Friday, February 5, 2016

Confessions Of A Frugal Quilter

Lately, I’ve been getting overwhelmed by all the ads – on facebook, coming in my email, on blogs   - telling me all about the latest and greatest sewing machines, gadgets, rulers, threads, fabrics, patterns, and on and on – how great they are!  How much I need them!  Hurry before they’re gone!  Everybody else has them!

How about you?  This may come as a surprise from someone who sells patterns, but honestly, it’s true.  Companies that supply quilters have found a good thing, and they’re making the most of it.  And not just quilters, I’ve been feeling inundated with ads for just about everything lately.  It makes me tired.

**yawn**

I don’t have much money.  Never did.  I’m not a quilter who can buy the latest and greatest fabric or gadget.  I may “think” I need them, and want them, but do I really need them….not having the funds to get them makes me think twice, and I usually end up realizing I don’t really need them!

And then there’s my sewing space.  It’s an 11’x12’ft bedroom, that IS a bedroom.  My bed is in here.  I do dream of a dedicated studio – looking around pinterest I see so many beautiful ones.  Sometimes it makes me think that I “need” a studio.  And then I remember this picture:

source unknown
Wouldn't you love to know her?  I would.

And then I’m grateful I have any space at all.  I’m not looking much at pinterest lately, lol.

Frugal quilting, which I have no choice over, forces my creativity.  I have to use from my stash, and work with the tools I have.  The best tools I own are my hands…and I thank the Lord for them.  Working from my stash makes me use unusual fabric combinations, or fabrics [vintage sheets!] and I think produces better results.  When I think of when I started quilting, without any tools at all [cardboard templates, fabric cut with scissors, no sewing machine!] I realize that I felt a lot more freedom.  Of course,  I wasn’t blogging everything then, either…the results didn’t seem to matter as much.

painted quilts I made back in the 90's

I do have to buy things sometimes, and you bet I think long and hard about my choices.  Something I probably wouldn’t do if I could just click “pay now” with abandon.  There’s a side benefit to that, now that we’re thinking of moving – not buying means less to move. 

**simplify**

 How about you?  Do you get overwhelmed with all the latest and greatest?  As a pattern seller, I do want to sell patterns, but I try to keep it low-key – when I lost my job and decided to try to make a go of this, my blog got boring.  Seriously, *I* got bored with it!  I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, and really want my fun blog back.  My happy place.  I don’t want this to be nothing more than advertisement for my patterns.  I think there’s enough of that already.  I want you to enjoy coming here, and not feel pressured to buy buy buy.  Blogging is about friendships. 


Leave a comment and tell me which quilter you are -frugal, or if you have to have the latest and greatest – I’d love to know!!

Love,
Allie



41 comments:

Terry said...

I really think that's part of why I stopped sewing. I felt like i wasn't good enough if I didn't use the latest fabric lines and it was always so overwhelming to see the beautiful fabric and not be able to buy it. I do miss my sewing, so hopefully I'll get back to it one of these days.

Sandra :) said...

I'm in the middle - I don't have the latest and greatest everything because I don't have an unlimited budget, but if I see something I do want, and if I check to see if it's worthwhile, I usually get it. I have my eye on some Clover notions that I think I'll be Amazon Priming within the next month or two :D I don't tend to buy the latest and greatest patterns because so many of them are so simple that I can't believe someone is selling them, so detailed that I wouldn't attempt them, so overpriced that I wouldn't buy them, or they only come in paper form and I don't like to wait (or pay ridiculous shipping prices). Since I don't sell my stuff, I don't mind drafting my own version of patterns I see if I like them, but if they're so innovative that they knock my socks off, or if I just can't figure out how they did what they did, I might buy it to reward the designer and learn the secret :) That last one particularly applies to fun shaped zipper bags - I'm a sucker for them :)

Shasta Matova said...

I am a poor quilter, so I have to be frugal. I also have limited space and am trying to simplify, so I don't get the latest and greatest gadgets. There are a lot of things out there, especially specialty rulers, that are a complete waste of money because the rulers you have at home probably can do the job just as well.

If you are getting emails from stores, you can unsubscribe. Sometimes I follow in order to get a chance to win something, but if the emails get too much, I just unsubscribe. If you are talking about ads as you go around the web, you can get an adblocker. For the ads I can't avoid, I ask myself whether I actually will drop what I am doing and make that pattern or use that tool today. If I am not, then I don't need it now. I can buy it when I need it.

Nancy J said...

Frugal, my family sometimes think I am " Mrs Compromise" when I make do,go without, or just use what I have. These latest online challenges have meant I have had to buy some batiks, but the main part of them all came from stash. Latest and greatest, why buy if it is only to satisfy the sellers pockets? And this is the same for almost everything that has advertisements, from babies to the older people. Do what suits us best, and for me, use what I have, swap fabric colours, or change the layout or size.

Karen said...

I am in the middle. I don't have money for all the latest lines of fabric but I do have a good size stash (but not of large pieces of fabric). I stopped purchasing rulers a long time ago. I seldom found use for the new specialty rulers and have those I need. I have to replace rulers now & then because I wear them out. I do purchase quality fabric and threads. Love it when I find fabric on sale. If I can find a used version of a pattern or book, I purchase those over brand new. But I do purchase many patterns but not much for pieced quilts. I purchase applique patterns. I don't pay a lot of attention to advertisements as I read blogs or when I view Facebook or other quilting sites.

WoolenSails said...

Well, I do have new things and I do buy but I find that I am happiest when I am working by hand and working with scraps, that is when I am the most creative, and what makes me happy. I find the most creative people are the ones who work on the floor and not fancy machines.

Debbie

sunny said...

Frugal for me! When I had discretionary funds, I bought more than I needed, and now that I have no income, I'm getting back to the basics and using what I have. I don't have a huge stash, but I have fabric for many many projects. Now I only buy fabric when I need it to finish something. Having too much is too overwhelming to me, and I'm happier with less. Until I run out, but I don't think that will ever happen! LOL! Send me your address and I'll send someting to you that I'll never use.

O'faigh said...

hI Allie,your words brought back to me how humble I was when I first started quilting.With a new house and baby we simply did not have the funds for me to purchase equipment.I made my templates from the cereal card board box and hand stitched my blocks.As time went on and rulers, cutting boards and rotary cutters came on the scene. i would go into the lps and lay by each item it took many months before I could pay for these items to this day I still use my cutter and ruler however my cutting mat. wore out.When Inwas working I would chose a pattern and purchase the fabric and place all into a labelled plastic ox.Now I mostly purchase backing So.I have been spoils as my bf Quiltness has a long arm and she would do my quilting for me alas now I am teaching myself the art of fmq.hugs lyn

Martha said...

I love your idea of frugal quilting, and I also love that wonderful photograph. Over the years, I have managed to collect a lot more vintage fabric than I need, but I don't have many gadgets and I mostly sew on a machine I've had for 25 years. It pleases me to know that I can produce a pretty nice quilt with little more than some old scraps, a needle and thread, a thimble, and some scissors.

audrey said...

I have adblocker because the ads drive me crazy. I'm totally resisted having them on my own blog so far.:) I have had frugal times with quilting and not so much. Our income is seasonal so it fluctuates. Mostly I'm somewhere in between and make the most of my birthday, Christmas money etc. I try and think very carefully about new ruler and gadget buying, avoid most patterns and go crazy with my fabric. But never just because it's the new fabric, just always adding to my stash because I love fabric.:)

Michele McLaughlin said...

This is a thought provoking piece Allie, mind if I address this on PA. piecemaker tomorrow? This is a great post!
Hugs, Mickie

Lynne Stucke said...

Most definitely frugal -- fixed income, EXPENSIVE city (Washington DC) makes for no extra funds for fabrics and tools . . . and I sew in a corner of my bedroom. No design wall. No shelves of fabulous fabrics and tools. But I SO enjoy making quilts! And I love embroidery. And I love the Lord! So thank you, thank you, for your lovely free BOM patterns. I am thoroughly enjoying them!

Patty@inStitches said...

My first sewing machine was bought site unseen by my husband at a farm auction for $5.00. Was the only 'tool' I had for years. Then he bought me a really nice one because the first was on it's last breath. Sewed with it 38 years before it couldn't be repaired. My first quilting tools were a mini mat and 28mm rotary cutter, a free gift when I bought a book on quilting. No ruler. A friend at the lumberyard cut me a 4x16 piece of acrylic for a straight edge, out of their scrap box:-)
The first thing I ever did with those tools was a charity project - a group of us gathered up all our double knit fabrics to make tied quilts for a mission in Mexico. I had the only rotary cutter so I cut all the blocks - 12" squares - enough for 38 60x70 quilts. I didn't know you needed to change the blades - all cut with just one. Still have those three tools - 25 years later:-). So I guess I'm a frugal quilter!

Margie Crewse said...

I am a scrap quilter. Most of my material is pieces I find at yard sales. Also find gadgets once in a while. Live on a very limited fixed income. Love looking at all the pretty quilts made with matching material but it's just not me. If I could just find a way to organize everything in the very small room I have for my many needle craft hobbies.

Evie H said...

Like you, I have very little discretionary funds, so I have to be selective of where and on what I spend it. But that's OK. I love scrappy quilts and use every little bit of fabric and do with the tools I already have, which are more than adequate. Thanks for the provocative post.

Lindah said...

First, let me just say that I haven't and don't find your blog boring. I love seeing your designs, for sale or otherwise. I have purchased one or two; probably would buy more, but I'm in that peculiar place of older/low income now. I'm working from my stash, mostly. Specialty rulers don't interest me because I'm most comfortable with the basic ones that I've used for many years. Most of my quilting at this particular point in time is lap quilts for a local hospital. Scrap quilts being my favorite mode, I'm working from stash. And most of us know that scrap work begets more scraps. But recently, a lady gave me THREE king size tops that she put together some years back and never finished. I have cut them apart and have a considerable amount of pieces (scraps?) to add to the mix. About the same time, another lady bartered with me to quilt her 2 large throw size quilts in exchange for her "down sizing" her stash. She brought a heavy pile of fabric, none of which I wanted, that I guess can be cut in small pieces and/or used for backings. For the next 10 years. >smile< I love the photo of the older lady working on the porch floor. I guess that I am 5 or 6 years younger, but oh that I could get down like that --and up again! But, I am blessed to be able to do what I do. Thank you for speaking from your heart --and blessing me.

Evie H said...

P.S. I sew on a 25-year-old Singer and it runs like a charm. It only has a few fancy stitches, which I hardly use, but it does what it's supposed to. I also use my late mother's 80-year-old Singer. A real work horse!

~Laurie~ said...

I, too, am a frugal quilter. And most receently I had to let my big stash go - we were moving and we didn't have room in our storage unit for another very large box. It was pictures to keep or stash - so I chose the pictures. I sent my stash to Goodwill in hopes of another quilter finding it! Anyway - it is sometimes overwhelming to see all the new luscious goodies coming out - I would love to buy, buy, buy! But, I sit in the corner of my bedroom too sewing with what I have and trying to spend wisely. I'm glad we share the same problem and seeing your comments I see we're not the only ones. I LOVE to see what you create - keep sharing your talent!

Sharon said...

Very well stated post. I teach and I quilt for a living. I don't have/buy the latest and greatest. After taking several workshops with Gwen Marston, it was ingrained in me that those that went before us, like the young chick" *vbg* in your photo, made the most amazing quilts and those are the ones that sing to me. SO revel in your frugalness, make your own beautiful quilts, remember that others do have smaller/no sewing rooms. I started quilting in a one bedroom apartment so my kitchen table was my sewing table and my coat closet was my storage room. Machine and one cardboard box for everything else.

Edith Csokmay said...

I am a grateful sewist. I have a nice space to work from (thanks to my husband and 1/3 of the basement). I have plenty of supplies (from collecting after 10 years of working at JoAnn's and Piece Goods while I was still single). I have a very good friend who shares with me as I share with her. No, we don't have the latest and greatest - but honestly, that doesn't necessarily make it better or more fun. I have a small budget that's dedicated monthly to feeding my addictions (chocolate and fabric). I really don't feel like I need more and I want for nothing.

Wonderful, eye-opening post Allie. Thank you for perspective. xx

B J Elder said...

I never have been in a position to buy large amounts of fabric at a time, or all the gadgets. That said, I have plenty of gadgets that I've gotten over the years, some purchased, some given to me. I don't buy just to buy and now that funds are very limited I only get what is really necessary and then I look for sales.
I have found that less is truly more. It is freeing. You aren't owned by "stuff" and it leaves space for greater creativity. I, too, drool at quilt rooms. I am blessed that in our current house I do have a dedicated room for my hobby, but that is because we no longer have kids at home. I have come to the place where I can be thrilled for those who have the latest and greatest or the big fancy quilt rooms, etc., and not have those pangs of jealousy. I'm happy for them and happy for myself that I have what I do. Life is so much more enjoyable when we aren't comparing ourselves to anyone else. God made us each unique and we each have a purpose and gift to use for Him. He's the only one I need to please.
I have really enjoyed the friendship we've had, and it is all through blogging. You are a gem.

BillieBee (billiemick) said...

I've always been a collector with my spare money or....Mick's spare money...giggle. So quilting is really a bad thing for me.....like beanie's, baseball cards, cabbage patch dolls....you see where I'm going. I'm frugal in every other part of my life...no nails done, hair, fancy clothes, cars, travels. I just never got my hobby part under control. Now that I'm old as dirt I'm thinking, "What was I thinking!!! LOL....I did enjoy myself.

Natureluvr57 said...

It can be overwhelming. We just got through black Friday? Monday, then it was New Years, not it's Presidents Day coming up. I even got Blizzard sales. I do like seeing the patterns and stuff and occasionally order them. I love the Postcards you and Jenny are doing. So there's good and bad to all the advertising. I have a 1948 Singer Featherweight I use to make doll clothes and small items. I have a Pfaff that does embroidery I bought in 2008 but I doubt it will last as long as the one I traded in to buy it. Now I wish I kept it because it was a lot of metal inside and out. Lots of bells and whistles on the newer machines but I don't think the gears and computer innards will last. I'll still have my Featherweight when they're all gone as long as I maintain her. I hope to find a young lady that would love her to will her too but so far I don't know anyone. I love crochet too and all I need is my hooks and yarn stash. Sewing and quilting has a lot more stuff involved. I used to have a 9 x9 room but had to give it up to a relative in need. I downsized to a twin bed so I could my sewing machine and stuff in my 9 by 10 so I dream often of a room designated for a studio again.

Águeda said...

Dear Allie: I´m a frugal quilter.
My budget is very small.
I´m agree with you. But...I will like a good sewing machine. Itsn´t needs. But for my is an illusion :) quilting in my old sewing machine is hard.
I´m grateful : I can sewing. I´m grateful designers patterns gifts. Thank you :)

Fiona said...

great discussion post... I think I am a bit of both. I do consider very carefully when I am making a purchase of a bigger gadget to make sure I am going to get good use out of it. And I look for bargain buys for my fabrics but at the same time I keep saving a little bit at a time so when I see some 'fabric' I feel I must have I can just buy it... So I'm frugal sometimes and impulsive too!!
Hugz

Elaine/Muddling Through said...

Honestly, I am very frugal, but I have a tremendous stash of fabric. I've had lots given to me, and I make lots of quilts and give most of them away. I've found Luke 6:38 to be true - give and it shall be given unto you.
The first quilts I made (thirty years ago) used old pantyhose, cut into squares, for batting in each square. I've made quilts out of lots of things and they were all used and loved. I'm thankful to have the right supplies now to make them even more useful.

Gillie said...

I'm pretty frugal and this is not what you really asked but.....we were in Target, the World Traveller said shall we buy Valentine cards for the gang, took a look, SO many choices, one that really blew our minds.....your 1st Valentine.......you are joking, aren't you? The great behemoth of advertising, it's everywhere. Sorry, off topic, but on my mind at the moment that so many have so little. Thanks for that picture, Alli, good reminder to be mindful.

Kathy said...

I'm kind of frugal. I make do with what I have. And then when I get money gifts I treat myself to something from my wishlist. Or at gift 'getting' time, I'll ask for something sewing related. And I was with you from way back when, with the cardboard templates and fabric cut with scissors, except I had a sewing machine. My mother's Singer treadle, which originally belonged to her mother. I have it now but haven't used it since I brought it home. It's looks nice in my family room though, holding up my pretty tea cups and saucers :)

ps - I absolutely love that photograph!

Sharon said...

I'd say I'm mostly frugal. I bought a lot when hubby was making tons of $, and I still have most of that. Then he changed jobs and not so much $ for a few years. So I try to work from my stash most of the time, and do lots of scrappy. But lately we've had a little more $ and I've been buying some new fabrics. But not much in the way of tools, rulers, gadgets or patterns. I'll always be a frugal quilter, but when I buy, I buy quality stuff. I think I'm worth it and I want my quilts to last!

Judith said...

I'm tired of being bombarded by commercialism. I usually ask myself "Do I need it or do I just want it?"
Quilters used to be happy with a pair of scissors, a ruler, and an empty cereal box to make templates out of.

Kate said...

I'm frugal - I sewed, stitched, and crocheted from stash all last year and am doing the same this year. I don't have the latest gadgets nor do I need them. I'm continually frustrated with patterns/designs that require I buy the latest gadget in order to make them. I've had to make-do for so long that it's a habit now and I don't mind. Since about mid November we've been bombarded with a sales pitch to buy one thing or another and it hasn't let up yet - even ordinary bloggers like myself seem to find something to sell. I've noticed that I'm losing my own creativity by looking at all the things I see on FB, Pinterest, and various blogs - I'm trying to change that. I totally relate to what you've written and wish I could have said it as well as you did, Allie. k

barbara woods said...

Since I make birthday presents for all my grand s I do spend but it saves a lot to

Amy, a redeemed sheep said...

The comments have been very interesting. I would say I am both. Before I got my job working at a quilt shop, I bought on sale *only* and was very careful about what came home with me. Now that I work at a quilt shop, I have a very generous discount, so I can buy more and I do, when a fabric is something I really, really want, but just because I love a fabric line doesn't mean I have to own it. I am much better at admiring from afar. =)

As for gadgets, don't want or need any. =)

Barbara in TN said...

I'm just going to say, thank you.
Barbara in TN

Karen Schurr said...

Hi Allie, I agree. Its always been a puzzlement to me how some sewist feel they must buy the latest greatest machine, notion, craft craze. Gosh some of these gals buy a new $10,000+ machine every couple of years. I just can't fathom it. As far a selling...I've given up selling things online, many years ago for many of the same reasons you've mentioned. Plus, it became so complicated to deal with all the shipping costs and tax regulations, that it just didn't seem worth all the work. Now, I just blog about things that interest me. Footloose and fancy free, that's me. I'm chained to my sewing room by lust, not duty, and I like it that way. Selfishly, though, Allie, I'd hate if you gave up your designs. I've been a big fan for a long long time. Hugs...

Nana Jan said...

I am learning to embrace the challenge of godly stewardship and your encouragement has blessed me!!!

What a lovely and grace filled post. Thank you!

Jocelyn Thurston said...

Hi Allie,
What a good post. I'm completing the Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt SAL using my stash which is rather small I've discovered. I've been blown away by all the fabric lines others are using, so beautiful and co-ordinated and I was feeling a little sad about my efforts. Reading this has made me feel better. I love using what I have already. Frugal is good.

PurplePossum said...

I use to be the one who needs 'everything' new and shiny but suddenly the Lord showed me how much I don't use..... just sitting waiting for my hands ....waiting........ so i found people who make charity quilts and toys and stuff and they gratefully have taken off my hands all that stuff just waiting to be used....... someday
Ive now banned myself from buying anything unless its to finish a quilt for 3 months and its so hard when you see all the ads so Ive unsubed from so many emails and I don't look on places link pinterest anymore or if only for help with something
Its hard but gee its getting easier as the days go by but my fingers itch to buy but i dont need stuff I keep repeating to myself and close the computer thankyou for your honest post

Anonymous said...

I have a huge stash from the time I was single and had more disposable income. I also have a lot of fabric from my best quilting buddy that I inherited when I cleaned out and closed down her sewing room after the funeral. I love her fabric, none of which is my taste, and put a bit in every quilt I make. Now days I could have a great space for sewing but I scrunch into a corner of my kids' play room, if I wasn't there they would move to wherever I was LOL. I am careful where I spend my quilt money. (My husband wishes I would spend MORE!) I tend to buy books for the eye candy and ideas because I can create any pattern I could want. (thank you 2nd grade teacher for giving me the skills!) When I think about splurging I remind myself that I WANT to send my kids to college and I would RATHER save the $$ now. ( I am on an alternate lifeline and will send my kids to college about the time I want to retire!) However, if money could buy more time for sewing I would be all over it! Bridget

Rachaeldaisy said...

When I first started quilting I went crazy buying fabric!! I had a full time job and would reward myself. Nowadays I just use my stash, I've got a good variety and it's there to be used. I've never had a lot of rulers or gadjets and don't buy patterns and rarely buy books, I like to borrow them from the library, so I guess I'm a frugal quilter.
I never feel that your blog is just a selling blog. It's always lovely to see your patterns.

Rachaeldaisy said...

Oh I'm not sure if my comment worked so sorry if I'm doubling up. I'm a frugal quilter now but when I first started quilting I went crazy buying fabric! Nowadays I'm happy using up my stash and rarely buy new fabrics. I try to borrow books from the library rather than buy them and have never bought a lot of rulers and tools. I'm very lucky to have a great sewing space. I used to sew in the loungeroom and take over the house but it's good to be able to make a mess in a designated space. I do find that the internet is full of tempting things but I've learnt to let them go, and it is nice seeing what's new.
I've never ever thought of your blog as a selling type of blog. When you show your patterns it's always lovely to see them.

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