Wednesday, 22 July 2015

WOW: A Tidy Room!

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
My sewing room is finally in order. I was very happy to realise that an entire shelf of fabric has now been emptied of fabrics. This front shelf here was loaded with fabric, but is now books and magazines only. Over the next few weeks, I will be going through this bookshelf and letting go of any titles that I don't need in my life. It's hard to release things as I like everything I have. But if I don't need it, it has to go. I released an entire shelf of fabric in this way and now only have the stash shelf behind it full of fabric. My stash busting is half accomplished. The rest of my shelving consists of plastic boxes that are each filled with a WIP. When I'm ready, I'll take on each box one at a time until all my WIPs are done. What a wonderful feeling that will be. I hope I live long enough to actually accomplish such a huge task!
My biggest quilting mistake was that, 14 years ago when I started out, it was a popular idea to 'stash build'. I don't know why stash building appealed to me so much, but it did. And it even made sense. I wasn't the only one - everyone was doing it. Which sounds so stupid now. I really don't know why I didn't stop and think of the future? I purchased heaps of fabric. And I pretty much regret 80% of it. I really didn't think so much of it could date so badly. But it has. Most of it hasn't been useful. In fact, it's been a burden and I'm happy to see it gone. I now try to buy what I need on a project basis only and I'm already making a habit of releasing the leftovers wherever I can and to whomever I can. It's liberating.

I want to be a woman with quilts, not a woman with fabrics.
What are your thoughts on fabric stashes?

What's Your WOW?


33 comments:

  1. How well said -- a woman with quilts, not a woman with fabrics. I'm slowly getting rid of the stash - much which wasn't of my doing, but friends who gave me tons thinking to help me build my stash. However my likes are so different from their likes. Know that is why I haven't used a lot of it - plus it's overwhelming. Even scraps! I'll have to come up with a new strategy with those. I'm going to do as you did, Esther and find homes for large scraps left over from projects instead of keeping them thinking I will make a scrap quilt further down the line - not going to happen, so why pile up the quilt. Your room looks very tidy. Congratulations.

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    1. Oh yes I'm releasing things left, right and centre - it's liberating.

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  2. Wow, Esther, how wonderful! Great minds and all that..., LOL! Only this afternoon I was in there, "trying" to tidy up. And as you, I plan to go through my bookshelves, there are books there I know I will never look at again.
    But your idea about STASH is so liberating, I love it. Yes, we all have been doing it, and now I know most of it will never get used; I tend to buy new fabrics for each project. All my projects are in individual boxes, with all the fabric needed, so what is in all those draws? After reading your post I will not feel guilty about getting rid of it! Thank you! :-)
    xx

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    1. Radka, its hard in the beginning but it's worth it!

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  3. I feel exactly the same! After collecting fabrics for over 20 years and not using my favorites because then I don't have them anymore (go figure) I have given away a good portion of my stash. As we recently moved I decided now is that time to "down size" and I found a church quilting group which makes quilts for charity so I not only feel liberated, I even feel I've done a good deed. From now on I'm intending to only buy what I need; lets see how long I last.

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    1. Great thinking, now you can focus on using your creative space to create...and not 'store'

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  4. Your room looks great. A seem to have a fabric buying addiction.

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    1. I'm slowly getting there. It's hard because I get distracted, but I'm getting old and I have to be strict.

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  5. Esther, I can see your point about getting rid of the "stash" idea. For a lot of quilters it is a great idea. I, on the other hand really favor a scrappy style. I just cannot make a quilt that has only a "few" fabrics in it. I don't believe in buying just to buy, but I like to purchase things that are on sale that I know I will use. I also like to purchase fabrics that I know will go with each other in a quilt and then decide later what to make out of it. My stash is likely small compared to most quilters out there and I have narrowed it down to pieces I think I will use. I had better use it up BEFORE it is outdated.

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    1. I know what you mean, I love scrappy quilts too. When I made Lily Rose I really loved having a wide selection to choose from for my HSTs. But if I'm honest with myself, I could have purchased a larger selection of smaller amounts in new fabrics and although it would have cost a bit more than I wanted to spend, I have wasted a lot of money stash building over the years on fabrics I won't ever use :(

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  6. Dear Esther

    The best part about purging everything from, books, magazines, fabric and notions one do't use? It takes a weight of your shoulders. Personal experience has shown me, it opens the mental block on creativity. Like a blanc canvas. Only much better. Every year I pack away my sewing machine, mentally, for six weeks. I do not sew for the entire time. It is my vacation from sewing, I keep a book and pencil handy. The ideas just flow and they get jotted down. This come in very handy when I work on projects during the year. Less is better. Making a list of the projects one want to make from patterns, magazines and only keeping those will cut the shelf to a quarter of what is on there. It happened, when I tested the theory. Your sewing room is looking amazing!

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    1. Maggie you are so right, I do feel burdened and in the last few months I have felt like my creative space was becoming a storage area - I just can't create with all the 'stuff' I have no plans for taking up my precious sewing room. And no matter how nicely I arrange a shelf, my actual tried and true quilting needs are very modest. I keep using the same tools over and over (even though I have so many options). I find myself sticking to a simple kit! It's ridiculous!

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  7. I agree with you completely. When I was working I think I did a lotmof atahs building because I didn't have time to quilt. I did a major purge in my sewing room this past weekend. I found a friend who needs stash so I pulled 2 boxes of fabric for her. I'll purge more over the next 2 months as I find donation sites. My goal is to eliminate enough shelving to be able to install another design wall.

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    1. There's a real truth in this. When I couldn't quilt because I was travelling with my DH or working on other areas of my life - I purchased fabric to compensate for not actually sitting down and sewing or quilting. It was like I was nesting for my future quilting plans - and I'm now a different person, my tastes have changes somewhat ...and so have my quilting plans and therefore fabric needs! It's interesting many of us create and fill up our spaces in this way.

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  8. What a wonderful statement ! I have been through the same process last year and it feels great. I now don't have the guilt, I'm free to create what I want NOT what I think I should because it is in my sewing room LOL

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    1. I'm glad someone has accomplished it! I'm slowly but surely getting there and can't wait until I do.

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  9. well said. I know I have a lot less fabric then some quilters do but I do have a stash. I regret some of the early purchases and try more and more to have somewhat of an idea what I will do with the fabric I purchase. I just made a large purchase but it is for two specific tops for the backings. What is on the shelves out in the open of the sewing room is the fabric that I have - way too much actually but I keep trying to make more quilts.

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    1. I know what you mean. There are some 'set asides' for me too. The problem is, a lot of the fabric is beautiful and I do love it - but that doesn't mean I'm ever going to have a chance to use it. I do have plans for a but of my stash, there are things I'd like to make going forward that I need a little stash for (and I mean little, like 1x shelf) but the rest has to go, I have to be ruthless with myself as I can get all sentimental over fabrics - which is just silly :)

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  10. I too use to want to collect fabric and dreamed of having a sewing room that looked like a quilt shop. But, slowly I learned that I too would rather have a few or more finished quilts rather than a room full of fabric.

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    1. ME TOO! I thought the more fabric I had, the better it would be. I'll be honest with you, there was a point three years ago when I DID certainly have more fabric on my shelves than my local quilt shop had in stock. And I was still in there, looking for MORE fabric. That's when I realized I had to stop creating beautiful fabric filled spaces and start creating QUILTS. It's been a tough lesson for me.

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  11. I would agree, except it is awfully nice to be able to find the color I "need" without having to go shopping. Often I am so slow at finishing a project that a color that I need would no longer be available to purchase. There must be a happy medium, but I haven't found it, and continue to accumulate.

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    1. But what happens when they have to send in the Mountain Rescue Dogs because your stash shelf has buried you? I don't think I'll ever manage a happy medium, but if you do, please blog about it and share your tips with us all!

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  12. I think you are right. I like to have some stash for small projects and just to play around but for a new quilt I always go shopping for fabrics,

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    1. That's the new habit I am trying to instill in myself!

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  13. WOW everyone, thank you for your comments, it's nice to know that I'm not alone in my sewing room fabric dilemma. I'm planning on a few more stash busting quilt patterns and then, whatever I have left will be put out to my local charity shop. The whole lot.

    Otherwise I feel so overwhelmed when I have so much fabric to deal with and the other issue is that when you have as much as I have had, sorting through it to find the fabric you're after is so hard because it's all so tightly packed!

    That said, I do like using it up and have a new remedy in place for my future quilts which I'll share in a later post - its revolutionary for me!

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  14. I'm still working on Bonnie Hunter's latest mystery quilt, Grand Illusion. That was an excellent stash buster for me. I only had to buy the coordinating yellow, everything else was from my stash. My stash is not so large that I regret it; I mostly only buy fabric while on vacation. I have never bought tons of yardage, but I still feel as if I have plenty of fabric. Panels, now, I do have some panel regrets. I really need to start working on some of them. My batiks are getting a little out of control too. I'm making a Dear Jane out of batiks and hand-dyes and I now have enough fabric for about 4 DJs.

    Your closet looks fantastic. We are de-cluttering our entire home. Every Sunday my husband an I each select six things to pitch, donate or sell and write about it on our blog in a feature called Six on Sunday. We have been doing it for about 9 weeks and I'm still working on my walk-in closet. It is finally starting to look pretty good.

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  15. Congratulations on becoming liberated! I have been doing the same thing slowly and it is wonderful!

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  16. I also started about 14 years ago and have a great stash. I remember how popular the different Designers were and their fabric lines.... I purchased and purchased and now I need to quit that and see if in 10 years I can sew it all up (LOL). Somehow the stash stays the same, but I do produce quilts. One just does not realize how little of each fabric it takes to make a quilt! I also have cleaned and organized and it does help with the creativity and producing a quilt. I just need to quit buying now. I was a good girl until last year when I found the Australian quilters and Reproduction fabrics - did not have a one in my stash, but now it is overflowing. Your hard work has paid off and everything looks so neat and organized - it does clear the mind and body! Have a great time enjoying the "organized space".

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  17. Truly?? You're glad to have the fabric gone?? I know I should do this but am so attached to it all. I'm so foolishly attached I won't use it half the time!! Crazy. And the books that I don't use and are outdated. I feel like just getting rid of them is wasting money, I should sell them. But how? AND I bought more fabric on my trip to Ohio. hmph. LeeAnna at not afraid of color

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  18. There are more extreme stash builders. When I was in one of my favourite quilting shops the lady behind the counter told me that the customer who had just bought some fat quarters did not actually sew. She just liked collecting the fabric!

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  19. Hi Esther - I am in awe of your self control. I am in denial. I need a larger workroom, not less fabric. See, I told you I was in denial. :)

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  20. Years ago, I remember some quilters saying (and I think I read it in a quilt magazine too) "Whoever dies with the largest stash is the winner!" I haven't heard that in a long time and I always thought it was a very silly thing to say.
    My mother used to work in a fabric store and I think she spent every penny of her salary on fabric. And yes, she did get an employee discount so she didn't have to pay full price, but she bought fabric with that too! After she died I didn't have very kind thoughts about her fabric stash. Four rooms of fabric and books and patterns were too much. She actually had duplicates of quilt book.
    I remember very vividly my daughter standing in the midst of that mess, looking at me and saying, "Mom, please don't do this to us." You are so right when you say you want to be a woman with quilts, not a woman with fabrics. Me too!

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  21. I'm very far behind in leaving comments on blogs (my computer died) but I've kept this post and the 2 previous ones about your studio clean-up as new so I could come back and comment. I really like that you showed before, in-progress, and after photos of your studio. Your space looks wonderful! (I remember you said it doesn't stay clean too long, but it's always nice to have a fresh start every now and then.)

    Happy quilting, Esther!

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Thanks for commenting!