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