Sunday, January 6, 2013

Stash Use

As we begin a new year, I am reading quite a few blogs whose main topic is stash reduction. I have tried really hard in the last couple of years to do this, and honestly, I feel as though I've been relatively successful in that effort.

Fat quarter purchases from January 2011.

The first year or two after I retired, I had a lot of time available for online fabric shopping. Needless to say, I bought a good bit, usually on sale, but in larger cuts. My justification was that these larger cuts could be put to use as quilt backs.

Now I had spent a good 15-20 years buying fabric, so I already had a large stash. The last thing I needed to be doing was enhancing it! But I did. It became apparent after awhile that I had to reign in the spending and accumulating.

As fabric has gotten quite a bit more expensive in the last couple of years, it was easy to decide that more fabric, even on sale, was counter productive. I needed to do some serious "stash attack" - make quilts using the gorgeous fabrics I've amassed and enjoy both the process and the finished product.

Gracie likes it when I leave the stash drawers open. She likes investigating.

It's been a good bit of fun, I have to admit. I am rather proud that I've made as many quilt tops as I've made, and most of them from the stash. I look forward to actually getting a few more of them quilted. At that point, (I hope) the larger cuts I bought will be used for backing as planned.

All that said, I don't think I am ready to join the ranks of those bloggers who are forbidding themselves from buying any more fabric. Nor will I join those who are keeping score of yards used from the stash as opposed to new yardage added to the stash. Sounds like too much math for me.

Quite a few boxes have arrived here that were full of fabric; not so much lately as there were back in 2009-10.

Since I am not forbidding myself from buying more fabric, I have established a few ground rules that I try to follow. No more wanton buying just for the sake of fabric accumulation. No siree! I have rules!

Rule #1: If at all possible, buy when there are sales.

These were great sales purchases. Theme? Making 60-degree angle table runners.
These, then, follow 2 of my rules - #1 and #2.

Rule #2: Have a definite project in mind if buying more than a fat quarter. No more impulsive purchases!

Rule #3: Take swatches from the stash that need another fabric (or a couple) in order to become a project. I have several pieces that just don't seem to go with any other thing in the stash.

This is a fabric that needs some mates. I don't have anything that looks right with it.
Alas, it was an impulse purchase.

Rule #4: Determine what new lines of fabrics I really, really love. I have an ongoing infatuation with Kaffe Fassett, French General, and 3 Sisters. I used to buy those with wanton disregard for when, where, or how I would use them. Now, I try to be extremely selective when buying from these lines, or any lines, actually.

Rule #5: Limit buying to trips or outing with my quilting girlfriends. If we are planning to go on a shop hop or to a quilt show, then I will cease buying for a few months, and save for buying while on the outing. There are generally some good deals and some new stuff.

Not a lot has been going on in the sewing room the past few days. DH is nearly done with the painting, and is steam-vaccing the carpet. I might actually begin moving some things into the new room tomorrow.

Instead of sewing or quilting, I have been reading! I finished a book last night that I checked out of the library on Wednesday -- The Kingmaker's Daughter by Philippa Gregory. It was a page turner, as every other Gregory book has been. I need to figure out the ones I've read and begin a year of filling in the gaps. She has written A LOT of historical fiction which revolves around the throne of England through the years. I love that kind of stuff.

I understand this is one of 4 books in a series called The Cousins War. I will try to be more careful to read books in the correct order; I fear this is the final book in the series. Ah, well, I will figure it out.

That's all for now, quilters. If you have any ideas on stash reduction, I'd love to hear them!

Happy Quilting, Friends!


  1. I go back and forth on my stash. 4-5 years ago I was actively working to reduce it (and increased my UFOs accordingly!). Now I'm really happy to have it. I've stopped most random buying pretty things, but I am all over sales of 40% or more. I love buying charm packs of new lines and will splurge on those. I'm in love with black & white prints - another new pile. No guilt... I just try and be reasonable about it~!

  2. Sounds like you have found the form of stash management that will work for you. The book series sounds interesting----did you watch Downton Abbey this evening? Love looking at all the furniture, architecture, and clothes that sometime I forget to listen to the dialogue.

  3. You sound as if you found a system that works for you. I am on a fabric diet this year, as I have run out of shelf space after the massive buying spree I went on last year. I will only be buying if I need it to finish a project. I shop my stash first. Having the said stash in an organized fashion is the key to being able to shop it first.


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