Fingers and toes…

The good news is that calculators were provided.  The bad news is that we were inside the warehouse and the solar-powered devices weren’t quite sure they wanted to work… or maybe that was just mine.

If you’ve ever worked in a business that involves selling stuff, you know that one of the annual rituals is Inventory.  With a capital “I” – it’s that important.

That started today – with all hands on deck – sometimes literally – counting.


Clockwise from top-left:  Lissa Alexander – the Director of Marketing and @modalissa / Debbie Outlaw – Chief pattern and book buyer / Doyle Parker – the V.P. of United Notions / Tammy Vonderschmitt – Marketing Dept. and @nithaystack.

Since I was supposed to be counting, I didn’t get around much to take more pictures.

Everything is ready beforehand – Brian Dunn and Bob Wallner run a very smooth operation, though Mr. Wallner says he ages about five years every Inventory.  (I think he was just trying to make sure I would pay attention to the procedures.)

But they really did make it easy – we just pick up a stack of sheets – pink in the Moda warehouse, blue in the United Notions warehouse – with a list of stock numbers, that’s our starting point.  Then it’s finding those shelves and start adding up the yards of fabric on hand for that stock number.  Some are easy – 10 bolts that are 10 yards each.  Others… not so much.

I don’t have enough fingers and toes to keep up, though my “skills” – relative term – at adding numbers in my head did get a little practice.  The calculator helps but adding 9 + 11 + 12 + 11 + 13 + 15 + 15 + 15 and so on without a calculator tape… it’s easy to question your results when you get past oh… maybe 150.  Never mind the fractions.

A few of the folks here were concerned about whether I’d get distracted and the plan was to relegate me to counting only the beige and tan fabric.  And if I was fast – black.  I could do black Bella Solid.


I might have started in the Bellas but I found my way to Gardenvale by Jen Kingwell and Farmhouse by Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree & Co.   There’s not much Farmhouse left – many of the pieces are sold out, and Gardenvale isn’t far behind.  One of my favorite pieces in that collection are the multi-color stripes, they make terrific bindings.  They’re almost gone.  (Okay, so I got a little bit distracted.)


This is a “Random Quilt Picture” – just because.  It hangs in MaryAnn’s office, it’s an antique she found many years ago.  It’s quite wonderful – faded, soft and the colors are still beautiful.

I’m not sure when Inventory is finished but the warehouses are closed this week – partly for Inventory and then for the holidays. Can you believe that it’s this week?  And can you believe that this year is almost over?

This year has flown by – I moved to Dallas a year ago last week, and as of today, I’ve been here 50 weeks.  But I’m not going to think about that today – there’s still too much to do.

One last thing – everyone here hopes that you and yours have a wonderful Holiday season – safe, happy and very merry.

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18 thoughts on “Fingers and toes…

  1. Hehehehehe – around here (home improvement retailer operating 7 stores and two distribution centres) inventory is a four-letter word. Also known as the “I” word. It takes place in January (as our fiscal year ends on January 31st) – and grown men have been seen to cringe (maybe even cry) when the “I” word is spoken. Here’s why. We stock over 30,000 SKUs, and generally carry another 10,000 or so special orders at any one time. About 30% of our stock is outdoor building materials – housed in fenced drive-thru “yards” – and this is Nova Scotia. In the winter. It can be so cold that cars are kept running in the yards so that the counters do not lose their fingers to frostbite as they dig shingles, lumber and siding out of the ice and snow so they can count it. Seriously.

    Inventory – one day per store, two days for the DCs – nine days from that hot place that is also a four letter word.

    So, I can utterly sympathize.

    One year – time flies. How much changes, how much remains the same. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas (maybe with your brother?) – and wish you the happiest of New Years as well!

    1. I teased Mr. Wallner that inventorying (sp?) fabric was a whole lot easier – and more fun – than counting salt and pepper grinders at “that kitchen store where I once worked”. But as cold and hard as that concrete floor in the warehouse was… yikes! It beats outdoors in Nova Scotia in January. Times a thousand – especially for an avowed “weather wimp” like yours truly. 🙂

      I hope you have a wonderful Christmas too – happy, safe and warm. (Yes, I’m headed to Houston tomorrow for a couple of days with mi hermano. I’ve already made and frozen the lasagna he asked me to bring. lol Brothers.)

  2. I hope all those wonderful fabrics find a really good home soon and that each and everyone one in your office has a safe and happy holiday season. So looking forward to 2016, so “bring it on”.

    1. Hi Leota – They will – one of them might even be mine! Yes, it was a little distracting at times.

      You too – a safe, happy holiday for you and yours. And may 2016 bring you the very best – good health, good fortune and much happiness!

  3. Thank you to Moda for a Fabulous 2015. Wishing all the Moda family a wonderful end to 2015. A beautiful holiday they celebrate. Safe travels for all. And to all who read this, a fabulous 2016 filled with all the Moda fabric love you can get. More friendships to be made. Love what you do and then share it with the rest of us. A very special thank you to Carrie for sharing her 50 weeks of Moda with us. Thanking everyone again for helping my sisters and I with our special 2015 project. Forever grateful. Hugs to all

  4. I think I would totally get distracted counting fabric, who can blame you 😉 I once had to do inventory in college when I worked for the bookstore and had to count scantrons. Ya, counting pieces of paper that are stacked 8″ high . . . not so fun. I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and I can’t wait to see what 2016 brings 😉

  5. I know that’s a lot of work but honestly it sounds like a lot of fun, too.
    Wishing you and your brother a Merry, Merry Xmas with great lasagne (yummy!) and a Happy New 2016!!!

  6. After completing holiday window displays…I once had to do inventory in a paper department of a large department store! I would have given anything to go back to making 2,103 more bows!
    Merry Christmas to you… you make every day just a little more special, and I think your coworkers would agree!

  7. I worked in retail as an assistant buyer in what was then (the 70s) a major Boston department store – I feel your pain. Now I work for lawyers – we have a different end of year – many of our clients discover the year is ending December 31 (surprise!) and need to get stuff done before that – don’t they know it’s Christmas? Counting fabric is definitely better than proof-reading legal docs! Have a wonderful Christmas Carrie. Thank you for sharing your Moda world with us.

  8. Next weekend we do Inventory at the quilt shop! We actually have to pick up each bolt and count the folds to see how much yardage we have – imagine the temptation there! I think we always manage to decrease the Inventory by a few yards before we are done 🙂

  9. Just wanted to thank you for all of your wonderful posts this year. I was so happy to learn that you would be giving us the inside scoop at Moda! I really look forward to reading about happenings in your quilting life. Your posts read like chapters in a book, and I enjoy every one. I can hardly believe a year has passed already. (And I’m not the one living it!) Please continue to share with us for many years to come! I hope that this Christmas finds you a bit more settled than last year, and I wish you a warm, wonderful holiday.

  10. I helped do inventory at the LQS where I used to work. We estimated amount of fabric on the bolt by weight. Not fun. And the floor was concrete, too, but at least we were warm! Have a great Christmas and happy 2016!

  11. I love each and every one of your posts. I helped do inventories a few times at a department store when our church did it for a fund raiser. It was mundane work to say the least. We had to start after the store closed. Yawn. After a day of being with my babies all day. Another yawn. We worked in pairs to help ensure we were doing it correctly. Now the inventory at my little quilt inventory leaves my husband shaking his head wondering why I could ever need to buy even one more quarter yard of anything ever again. I need to show him online pictures of other people’s stashes…No, that wouldn’t work. He would just think they were crazier than I am. Ha ha. I did get four US flag quilts all finished up for Christmas gifts to my four adult married children. Four down on my list. And I got the American girl doll outfit done along with the matching granddaughter’s outfit and the little sister’s outfit. Ta da! Much more fun than doing inventories. However, I didn’t get the little triangular pouches even started.

    Thank you again for your inspiration.

  12. Thank you for your wonderful posts. It’s so much fun reading about life behind the scenes!

    If ever you need a volunteer for Inventory, count me in (no pun intended). Really! I think it would be fun, even if it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Hey, we could market that!

  13. Carrie,
    Bought #457 George and found inside directions to “assembling the quilt top section” for another block, maybe an album block. Copyright 2011. Thought you might like to know.

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