Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Stash

As I looking over my last post, I started thinking about how excessive it seems to purchase 37 yards of fabric, even if it will all be used very soon. There is a line of discussion on Stashbusters about not spending money on fabric and it has made me think about my fabric spending habits.

The picture here is of my stash. Except for a few pieces of yardage in a drawer and my mostly empty boxes of strips (except for those pesky 2" strips...have a ton of those!), this is the whole thing. I have to admit, I'm a fabric snob. I will only buy quilt store quality fabrics. When I first started quilting I made 2 quilts, one for my son and one for my daughter, with fabrics from Joann's. Those quilts have not held up well...especially my son's quilt which has literally fallen apart at the seams. They were not heavily used, just slept under at night. I figure if I'm going to do the work, I should use the best supplies I have available to me. That includes quilt shop fabric. I'd rather buy smaller quantities (except when it's half price, of course!) of better fabrics and combine them with those already in my stash, if that's possible.

I joined Stashbusters and Stash Quilts because I want to use up what I have and needed inspiration to do so. I've found that inspiration in both places...even though I just lurk at Stashbusters! I've used quite a bit of my older fabric...which has made way for some newer ones. I don't think I could ever have a stash that is huge...I'd feel the weight of it hanging over me and would have a hard time going into my sewing room. I think my stash is just right for me. I guess we all need to find that place where we're comfortable with what we have in our stash, and can add to it if we find a great deal or a fabric too beautiful to pass by. I've come to that point with my stash...made my peace with it.

That being said, I'd still like to use up quite a bit of it so that I can purchase new fabrics to add to it! I'm doing that with the inspiration that comes from all these sources available to me online. I love looking at pictures of everyone's projects and imagining how I can create that quilt with what I have on hand. What would make it mine? The colors? Adding a different border? Setting the blocks on point? I find that with a small stash of small cuts, I have to try to be more creative in getting things done. I guess that's what makes us mavericks, the ability to change a design to make it distinctly our own.

As for my spending habits, which is where I started this post, I guess mine aren't too bad. I subscribe to Sweet Treats and receive a package of FQs monthly. I used to leave them all tied up with their pretty ribbons, but now I immediately take them apart, and add them to my stash or use them in current projects, if it's appropriate. Other than that, I make it to a quilt shop about 2 or 3 times a year. Funny, when I worked in a quilt shop, I rarely bought anything! I guess it was too much of a good thing!

12 comments:

Laurie Ann said...

Your stash looks very manageable and organized. I am with you. Even though I don't have a lot of fabric, I still want to use it up before I get more. I don't want to have a fabric around so long that I outgrow it before I use it. I also agree about the general quality of JoAnn's fabric, although they are getting some better quality fabric in the last year or so.

Vicky said...

I think your stash is perfect, and is where I want to be with mine. I admire you for being creative and actually using what you have on hand - and having a load of fun replenishing it!!

Finn said...

A very well throught through post Carolyn, and I think you make really good points. By the time a stash gets as large as mine, it feels overwhelming. I adore many of my older fabrics, and what delights me about your post is that it's sooooo possible to work some of the vintage(no old,old, but of a different time and flavor) into many of the new scrap quilts patterns.
I guess for me that's partly why the ALL batik quilts don't quite make it for me. They are beautiful, but just not very interesting.
I think to your "You just need a fabric fix", I add "a fabric mix", as the newest blends and supports the older stash pieces...an unbeatable combination I think
I'm so proud of you...you are doing a really, really great job!!

cher said...

well, Carolyn-you made great points and it is good you are at peace with your stash. I subscribe to Finn's outlook-I too, have a very large stash and so I try and add new fabric from time to time to mix with the older stuff and make it all a bit more usable. You do have to work hard on smaller pieces to have them work out with some patterns, that is why I enjoy scrap quilts-all pieces usually can go in!

Jeanne said...

Good thoughts about stash -- it's important that we each figure out whatr's right for our own self!
I do like JoAnn's bargains for backs :)
Jeanne

Linda_J said...

If you feel it works for you, then it does! Add some fq's monthly is not bad because it likely to be some new prints to mix in with the older ones on hand to make something wonderful. Personally I get a kick out of seeing an old favorite show up in some way in a scrappy quilt. Like, there you are, my old friend!

dot said...

A stash is a very personal thing. We all have different reasons for the amount of fabric and the purchases we make. I like your stash, very manageable. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

The Calico Cat said...

Thanks for the post on stashes. Mine is bigger than yours but smaller than a lot of others... I am not trying to use mine up - just use it more wisely... I too am trying to use what I have... (Rather that going out and buying a bunch of fabric for a quilt - althought I have done that too - even recently!)

Sharon said...

It's so interesting to see and hear what other quilters call their stash, whether it's too big, too small, or just right. My stash fluctuates in size from time to time, but I like to refer to it as my "resource center" as that is where I go when I want to work with color, texture and personality. I've recently become more conscious of what I purchase because in some areas, the stash is overflowing. I don't buy just to buy anymore, unless the sale is just too good to pass up. I have plenty of backings and lots of things to play with, but it *is* nice to add a new sparkle here and there!

Samantha said...

your stash looks amazingly managable. I admire you- when I worked in a quilt store, well, that's when my stash exploded!! I used to be a fabric snob as well (esp working at a quilt shop), but since starting other crafty hobbies, and frequenting JoAnns for those supplies, I've succumbed to impulse fabric buys there... And, like Jeanne, i like them for bargain backs as well...

Laurie said...

WOW...my stash is OVERBOARD compared to yours. I just don't know HOW I got all the stuff I have! (hanging head in shame)
Hugs
Laurie

Evelyn aka Starfishy said...

I think if I got my stash out of various boxes it would be about the size of yours... DH just went to the hardware store to buy some shelving materials for my closet, so we should see very soon! I might be surprised - it might be huge? Hard to say... Yup, I am back home and back to bossing him around giving him projects to do - and we are both happy! My stash is mostly Joanne's, but I have been adding better quality fabrics. At this point, I just want to use it all up and then I will be more picky about what I buy. Still, I have had quilts which I have used heavily for 6 years now from Joanne's fabrics and mine still look great - although a few fabrics did fade.

Cheers!

Evelyn