Where did your fabric come from?
You know, your stash. Did it grow quickly, slowly? Are you one of those quilters that is proud of her stash, in love with her stash, content to just fold-unfold-refold or flip through it for hours?
So how do you grow your stash?
Jennifer made a good point in her comment on my last post, stating a feeling that some of the "modern" quilts lack something, possibly lacking soul. I will admit that I know that feeling. Although they are visually striking, some of the quilts I've seen on blogs just look a little... flat. Like, where is the story behind them?
I've written before that for me the story starts with the fabrics- where I got them, who I was shopping with, which other quilts I've used them in.
When I travel I like to go to the local quilt shops. Hell, I even arrange trips specifically to go fabric shopping. I've bought fabric in Shipshewana, IN; Portsmouth, NH; New York, NY; Stephen's City, VA; Marietta, GA; Barnstable, MA; Kittery, ME; Lockport, IL and a bunch of other cities in the US. Then there's Sapporo, Muroran, Tomakomai, Tokyo, Kyoto, and Nara Japan. And I remember each of those quilt shops.
Why is this important? Well, one of the topics brought up in the "modern" discussion this week was the role that the internet plays in modern quilting. On many occasions I have seen a quilt or someone's stash on a blog and I think, "where did they find that fabric?!" because it's awesome, current, or so perfect for that project. Of course I know, they buy stuff online, in any of the hundreds(?) of web based fabric shops where you can find exactly what you're looking for. And I think, "why don't I do that? (what a good idea!)" and this brings be to the point of this blogpost:
I can't bring myself to buy fabric online.
(Aside from a few early purchases on equilter.com and that terrible obsession I had with vintage fabric on ebay in college, I really haven't done it.) Somehow I feel that the fabric I bought online would lack the meaning and experience that a piece of my stash gets from buying it in a shop. I like being able to say, "I got this one in Japan." not, "I got this one from a Japanese fabric import shop on etsy." I'm crazy, I know. But part of the fabric history would be missing.
So I go, month after month, into my tiny LQS and come out with $50 of new stash, fabrics I'm not crazy about but I buy because I'll find a way to use them and I know I'm helping the shop keep its doors open. It would be great if she carried the new and trendy fabrics I was hoping to find (well, at this point I'd be really glad if she started carrying solids) but part of the joy of stash building/fabric shopping comes from going to see what they have and getting excited about an unexpected find. Then you take it home and make it work. I like the experience of hunting for and stumbling upon fabrics. I guess people do that online too, but you have to spend hours at the computer and you miss out on the personal interaction. I'm sure I'll end up buying fabric online eventually and come to love it like you all do, but I really hope it doesn't stop me from being able to add that extra layer of memory on to my stash. I guess that's just really important to me.