Hello Quilty Friends!
Happy Thursday to you!
Spring has sprung! Happy Spring to you!
Now that it’s officially spring, I am starting to feel that old familiar seasonal “spring cleaning” itch. I definitely feel more motivated right now to actually do a little purging and clutter control in my home and, naturally, in my studio, too. Maybe the longer daylight hours are helping too.
One of my local quilt shops, Fox’s Sew and Vac (BIG SHOUT OUT to all my Foxy friends!), provides a wonderful reason to clean out my constantly expanding stash. Every year, Fox’s sponsors a “Fabric Yard Sale,” usually in February or March. Of course, we missed a couple years due to the Pandemic, but this year’s sale was the biggest I’ve ever participated in!
So, what exactly is a “Fabric Yard Sale”?
Fox’s Sew and Vac is located in one of our shopping malls and they are able to reserve the hallway outside their shop entrance to host their “Fabric Yard Sale.” Due to space limitations, they only have a certain number of vendor spaces, but this year they were able to accommodate 20 vendors! I was lucky to be one of the last vendors before spaces were gone. They charged a very reasonable fee for a space and another small fee for a table. You can bring your own tables, which I have done in the past, but it is so much easier these days to just pay the extra fee and have a table there waiting for me as well as a chair or two.
Once I signed up this year — which was later than I normally would due to a time conflict that was cancelled in the end — I got to work sorting through my fabrics, precuts, notions, patterns, books, and whatever else I had hanging around. I measured my yardage, rolled and wrapped it with a rubber band and added a piece of masking tape with the fabric amount and the price (hey, I used what I had on hand). I went through my fat quarters and organized them into baskets. I even readied a basket of vintage feed sack quarters to take along in case anyone was looking for vintage fabrics. I also gathered a selection of books and patterns.
My friend Mary Lee (Hey Mary Lee!) shared my space with me. Her stash management program is very different from my “it looks like a flea market threw up” chaos — when she finds a pattern that she likes, she makes her own quilt kits by gathering up all the fabrics for the pattern along with the pattern itself. Then she puts everything in the same bag. This way, when she’s ready to make something new, Mary Lee just has to grab a “kit” and start cutting and sewing. Anyway, Mary Lee weeded her kit collection out and parted with a group of kits she decided she wasn’t ever going to make.
All too soon, set up day for the sale arrived. We were able to set up on Thursday and the sale ran both Friday and Saturday. After we carted everything inside and started laying out our table, we discovered that an 8 foot table wasn’t big enough to lay everything out in an orderly fashion. Things were a little jumbled on our table, but that was okay. Sorry, but I never even thought of taking photos….
Late Friday morning, the sale was swamped! Really! Every table had people crowded around. Then it thinned out and we all started shopping each other’s stuff. Sigh…..occupational hazard.
Here’s my list of info for you if you are planning to participate in a Fabric Yard Sale:
- The more vendors, the less $$ you will make.
- As you sell, so shall you buy…..
- You need to price your items competitively or you will be taking home what you brought (plus whatever you bought)
- Bring some kind of table covering — even if your table looks like Early Flea Market (like mine did), a table covering under your items just makes it look nicer. Use quilts if you can as they are, naturally, attention-grabbers.
- Bring lots of small bills ($1s and $5s, mostly) for change and be prepared to change a $20 when someone wants a fat quarter for $1.
- Bring plastic shopping bags to put purchases in.
- It’s best to have another person with you, but if you have to do your sale alone, make sure someone stops to give you a lunch break. Of course, the folks at Fox’s were happy to watch our tables so we could dash to the bathroom (and maybe grab a yard of fabric we spied across the hallway).
- Packing your fabrics, patterns, books, and other items in plastic bins, baskets, and crates makes moving things in and out and keeping your table organized a lot easier than having yardage and fat quarters spilling all over the place.
- Bring something to do when things aren’t busy. I always bring a couple magazines, a book, a quilt with binding to be hand-stitched, or even my EPP hexies. Of course, you’re bound to make some new friends and rediscover some old pals, so expect lots of chatting and laughing going on.
- Bring something to drink and a snack or two — chocolate is always a good choice.
I am guilty of #2 on my list above…….but not as guilty as some, I will say. Here are my awesome finds:
Mostly I stuck to fat quarters, but I did buy a couple larger pieces. I also got a great deal on a stack of Block magazines. And, believe it or not, but one of the other vendors had whole vintage feed sacks for sale. I bought 5. Shhhhh……don’t tell anyone my deep dark secrets.
I can definitely see my studio looking a little better without all the stuff I pulled out and had piled and stacked anywhere I could find a little space until the sale. When the Fabric Yard Sale was over, I sorted my stuff and decided to donate about half of what I brought home to my local Humane Society secondhand shop. Now to find somewhere to store the stuff I decided to keep (at least for now) as well as the new stuff I brought home. Again — occupational hazard.
Fabric Yard Sales are just an excuse for quilters to gather, share ideas, catch up, make new friends, laugh and gossip. Oh, yes — they also keep quilting fabrics and supplies in circulation.
Well, that’s it for me today. Good luck with your own Spring Cleaning.
Until next Thursday —
Sew. Laugh. Clean. Repeat.
2 thoughts on “Spring Cleaning the Quilter Way; Or, A Fabric Yard Sale!”
What a great idea!
I see you bought a lot of Block magazines – those don’t come cheap – unless they did at the sale. Looks like you got some great deals!
Yup, I was very pleased with my purchases. The Block magazines were a great price — I try to pick them up secondhand whenever I can.