Be careful what you say at Quilt Retreat

I’ve been holding out on you, probably because if I put it in writing, that makes it official. No turning back.  No changing my mind. Here’s the scoop:

On September 30, I was at my annual quilt retreat with a group of long-time quilting buddies. (I’ve mentioned my retreat friends to you over the years, and wrote about them in depth a few years ago.) Anyway, I was seated near my mom, my friend Sylvia, and Sylvia’s sister-in-law Cheryl. As we were busy sewing (and Mom was scrapbooking), I made the mistake of “thinking out loud.” My fate was sealed.

Taunja: “You know, as I was getting organized for retreat, I realized I have so much fabric and so many patterns and books that I could sew for a year and not need to buy any new fabric.”

Sylvia: “I could probably sew for 2 or 3 years with the fabric I have at home.”

Taunja: “I’m serious. I think I might do it.”

Sylvia, “I’m in.  We’re doing this starting tomorrow, October 1. No new fabric purchases for one year.


The conversation continued enthusiastically, but I’m sure there was trepidation in our voices as we laid out our plan. After some discussion, Sylvia and I decided that since our home stockpiles include mostly scraps, precuts and a few kits, we are allowed to purchase background and backing fabric. There was a little gray area regarding sashing and binding fabric, since we technically could go scrappy with both of those.  But we decided we will contact each other first for approval on any sashing and binding fabric purchases.

My mom and Cheryl were witnesses to this crazy pact, and they seemed to enjoy spurring us on. Truth be told, I’m not sure if either one of them thinks Sylvia and I have the stamina to succeed!

It is now near the end of October, and I have been a good girl so far, as has Sylvia.

To keep myself honest, I’m recording what I have on hand in my sewing closet.  If you catch me sewing anything other than what is on this list between now and October 1, 2022, be sure to call me out!

First off, I have the project I started at retreat: A Christmas version of Thimble Blossoms’ Takes the Cake pattern, featuring mostly Sweetwater fabrics. This project should keep me busy for a while!

I also have the following lovelies:

  • Mountainside quilt kit featuring Smoke & Rust (Lella Boutique)
  • Tis the Season quilt kit featuring The Christmas Card (Sweetwater)
  • Fresh Cottons jelly roll (Fig Tree) that a friend gave me four years ago
  • Sweet Tea jelly roll (Sweetwater) that I’ve been saving for a couple years
  • Christmas Morning fat quarter bundle (Lella Boutique)
  • Yulietide Gatherings flannel layer cake (Primitive Gatherings)

  • Several flannel fat quarters and scraps (Primitive Gatherings) from other projects I made this year (Luke’s Hometime quilt, Brad’s quilt and Adam’s Harmony quilt).
  • Peace on Earth panel (Lella Boutique) and coordinating Chenille-It kit (in the drawer below). I can’t wait to give that a try!

  • Several loose Christmas fat quarters and scraps from Gingiber, Sweetwater, Lella Boutique and Holly Taylor, including two big Gingiber panels with her signature moose, deer, polar bear and penguin characters. There are probably a few prints by other designers as well. This is a wonderful mashup of fabrics, isn’t it?

  • A basket full of fat quarters and yardage I’ve been saving for future baby quilts. This includes cheerful prints from Moda, Michael Miller, Pam Kitty Morning and Riley Blake. I even found two new Lola Dutch children’s books I tucked away for gifts! Kennth and Sara Jane Wright are the creators of the Lola Dutch series, and Sarah Jane also designs darling fabric for Michael Miller.

  • My project basket for making Halloween Economy Blocks.
  • Lots of saved scraps, fat quarters and yardage from recent projects.  If it’s pretty, don’t throw it out!

As I’m sharing all of this with you, I’m a bit embarrassed by my abundance of pretty fabric.  But I also feel re-inspired to sew from my stash. It will be hard to resist purchasing the next shiny new fabric collection to hit the stores, but I can do it. I think it will be good for me.

Don’t worry about the local economy. We will still need to purchase thread, batting and other sewing incidentals, as well as the services of longarm quilters. And don’t worry about our mental wellbeing during the next 12 months. Sylvia and I have already decided that come next October, if we are successful, we will celebrate our scrimping . . .  with a huge fabric shopping spree. Wish us luck!




17 thoughts on “Be careful what you say at Quilt Retreat

  1. I’m on Team ‘You Can Do It!’ Your rules seem sensible. I love all the fabrics and colors you have in your stash. Sew with joy and have fun!

  2. Ahhhh :)! With team work – you can do it, Taunja and Sylvia! I’m really trying to be careful too and have ‘loaded up’ on background fabrics. I keep telling my husband I should be good for the winter months :)! Cheering you both on!!

    1. I love that! And I wonder if your husband gives you the same look that mine gives me when I say something like that. ha ha! Thanks for being in our corner!

  3. I’m drooling over all your lovely fabrics and kits. Man, I think we can really do this! I’m starting off with Olive’s Flower Garden by Lella Boutique in your pattern- Window Garden. I of course have had that in my cupboard for 3 years. I’m on the last border and very excited to “shop in my own stash” for my next project. I’m keeping a fabric journal and recording how much fabric I use and how much fabric I purchase for background and backs. I’m excited to see how much we get done! ✅ Thanks for the challenge, Taunja!

    1. That’s a GREAT idea to keep a fabric journal! I should do that as well, starting with the project I began at retreat. I’m just not sure I’ll be that organized. I can’t wait to hear about your recording keeping next October!! thanks for being a terrific partner in crime! 🙂

  4. Would you please tell me what fabric is at the centre of your Halloween economy blocks? The little costumed characters are adorable!
    And I love the challenge.

  5. omg im in the same boat and i think i just may join you guys in this challenge! great idea.

    1. Wow! That is awesome . . . and encouraging to me, even though I am not being as strict as you were. I will definitely read that article. Maybe it will translate to other areas of my life as well. Thanks for sharing, Julie!

  6. This is the craziest thing! Your not going to believe this, just about 5 minutes ago I purchased another jelly roll because of a pattern I just found in a book I ordered. This is the 3rd one I ordered this week!!! Ok so as I log into Pinterest I’m thinking I cannot get any more fabric until all this fabric is used up. I begin reading your blog because I have that same Halloween fabric and read this! Talk about vision! So I’m going to join you no fabric for me until December 17, 2022. I commit! Good luck to you as well!

    1. Woo Hoo! Glad to have another person on board with the challenge! Good luck to you!! Sylvia and I are keeping tabs on each other, and so far, so good! Have a wonderful holiday!

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