Judy over at Patchwork Times asked which comes first -- the pattern or the fabric. For me, I think it depends. Since I tend to do 'scrappy' quilts, it's probably the pattern most often, but occasionally it's the fabric.
For instance, this peacock fabric:
Two years ago I found this fabric at Blessings Quilt Shop in O'Fallon, MO. I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do with it, so I didn't even know how much to buy. Ultimately I ended up with 4 yards, plus a yard of purple and pink to go with it.
I tried desperately to make an Irish Chain quilt, but before I cut into the fabric, I designed it in EQ6.
I just wasn't feeling the quilt, so the fabric has been sitting in my stash waiting for the right quilt to come along.
In April at the quilt retreat I went to, I saw a BQ2 (about 1/2 way down the page) made up in a Christmas print. Immediately I knew what I was going to do with my peacock fabric. I bought the pattern on the way home. After I started studying it, I realized I didn't have enough of the pink or purple fabric.
I found the pink easily enough online, but the purple was trickier. I sent an e-mail to Blessings, and they were able to give me the color # so I could find the fabric. Blessings keeps excellent records, for just such purposes, and yes, I did inquire to see if they had either of the fabrics before I ordered them elsewhere. The purple arrived last week and the pink was shipped today. So, as soon as the pink arrives, I'm going to make a pair of the BQ2 quilts.
Meanwhile, the Irish Chain waits for the right fabric.