How much fabric do I buy?.........

Wow, so many of you want to know how much of each fabric I buy (yesterday's comments).  First a little background.  I started working in a quilt shop in 1979, owned my own shop in the early 1980s, continued working at quilt shops through 2000.  I was the buyer, or the owner's helper/buyer at most of the shops.  This means I know how to stock a quilt shop with a terrific variety of styles and colors of fabric.

Now, my own collection is something like that too.  I don't own just one plaid, or 3 flannels, or only medium tone floral fabrics.  I have a full selection of color and value in all types of quilting fabric so my buying may be a little different than yours.  I am not building a stash as much as I'm filling in gaps.
I bought my first Keiko Goke prints in 2010 and they were $15.50 a yard at that time.  Pretty pricey!  I bought 1 yard pieces of a couple of them.  As time went on I bought half yards of more of them (all of these from which is closing out the remainder of her fabrics at sale prices right now).  In the last few years I have picked up a few more on sale (40-45% off) at  I don't have every fabric in her many collections, just ones that appealed to me or were on sale at a good price.  I don't have any local quilt shops carrying her fabric so I had to go to the internet for it.  When buying on sale most locations have a 1 yard minimum cut so I have more of some than others.

If you are using a lot of different fabrics in a quilt, quarter yards are probably enough, but I still like half yards so I don't use it all up.  If you want it all gone when you are done cutting for a project, then buy quarter yards.  If I run out of a fabric I just look through my stash for a similar one to continue cutting.  I would rather use 5 reds than just 1 if the quilt calls for red.

Think of the kind of quilts you like to make.  I not only like a variety of color in my quilts, I also need a variety of values.  I don't just buy my favorite color in one value....but every color.....every value (from light to dark).

The main thing when shopping is to know the selection you already own.  Know what colors or values are  missing and be on a mission to fill in with them.  That means organizing your fabrics and having them where you can see them.  Don't keep fabric you have purchased in the bag from the store and toss it on the pile. (yes, some people do that!). 

Also, think about what type of quilts you like to make.  If you are always adding white (or any other light) as a contrast to every piece you sew you might not need as many values.  If you are doing a blend (colorwash, Trip Around the World) you need every step of value.  Know thyself is the key to having a good usable stash, a stash that you can shop at midnight and be ready to start a quilt the next day. 

I also addressed this subject back in 2007, the year I started my blog.  Here is one post and another.  The main thing that has changed since then is that my income is way down from what it was then so half yards and sale fabric are my 2 best choices now.