This week I'd like to chat about my stash. I know many of us stash fabric (it generally doesn't take long to have a collection of fabric), and I always think it's interesting to see how other people use theirs, so I thought I'd share my "stash" philosophy with you!
I have been lucky enough to work in not one, not two, but THREE different fabric stores as I've moved around the state. As I'm sure no one would be surprised to hear, all three of them had beautiful fabric tempting me to take some home with me nearly every time I worked. Also, I have an amazing grandmother who not only generously taught me to quilt, but in the past has shared some of her "stash" with me when she decided she needed to downsize how much fabric she had.
Also, as many quilters know, most projects have scraps or small yardage amounts left over once the project is finished. I do like to cut my scraps down into usable pre-cut sizes like Bonnie Hunter (check out quiltville.com for details, this lady is a genius), but after a while that leaves me with a TON of pre-cut scraps.
All of these things led me to having a MASSIVE stash of fabric. Something needed to be done. WE SIMPLY DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH ROOM FOR THIS TO CONTINUE!!! haha.
So, in the last 5 years, I have been on a "Fabric Diet". What does that mean, you might ask? It means I shop my stash first for a project, and only purchase new fabric to finish a project. For the most part, this has worked out really well. Most of the time I stick to this, and I am able to make a small dent in the fabric I am storing each time I start a new project. HOWEVER, just like any diet, sometimes you might have a "cheat" day. ;) Overall, my occasional cheat days have balanced out the diet days, but at least I haven't been "gaining weight".
One way I have been especially good at dieting is shopping my stash for backing fabrics. Generally I don't worry as much about being "matchy-matchy" with my backing as long as it's close to matching. Also, sometimes I will piece different pieces of yardage to make a "scrappy" backing. In the end these pieced backs end up being some of my favorites because they make use of older fabric that has been collecting dust in the cabinet. Here is an example of one of my pieced backs.
Whenever I do a back like this I feel like I have really accomplished something, and most people don't look at the backing anyway. However, I tend not to follow this approach if I plan to put a quilt up for sale.
In a recent finish (coming to the blog soon!), I was able to use up two pieces of yardage that were the same color, but different patterns. Both prints were from 1999!!! It felt so great to use these and see these fabrics finally find a purpose. I used a strip of purple in the middle to help distract from the fact that they were different prints, and also because I needed a little bit extra width in the backing. Who cares that they are different prints? The color matches well with the front and it turned out great. :)
Guys, I have to be honest with you though. Accountability is part of any successful diet, you know?
I totally BINGED on fabric this weekend. Check out the stack below...
The worst part of this picture is.....this is only HALF of what I bought!!! What have I done!?
It isn't all bad. There is a great fabric store chain in West Michigan, Fields Fabrics. They have the best clearance section in the entire world. I'm not kidding. There were tons of Freespirit prints from designers like Amy Butler, Anna Maria Horner, Denyse Schmidt, Joel Dewberry, etc. for $2.97 to $4.97 a yard! How could I say no!?
Although I went nuts buying fabric, I will say that most of what I bought followed my "fabric diet" rules. I was able to pick up a number of quilt backings for existing projects at an unbeatable price. Also I was able to rebuild my stash with fabrics from my favorite designers for a lot less money than buying yardage full price.
So tell me! What are some of your favorite ways to bust your stash? Are you on a "Stash Diet" like me? I'd love to hear what you guys are doing to keep your hoard...I mean STASH...under control?
Have a good one!
The Quilted Mitten