My stash is strangling me. Really! I thought about this last night, and here's why I'm in this dilemma:
~ When I started quilting six years ago, everyone I spoke with about quilting talked about their stash. Every online group I read talked about their stash. I had just started quilting. What stash? So I set out to have a stash. The age-old question quickly arose - how much do I buy?
~ The very first trip to the quilt shop to sign up for a beginning class found me face-to-face with Robyn Pandolph's Moda line, Morning Glory. Oh, goodness, that stuff was gorgeous. I didn't know how much I'd need for my sampler class, had no idea which colorway I should buy; in other words, I was totally clueless. So I bought two yards of each piece in the whole line. 40+ pieces in that line. I was so proud! I now had a stash! I came home and washed each piece, carefully ironed and folded it, and it looked pitiful sitting there all by itself. And if I actually cut it and used it, I would no longer have a stash. I needed more fabric!
~ Then I joined a squishie swap. I bought FQs to make blocks for folks. But what if I messed cutting or sewing and needed more fabric? So I bought two FQs. What if I really messed up? So I bought a yard.
~ Next I made the discovery of all discoveries! They sell fabric online! OMG, I was in seventh heaven. I can't even tell you how much fun I had exploring those sites, poking buttons, discovering the greatest secret on earth - shopping in your pajamas! Since I was still taking my beginning classes, and still clueless about quilting, I had no earthly idea what I would make out of this stuff, but I just know I had to have it!
~ One weekend I was eavesdropping in the quilt shop, and a lady said she was going to buy a whole bolt of something. A whole bolt!! She was my hero! That day I bought a bolt of muslin and a bolt of Kona Snow. Good buys, but really blah next to my Pandolph stash. I needed more bolts!
~ I explored a shop in the next county and saw a stack of neatly folded FQs all tied up with a Moda ribbon. I asked the dumb question, and was told it was a Moda tower -- an FQ of every single fabric in that line! I bought that tower. (And I still have it!) Towers opened up a whole new way of thinking for me. I could have just a bit of ALL of the fabrics! And they wouldn't take up so much room. Really! I really thought that! But, of course, if you're going to buy a tower, you must get yardage for borders and backing, right? Still no clue how much I'd need, but I figured four yards for borders and eight yards for backing ought to do it.
~ Wait! They sell kits -- already made up -- out of the same fabric of which I just bought a tower and yardage! All right! Now I won't have to use my stash to make that quilt!!
I won't go any further. The rest of the story is sadly well known among quilters. But what I do need to emphasize here is at this point in the story I've been quilting a grand total of THREE MONTHS!!
So here I sit in my pajamas the day after Thanksgiving, having just viewed all the Coming Soon stuff at www.fatquartershop.com, and feeling a bit righteous about my new resolve to bust that stash!! While I was in the hospital last week, my inbox filled up with online shops taunting me with their after-Thanksgiving sales. I deleted all of them. Not a gigantic step in the scheme of things, but a beginning!
I'm formulating a game plan to use up the stuff I'm not so taken with any more. Batiks and Civil War fabrics are on list. While I really do like those, I'm not head-over-heels in love with them any more. It was just a quest to collect them. And those odd FQs, hundreds of them - I've been cutting them up into strips, giving them away, using them up. A long way to go but at least I've started.
The big yardage pieces upstairs, I'm going to cut them. No use saving them for the perfect backing piece. They're taking up room and they're not getting any younger. This is funny, but a while back a good friend mentioned looking for a beige mottled background for an applique project. I sent her a strip of something I had in my stash. She emailed me back that it was perfect, but since it was a really old Pandolph Moda and she needed five yards, that she'd have to look elsewhere. Not a problem. I happened to have seven yards of it up there!
I don't know where all this is headed, but I do know that I am out of room here. I'm going to make flimsies this year, tons and tons of them. I've got thousands of yards of fabric here, so I'm going to experiment a bit. While the fabric choices for a particular quilt might not be perfect, I'll bet my next paycheck that they will look just fine. Besides, we aren't building a piano here! I see charity quilts and "happy" quilts for friends and family coming out of the stash room.
I'm deadly serious when I say I could never buy another inch of fabric or another spool of thread or another ruler or book, and still prolifically quilt for the rest of my life. But I'd rather be stimulated occasionally by the new stuff, be tantalized by a new pattern or book. To do that, I need to do some serious stash busting.
2008 is the year!