Sunday, May 06, 2012

Pondering Precuts

I remember so clearly the first time I discovered a charm pack. It was on a shopping trip on a Friday afternoon, on the way to White Oak. I bought one and bought some yardage of a different fabric and made a baby quilt, framing each charm with one of the different fabrics and making cornerstones out of something I already had with me. I was delighted with the outcome. Other White Oakers had also bought these cute little packs and were busily sewing charm to charm for quick, easy quits.

Before long there were jelly rolls and turnovers and layer cakes and what-was-it-cinnamon buns? to tempt us. And we succumbed. For me, it was mostly because the products were so darned cute. I remember, though, buying that first jelly roll and wondering what the heck I was going to do with it.

Over time, as I've mentioned before, I have tired of the all-of-one-line look. I miss the fun of pulling bolts out and putting them together to see which I liked better with my feature fabric. And I've come to think of the all-of-one-line projects as lacking a certain spark, seasoning, zing, whatever.

 I have two BOMs that have been in progress for a long time, and I've lost interest in them. I wonder how much of that loss of interest has to do with their being single line BOMs. Eventually I'll finish them.

I still have some charm packs, bought because of their downright cuteness and because they are a good solution to a need for a baby quilt in a bit of a hurry, and one layer cake that I was gifted. This week I started a baby quilt from a charm pack and chose a different line of fabric for the cornerstones and border and will use something I already have for the binding.  I'm going to try not to buy any more precuts, and as I try to use up the ones I already have, adding at least one "outside" fabric will help, I think, to give the project a bit of a zing.

If I were more clever, I'd design a special button that would say something like "No More Precuts" or perhaps snappier phrasing for the same sentiment. Meanwhile, I've made up my mind to eschew those cute little charm packs, avoid those enticing jelly rolls and layer cakes and whatevers, and even try to by-pass FQ sets. Anyone else want to join me in taking this pledge?


Brenda said...

I prefer scrappy and using up what I have, but I have friends who love precuts.

Anonymous said...

For years I have bought at least one charm pack of each line that my LQS as carried. I like having some of it all.... I have one UFO of ten different charm packs waiting for the finish. That is over 400 different fabrics with very little sweat in ONE quilt.... love it.

Alas, I am on a year of NO fabric buying.... if one stays out of the stores it is a lot easier to just shop the "stash".

Blue Ridge Mountains said...

I all for taking the pledge. I got hooked on buying charm packs in cute tin boxes. They sit on my shelf waiting. I have managed to give one as a gift. Then there are those wonderful batik strips - oh how luscious. I just can't bear to cut them up.

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

You're in good company on this one; I pledged that a while ago. Good luck on sticking to it, those marketers are clever!

PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

For me, the joy is in the choosing and planning, so I don't buy the precuts. But I buy so very many fat quarters, with no idea of what I will do with them. Not enough fabric to make anything repeating. But there is a fast quilt a guild member showed that intrigues me....maybe I'll succumb to a jelly roll...if it has enough zing.

Annemiek said...

I agree with you! The joy in pre-cuts is to toss some fabrics out and replace them with my own choice so it becomes my quilt and not the manufacturer's. (Besides; I found that pre-cuts are not always accurate in their size, so i might as well cut myself!)

Janet O. said...

Never had purchased any precuts until last year, and it was blogging that motivated me. Bought my first charm packs as giveaways for my blog. Since then I have bought a couple for me, but I still haven't used them. That's it. Never have bought a jelly roll or layer cake, or any other names they have come up with for the precut bundles. I've never even had a FQ bundle. I was gifted a jelly roll, but I haven't used that, either. Have only made one quilt from just one fabric line. Since then I always mix it up at least a little.

Quiltdivajulie said...

Absolutely! As you well know, my last layer cake turned into a charity quilt by the work of your hands.

If someone comes up with a button, I will definitely add it to my blog.

I wish to be true to myself, not to the wiles of the marketing folks.

anne bebbington said...

I have to say I've never actually bought any pre-cuts - how's that for a record - maybe because they always seem so expensive over here - I was gifted one charm pack in a blog giveaway and I selected the geometric patterns and florals from it and have a baby quilt I've just finished from it with white in QSTs but the pictorial fabrics from the set I then passed onto a friend who like those and she used them in something else - I tend to like to add in something a bit bizarre like a check shirting amongst a load of florals just to take away the sickly sweetness so I pick from all my boxes of random fabrics for projects I make

Salem Stitcher said...

I am with you. I've got a stack of charm packs staring at me - daunting me actually.

quiltmom said...

Hi Nancy,
I have created my own charm squares from scraps and have been gifted a few packets of them over the years.
I have used a couple of layer cakes and have some sets of Tonga Batik coffee cakes (just a different name for a jelly roll). After I use the coffee cakes up, I won't buy them again, mostly because of the cost of them here in Canada. They are 50 dollars for a jelly roll and that is the equivalent of about 3 meters of fabric- which makes it pretty pricey. I still can find batiks in the clearance area of the LQS for between 7 and 10 dollars which is way better than the regular price of 19 dollars a meter( 3 inches more than a yard). Our dollar is pretty comparable so if I want to buy precuts, I really need to order them on line- even with shipping they are significantly less expensive from the on line stores. We won't go into the challenges of shipping to Canada, though because this will really turn into a rant. The long and the short of it, I tend to buy yardage rather than pre-cuts. The one exception is fat quarters which I do have quite a few of them...
The other challenge is that when I buy yardage I feel like I have more flexibility than precuts. I feel limited by the type of precut rather than it being a help. The batik coffee cakes are case in point. I liked the colors and thought that they would make a great quilt for my brother and his wife. I am still looking for the perfect pattern.... I may have finally found it but I have had the batiks for over a year. I know I have lots of other fabrics much older in my stash but usually I find a pattern and then pull fabrics to fit the design. This process of having the fabric and then trying to find the pattern seems backwards to me..
Hope all is well with you as your school year begins to wind down.
Warmest regards,

howdidIgethere said...

IMO, there's a time and a place for everything. In general, I seldom do quilts out of one line of fabric and I was very late to the pre-cut party. I do have a couple of jelly rolls and maybe half a dozen different charm packs. (FQ packs are usually a little pricey for me). I bought them when I just wanted to have a little bit of each fabric (ahem... William Morris... ahem). It's quite possible I'll mix other, similar, fabrics with them. I used two charm packs for my "Schnibbles" top you linked to, and I can't think of anything to add to those springy colors that would improve it, but it's not done yet, so who knows what will find its way into borders?

Since a lot of patterns use 2.5" strips, if I can avoid some cutting, I can save my aged hands. That's very helpful.

I expect I'll keep plodding along, using a charm pack here or there, using up the jelly rolls I have, mostly mixing and matching along the way, just like I've done in the past.

Aside to Mimi: I was trying to "shop the stash" too. Then I went to Paducah... Climbing back on the wagon now.

Diane said...

I bought my first charm pack last year. I always found the price too steep. Last year I wanted to make a quick baby quilt and I didn't want to have to think too much. No time for pulling fabric. The charm pack was the answer. Now I have about 8 charm packs just for that reason, but I don't plan on buying more.
I agree that the matchy matchy of the whole line is one of the reasons I don't care for them. I want to make my own quilt with my own ideas.

Pam P said...

Gotta be honest - I do like pre-cuts for certain reasons - 1)I always doubt my own selections. 2) If you're making themed projects {Holidays, etc} and need coordinating fabrics. 3)Yep, they're so stinkin' cute! On the other hand it can get really boring - Same five colors in the same eight patterns. Also pre-cuts are soooo expensive! A new designer line (that I do like) is coming out and the FQ bundle works out to something like $3.50 each - So $14 a yard??? I do believe that quality fabrics are important, but this is really getting out of hand.
Thanks for the chance to voice our opinions :)