Shop Hop – Day 3

The weather today was not very conducive to shop hopping, but we had several brave souls who journeyed out in spite of the rain. Personally, had it not been for having a shop to run I would have preferred to curl up in my favorite chair with a good mystery book and a hot cup of tea over getting out in the rain. Rain has never been one of my favorite things so I find it odd that I like umbrellas for some strange reason. Maybe it’s because of their protective feature (?). I tend to gravitate to very decorative umbrellas which is why I was thrilled to see the new umbrellas with designs by Paula Nadelstern, Deborah Kemball, and Laurel Burch. So far I’ve only ordered the Kaleidoscope design by Nadelstern but hope to soon get some of Laurel Burch’s designs in here as well. You know how we love all things cats…the brighter the better!

I also tend to gravitate to patterns that allow me to make umbrellas. Dancing Umbrellas by Edyta Sitar is one for example that I’m looking forward to making along with her Rainy Day Trio. One of these days I’m going to get my scraps in order and start making umbrellas! At least I won’t have to worry about my scrappy umbrellas getting wet or turning inside out because of the wind.

So, what is it that you’re looking for as you hop from shop to shop? Are you looking for specific fabrics to add to your collection or are you just buying whatever strikes your fancy? Having a plan is always good, but allowing oneself to indulge a yen every now and then is good too. Then again, you do need a balance where fabric buying is concerned or you’ll find your stash contains a lot of what one quilter termed “WOW!” fabrics and not enough of the “supporting cast” fabrics.

A couple of years back I read an article in a magazine by a quilter who had turned her nice but inadequate stash into a stash that she could actually go to and pull a complete kit from any time of the day or night. Being able to do that at night is especially good given that most quilt shops aren’t open at midnight on a regular basis. Anyhow, this quilter, I do so wish I could remember her name, said she divided her budget into an 80/20 split. After she had sorted her stash by color she started buying the colors that she didn’t have or had very little of from the 80% portion of her budget while still allowing herself to spend 20% on those WOW! fabrics that you just have to have. She said that like any diet if you deprive yourself of buying those WOW! fabrics you’ll fall off the wagon and go overboard on them eventually. Buying a few every now and then allowed her to not feel deprived while she bought the other fabrics that are definitely needed in a quilt but not always as fun to look for or to buy. It took her two years to get her stash to the point where she could go to it any time, day or night, and pull what she needed for a quilt. When she depleted a particular color she would buy that color on her next trip to the quilt shop. Treating her stash as she would her food pantry saved her valuable time allowing her to focus on actually making quilts rather than just shopping for the materials to make a quilt. It also helped to turn over her fabrics more often so that if she ran out of a particular print she was more likely to find it still in stock.

After I finished reading that article I realized that I as a shop owner needed to look at my shop’s stash in much the same way. It is way too easy to buy those WOW! fabrics when the sales rep comes to visit. It is much more difficult, but always necessary, to buy the fabrics that will allow you to enhance those WOW! fabrics. In other words, you cannot buy one without having to buy the other, unless of course you just want to buy the WOW! fabric for stroking purposes only. That’s allowed of course, but if you’re not careful you’ll spend all your time stroking those fabrics as opposed to actually using them. I guess nothing, except maybe a husband now and then, says you have to use those WOW! fabrics, but wouldn’t you rather see them in a beautiful quilt than see them sitting on a shelf feeling neglected, never understanding that they were bought for their beauty more so than their functionality? By all means, use those WOW! fabrics, just don’t forget to buy the supporting fabrics that are needed to help them shine and look their very best.

OK…enough philosophizing. You want to know who today’s winner is I bet. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find out that the only reason you visited here today was to find out the name of the winner in hopes that it was you. Well, if your name is Barbara Jennings of Pulaski then you’re the winner! Come on in Barbara as we have a nice prize waiting just for you. If you’re not Barbara then don’t despair. We still have several days of hopping left so hop on in and put your name in the basket if it’s not there already. You might just see your name in print the next time you visit this blog.

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