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Let's talk about the elephant in the room. Your stash.

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    Let's talk about the elephant in the room. Your stash.

    I belong to a few Facebook groups for sewing room ideas or quilt related groups.
    In the past few months, there seemed to be a trend to get your space organized, functional and pretty. I love this aspect of it, as I am an organized person, and because of my personality, everything is tidy after I finish a project, my fabrics are neatly folded and stored and organized by function. I can find anything in my sewing room in a flash. Same goes for all other areas in my house. I have also been asked by friends and family to help organize their places and I appreciate helping this way. That is not the issue.
    When I look at all these beautiful rooms, before and after pictures, I am sad, as I realize they will never use their fabrics in their lifetime. It is not always about money, as buying fabric can be cheaper than therapy.
    I have also helped family and friends close down their parents' homes or apartments when they move to nursing homes or die. This is a daunting chore for them, as they may have kept everything they have ever owned to pass along to their kids. Most do not want their stuff.
    SO NOW, the elephant, is your fabric stash healthy or are you bordering on hoarder symptoms?
    My daughter sews, but does not quilt. It does make me happy to buy and have pretty fabrics, and my stash is neatly stored with all other sewing related items in a small walk-in closet. I finish an average of 12-20 good size large quilts per year. With the small stash I consider I have, I could make at least one hundred quilts without buying more fabric for a year. Can I realistically make that many quilts on my lifetime? I know that my DH would keep some for his quilts, but he makes 1-3 quilts per year. He would be overwhelmed and probably give this away.
    This is an honest reflection on this cold but sunny day. Do you have a plan for your fabric when you are no longer able to quilt? I hope this has raised some thoughts about your stash and please share your thoughts.

    Enjoy life and do what makes you happy. Everything else will follow.

    Every day I try to do one thing that challenges my comfort zone.

    Re: Let's talk about the elephant in the room. Your stash.

    Got to live to be 213.
    Sometimes, when there's a raging fire,
    it's best not to try to put it out with gasoline.

    "...pal carajo con la negatividad..."


      Re: Let's talk about the elephant in the room. Your stash.

      I am with Sandy - at least 213. But, all my stash and precious items will go to my granddaughter if she still wants. Otherwise, they know they can donate to someone who will appreciate. I am cool with this solution and so are my girls.

      I do agree, we should have some plan in place.
      Life is short - live it up while you can


        Re: Let's talk about the elephant in the room. Your stash.

        Yes, we do love fabric. I don't think we realize how many quilts we can make with what we have. Figure every 6 yds of material will make a quilt and every 6-8 charm packs and what about those boxes of left over strips and pieces.
        My problem is that I think I have to use up the leftovers before I can work on the pretty organized pieces and the box just keeps overflowing. I feel like the saying, "if you always use the rotten apples first then you will always have rotting apples."
        I have plans for the pretty charms that sit on my shelf but can't bear to begin them YET!


          Re: Let's talk about the elephant in the room. Your stash.

          DH recently called me a sewing hoarder, and then I showed him some pictures on this forum of other's fabric stashes (I won't name names), and he changed his mind, laughed, and told me I needed to get busy shopping!

          So, No, I don't think I'm even a border line hoarder, although I know I'll never out live my stash, but do believe when I retire and am on a fixed budget, then I'll be able to continue quilting without busting the budget.

          He also once asked me, if anything were to happen to me, what did I want him to do with my sewing things. I told him that on my bulletin board was a note for him and my former DIL regarding that. It lists several people with contact information to offer the stuff to, this includes my fabrics, notions, and even my beloved vintage Singer. At the bottom of the list is also a couple of Quilting Guilds he can contact, followed by permission to donate everything to a specific local charitable thrift store.


            Re: Let's talk about the elephant in the room. Your stash.

            .........mmmmm, at least 213! I am using some of it up. I THINK I'm using it faster than I'm buying. Both my DIL both say they'd love to sew, yet, neither do. I've tried to teach. They say they don't have the time. I'm hoping if my stash out lives me, they will have time to sew. That's my plan....for now. I see all that changing when/if we move south. That's a lotta stuff to move........but oh sew grand! I could call it my retirement cushion........


              Re: Let's talk about the elephant in the room. Your stash.

              I'm with Suzanne. My quilting room and contents
              are well organized at all times.
              I use my stash, which isn't large, even though
              I have been quilting for 50 years. I only buy a
              few yards of fabric a year to add certain colors
              To my stash. My 2 granddaughters will get
              my machines and the contents in my sewing
              room. It seems sometimes people get more
              Enjoyment from buying fabric than actually
              making quilts. If you have a very large stash
              but produce few quilts stop buying and
              start making quilts. You can't take it with you.
              And it would take hours to go through it when
              you are looking for fabric to make a quilt.


                Re: Let's talk about the elephant in the room. Your stash.

                There is something to be said for having enough of a palette on hand that you can pull out fabrics for an impromptu project. There have been numerous times I've pulled out fabric that I wasn't sure I'd ever use, but turned out to be perfect for an emergency gift. I've always been a fan of the 'critical mass' view of fabric stashes - you need enough fabric to be able to sort through and find inspiration for your next project.

                That having been said, I am trying to buy less because I have achieved that critical mass level. There are designers whose palettes repeat themselves on a yearly or bi-yearly cycle, so I don't buy their latest offering unless it really grabs me for a specific project. I don't buy stashbuilder deals because I've already got a stash. But if something new and different comes along that I really like, it's fair game for adding to my fabric goody pile.

                Honestly, if someone's stash is something they can organize into nice neat shelves, drawers, and bins, then it is neither 'sad', nor an indication of hoarding. If the stash grows so much that it threatens to smother the person, or if there's boxes of super tiny triangles because they can't bear to throw out that little trimmed corner from their small flying geese units, then you might have some justification for calling it a hoarding situation.

                I will also point out that if you make it to age 65, there's a very good chance you'll make it to your mid-80's.

                Any fabric leftover from someone's stash when they pass will either wind up inherited by that person's loved ones, or wind up at a thrift store/estate sale for some other quilter to find.


                  Re: Let's talk about the elephant in the room. Your stash.

                  I don't understand why my fabric collection is other peoples problem.
                  I think of it as a blessing.
                  I bless people with quilts now, and when I pass, other people will be blessed to get my unused supplies at a deep discount, which is where I got nearly all my things when I was starting out.
                  Maybe I have enough to make a dozen quilts, maybe a hundred. I haven't calculated it, and don't wish to burden myself with such thoughts. I am busy thinking of what quilts I would like to bless which people in my life with. That's what makes me happy.

                  ps, there's no elephant in my room.
                  Pieced By Me! :icon_wave:

                  Pre-cut Yardage Chart


                    Re: Let's talk about the elephant in the room. Your stash.

                    I used to think I had to use up all the scraps I created. Now I give whoever will take them....usually someone in our guild is happy to take them off my hands. I want to make things with the pretty fabric in my stash...not try to think up ways to use all my scraps. Don't get me wrong....I sometimes make things from my scraps....I just don't feel like I have to. BTW...I do love scrappy quilts...I just don't want to feel pressured to use all the scraps up. So many little time.


                      Re: Let's talk about the elephant in the room. Your stash.

                      I don't normally buy fabric without a specific plan in mind for it, and never more than 3-4 quilts ahead, so a big stash isn't really a problem for me.
                      TRUTH is seldom appreciated, unless you happen to agree with it. When you don't agree, you just call it rude.


                        Re: Let's talk about the elephant in the room. Your stash.

                        Quilters last will and testament:

                        Blessed are the children of the piecemakers for they shall inherit the quilts!


                          Re: Let's talk about the elephant in the room. Your stash.

                          Originally posted by Monique View Post
                          Funny.....but? Mmmmm, not such a bad idea. Thank you!


                            Re: Let's talk about the elephant in the room. Your stash.

                            I have zero guilt over the amount of fabric I have on hand. I try to bless people with my sewing and embroidery and I don't worry about how much I have on hand. My only thing is that I have run out of room to store much more. It's all good. I don't believe I have hoarding tendencies. Jeff is a huge enabler!! He loves to watch me shop for fabric.
                            Last edited by Bubby; January 26th, 2018, 09:51 AM.

                            Scottie Mom Barb


                              Re: Let's talk about the elephant in the room. Your stash.

                              This is a very interesting discussion. I do have quite a bit of fabric and it is a bit overwhelming at times. Not because I'm a hoarder but because I'm unorganized. I am nearing retirement and have plans for that fabric! I have always referred to it as my 401Q. And I am looking forward to really having the time to get in my sewing space and get it organized and hopefully keep it that way. However I lost a dear quilting friend a couple years ago. She died well before her time. She had a huge fabric stash, kits, many UFO's, multiple machines, etc. Our small quilt group (8) said we would help go through her things and finish up some quilts. She had a couple daughters that sewed and they went through things first and took what they wanted and divided up the machines. It still left an incredible amount of things for us to deal with. We were able to get the quilts pieced that she had been working on. We pretty much divided things up amongst our group. We have shared many tears and laughter through this whole process. But I know it has made each and every one of us think twice about bringing more stash into our homes. And working very hard to use up what we have. None of us want to leave any of the others to go through this again. Just something to think about.