Tag Archives: Stashbusters

Annual Stash Declaration

The yahoo group Stashbusters has a tradition. Each year during their birthday month, members declare the state of their stash. Today is my birthday. And this is the state of my stash.

I don’t keep records of my purchases and yardage used, as some do. This year my purchases have been exceptionally small in quantity. My sister visited in the spring and helped me indulge with a few pretty things. My friend Nancy and I went to Helios in Mt. Vernon, and I got a few others. Other than 3 yards of backing fabric purchased a couple weeks ago, I don’t think I’ve bought anything since the middle of the year.

Of course, I haven’t made much since then, either.

Still, I think usage has probably been higher than purchases this year. I think my stash has depleted some in total. I’ve emptied a couple of my plastic bins. My dusky teals and old-fashioned rusty oranges are largely gone. I’ve consumed most of the navies in my blues bin. My scraps drawer is close to full…

Here. Take a look. This is ALL my stash. Okay, not all of it, but the vast majority.

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In the upper right corner are two stacks of oranges. This is what they look like spread out a bit.

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You can see, there is A LOT of fabric there. But in a relative sense, not really a lot. Very few cuts are more than a yard, across my whole stash. There are lots of little pieces, less than a fat quarter, in those stacks above.

I also have a bit already grouped for specific projects, and I have some solids that aren’t with their color sets. And there are a few special things, including fun large prints and batiks, an African wax cloth, and an Aboriginal print.

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From left to right: traditional print, African wax cloth, print that looks like batik, Aboriginal design print, print that looks like batik. These could all end up in the same project.

Finally, there is my scrap drawer. While I love scrap quilts, I don’t use scraps very well these days. Occasionally I’ll dig through and find pieces to use, and I’ve become comfortable with piecing scraps together to make patches that are large enough. But mostly these languish. I don’t make quilts that use them easily. And I don’t much want to.

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Over time, my purchases have changed. Early in my quilting I found a lot of value in tone-on-tone prints. These provide a sense of texture and depth without giving a distracting or specific pattern. On the far right is a print that mimics coffee cup rings, an example of tone-on-tone since the patterning can disappear into piecing. Others are more mottled and less patterned than it.

Early on I also bought what were called “focus” fabrics or inspiration prints. They were mostly larger florals, but there were some other types. Two you can’t see in the orange stack are one with bunnies printed in yellow on coral, and one that’s a 1930s repro with tiny kitties on it. They are harder to use than fabrics with less distinct patterns, and they are  most suitable in quilts with a particular feel.

I still buy tone-on-tone and small prints. I don’t use many large florals. But there are more interesting prints in my stash than there used to be. Some of them are “ethnic” prints reminiscent of other cultures. They can be harder to use, and sometimes quilts need to be designed just for them. However the impact of these can make a quilt something quite special.

Today, for my birthday, I’m going shopping with Jim. My favorite quilt shop has a sale going on. While that rarely lures me, I’m ready for some inspiration from new things.

(If you’d like to see my studio, please take a look at my stash report from last year.) 

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.

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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.
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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.

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Above the window is a long LED light bar. It adds a huge amount of light when I am quilting.
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The last item in that room is an old shelf that has my long-arm accessories and threads.
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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.

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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.

Worth Its Weight in Gold

I’m struggling with inspiration for starting new projects. I only have a couple of UFOs, so picking up an old project to finish isn’t an easy fix. Today I decided to review old posts to see if anything would spark some motivation. The post below from March 2014 doesn’t lend a lot of mojo, but it does remind me that my stash is to use. If it is to be used, I need to use it. Yeah. That simple. Enjoy the rerun…


In my professional career I worked as an investment manager with a large regional bank. My clients included both trusts and individuals, and my job was to try to meet their financial goals, balancing potential risks and returns.

A trust is a document, not a human, but it has its own legal identity and ownership of assets and liabilities. The document specifies, in particular, who receives benefits from the assets owned by the trust, and what those benefits will be. In days past, trusts also often specified exactly what assets could be used. For example, it might say that particular farm property had to be held, or that only stocks and bonds could be used.

One trust with which I worked said that gold coins had to be owned by the trust, as well as financial assets. The coins had belonged to the person (human) who had set up the trust. When that person died, the coins transferred in ownership from the human to the trust.

That same trust also said the beneficiary would receive any income generated by the trust. For example, if farm property is held, the farm creates cash flow, and the net income would go to the beneficiary. With stocks, the dividend stream would create income. And with bonds, interest earned would do so.

Think for a moment: what income do coins generate? I suppose if they were rare enough, someone might pay to see them, as in a museum. But they were not. They were just gold coins, and they generated no income.

Now consider, the coins could never be sold because the document said they had to be held, so it didn’t matter what the price of gold was in the market. The coins would never go to market. And the beneficiary could only receive income, but the coins would not generate income. What value, really, was there in the coins?

No more value than pet rocks.

What gold are you keeping hidden, never to be used or appreciated? Your quilting stash, if purchased new in the U.S. today, would go for about $10-15 a yard. Overseas it may be substantially more. Does your “trust” hold a hundred yards? That would be a fairly modest stash, by many standards. A thousand yards?

You could measure it using a simple estimate. Quilting fabric weighs a little more than a quarter pound per yard. In other words, there are about three to four yards per pound. The photo above shows about fifteen yards of my stash, by that measure. Eyeballing it, I might have 400 yards of stash in total. And mine is small…

Each pound, then, might have a value of about $40-60 in the U.S. Perhaps not the value of gold on the market. But there is value, if…

Do you use it? Do you get the benefit of it? Or do you still go buy new, at $13 a yard, rather than shop the stash?

Is your stash worth the same as the gold held by that trust? If you don’t use it, you don’t enjoy cutting it, crafting it, or giving it to someone who will love it. If you do not use it, it has no value.

Use your stash. Shop your stash first. Enjoy the discovery of fabrics you already love. Challenge your creativity by finding pieces that will work, even if they aren’t what you had in mind. Make sure your stash has value, at least the value you paid for it. Otherwise it’s worth its weight in gold, the gold owned by that trust.

State of the Stash, October 2014

A year ago I gave my annual State of the Stash report, a long-standing tradition in the  Stashbusters Yahoo group. The primary goal of the group is to encourage members to avoid unneeded fabric accumulation, and to use what they have. The stash report helps members be accountable for their progress toward their own goals. And it’s time to report again.

Usually my personal goals don’t include stash reduction, simply because I have a relatively small stash. However, over the past couple of years I’ve been transitioning my stash to brighter, happier colors. With that I’ve added some stash.

Most of my stash lives in the upper part of the armoire, sorted by color into plastic bins. A few pieces are in the lower right cupboard, including oddments like large pieces of light neutrals, a couple of over-sized pieces that might become backing, and a couple of themed sets of fabrics.

In the lower left of the armoire are other odd things, including some upholstery fabric and an old embroidery project.

I don’t keep track of how much I purchase or how much I use, as some Stashbusters do. But it will all fit in there, even with the additions from this year.

To see more, click here!

Worth Its Weight in Gold


In my professional career I worked as an investment manager with a large regional bank. My clients included both trusts and individuals, and my job was to try to meet their financial goals, balancing potential risks and returns.

A trust is a document, not a human, but it has its own legal identity and ownership of assets and liabilities. The document specifies, in particular, who receives benefits from the assets owned by the trust, and what those benefits will be. In days past, trusts also often specified exactly what assets could be used. For example, it might say that particular farm property had to be held, or that only stocks and bonds could be used.

One trust with which I worked said that gold coins had to be owned by the trust, as well as financial assets. The coins had belonged to the person (human) who had set up the trust. When that person died, the coins transferred in ownership from the human to the trust.

That same trust also said the beneficiary would receive any income generated by the trust. For example, if farm property is held, the farm creates cash flow, and the net income would go to the beneficiary. With stocks, the dividend stream would create income. And with bonds, interest earned would do so.

Think for a moment: what income do coins generate? I suppose if they were rare enough, someone might pay to see them, as in a museum. But they were not. They were just gold coins, and they generated no income.

Now consider, the coins could never be sold because the document said they had to be held, so it didn’t matter what the price of gold was in the market. The coins would never go to market. And the beneficiary could only receive income, but the coins would not generate income. What value, really, was there in the coins?

No more value than pet rocks.

What gold are you keeping hidden, never to be used or appreciated? Your quilting stash, if purchased new in the U.S. today, would go for about $10-15 a yard. Overseas it may be substantially more. Does your “trust” hold a hundred yards? That would be a fairly modest stash, by many standards. A thousand yards?

You could measure it using a simple estimate. Quilting fabric weighs a little more than a quarter pound per yard. In other words, there are about three to four yards per pound. The photo above shows about fifteen yards of my stash, by that measure. Eyeballing it, I might have 400 yards of stash in total. And mine is small…

Each pound, then, might have a value of about $40-60 in the U.S. Perhaps not the value of gold on the market. But there is value, if…

Do you use it? Do you get the benefit of it? Or do you still go buy new, at $13 a yard, rather than shop the stash?

Is your stash worth the same as the gold held by that trust? If you don’t use it, you don’t enjoy cutting it, crafting it, or giving it to someone who will love it. If you do not use it, it has no value.

Use your stash. Shop your stash first. Enjoy the discovery of fabrics you already love. Challenge your creativity by finding pieces that will work, even if they aren’t what you had in mind. Make sure your stash has value, at least the value you paid for it. Otherwise it’s worth its weight in gold, the gold owned by that trust.