Last week, De Pickford of MQ kindly allowed me to camp in her shop for a day when it was not officially open to quilt Rositha's world ready to send to the Trentham Gardens show. While I was there a fabric and books rep was there and I got to be privy to the process of choosing fabric for the shop. I thought observing De's techniques might be of assistance with that thorny question of what fabric and how much to buy when stash building.
I noted that she considered what she had bought before which was similar and how it had sold. ( for stashing I guess that means did you ever use the last shocking pink with lime poka dots you bought?)
Then, I saw her taking the samples out to the shop to see where the gaps in her colour range was. ( I don't expect that a shop will let you take the fabric home to do this but you could look at yout stash and the gaps in it before you go.)
She sought opinions of her staff. ( And me as well) Translate: shop with a friend. In my experience of show shopping with my buddy Lesley this works extremely well as she observes me gravitating to my natural greens and browns and sticks firmly and persuasively to her prior instructions from me to make me buy brights. Then she lets me have the autumn tones as well.
Finally, De got to the stage of choosing how much to buy. I paid good attention here. I always have the same dilema. If I buy FQs I can have soooo many pretty prints. If I get half meters I'll probably find it a more useful length but will have to put some back to stay with in budget. But borders and backing need really big pieces. So do I spend by budget on several meters of just one or two fabrics? I watched carefully and now all is clear. .......I need to increase my budget and buy about eighty bolts in a go. Aha. Easy when you know how.