Friday, May 6, 2016

Fabric delivery

Living on a boat makes it tricky to acquire fabric. I try to visit local quilt shops (LQS) when I can, but that doesn't happen very often. It turns out that most quilt shops are not located within easy walking distance of navigable waters. I guess they figure their typical customer probably lives in a land-based home and owns a car. Who knew those people quilted?

We do own two small motor scooters, and we launch them any time we stay at a dock for more than a day or two. However, we really prefer to anchor the big boat and use the smaller dinghy to get ashore. The scooters don't fit in the dinghy, but we have folding bicycles which do fit. So my LQS world is mostly limited to shops within walking, bicycling or public transit distance of a dock where we can tie up the dinghy. The intersection of that Venn diagram has resulted in maybe a dozen different LQS visits in three years. One of my goals on this blog is to start documenting those visits.

But today's post is about my latest stash acquisition from my primary source of fabric: delivery from online sources. About 90% of my fabric is ordered online and delivered to our mail forwarding service in Green Cove Springs, FL. The service holds all our mail until we have a good local address. They will box everything up and ship it to a marina, a friend's house, General Delivery at a local post office, or a UPS Customer Care Center. This happens every 1 to 3 months, and I've usually forgotten by then what I ordered.

While we are in the Tampa area, we are very lucky to be close to our friends Ben and Karen, who have graciously allowed us to ship all kinds of JCS (junk, crap and stuff) to their house. We had dinner with them last night, and they brought along our mail. Oh, happy day! Beer, laughter, and chow with good friends, followed by the Unboxing of the Fabric!

I actually buy very little brand new fabric from online retailers. I much prefer to scour eBay for folks who are selling their own fabric stash ("destashing") or reselling items they found at estate sales ("dead people's fabric.") This type of fabric is considered "used" because it was cut from the bolt at the fabric shop, then stored in someone's home for months, years, decades. However, it hasn't been sewn into a project so as long as the storage was smoke-free, it's pretty much like new. My goal is to give this fabric life in a quilt, and to do it at 75% or more off retail prices.

I have found a number of super nice eBay sellers who know that I sew for Project Linus and will offer me great bargains on kid-friendly fabrics. Some lower their shipping fees, others throw in extra fabric for no charge. I try to send them photos of my finished quilts, because I know they often are emotionally attached to the fabric and enjoy seeing it used.

I bought this batch from one of my favorite sellers. It is a Robert Kaufman fat quarter bundle from the Imperial Collection and a Makower UK Advent panel in fun, modern colors. The shipment also included three yards of the basketball fabric shown at the top of the post. I'll use the basketballs on the back of a boy's quilt for Project Linus, so that was the main purchase. The others will marinate for a while in my stash before becoming gift quilts, but there was no additional shipping for them.

So that's what I was expecting in the medium sized flat rate USPS box. Imagine my delight when I opened the box and found at least four more yards of fabric! Woo hoo!

Only two are specifically kid fabrics: sweet elephants and fun kangaroos. But I will definitely find a way to work the others into Linus quilts.

Turquoise and purple are both great gender neutral colors, so these are quite versatile. And I love using geometrics like this one; the crisp lines make a nice foil for the florals that are so common.

These three fabrics aren't from the same line, but they play really nicely together in black, white and green. Another gender neutral combo! The mottled green is from a really high end line called Fairy Frost. It has a metallic shimmer that is so neat.

I have another shipment (or two) coming when we are in Palmetto next week to have some work done on the boat. I'm not completely sure what's in that batch and I'm deliberately not looking back through my records to refresh my memory. I like being surprised. Tune in next week and you can be surprised, too!


  1. These are great fabric stash additions, how exciting to not know what's coming next!

  2. I can't blame you for not wanting to pay retail prices! You made some great finds! I am very interested to read more about quilting from the perspective of living on a boat! That's pretty cool.


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