When I get an idea for a quilted wall hanging, the first thing I usually do is pull a bunch of things out of my stash. In this case, I've been thinking about working with bright pinks and greens, something lively in response to the winter doldrums. This is the pile currently on my work table.
I have an embarrassingly large stash of fabric, yarn, beads, "found objects," you name it. I guess it's the packrat gene; my grandparents and my dad have all been packrats, and I definitely take after them. It creates storage problems, but it also has its advantages. If I have an idea, I can look through what I have on hand, pull out things that I like, get further inspiration, and get right to work. And if I run into a problem and need a different material, I can go back to the pile and find what might work, instead of running to a store. Now, granted, this doesn't mean that I never go shopping for that "one last thing" that I need to complete a project. But it does help keep the trips to a minimum.
So, how does a packrat like me gather that stash? Well, I tend to buy things that catch my eye, even if I don't have an immediate use for them. This is especially true at garage sales, thrift stores, big sales at my favorite stores, and when I'm considering vintage items. These are items that I probably will not be able to buy later -- it's now or never! So, the stash grows, but it gets put to use sooner or later. If some fabric or yarn or beads really "call to me," I'll use them when their time has come.