Tag Archives: State of the stash

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.