Friday, February 19, 2016

Shopping with Minimal Buying!

If your first reaction to this post title was "That's no fun!" you'd be wrong. The smiling face of this Lil' Red doll panel attests to my feeling of enjoyment from going to a sewing festival even if I bought very little.

On Thursday, February 18th, my husband and I went to the Bay Area Quilt, Craft & Sewing Festival about an hour's drive from where we live. My husband asked me when we arrived at the show if I had goal. I was not allowing myself to buy any kits. One of my self-imposed 2016 goals restricts me to a purchase of two kits maximum for this year. I did not want to stress my quota so early in the year. I also said I wanted to avoid buying fabric, concentrating instead on tools or rulers or perhaps thread. One of my 2016 quilting goals is reduction of stash. My theory is this. As beckoning as each may be, every novelty fabric I buy is a commitment to another quilt. Those novelties rarely go with each other. If I bought any fabric – a hard goal to maintain total abstinence – it was to go with other pieces I had at home. My husband missed the caveat part of this. He thought avoiding buying fabric meant NO fabric.

If not a financially-filled outing, it was a socially-filled outing. I stopped to chat at the Miracle ironing board cover booth by Measurematic where the woman remembers me from my past purchases. I own a board cover myself as well as some portable pressing pads for class use. I have also bought this ironing board cover and portable pads for my daughter. The heat reflective surface of the board cover fabric really speeds up ironing and makes for crisp seams. While there I phoned and checked with a fellow guild member and picked up an ironing board cover for her. I waved "Hi" to the vendor at the Winline textile booth where I buy my bamboo batting that I use exclusively in my quilts. I still have half of a huge roll I bought last time I attended a show and I am diligently working my way through it. I told the potential customers he was with how much I loved it, assured them I got no money for saying so, and convinced them I was no relation to the vendor.

I said "Hi" to Karen at Twisted Scissors where I generally buy something at every show I see her booth. I did cave and buy a dress pattern from her. It is by Olive Ann Designs and I liked the criss cross top overlay. I did not buy the fabric to make it. I will use what is in my stash!

I also bought Lil' Red from the Twisted Scissors booth. This panel stitches up into a doll with clothes, a wolf, a mini-pillow, and a mini-blanket. With two granddaughters and a third on the way how could I resist? A panel is not really fabric - fabric is yardage, right? What and when to stitch up the criss-cross dress pattern and the Lil'Red panel and for who is the question. The Lil Red Doll Panel is by Stacy Iest Hsu who is a new fabric designer for Moda. It was interesting when I got home to read about her story and background. I did not buy any of the coordinating prints. Yay for me! At least not now, anyway. I like her style and will keep my eye out for other designs by her.

Close nearby, I perused the Calico Cupboards booth. I admired a quilt hanging there made with the pattern Suburbs. A black and white newspaper print had been used for the white background and it really looked cute. They had kits for sale and I did not buy one, even though the Moda newspaper fabric is no longer available except possibly from Ebay or Etsy. I bought the pattern only. I patted myself on the back once again.

The San Mateo County Event Center is set up for these shows with four very long aisles that run the length of the building. As I got to the end of the fourth aisle one booth had a big box of quilt kits on the floor labeled KITS 50% OFF! I passed it by without even flinching. As I rounded the final corner I came upon American Jane Pattern booth, my final booth of the tour. It was run by Sandy Klop, another fabric designer for Moda and the teacher of my Flying Circles class. I caught her up on my progress with the quilt I was making from her pattern that I'd started in her class. I am using a bit of her fabrics. The bulk of this quilt I am creating from my stash. Hers was the final booth of the day and I did indeed buy some fabric – no novelty prints – but a half yard each of some of her blender checks and teeny checks. I am using a blue and white version of the checks shown in the bottom portion of the photo in my whirligig quilt. I rationalized these colorful but stable selections will help me use up other items in my stash. My husband called it cheating but good-naturedly smiled and shook his head.

I also bought a half yard of the black and white check and dot fabric. The dots and checks and rulers printing are all on one width of fabric. It is folded over in the photo so both sides can be seen. It will be very versatile, right?

My husband sat patiently in the cafeteria while I made a quick final repeat circuit of the booths to be sure I was not leaving behind anything I could not bear to be without. I did not add anything to my shopping bag, just said good-bye to some of my booth acquaintances. It was a nice companionable day and I did not have a lots of stuff to cram into my already over-crowded drawers and shelves when I got home. I also got to relive the experience while blogging about it. Win-Win!


  1. Your "minimalist" buying makes me smile:-) It sounds like you had a really great time at the show, though, and that it was the perfect way to spend your day.

    1. Obvious I do not have a history of being "minimalist" otherwise these vendors would not know me on sight. Change is good for the soul - no matter how minor that change may be. ;•)

  2. I am with Carrie - Your minimal is not my minimal! Although, you're also getting through your stash a lot faster than I am, so I can see the need for repalcement :-) And, it is hard not to buy from "friends." That Little Red Doll is adorable (I love her skirt!) and that Suburbs pattern is very you; as for the Moda Newspaper, is this it?

    For the record, I found that link using, which aggregates a TON of little local shops around the country. I have found it is a great way to identify smaller shops that still carry older collections, and it's how I located my last batch of Christmas Traditions fabric 2 years after it went out of print. I'll admit the checks and dots are not my thing, but any blenders I buy are usually the first of my stash to get used up, so Yay!

    1. Good tip on the fabric shack. I will check it out.