream. It makes it even more fun.

  10. Marilyn

    I love your idea of themed fabric or collections of fabric . I have been collecting “clothesline” themed fabric for 15 years. I would go into quilt shops just looking for clothesline fabric. I finally collected alot then had to decide on a pattern . I finished it last year and I love it. I had more fabric than I thought so used it for the backing also. Found clothes pin fabric for binding and incorporated clouds too.

  11. Jo Post author

    Brenda, I usually smell it and if it doesn’t smell good, I pass it on. I don’t get much that is that way though.

  12. Shaaron Boughen

    Dear Jo, I really get your hunting for ‘the thing’! I love that too. My husband wonders why I need more fabric… but he’s now understanding the need for a stash and building it to be just right for the right project. I have a big collection of Kaffe fabrics – I love the colours and how they all work together so easily. I wish I lived closer (I’m in Australia) and that postage wasn’t so expensive. I’d happily share them with you. I have been collecting vintage florals for a quilt I saw on a bed in a friends place in New York years ago and loved it. I tend to like more modern fabrics, hence Kaffe, but the vintage florals are fun and full of reminiscences for me. I am doing Bonnie Hunter’s Mystery Frolic for the first time – I haven’t done a quilt from scraps before so I’m learning a lot from you and your references to Bonnie’ books so thanks for that. I love reading your blog and seeing how folks live over the pond!! Take care, Shaaron.

  13. Mary

    I was collecting some fabrics based on family members likes. My sister liked roses, her husband liked lions and Route 66 and they both liked to go on cruises. I collected fabric with lions and Route 66 for him and roses for her. Then I found a pattern for a quilt made with cruise-themed fabric and collected that. Then he died in 2017 and she in 2018. I can find uses for fabric with lions and roses, but I’m not sure what I’ll do with the others.

  14. mpv61

    In 2018 I was making a “Quilty 365,” where I’d take a circle of fabric each day that related to that day and sew it onto a background square. So that year, I always had my eye out for something that would work for that — “Ooh! Umbrella fabric! I can use that on a rainy day!” Before doing that quilt, I didn’t have much novelty fabric, and now I have leftover novelty fabric to do something with someday.
    I generally am just looking for fabric I like and tend to use, but the two things I’m long-term collecting are: dotted fabric to someday make a dotty quilt; and circles, both leftover from my Quilty 365 quilt and ones from other people’s abandoned projects.
    I was the one who donated those greens. I use a lot of greens, but those were mostly too olive, or too muddy, or too…something for them to probably find a way into one of my quilts. It’s great if you can use them, or to pass them on if you can’t. At my quilt guild meetings, there’s a table where people bring the things they don’t want (fabric or notions), and the others can take them and put in a donation. I love that!
    For the woman who asked about fabric that smells — do NOT put smelly fabric in with the rest of your fabric! No fabric is “too small” to wash; it can be put into a lingerie bag. Beyond regular detergent, there are other products (Like “Out” which is specifically for workplace smelly clothes) you can wash it with, and airing it out in the sun can help, too. I will wash things multiple times, but if the smell doesn’t go away, it gets trashed.

  15. Barbara

    WhAt is the pattern for the black and white
    Quilt you are collecting stripes for? I really
    Like it!!

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