Open Line Friday-Impulse Shopping

Fun FabricsGood Morning, Quilters!

It feels like Spring here in Minnesota and I feel like singing like a bird…(you’re lucky there’s no microphone on my computer…)

I LOVED hearing everyone’s “First Quilt” stories yesterday!  I was relieved to hear I wasn’t the only one using non-quilting fabrics.– Chintz, Polyester and even Suede–Why didn’t anyone warn us?  YIKES!  Well, there wasn’t as many absolutely fabulous fabrics like there are now!

On that note…

Fun Fabrics


Last week, I stopped by my local quilt shop, Bear Patch Quilting…to pick up a new BERNINA chair I ordered…

And I left with the chair, thread, fabric, a magazine….

I came home with these two fabrics.  I am blaming YOU for the animal fabric…

I thought it would be a great fabric to demonstrate “fabric tracing”.


My question for you…What percent of YOUR fabric, thread, quilting shopping is “impulse”?

Let’s define impulse as…you had no intention of buying the item when you walked into the store.

Fun FabricsTo make it simple, let’s pick a percent:

25%    50%   75%  90%  (I assume no one is at 100% impulse!?)

Fun Fabrics


What about YOU?  Do you have any questions this week?  Are YOU an impulse shopper?  Do YOU have a “first quilt story (or crazy fabric to share?)

We’d LOVE to hear!


PS…The last two photos show the fabric labels if you’re interested!

PPS…The Webinar…Meander No More: Learn to Free Motion Quilt With Confidence  …You don’t have to be there for the live Webinar on March 18, 2015 to sign up…the link will be e-mailed to you (along with all the supplemental information).

PPS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to share with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at  Thanks!


51 thoughts on “Open Line Friday-Impulse Shopping

  1. Wow it really depends…I suppose maybe 25percent will be total impulse but if something really strikes me I’ll take it every time…it’s so hard to decide how much to get! I sewed clothes my whole life…the first quilt I made was a baby blanket made out of scraps from my sewing my little sisters bridesmaid dresses. It was for my first baby and just blocks sewed together and tied. It became my second daughter security blankie an dwe have a few shreds left is all. Made a couple out of necessity out of leftovers fabrics, old jeans and flannels. Years and years of scraps equals quilting which I just really started a few years ago and I was trying to get rid of scraps….but now I have added so many pieces to my stash it’s gaining on me! So now I’m very careful what I pick up.
    I love the little animal print you got though…think Charlie bear needs that one don’t you! 🙂
    Can’t wait for the webinar and so glad the sun is warming you up finally. MN had a rough winter! Got a mag. to read on the plane ride home today so I’ll be reading your article…:) and going to make my first hexies on the airplane too. 🙂 I have a feeling they are going to be addictive!

  2. I’ve been really really intentional about my purchases for at least a year. My mom has always been maybe 80% impulse, and we share a stash, so….

    The last few purchases are specific quilts or for specific fabrics I have wanted for a long time.

  3. Ooooo……what a dangerous subject. All you have to do is read my post (yesterday) about the mini shop-hop 3 of us did on Wednesday to know that my 1 spool of thread “mushroomed” into several purchases (less than usual, though). When we were all in the car leaving, the question was asked “What’s on your list?” The 2 gals replied that they had no list and really didn’t “need” anything!!!! DANGEROUS! I have found that if I have NO list or a very small one (1 thread spool!!!), I come home with MORE……and that played out for the 2 gals……….in “spades”….LOL! For them on that day it was 100% and for me it was 90%…….but so-o-o-o-o much fun!!!!

  4. 25% only because I’m married to an accountant and have a quilting budget. But I do have a “mad money” stash and that percentage changes to 80%! LOL. My crazy first quilt story is quilting my first quilt, THE NIGHT BEFORE IT WAS DUE, on a vintage 128 Singer with the knee lever control. It was a nightmare and I entered it anyway. I fused the binding on because I ran out of time. High marks for the binding and low marks for the quilting. That was 20 years ago. With the right tool you can be successful. How do I know? Purchased my first longarm 18 years ago. Now quilting 2,833 for a customer. All this to say, keep practicing!!

  5. Impulse buying probably accounts for about 30% of my shopping, unless I’m on a shop hop or go to a quilt show with vendors. Then it goes over the top. I try to limit those experiences to 2-3 per year.

  6. Uffda!!!!!! (that’s a word Minnesota people can relate to!). I bet a good 80% of my purchases are impulse! The only way I can avoid buying is staying out of the shops and that is a difficult task. And now the Internet makes it pretty easy to let your fingers do the shopping! Oh well…….I guess you can have worse addictions! Pretty sure I have stash exceeding my life expectancy! Those beautiful fabrics are hard to resist.

  7. I’m trying hard not to impulse buy! With that said if it sings to my heart it’s going home with me. I’d say I use to be 80% now I’m down to 40%. What an improvement.

  8. Rosemary B here:
    I have very little will power 80% of the time. My husband even encourages it!!!!! If I come home from the fabric store with no fabric purchases, he will ask why. I tell him I did not see anything I liked (usually when I run to JoAnne Fabric. Nothing there excites me. I go there for notions with coupons — okay, I like their flannel)
    Any other fabric stores and I am a push over.
    We were just discussing this yesterday at my sewing/quilt club group (it is like the opposite of Alcohol Anonymous, right?) I asked “how much do you purchase of a fabric that you like but not sure how you are going to use it, just want to add to your mount everest of fabric— “stash”
    Most said 1/2 yard. Fat quarters are not always enough if you suddenly love it and need more it might be gone (I am having that experience right now)
    Yesterday I bought7 fat quarters of pretty fabric. Just to make hubby happy hahahahahahaahahaa
    I live in Northern Virginia and there are many many very nice fabric shops: G Street, Web Fabrics, Suzis Fabrics, etc etc at least 10 qualtiy shops in a ten mile radius

  9. I’d have to say almost 99%. I don’t carry patterns with me, and when I see something new, I ‘make’ a plan in my head of what I’ve going to do with it and buy it. Good intentions, but I have a huge stash!

  10. What percent of my fabric buying is impulse? That’s a hard question to answer! I guess for me, it’s at least 50 to 75%. I travel in my work so when I have extra time between appointments and I’m in a town with a quilt shop, that’s where I can be found! I usually get fat quarters of particular colors I’m collecting for a specific scrappy quilt. But there’s the occasional purchase of a yard or three if it’s a fabric I really love. Yesterday, it was fat quarters and 8 yards of backing fabric–since I had a 20% off coupon! Just think of all the money I saved! 🙂

  11. I’m in the 90% – that’s because I walk in the stores just to see what might jump out at me. It’s amazing how many times beautiful fabrics just “jump” at me!!!!! I have no control-I’m terrible- thank goodness I have a sweet husband who understands this sickness–ha ha

  12. I must admit to being in the popular 90% range as well. While I always go to the fabric store with “intentions,” finding a certain color or print such as a small check or narrow stripe, that quickly vanishes as I see all the new prints and the possibilities start a video in my brain in fast forward as I go down the aisles. I never seem to find exactly what I am looking for, so then my brain switches to creative possibilities and I find 5 or 6 fabrics jumping into my cart begging for freedom in a new “country” so how can I refuse.

    I can identify with Ness about all the things she makes, I was the same, and while I don’t make large quilts, I use Lori’s beautiful FMQ on a lot of other projects. I too use up scraps and that can be very creative. I use clothing cut up or anything that seems usable, even shower curtains, cloth ones that is. Nothing is safe if I get an idea.

    Linda V

  13. I guess I fall in the range of 50 to 75% of impulse. I found a General Store up in the mountains and the fabric was marked down so cheap I could not resist. So I brought more than I should.. It was good quality fabric and I’m still sitting on it waiting for that day to start.

  14. …for me, it’s a qualified 50%+ I like to do collage type work and I almost always have a quilt idea in my head. I go for a specific need and tend to “graze” and find fabric that “just might be the perfect color for ‘that one’ ” …and if I don’t use it for the “that one” it will be on my shelf waiting, just perfect to use in “the one after that”. Batiks especially, like adding new colors to my crayon box when I was a kid….Baby Boomer in denial 🙂

  15. 25% I usually know what I’m going to make before I purchase fabric. But I really can’t wait to see the fabric tracing. I do a fair amount of that and sometimes I feel the fabric doesn’t tell me what to quilt on it. I usually look for something to copy from it like a flower or a butterfly, but sometimes there just isn’t anything there to give me inspiration. Boy fabrics are the hardest because you can’t do flowers and flowers are so easy. So I’m really looking forward to seeing this demonstrated.

  16. 50 Percent of the time I pick up something that catches my eye at the quilt shop which leads to a very big stash!!!! As well as too many projects in a holding pattern.

  17. First things first. If you are blaming ME for your impulse shopping, HAND IT OVER!

    Secondly, 75% or more of my fabric shopping probably falls under “impulse”. I don’t care.

    My first quilt? several come to mind. My grandmother used to visit from Louisiana every four years or so, and the last time she came I was 14-15. Friends of my parents were expecting another baby, so we decided to make a quilt. I embroidered a rather large panel of Jack and Jill tumbling down the hill on a poly-broadcloth type of fabric, and it was framed with a blue border. A suitable “baby” flannel was chosen for the backing, and a fluffy poly batt was used. Too fat to machine quilt, it eventually was yarn tied.

    And yes, I plead guilty to an addiction. BUT, I have something to show for my money besides butts and empty bottles!

  18. PS. It was not finished in time for the baby, so it was kept. I washed it a few years ago (it was made in the early 1960’s) and the batting turned into shredded rope-y lumps.

  19. “uffda” was a common word in my household growing up. Dad grew up in MN but half of the thirteen children in his family were born in Norway. I am temporarily on a very strict budget and go to the quilt store for very specific items. I would love to take a FMQ class but can’t afford it at this time so I count on information from all of you and Utube with a lot of trial and error and frustration. I do appreciate your advice.

  20. To Mary who said “Uffda”. That’s a word I heard every summer when we went to Minnesota to visit my mom’s family. My mom didn’t say it but for those who remained in MN. it’s something they still say. You hear that word – you know that person is from Minnesota 🙂 Whatever cold drink they had (even Kool Aid) was “pop”.

    Impulse buying – oh my. I buy fabric not even knowing what I’m going to eventually make out of it, but just KNOW if I don’t buy it there and then the whole bolt will be empty by tomorrow & I’ll be kicking myself. Just bought some cool dog print fabric which I’d never seen before & that night someone suggested I could make dog scarves out of it. Ah-ha. I’d like to make some for the rescue group from whom I got my wonderful dog. The guy could send a scarf next Christmas to the people who adopt from him this year. Rushed back to the store and, sure enough, it was all gone 🙁 Undaunted, I stopped at Joann’s 90 miles from here (while down that way) and bought more. YAH!!!

    A friend told me her “trick” for overbuying. She avoids using a cart – carries bolts around in her arms (so she purposely gets tired of carrying them) and when done looking she “un-shops” – lays it down & asks herself about each piece “do I REALLY need this?” I haven’t mastered the technique yet, but it’s worth a shot.

    Everyone who sews and/or quilts has a “stash”. It’s kind of like the word Uffda – we all understand it. At least we know we’re in good company!

    Tavette – S. Fla.

  21. I would say my impulse buying is closer to 90%, I tend to buy what catches my eye (I view my stash as my pallet) and then figure out what I am going to use it in. The other 10% would be fabric purchased to complete the vision.
    My second quilt if you can call it that was, I decided to make the back pillows on a couch I was reupholstering out of decorated fabric which I cut up and made into a strickes of lighting pattern using a pattern by Blanch Young using templates. Then attempted to machine quilt and cover the back cushions. Pre rotary cutters. Will not be doing that again! It worked but was much more difficult than I had envisioned , last attempt using decorator fabrics!

  22. 25% or possibly more, especially when I visit a never been here before quilt shop. I like to support Quilt shops and will purchase fat quarters or a yard or more of fabric I have not run across before and would be useful in upcoming projects.

  23. Well someone has to keep the economy going, we don’t want to lose our Quilt Shops! Just out on a road trip with 3 friends the list had aurfil thread and fabric for a new small pattern(purchase coming home from a ski trip)…came home with 5 meters of flannel, but it is for a project in the near future, 3 chunks of reminats(oh but they read as a plain I never have enough of them), of course I spotted a new pattern so that is already cut and ready for retreat! And knitting needles for mini stockings ornaments. It was a great day, but I don’t know why the others did not do as well, but I do have 3 more ladies switching to auriful thread maybe at least they bought 1 spool each to try. So my percentage can be in the 60% range but I am really trying to cut back and use what I have! Well Happy Quilting everyone!

  24. Oh dear…I’d guess 50% but when I look at my collection I might have to go to 75%. (By the way I have those animal panels from Road2CA 2015…impulse)

  25. It’s around 10%. I use to be bad. I would buy a yard of fabric that I liked even though I was not sure how I was going to use it. My sister and I recently got together to make some of Mary Mulari aprons. Those impulse yards came in very handy for aprons. One of the funny things that happened is I pulled out a yard of wild fabric from my stack and stated I had to be crazy to have bought this piece. My sister had a yard of crazy fabric in her stash that complemented the one I had. We both had fabric we did not know why we had to buy it.
    A neighbor got me started quilting in 1973. She gave me the fabric and a cardboard pattern to follow. The quilt was all polyester hexagon shapes in red, yellow and blue.

    TN Girl.

  26. So you’ve convinced me to tell my first quilt story. It was for my two nieces who shared a bed at the time. I chose a pattern of large machine appliqued hearts with sashing and cornerstones. The fabrics were blah; pastel, tiny calicos, but the hearts were a Precious Moments fabric, no figures, just flowers, thankfully. I wanted the fusing to last, so I used Heat’n’Bond to attach the hearts; only a blowtorch would remove those!

    The assembly went fairly well, but the quilting was another story. I knew enough about quilting to baste and use a stencil to mark the quilting on the sashing. However, the stencil I used was too long for the sash strips. My solution was to chop off the bottom of the symmetrical design. Now it fit perfectly. Of course I wanted it thick and puffy, so I used a nice fat poly batting. Was I set up for failure, or what? Anyway, I managed to quilt the bear, and it was a thing of beauty. Almost every intersection had pleats, and stitching through the fusible left some sizeable holes, but I persevered and got it done.

    Then to make it even more lovely, I added a four inch wide eyelet ruffle to the edge. Did I say that I made matching shams, too? Christmas morning came, and my nieces opened their gift. Their eyes sparkled when they opened it.They loved it, and they used it for several years. Luckily, there were no quilters in our family, so no one knew any better, or at least they were nice enough not to say anything.

    Now I create studio quilts almost exclusively. I hardly ever make a bed sized quilt, but I learned a lot from my first one, and as I’ve grown in quilting, I at least attempt to learn the basics of the technique I’m using before trying it.

    Jean Lasswell

  27. I’m easily in the 90% range. I rarely know what I want to make. Sometimes I think I just collect fabric instead of making quilts. I love that Cori Dantini fabric! My kids gave me a whole bunch of her Christmas fabric last year. I have a pattern to use it on, but it takes 4 of the large panels, which only come in 3s. I’m going to wait until her next Christmas line comes out in June to get a different panel. When it only takes 4 for a quilt, I hate to repeat one of them.

  28. I’d say about 80% impulse…. and then another 10% would be purchased to finish a project that started as an impulse …..then about 10% would be necessity….so about 5% for impulse that someone shopping with me talked me into….and maybe 5% to correct something that was a mistake buy to begin with…and , you know, math never has been a strong point, hence the mistake buys. LOL

  29. This is hard. I think I’m around 75%…but not sure. I buy things I like and then work them into a plan. If I don’t have enough for the plan I then buy with purpose.

  30. First, what’s a studio quilt, Jean?
    Next, I’m probably 50% impulse fabrics…that’s usually my inspiration. Then I find things ( patterns, fabric and thread) to go with. Today I bought 3 inspirations and 1 support…my eyes are usually bigger than my stomach, too,

  31. I would have to say 80%-90%..I don’t really need anything..will never use all that I have. So, when I am looking for something specific, it’s because I don’t have anything in my stash and have to go shopping. Which leads to eating one potato chip and you can’t just have one! Not only that, when my husband and I go on a road trip (which is often) a quilt shop is always planned and usually our trips are planned around quilt stores..lucky girl!

  32. Sometimes I am after something in particular but 90% of the time it is impulse and more than half of them do get used…….eventually. The great joy comes when I suddenly decide to make something and almost all of the fabric comes from my stash (even if it doesn’t make much of a dent in it).

  33. usually I go looking for something in particular and wind up buying two or three other pieces, I probably fall in the 75% who find something they HAVE to have….but I was good today at the Lancaster AQS show, because of sticker shock. Here in central PA our prices are bit lower than average, so I’ve have to be REALLY in love to pay over $10 a yard…

  34. I’m probably in the 50 – 75% category. If something really speaks to me, I find myself looking for fabric to go with it when I have no plan for any of it.

    I’ve loved all the first quilt stories. I started thinking about all of those I made many years ago and can’t decide if I want them back to “fix” them, or if I’d prefer never to see how bad they really were.

  35. I am in the 5 to 10% because I have the reverse issue. If it is not part of a project, I seldom impulse buy. I have been quilting for many years and hear way too many stash horror stories! I have to learn to have extra fabric, though, for design choices!

  36. I used to be 99%, but now that I am a SABLE, it is down to about 5%. I have been on a fabric, ruler and book fast for the past year and that has really helped. Generally the only fabric I buy any more is solids because I have a zillion prints – and now I just buy the whole bolt so I know I have enough!

  37. I would say I fall into the 20-25% range. I am typically a project specific buyer. I don’t have a lot of room to build a nice, healthy stash so I have to be careful. Some day, when I win the lottery, I’ll have a gigantic sewing room and then watch out!

  38. For me that is an impossible question to answer. Sometimes I can go to the shops and just get the pack of needles or thread I came for, but then again…… I can’t remember the speaker’s name, but she came to give a ‘trunk show’ at our guild. She held up a gorgeous piece of fabric and asked “how much do you buy when you see something you really love?” Many said a fat quarter, or half a yard, or a yard. I was in the back of the room and yelled out “You BUY THE BOLT”. She immediately said, “Yes, yes to buy the bolt!” LOL I have done that, but it really has to speak to me, and I have to have the means to do so. 🙂 I have also been known to want only about a yard of fabric or two, and see that there isn’t much left over. Humm, how much is left? Oh only a yard or 3/4 s, maybe a yard and a half??? “Well, ok, I leave no orphans left behind give me the whole piece. I will use it somewhere.” It all also depends on the price of the fabric. One shop I go to has flat folds that are end of runs or shops going out of business fabrics. Sometimes the pieces are 6- 10 yards of quality (LQS, by the selvedges) fabrics and will make great backings, at $4.95 a yard how do you say no. Today I pieced a backing from one of those purchases. I used some of it in the quilt, now I have the back, and about a yard leftover to use in another quilt that is on the drawing board.

  39. I would probably be in the 95% bracket, except that my retirement income does not allow it. I keep extensive wish lists though and if I ever decide to sell my quilts for increased income, watch out!

  40. In general I am not an impulse buyer…. but I did buy exactly the same fabrics on impulse once…. I made a lovely quilt for my granddaughter out of a fat 1/4 bundle of those… I just looooovvvved the pictures…

  41. 90 % altho there are several prints that call my name constantly. When Hancock first got in Fleece in multi colored puzzle [what is now used for autism quilt ] piece I had to have it. So length was no question when I found it in cotton print fabric.
    My first sampler quilt included the puzzle cotton print on front & backing. It also used just basic solid colors [I was afraid of mixing prints] I have snap-happy purses in the same print, along with pillow cases, table runners, etc.
    I have moved on from solid colors by switching to Batiks, but my puzzle pieces still creep into the quilts.

    • “Speculation” is a great way of labeling it! I feel better already. Impulse buy makes us sound unresponsible and wasteful. Of course we all believe we’ll use the fabric somehow, some way. From now on I’m a forward thinking speculator. No one can fault us for being one of those.

      Tavette – S. Fla.

We'd LOVE to hear! Please reply...