Studio and Stash Tour

I’m a member of the Stashbusters yahoo group, and one of the traditions is to give a “state of the stash” report during one’s birthday month. October is my month!

Since my last report, I’ve lamented my stash both privately and out loud. Having “too much” makes me a little uneasy. Fabric is intended to be used, not hoarded, as I wrote (and reposted recently.) And at various times over the past year, especially, I’ve felt like my inventory got a little away from me. However, after less buying for several months and some good work putting things in their right places, it all feels more under control now.

What you see below is the vast majority of my stash. The upper two shelves have 5 plastic bins each. I think they’re considered shoe box size. I separate most of my fabrics by color. On the top shelf, for instance, is black, brown, purple, and two kinds of pinks. Most of the bins are pretty full. In the lower part of the armoire are two cabinets. The right one has some pieces that are bigger and maybe useful as backing or background. In the left cabinet are odds and ends of flannel (hardly any,) some chunks of muslin, and some decorator fabric. There’s also a skein of yarn (why??) and a little embroidery stuff in there.


Besides the armoire, I have plastic roller bins under my cutting table. The three drawers on the right have “projects,” somewhat loosely defined. The middle drawer unit has bags, basic scraps, and remnants of bindings and odd blocks or parts. You can see none of the drawers is stuffed full.

All this is in a spare bedroom. In the closet I keep a roll of batting and some packaged batting. My extra machine and roller case, and some other odds and ends also live in the closet.

Also in the bedroom is my cutting table, my long-arm, and my book shelf.


Above the window is a long LED light bar. It adds a huge amount of light when I am quilting.

The last item in that room is an old shelf that has my long-arm accessories and threads.

As you can tell, nothing is very fancy but I have plenty and especially plenty of space! In fact, besides that room, I also have space in the adjacent family room. It includes a long desk area where I use my domestic machine and sometimes use my computer. My ironing board is here, as well as a currently blank design wall.


The design wall is empty because my current project is almost done. Its size now is a little too big and heavy to stick on the craft felt wall.

So, my friends, the state of my stash is healthy, and my studio is spacious and easy to use. I am so very blessed. Thanks for reading.

28 thoughts on “Studio and Stash Tour

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Pretty well, yes. I’m getting mentally ready to add some new things to spark imagination. But I still have a handful of stash projects planned before the end of the year.

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Thanks, Johanna. Honestly the photos show it a little neater than average, but I straighten things up to this point at least a couple times a year. I do like to keep things put away.

  4. KerryCan

    I like seeing how tidy everything is–and how manageable your accumulated stash seems to be. You are obviously not out of control in the fabric-hoarding sense! I would benefit hugely from some time spent on organizing . . .

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Yes, it’s about the right stash size for me. I’ve never been much of a shopper — don’t get that thrill from either the hunt or acquisitions. While fabric shopping can be fun, lots of times it leaves me feeling overwhelmed and confused.

  5. Helen Poole

    Melanie, you are so organized! I have one room for my fabric, cutting table, and a few things that are not quilt related. One room for my LA, I have an Innova 18″ with a 12′ table. I have some of the three drawer cabinets under it with most of my thread, quilting rulers, etc. I use a roll of batting that is on a batting roller ,, I sew in an alcove off of the living room so I can watch/listen to the TV , since I am alone most of the time, I find myself being a little unorganized. I get fabric out and after cutting, sort of forget to put it back until I am looking again.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      I totally understand forgetting to put stuff away! As I’ve been working on my current project, I also was putting things away. It was amazing how much had somehow slipped by!

      Sounds like you’ve got pretty good workspace, too. I know a lot of people store things under their frame. It’s a good solution, for sure.

  6. Kathy Aho in MN

    Neat, Well cared for, and obviously loved and used. Best kind of stash is one that is being used not hoarded. All the better to make well loved quilts with. Bravo!

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Thanks, Kathy. One of the things I like BEST about the size of stash I have is I can literally go through ALL of it if I’m pulling stuff for a quilt. There’s some variety because the pieces are smallish. But I don’t have so much that anything gets truly buried or hidden.

  7. Thread crazy

    Wow Melanie, your room and stash are so neat! I did have my stash in rolling plastic bins but then found some wire bins at IKEA that stack and are very spacious. I like the light bar o er the window…may have to try that one.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      My room is neatest when I’m actually quilting!! Because otherwise, I just set stuff down and walk away. 🙂 The light bar is great. It was not expensive, $40 or less?? It can come down easily, so is usable elsewhere if needed. I have it plugged into the same surge protector as the long-arm is on, and I unplug the whole thing when I am not using it. Just a little extra safety precaution…

  8. katechiconi

    Your space is enviable! I also have a whole room to myself, but I have made it a point of honour not to allow quilting activities of any kind to escape it unless I’m sandwiching a quilt, in which case the dining table comes into play. The room is much smaller, by the sound of it, and I don’t have a long arm (also enviable!), so I get by, despite one entire wall being covered by book case. I like your plastic roller bins, too, I must see if I can find some as they’d relieve the pressure here and there.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      I used to be all in one room. Since our son moved to college 8 years ago (and on since then) we’ve had the space to spare. If you look closely at the wall above my cutting table, you might see the 3 pieces of artwork are framed replicas of old jazz album covers. They are actually his, as this used to be his room. Some day he may want them again.

    2. Melanie McNeil Post author

      The roller bins were inexpensive, found at Walmart (discount store.) They’re usually on sale at the beginning of the school year and sometimes at the beginning of the calendar year. I bought them when I stored all of my local guild’s donation stash. If I used my closet better I wouldn’t need them at all. But since I have them, they work well for me.

      1. katechiconi

        I’ll see what my local office supply place has, but it’s the wrong time of year for us; our school year ends at Christmas. Thank you for taking the time to give me the detail!


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