Friday, November 23, 2007

It's Strangling Me!

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!

29 comments:

Norma said...

Having a entire bolt of cream. white or a wow makes me so happy.....it's like having money in the bank that is not earmarked for anything. The possiblities are endless! Buying the entire bolt is a real thrill, having it to look at and think about, PRICELESS! LOL

Kathie said...

Vicky
good for you. I came to this conclusion this past year too....and am working hard at using my stash and making the scrappy quilts I have wanted to make for a long time.
2008 use it to make the kits you have and quilts you want to make that you have fabric for.
I happen to love civil war fabrics so let me know if you ever want to get rid of those!
Kathie in NJ

atet said...

Good for you!!! I should do much the same. My weaknesses are the "wow" prints -- but as for backgrounds and the blenders? Not so much. Hmmn...I do need to get one the ball here -- maybe I'll join everyone out there. In the meantime -- have fun with your stashbusting but don't kill yourself if you do buy something new. There has to be a balance between the two!

Vicki W said...

You have a lot of company in this exercise! I'm tryign the same thing. I dont' expect to buy NOTHING - I'd be happy if I spent in 2008, half what I usually do, and that will still be a lot! LOL! But it is my hobby after all so I'll not make it painful - jsut want to be reasonable.

Yvonne said...

Good for you Vicky....I'm doing the same but I'm not going to get crazy either. I'm going to spend 2008 being a "quilter" and not a "collector" ! Glad you're feeling better. :)

Doodlebug Gail said...

And you dear Vicky are my HERO - I love to see your purchases so please don't stop, okay?! Hugs and please do take care of yourself.

JudyL said...

Good for you! And I think you did take a *gigantic* step by deleting those sales e-mails without going to check them out. We can do it and in 2009, we can start the year knowing we accomplished what we set out to do -- make a dent in the stash.

Sewbaby said...

Oh Boy does your story sound familiar! I too have joined the Stash Reduction effort.

Traci

mar said...

Go Vicky!! I'll be watching you ;-)
ILY

Morah said...

Did you see the challenge that Judy has issued? It seems we've all come to the same conclusions at the same times. I too have been feeling overwhelmed and even before Judy's challenge began the task of USING IT UP! We can do it together!

Darlene said...

I can understand exactly how you're feeling. I've been thinking about all the fabric and stuff that I 'had' to have and trying to decide how to get rid of it. It's incredibly overwhelming and paralyzing!

I don't have a plan yet but hopefully something will come to mind. I haven't been buying much fabric in recent months and I haven't been sewing much either - LOL. However, I keep buying patterns and books in hopes that the perfect pattern will jump out and I will start sewing. It hasn't happened.

I'll be watching and you and others and hope that I can come up with a plan, too.

Norma said...

I hear what you are saying. I too am thinking about working exclusively from my stash but I haven't worked up the courage to make my declaration. Best of luck to you in using up your stash in 2008--I know you won't be alone as there are many of us that will be walking with you, hand in hand.

Cindy said...

Amen Vickie, I am with you on the stash reducing. I was trying to do something with my sewing room today and after several hours I still didn't put a dent. I need to do some serious sewing. Want to join me.

Jeanne said...

Hi Vicky,
I'm so very far behind with blog reading, I just got to your post about the hospital!!! Oh, sweetie, I'm so sorry that you were under the weather, and so glad that you're on the mend!!!!
Laughing about your stash issues. I haven't formulated a plan for attacking mine yet.
Sending an extra hug ~ Jeanne

sherry said...

Reading your post, it was like taking the words right out of my mouth! Good for you, I'm on the wagon with you. I've got to use up this stash & stop buying more fabric. I've recently made several little quilts for Project Linus & plan on making more for charities over the next few months. Your post made me smile, no laugh, a whole bolt? LOL Hang in there, I'll try to keep you on the straight & narrow over the next year, Judy is already helping us bust the stash. Together we can do it. I think of the money I've spent on fabrics that have been sitting for too long! What a great way to start the New Year!

Beth said...

I would love to shop your stash room someday! I know what you mean, I don't have a real stash compared to some people's, but I sure have enough fabric to make a pile of quilts! Good thing I like scrappy quilts, because most of my stuff is fat quarters. I don't have a lot of yardage, just a few here and there that I really had to have.

Red Geranium Cottage said...

I totally agree with you Vicky!!! I have two full rooms of fabric and it's suffocating me. I'm seriuos. I see new all the time that I want but if I look closely I'll bet I have something just like it in my room. Fabric is going up in price as we speak and it's getting ridiculous!! Why not sew on what we have. AMEN!!! Glad to see you posting. Hope your feeling better.

Perry said...

I feel your pain. I too, "had to have a stash", but couldn't bring myself to buy yardage...it was always fqs for me, so I have hundreds of yards in fat quarters. But anyway you buy it, it adds up. Loved the way you wrote the story.

Nadine said...

This is such a GREAT post, Vicky ! THANKS for writing it : you have put into words what I was feeling. I love the way you point out what's wrong, with a big smile.

A big smile from me to you !
NADINE

I'm so sorry you had to go to the hospital, dear, hope everything is getting better now.....

Kim said...

Did I stumble onto the wrong blog, or are you taking heavy pain meds, Vicky?! ROFLOL! Okay, here's the plan. You and Sharon send me your stashes--particularly any spare Moda towers you have hanging around. Deal?!

Are you feeling better?

Helen Conway said...

Yoy write my story ... except that I haven't got to the point where I am ready to go on the twelve step programme! I am planning to use what I have bought but I am happy to replace it - so I am not stashbusting so much as not stash increasing if you see what I mean. I think of it as crop rotation! Its hard though to use something in case the next quilt just really really needs that perfect fabric that I just threw into a stah buster quilt...!! I am mentioning yu on my blog today - com eon over and check it out!

julieQ said...

I am with you too!! I given away lots of fabric when my quilting group needs it. I sew and sew, but still have lots of fabric!! So I am determined and concentrating on cutting out what quilts I want to make, and getting rid of lots of fabric in this coming year. So...do you need any blues? or pinks??

Haha, JulieQ

Erin said...

wow I cannot imagine having that much stash! I am glad you are going to use some of it up! Good for you! You go girl!

Sweet P said...

Happy stashbusting! I'll cheer you on for every scrap or stashbusting quilt you make in 2008.

I'm glad to hear your feeling better.

Mary said...

Good Luck! I've been working on using mine for the last couple years but I was a little more relaxed about buying this past year. I'm climbing back on the wagon too!

cher said...

terrific job thinking and posting how you arrived at this point with your stash-now the fun begins as you give yourself permission to cut it up! use it up! go Vicky go!!! I have been working steadily on busting my stash with little buying (mostly to go with something in the stash) and after 3 years...well...still tons of stash left! You can do it!

Nan said...

You're preching to the choir here, ma'am - I truly understand! I have been quilting for many years, but since the invention of online quilt shops, my "stash" has grown by leaps and bounds, and still I keep buying! All these wonderful sales!! Aaaackkkkk!! What's a fabricholic to do?!? I think your solution is wonderful, and I am planning to do the same. I have already started to bust my stash with many of the Christmas presents I am making. It feels soooooo good!

Allison said...

Hello LA Quilter-
I have also come to the same conclusion about stash-busting this year, and I have actually produced a few entirely stash quilts. I think my husband is more giddy than I am about this, lol. This is my first time to your blog, I'll be back again sometime.
Allison
Oregon

Patti said...

Hear, hear! Me too! Not only am I out of room, but without a job next year I'll be out of money also LOL!

I'm with Kathie - I could help you with the Civil War fabrics.

:-)