comments: 77

Fabricstack6 Getting more and more ready to start with the sewing this spring, yes yes. Tower of 1/3-yards collected last week to spruce up a wilting fabric stash. I get very excited when it turns out I actually "need" to buy fabric, and I felt I did. The stash felt stale, and thin.

Fabric2_1 Do you stamp your fabric with a "use by" date in your mind, too? I realize staleness is often in the eye of the beholder, but if things hang around too long I feel like I've already "used" them, though they might appeal to someone else (providing their eyes' rods and cones haven't burnt out on the same). And anyway, I can't think of anything I find more relaxing than puttering through the rows of new bolts at the store, loading up a cart. When it's "necessary," it's even better.

Fabric6 If I don't know what I'm going to use the stuff for, I just buy 1/3 yards. And I always tell the lady that I'll fold it all up myself, because I like to see that stack all smooth and pretty (and that's not particularly important to . . . many . . . of the fabric cutters who've ever cut for me. Sometimes I've wanted to actually grab the scissors from them and say, "And I can cut that, too," as they make a ragged bust of the edge. Naturally, they don't really like that).

Fabric3 Many of these fabrics are from JoAnn Fabrics. I was looking through my old posts for something I'd written about JoAnn's Superstores about a year ago, when they first starting appearing on the scene here in Portland and gobbling up all my beloved little individual JoAnn's stores. This post, where I bemoan their loss, was written exactly a year ago today, and I must say, I'm no happier about it now. There are still a few of the regular stores around, and those are generally the ones I seek out when I go to bulk up the stash.

Fabric1_1 Then I supplement it with things I can't resist from the more expensive indie places. I rarely buy fabric on-line because I really do "use" the wandering experience. It's the most relaxing thing I ever do; I go when I'm about to burst with stress, stay for hours, try not to talk to anyone unless it's about bias tape, or what I'm going to make. I always leave pretty blissed out and happy. Especially on sale days, it's cheap therapy.

Fabric5 I know next-to nothing about fabric designers, or new lines, or any of that stuff. (I haven't seen Heather's line in real life yet but I do want some of those — gotta support our peeps!) But generally I just pick what I like, without rhyme or reason — I like clear colors, no earthy tones, really, nothing dusty. I like fabrics that look like they belong in a farmhouse, on an apron, or drying on a clothesline in the sun. I don't know what we crafters have done to deserve so much great fabric lately, though. Have you noticed? The fabrics out there are awesome. Really awesome. I'm very pleased. It's making me want to clean my whole studio. I think I might have to give a bunch of stuff away when I'm done. I think I'll do that next week, so stay tuned.

Fabricstack2 This week, a few things rushing out of here, like a box of blooms on its very fast way to New York this morning for a Country Living photo shoot (June issue, I think?). Orders from last week will go today or tomorrow. Several behind-the-scenes crochet-book and -magazine contributions to be started and finished (I think the requesters will let me show you, but I'd better check). The usual hodgepodge, with much staring at fabrics and photographing them in between, of course, because the stash requires constant admiration and obsequious fondling (until I get sick of it, of course).

Scraps1 And, oh yeah, we need to get some groceries and do some laundry (broken washing machine now — hoping we can call the "fast" plumber instead of the "slow" plumber this time? I just shot my wad on all these fabrics so I don't have any extra dough for that guy). Thanks for all the cake lovin' over the weekend! I guess we could just eat cake.

Boutties1 We got no food or clean clothes, but we got fabric! And flowers! Priorities.


If I hurry I may be the first to comment. Love the fabrics and I also love the types to be used on an apron or on a washing line in the sun. It's the simplest things that make my heart warm. Like your blog.....;-)

C xxxxx

I agree about JoAnn Fabrics. We have an smaller store here but the customer service stinks so bad I swear never to return everytime I go in. The girls are snobish and act like you are bothering them ENORMOUSLY asking them to cut something. Sheesh... I really do need to go to Hancock Fabrics in Padukah. It is only a little over an hour away from my house and I have heard good things about them. But I cringe at the drive... Over two bridges to get there. I have a slight fear of bridges so I end up muddling back to JoAnne's.

Your fabrics are beauties. Why do fabrics look so much better when they are not yours? I have some of that pink/red smallish flower with the larger blue flower fabric but I swear to God it looks better somehow on your blog. Another mystery... ;)

Hey Girl, I hear you. I don't need any encouragement in the fabric-buying department. My stash hasn't looked wilted since I took my first quilting class 10 yrs ago :)

AK! I love your stash! How fun to buy bright fabric during such a gloomy week! The chicken fabric is particularly yummy! (hm. that sounds odd). Feel the same way about Jo Ann's, just talked about that the other day! Also, read the Romantic Homes article and LOVE it! It's great when the substance of the article matches the detail of the pictures. Enjoy that fabric and have a great day!

You know it's so good to read your posts. Sometimes it's intimidating (as well as inspiring) to see all the incredible stuff you make but when I read that you have the same simple sources (Joann's), and often the same hesitations and tribulations, I feel like just maybe I, too can put out quality stuff too. Thanks

Ohhh - I loove the fabric flowers and the stash! Those are such cheerfull colors.

I'll be sending "fast" plumber vibes your way.

Ack! I have to have some of that chicken fabric (it's all chickens, all the time lately, at my house). Please tell me that came from Joann's?

When I'm stressed out, the fabric store is my therapy too :o)

beauty of a stack. look at you, crossing things off the list... i wish i had a plumber to send you. we enlist our friends help which is always more trouble than its worth. well, not more than their worth, but you know...

I grew up in CT and the cutters at the Jo Anns there were always great! They would always ask what you were making and you could tell that they where big sewers themselves. Here in LA I never seem to get anyone but surly teenagers, male and female, who couldn't care less about fabric. It is very disheartening. Once, when I had a particularly full cart, a teenage boy cutter actually said "All that?" in a defeated voice when I approached the counter. And they're slow! SO slow!

When I first opened your blog page, I was hit with instant envy! Those fabrics are gorgeous. I wish I could find ones like that!

Still have the original JoAnn's around here in Sacramento (matter of fact have two I go to).They can fold all the fabric in a nice stack and the pieces are all the same size after folding! Oh, and they can cut straight too (have an older guy running the one store and he keeps all the cutting stuff sharpen). Hope the washer is fixed soon......

What is in the air currently?? Just posted my tidy new stacks as they await my new collection!!! Heather's are bea-u-tiful inperson too. I love your waterycolory collection of clarity :)

I just bought that little chick fabric a few weeks ago- I thought it'd make an adorable apron! So cute. I did a little fabric shopping on Sat night, and found some great stuff, too. Yours looks wonderful. Enjoy!!

What is in the air currently?? Just posted my tidy new stacks as they await my new collection!!! I love your waterycolory collection of clarity :)

I love that chicken/chicks fabric. I have two yards of it that I snapped up with absolutely no project in mind...and it's STILL on my shelf months later!

Michelle A. says: February 12, 2007 at 10:20 AM

I loved seeing your home in Romantic Homes. Your world is like a candyland of colors, vintage and inspiration. Where did you get the heart headed pins in the picture above? Are they vintage?

love all that fabric~ I'm with you on taking a moment to browse around and fill your cart with beautiful bolts of color. for me, it's better than a massage or a pedicure. i would much rather relax taking in all the designs and getting inspired.

i also like to seek out the small Joannes. In the Chicago, there are very few. Some of my best clearance finds have been in the small, overlooked stores.

i can't wait until i can go buy some fabric...soon, soon.

Oh i love your fabric. I am drooling over it. I must re-organise my stash. The fabric flower are adorable! x

I just re-folded my entire stash and found the act quite therapeutic. Love your stash. Mine seems so random by comparison. Maybe I need to do some weeding of my own and give some things away as well.
Last time I was at JoAnn I had a great conversation with the cutting table gal about FunQuilts and Denyse Schmidt. You just never know what you're gonna get, but sometimes it's a happy surprise.

I worked at a JoAnns for five years before moving to LA. Sometimes it got a little stressful, but working in a store like that definitely kept my creative juices flowing. I miss having a nice store close by for that much needed quick fix! I was so excited that you liked my hats! More happy flowers! Love, love, love them!

Saw the Romantic Homes issue. Very beautiful! Congratulations. And now Country Living? You're quite a success! I'm very happy for you, Alicia.


I have the sweet white floral fabric, too! It is my absolute favorite!

Hhmmm, I don't spot any RED in that new stash. I'm surprised. This was fun to see as I've been "collecting fabric" for about 20 years now since I started quilting in 1986. Problem is, now that I don't quilt that much anymore, I can't still accumulate at the same pace...I've had to slow down. But right now on my to-do list is a quilt for my high school-graduating son (better get going on that one, I got the fabric a few months ago where it sat on my sewing desk for...two months just waiting for me to get busy. i did photograph it though! That palette is so different than your's because its for a GUY. It's all in murky greens and subtle grays and has a story behind it - I'm going to blog about it eventually) and I need to get going on a quilt for my niece who's also graduating in May. I started a tradition of making a quilt for each niece when she graduates - I pick a different color palette and pattern for each one according to their personalities and preferences. It's fun. Gazing at your photos has inspired me to set the writing projects and knitting aside and go play with some fabric in my studio today. Yay! Thanks!

what fun new fabrics! they are just singing 'spring sewing'... and your new flowers are lovely too. necessary stash enhancement is the best.

The sight of all that fabric is pure bliss - thankyou x
Tracy x

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at