Wednesday, 14 May 2014

WOW: So Much Fabric, So Hard To Choose

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays

Is your stash a burden or a blessing?

Whenever I'm asked what advice I would give a new or would be quilter, it's always the same answer: don't stash build. This advice is easier to give than follow that's for sure: especially given that I have worked with fabric for over 30 years and I simply adore fabric and textiles. But since I started quilting, my love has really flourished! I now have so much fabric and so often, none of it seems just right for whatever project I'm working on. I'm doing my best to stash bust, but as I develop as a quilter I realise that apart from the occasional must haves, I'd really be so much better off if I purchased fabrics on a per project basis only.

Unfortunately I'm too late wise on this and will have to try and work through my fabric mountain one design at a time. I think it's time for some serious stash busting quilt patterns...

I'd love to know, are you a stash builder? buster? or neither? 
How do you manage your quilting fabric purchases? 

Update 9pm: I am loving your comments on this: it seems that collecting beautiful fabric is an issue for lots of us and I am loving reading your comments on how you handle your fabrics. 

What's Your WOW ?


  1. I think i am neither. My budget for fabric is very limited so i have to plan carefully. Taking into consideration what i want to make and which tops need to be finished and what i need to get that done. When i see a fabric that makes me go ohlala i buy it because when i buy fabric on projectbases i just can't seem to find the right fabric. Since i love scrappy quilts with lots of different colours this is never a problem.

  2. Im so very glad I love scrappy quilts!
    That's also my excuse for buying fabric, just bacause I love them.
    I really try to keep it limited though, because I really have enough fabric in my stash... But sometimes.... ;)
    I try to better my life and limit my fabric purchases. It's not easy, I must say.
    Enjoy your stash, Ria.

  3. I haven't been a stash builder but from quilting for 30+ years I have a lot of fabric gathered up, left overs from tons and projects and fat bundles plus all my boxes of scrap pieces - I am trying to mainly just use my stash now and as I am mainly a scrap quilter that works out fine for me.

  4. Agreed: don't stash build. I have been a stash builder, then my dear mother passed, who was also a stash builder, aaack! Now it's way beyond what I will ever use. Result: time to clear it out to a manageable amount.

    1. and what is a manageable amount? ha, there will still be too much.... at this point in life not to add to stash is for me..... except for the beautiful yardage that only comes around a few times a year.

  5. Hi Esther, I started quilting in 1971. In the late 90's I discovered FlyLady. Insert long story here...In October 2001 I went on the fabric wagon. I'm thinking late 2015 I may be able to say I've done my stash justice, bye bye, so long, was a pleasure to know you.

    I too advise not to stash build..I see the new quilters buying BOLTS of fabric and I cringe, knowing how long it took me just to finish up the 1/8 yard pieces I started out buying.

    Lead by example I guess, because we never listen to advice.

    hugs, Sharyn in Kalama

  6. All my recent purchases are for specific projects that I have in mind, but I still have a decent stash that, like yours, never seems to have exactly what I want. Maybe I should cut it all up and make string quilts and then start over!

  7. I love my stash. I love making scrappy quilts - all of my quilting projects start in my stash. I buy for my stash. My philosophy is fabric goes out so fabric has to come in too. I buy what I like but rarely more than a 1/4 yard.

  8. I don't like making scrappy quilts so much, and regularly cull, have also gone through a period of not buying, but then found that my stash was looking dated. So this year I've done significant buying (not bolts though...) I throw/give away scraps, I also have a newly created scraps drawer to scrabble through when making sample projects.
    Over the past few years have wanted to get to a position where I only buy for projects...I have limited space and have decided that all my 'ingredients' have to be contained in that space.

  9. For the past 3 years, I've been a stash buster, and if I meet my goal I will have removed from my stash 300 yards at the end of this year. I've sewn seriously since 1986, but my stash didn't appear til around 1991 as friends who knew I was getting into quilting started giving me fabric, then two good friends died and I inherited a lot of theirs, too. Now I donate fabric to causes - fabric I no longer feel attached to, or make charity quilts with scraps. The stash goes down when I make backs from it - now that takes a big chunk at times. ANd like Kate, I, too, want my stash to be contained in one place.

  10. Esther I am very proud and love all my fabrics that I have built in the last 30 years. I was very particular in only getting Quilt store quality fabric and I have moved my cupboards, yes cupboards, from one area to another which means folding unfolding, petting and revisiting my stash. I still love all that I have picked. I am able to go into my stash and build a quilt at anytime of day or night knowing that what I choose in there is perfectly wonderful for my quilt. I am now busting my stash and trying to deplete some of it, but am enjoying cause I know that when I picked these fabrics I still love them now. Bust away at your stash and enjoy if you don't use it all by the time your time has come not to worry some other quilter will enjoy what you have

  11. I love hearing how you are all handling your fabrics.

    Yes, I know the packing and re-packing feeling as I do fall in love with them all over again whenever I have to move them (for instance, when my fabric shelf broke down from being over burdened)!

    But I have realized that a lot of fabric really *does* date and I know I'm not going to get use from it.

    I should probably mention that I am actively turning 2x stash busting scrappy friendly designs into patterns ASAP to help me get through some of the fabric which I know I'll otherwise never use and which I think it too pretty to sit on the shelf another 10 years.

  12. I am afraid to comment on this...because my stash has taken over the house. When I see a collection I like I buy what I can and hoard like crazy. You are right, down the road the project comes along that would work with said collection but there isn't enough of this or that and we need to buy more but it's discontinued. So we have to add. It's never just right but we use it anyway and then we have regrets. And I continue to stash. It is an illness.

  13. Yes my family accused me of being a 'hoarder' which I thought was utter nonsense, until I considered building extra fabric shelves in the corridor and laundry. Then my current stash shelf collapsed under the weight. And then I had to realize that the fabric was becoming dated AND there was never enough of any one to complete projects. It's a kind of madness.

  14. Definitely a stash builder - but not by design because i dye all my own fabrics and never buy commercial. I still manage to dye not quite the colour I wanted, not quite enough to do the project in mind, not enough time to do the intended project, lost interest in the intended project, got interested in a different project... I keep telling myself to stop dyeing - then I find the colours I have aren't right, don't go together well enough for what I have in mind. However, I am REALLY impressed by how neat and tidy your stash is! wish I could say the same!!

  15. Oh yes I had much more fabric when I was hand dying. And I was also always just a tone or hue 'out' which meant that I often made beautiful schemes that I didn't actually use for that project.

    I haven't dyed in several years and that has helped keep the stash down.

  16. LOL yes a stash builder and I regret it too. I will never use it all. Before I moved I gave 9 very large garbage bags full away. And yes I still have tons stashed in my new sewing room. I do get anxious about it so I am going to start giving it away. I will never live long enough to use it all up. LOL. Hugs Bunny.

  17. I don't buy much new fabric but I'm a stash builder of recycled fabric. I just cannot throw away any fabric.
    Old pants, dresses, shirts, t-shirts, pyjamas, etc. I cut the seams away, remove the buttons and zippers (I keep them, of course!). Then I fold the pieces of fabric and put them on my shelves. I have cotton, wool, polyester, linen, velvet, you name it. I use these fabric for bags, ornaments, embroidery and even quilts. I few years ago, I thought that my collection was maybe (maybe) getting too big, so I decided not to keep pieces smaller than 2". It helped. A little. ;-)

  18. I have a fairly big fabric stash as well. I've now separated it out into pieces destined for particular projects, and everything else! I've been trying to use up fabrics that no longer match my tastes by using them in charity quilts. I love scrappy quilts so use a lot there. I also collect mainly batiks and I don't they date quite as quickly.

  19. I've vowed to start using my collection of fabric.
    To be honest, I rarely buy new fabric.
    I have bought a lot at yard sales and thrift shops.
    Other people have cleaned out their stash and donated to me.
    I got tons of pre-cut shapes (including the over 2000 hexagons in my picture) given to me after the man's wife died.

    I love to make scrappy quilts, so I am set to make plenty.

    I'm mad at myself for buying fabric the other day only to come home and find that I had plenty of pieces large enough for the back of my scrappy table runner.

    I have bags of fabric to look through that was given to me.
    I have the square shelving units and some of the cloth drawers.
    The drawers have fabrics for making bags, for making hot pads, making pillowcases, etc.
    Otherwise the holes are filled...all purples, all reds and pinks, all neutral colors, all blues, etc.

  20. you are right, the comments are great!
    I'm so glad to read that many of them are like me and enjoy making scrappy quilts.
    (I picked up a new pattern just yesterday)

  21. I was building a stash, then we moved and downsized. I have used or given away a good portion of it now 7 years later. I only buy fat quarters for applique now and have a rubbermaid stacking drawer system for those. When I start a new quilt I purchase the background and backing/sashing. It makes starting a new project much more fun if I don't have to "use what I have" Of course I never have exactly the colors I need for applique but have to make do as I don't have a LQS nearby and matching online doesn't work for me. I rarely piece a quilt anymore as I am totally hooked on applique.

  22. I try to keep my stash so that it fits into three drawers in my sewing room - one drawer is yardage, one is fat quarters and the third is scraps. Although I must admit I do have some squirrelled away in other places too!

  23. Like you I quilt many years now so a have a big stah too. For some years now I force myself first to shop in my own cubboard bfore I buy new fabrics. Besides that I make a leaders enders quilt (idea Bonnie HUnter) scrappy with small pieces...but it seems my stash is as big as ever....But I must admit new febrics are sometimes so adorable that I get greedy, and just must buy it....I am afraid that stash will stay big, always...Good luck with your stah, don't forget to pat your fabrics now and then!

  24. My latest obsession is Kaffe Fassett collective fabrics. My stash isn't as big as others' but I swear it's breeding at night.

  25. My advice would be to not start building a stash until you know your preferences for colour and style of fabric.

  26. Girls, I have some stash but small compared to other friends.
    What do you do with scraps? All of my small quilts are beginning to look the same? And, we know "small" is in right now. The price of fabric even in the US is getting over the top. I heard by the grapevine that prices are going up. Solid fabrics and limited modern fabrics in blocks are big here.
    What about where you are? North Carolina, USA

  27. This is so interesting. I absolutely love my stash and would much prefer to shop it than any store. While there are a few dated fabrics, most are still things I love and am happy to have. I never shop for a new project when I start until after I have shopped the stash and then usually I only need to add a few things. That being said I have a huge stash and love using lots of different fabrics in every project. These days I am very selective about what I am purchasing just adding bits to keep things interesting!

  28. Oh dear, I have a stash. It is huge.... I now have a rule that for every metre that comes in the door, the same amount must go out. Luckily my daughter is exploring quilting and so it can go to her.

  29. That is awesome collection of textile fabrics products. I thing every one should buy this textile products.


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