It’s the running joke in the office… we’re mostly quilters and stitchy-people so it’s not uncommon to walk by a table with new fabric and suddenly forget what it is you’d gotten up to go do-get-retrieve-whatever.  Squirrel!  It’s how being completely distracted is described… it’s a bit like “ooooh… shiny, pretty!”



The point of this is that building a stash of fabrics that you’ll use, or getting variety within a color palette for a specific purpose, takes time and dare I say it… a little bit of planning.  These are fabrics that I will buy in 1/2- to 1-yard pieces to add to things I already have, and start building for a project I’d like to make when I get enough of what I want.

Everything in these pictures are fabrics that have shipped to stores in the past month or two, and fabrics coming in the next few months.  It’s about mixing things up – collections, colors and prints.


First, let me just get it out there that I like prints.  The more, the better.  I also like mixing in one or two pieces that don’t quite blend as easily as everything else.  This is a mix of Strawberry Fields Revisited by Fig Tree Quilts, Bespoke Blooms by Brenda Riddle, Essential Dots, Little Miss Sunshine by Lella Boutique, Little Ruby by Bonnie & Camille, Refresh by Sandy Gervais and Serenity by Amy Ellis.

I also like prints that bring in other colors – the strawberries and the Little Ruby print – 4th from the bottom.  I also like that the strawberries – 6th from the top – is a bit larger scale.  The Little Miss Sunshine floral – 6th from the bottom – is also larger scale.  To me, it gives it visual interest and balance.  If every piece were the same scale, it would be “nice”.  I also don’t think the yellows, pinks, greens and creams have to match.

I think there is enough variety here to make a nice project, but it’s also a group that’s fairly easy to add to.  A few more green pieces would be nice, and depending on the pattern I’ve picked, I might be able to add another one or two cream background prints.  The point is that this is enough for something, and every one of these prints are good “basics” for working in to other projects.


Fall is over.  And given that it’s been a bit cold for yours-truly, it’s hard for me to think about crisp Autumn days.  But if I want to be sewing with this in September and October, I’ll need to get one of these prints now and then wait for the rest to ship in April and May.

This assortment includes pieces from Bramblewood by Betsy Chutchian, Wild Orchid by Blackbird Designs, Ville Fleurie by French General, Christmas Gatherings by Primitive Gatherings, Silver Linings by Laundry Basket Quilts and Alpine by Erin Michael.

But if you want to know why I love charm packs and Layer Cakes?  This might help…


The same collections – just more pieces.  And yes, this is destined to be a quilt.  At least that’s my plan.

Do I have plenty of squares left over?  Yes.  But those can either be pieced for a super-cool backing for this quilt or something else, or they can be used for other projects.  Layer Cake squares have become my favorite pre-cut for just that reason – a little bit goes a long way, I get a lot of variety in a small-ish piece and even if I only use half of a couple of layer cakes for a project, it doesn’t take much before the leftovers work for something else.

My last “I’m starting to stash now” plan is for Christmas.  I know it’s still 11 months away – 33o days from Friday if you’re counting – but if I want a red-and-green quilt that is Christmas without the Christmas-prints, I need to be stashing a few things now.

(Any excuse, right?)


Disclaimer: I seem to be very drawn to this lighter, brighter color palette of clear, vibrant colors these days.  And I already have several Reproduction and traditional red-and-cream and red-and-green quilts that I still use and love at the holidays.

As before, a mix of print-scale, color shade and some of the prints bring in other colors.

The collections I pulled from are – Summerfest by April Rosenthal, Vintage Picnic by Bonnie & Camille, Volume 2 by Sweetwater, Strawberry Fields Revisited by Fig Tree Quilts, Hometown Girl by Pat Sloan, Bread n’ Butter by American Jane, Lil’ Red by Stacy Iest Hsu, and Moda’s Essential Dots.

Then a month later, after a few new collections had arrived, I pulled a few more…


North Woods by Kate Spain, Little Ruby by Bonnie & Camille, Juniper Berry by Basic Grey, The Cookie Exchange by Sweetwater, JOL by Wenche Wolff Hatling, Bespoke Blooms by Brenda Riddle and a few more Essential Dots.  (I sometimes forget about those until “after”.)

A few pieces made multiple assortments – which means I’ll need/want just a little bit more of those.  A yard will still do.

For a Christmas color-palette like this, I’ve also got it on my list to get a couple of pieces from First Crush, the Valentine collection from Sweetwater.  There are some terrific red prints and red-on-white prints.  (The circle-dots, herringbone and paisleys are on my list… just saying.)

Stash-building.  It takes time and I think it takes a little bit of knowing what you like, what you want to sew, and what you actually do sew.  And yes, now that I’ve moved, I will be doing a bit of re-evaluating and paring down of my stash.  It isn’t that I don’t still love every piece of fabric, it’s simply that I know I won’t ever sew with some of it.

By the way, thank you to everyone for the good wishes on my crazy decision to move across the street.  It was absolutely the right thing to do and I’m glad I did it – though it is anybody’s guess when I’ll find one or two of the projects I was working on.  I’m 99% unpacked and 95% settled in – to the point that I am going to do some sewing this weekend – even though the weather in Dallas will be beautiful and warm.

I’ve missed Bernie and we need some time together.

Have a wonderful weekend!

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24 thoughts on “Squirrel!

  1. I always love your posts. Thank you for sharing how you build your stash – and how to mix and match. I often get hung up on that – but then I tell myself – it will make a great ‘beach’ quilt – and then the stress goes away and I’m fine. (Now we seldom go to the beach, but when we do, we’ll have enough scrappy quilts to bring along 😉 – no problem there).

  2. Wow, you listed a few upcoming lines that I hadn’t heard about! That Felicity quilt by Kate Spain with her North Woods line is fantastic! I’d love to play a part in your destashing….I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your destash sales in the past. In fact, I’m currently sewing with an assortment of reds that I got from you. Have great fun with Bernie this weekend! We are camping this weekend so I’m away from my Bernie but I brought my Featherweight and lots of projects for cutting!

  3. I enjoyed this post very much. Having always been a die hard scrap quilter, I decided to build a stash, and this really helps me. Thanks!

  4. Loved to hear that there is a good reason why I keep buying fabric! Enjoyed the post as usual and seeing some sneak peeks that will arrive before long! Thanks and happy sewing!

  5. I would love to come over and play with all your fabrics….so many that go so nicely and such a variety of different designers, it would take me a life time to get all those together….:)))))

  6. Two gorgeous stacks of fabrics, Carrie! But I can’t seem to shake my unbending rule of fabrics for a quilt all need to be by the same designer. I guess I need to work on changing this, heh? Have a great weekend of sewing.

  7. Just when I thought you’ve inspired me more then you ever could, your post the most inspiring post ever. I love that you give reasons for your choices. I’ll be revisiting this posting often. Thank you Carrie.

  8. Scrappy is my favorite even though for some things I stick to one fabric line . These are great together and you are going to have some wonderful quilts there. Glad to be in the know of what will be arriving in stores so I can make a plan! Enjoy your sewing , yes the weather in Dallas is to be beautiful this weekend. So try to get out at least for a nice walk in the sunshine it won’t last long I hear.

  9. I too am inspired by the way you mix collections together. Collection #1 is beautiful and not like anything I have in my stash. There isn’t a moda collection I don’t like – I guess you could say I’m a Moda Girl! Holly Taylor is my most favorite! Thanks for the inspiration.

  10. I love every collection you’ve shown, Carrie. Scrap quilts and those with as many fabrics as possible are some of my favorites, too. Thank you for the inspiration today!

  11. I have serious fabric envy now but I’m glad at least one of us can play with these pretties:-) I especailly love the christmas-y red-green-white bundles and wish Moda would sell them. Or the FQS as ‘Carrie’s Xmas bundles’ … now wouldn’t that be an idea? Have a wonderful weekend it feels like spring here:-)

    1. Love, love the stacks you posted and you have inspired me to mix and match different lines. I have a wish list going so I don’t forget the lines you showed. Big question for you, do you get to buy from the Moda warehouse or do you shop the local stores/on-line? This may be top secret, but I thought I would try. Thanks.

      1. Hi Jo – I can buy from the warehouse but I have to buy a whole bolt of whatever I’m getting, and that’s almost always a whole lot more than I need or want. So yes, I do shop for things that I want to add to my stash. I get out to local quilt shops “some” but not as often as I’d like, so I tend to do most of my quilt-fabric shopping online. 🙂

  12. Always love your posts with a cuppa coffee in the morn! I had to laugh when you mentioned “Bernie”” but I do know WHAT you mean and not WHO. 🙂 That being said, the eye candy this morning was wonderful. While there are plenty of quilters on the other end, I have never been able to make a quilt with fabrics from all one line or designer. Just not enough interest or ‘pop’. I’m certain this stems from my earlier quilting life when I had to make do with what I had. Now that I have the luxury of choices, I still prefer a careful mixed look. Enjoy your weekend with Bernie!

  13. I wish we had the option to mix and match more like that. So if Moda could offer colourway mixed collection bundles. Like you could put together a Christmas bundle yourself by buying a red mixed collection bundle and a green mixed collection bundle.
    I ask because my LQS doesn’t get every Moda line and online retailers don’t usually sell FQs solo.

    1. It’s something we’ve discussed but with the timing of different collections and using different mills, it’s logistically challenging.

      If it helps, I often buy half-yards of the kinds of pieces in the bundles I showed. While a few are “feature” type prints, most of them fall in the category of “blenders”, the sort of fabric that will work with a lot of different things. Mixing and matching collections is also how I really fell in love with Layer Cakes. 🙂

  14. Love your eye for color! It seems to me that the Sweetwater fabrics are always on cream and not really white, but some of the other colors in there look white-white. Is that just the computer or do you mix white and cream?

    1. Hi Jeanne – You’ve got a good eye, that’s not the computer. Sweetwater is a little more cream than white. Yes, I mix them, though it depends on the project and what else I’m using. For example, if I’ve got 10 background fabrics I want to mix and nine of them are really, really white and just one is cream, I’ll probably leave the cream out. Seven and three? I’m good to go with that – it’s all about the balance. If something really sticks out when it’s in the stack, it’s going to really stick out in the quilt top. (Ask me how I know that? LOL)

  15. Great post and love your eye fabric,would love to go with you shopping and would be amazing play any of them.
    Have a fun weekend.

  16. You have given me a great idea. I was going through my stash and noticed that I had a lot of greens in all shades and a lot of raspberry colored reds. Using them in a non-traditional Christmasy quilt is a great idea. Thanks. I definitely can relate to “squirrel”

  17. Carrie; Do you mix the kind of soft, off-white Sweetwater reds with Christmas greens? They are kind of a funny (but pretty) red. I have a bunch of them…..thanks

  18. I remember when I first started quilting and one of my quilty friends told me that another of our friends had a huge fabric stash that she could just go pick out fabrics for a full quilt right from her closet! This was just unfathomable to me! And now…I think I could open a store with my “collection” (that’s more refined, right?). Funny how things change over time 🙂

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