Thursday, January 27, 2011

My stash

When people see my stash -
they're surprised.
Maybe even a little shocked.


I do not have a storage room full of fabric from floor to ceiling.
I do not throw down hundreds of dollars every time I go to a quilt store.

I.  Am.  [relatively] Frugal.

So how does a quilt designer, an avid quilter and a girl who works at a fabric store no less, have such a small stash?!?

Here are some of my thoughts on that:
First, I am definitely a girl who has made lots of quilts,
so my fabric accumulates at a rather slow pace. 

Second, I am a girl on a budget.  I have to be frugal. 
We're not into "charging up the credit card" around here and we're not "rich folk" either.  All of my fabric and long-arm machine quilting costs come from the money I earn at Just Sew and selling patterns, etc.  Not one dime comes from our "family funds".  I couldn't do that to my husband.  He would probably go into cardiac arrest if he knew how much money went to this little hobby of mine:)  So, as long as it's coming out of my money, he doesn't have to ask.

Third, I'm just a little OCD about scraps.  I LOOOOVE to use them up.  I'm always thinking of the next project to make with my left-overs.
 
Fourth, I learned during my old scrapbooking days, that scrapbook paper can go out of style and get old real fast.  So I stopped stocking up on paper.  I'd only buy when I was ready to use it and if I knew exactly what I was going to do with it.  I guess that's carried over into how I buy fabric.  It's much more fun to use new fabric, so instead of buying something that is cute and letting it sit around for who knows how long, I buy it when I need it.

I'm not perfect and I do buy little bits here and there if I really like them or I think they're basic enough to use with lots of things.  Which, by the way, Allison at Cluck, Cluck, Sew just did a post on what/how much she buys for her stash.  It's worth checking out. 

Anyways, when it's all said and done, if someone wanted to deliver a truck full of fabric at my door, I wouldn't complain:) I think I could get over having "too much" fabric, but I would definitely get busy trying to use it up! 

Anyone?  Anyone?  A truck?  Fabric?

22 comments:

Impera_Magna said...

Very good points... my stash is probably somewhat larger than yours but not by much. Fortunately/unfortunately, there is only ONE quilt shop and NO fabric stores within 50 miles of my house.... so not much change for impulse fabric therapy. Shopping for fabric online is an area of weakness... but it does save me from having to drive a little over an hour to the nearest JoAnn's.

Keep up the good work with your stash. I will try to emulate you!

:)

Oma said...

A CPA friend of mine only buys fabric for and works on one quilt at a time. I have never asked her what she does with her scraps but I will bet they don't go to waste. I admire hers and your will power. I agree with you that styles change. I look at my stash and can see that some of the fabric which inspired me at one time does not now. At least sometimes that can be remedied by the right pattern for it!!

Barb said...

You are smart.... I never charge up a charge card either. I started out getting fabric at garage sales...but I have come to realize that having a nice stash is awesome but it is also restrictive. I am thinking of selling mine.

Bethany said...

I'm also frugal. I only buy fabric when I need it for a quilt. I don't have the space to have yards and yards of it and it would be a waste of fabric and money if I did.

Sharyn Mallow Woerz said...

All good points. I stopped buying fabric cold turkey in October of 2001. I've since inherieted two stashes from friends who died of cancer and even though 'I'm quilting as fast as I can' :) I'll never run out.

I SO wish one day I could just go out and buy fresh fabric for a project...but I couldn't justify the expense...I don't want to be eating fabric for dinner when I retire. I'm afraid that is what many quilters will be doing...no concept of tomorrow.
Sharyn, who has been quilting for 40 years now.

Mommarock said...

I completely understand your points. I want the fabric, want the lovely stash. I'd love nothing more than to run my hands through all of that lovely dreamy fabric. But, I just don't have the money to buy loads of it. I purchase what I need, and work with it. Since I am a hand quilter, it tends to last me a LONG time so far. I do enter the giveaways all the time hoping to add to the pile. I dream of the other delights that I can make. thank goodness for all of the blogs out there with wonderful ideas. Not all of my creations have to be full quilts. I can make so many other things :) whoo hooo the ideas

Hand Quilting Nana said...

I'd say you're a very smart cookie!! I look at my fabric and some of it I just wonder why in the world did you buy it!!

Linda

Deanna said...

If you have "enough" then it is truly enough. Some people seem to think "more" is enough...And, if I had the truck, I would probably have to go through it first. :)

Nanette Merrill and daughters said...

It is good that you are frugal and you are a good example of self control because I'm sure you'd love to have a boatload. I only purchase small amounts. That is how I try to afford fabric. But yes, I use my pattern money to buy my fabric. So sales are important. Good job girl.

The Tulip Patch said...

I do not like having a big ol' stash and have been told on more than 1 occasion this means I am not "a real quilter." I don't have a ton of room and you are right...your needs/tastes change. The one thing I will stock up on is my American Jane. Her fabric just speaks to me like no other and it is very hard to find around here. I found a booth at the festival in Houston this fall and I stocked UP...bought almost 50 fat quarters and some more yardage. Other than AJ, I buy what I need usually...if I find a backing for super cheap (sometimes $2/yd at the quilt shop) that I think I could use in the next few quilts i have planned I will buy enough for a backing. Other than that, I am a buy-as-you-go girl. I know it's morbid but there is nothing sadder than hearing about someone dying with a huge unused stash...I just think about how they never got around to the fun of using it. Man, I sound crazy huh?

Dolly said...

Having not been as smart as you, I could back up and empty out a couple of boxes at your door, but it's not new or stylish, and I doubt you'd want it.

I sadly read the part about using it when you get it.........I WANT TO DO THAT. I've never done that ! Last year, I treated myself to a little Tufted Tweets with just that intention, and I still have it.....UNCUT.

I need help. I'm making myself use the old while the new GROWS old !
Hear that beep-beep.......that's me, backing up to your door. Please come out !

Lizzie said...

I will contribute to your habit forever and ever. You can always make blankets & donate them when/if the fabric goes out of style!

Thimbleanna said...

You're so funny! And Very Smart. How on earth do you resist all the new gorgeous fabrics? I'm so impressed. Sadly, I have a room full of fabric that I will hate in 10 years!

Betty Lou said...

Amber, this is such a good post and one that we all should remember. I have been trying to get rid of most of my stash for several years. I've always said that fabric does not age well, it becomes dated so quickly and our personal style changes. Buy what you need and use it up. Will say it again, "Good post."

Sherri said...

What a great post! I'm trying to only buy fabric I'll use...but honestly, it's so hard! I sew a lot and still can't seem to make a dent in my stash. I'm going to donate more quilts this year, so maybe that will help!

Melanie said...

I love your honesty. You know your limits and you stick to it....

L Johnson said...

Loved this post, it is always wise to purchase only what we need.

Libby said...

Very Smart! I loved Allison's post and I love the fact that you and her actually USE your stash. I am trying to teach myself to buy "basics" so that I can actually use my stash too. I have fabric that I bought "just because" but have no idea how to use it!
I find this topic so interesting.
Thanks for sharing!
Libby

Shannon said...

Thank you so much for sucha great post. I love the idea of buying what you need and using what you have. I am still a "new" quilter and don't have a large stash. I don't like the idea of spending tons of money to get a stash. I do have some fabric from way back when and that is good enough for me. What I think I need more of is solids so that I can frame the fabrics I do have into fun quilts. Thank you for your ideas.

Meta said...

I think I became your 500th follower today! I used your bias binding tutorial for my first quilt. It worked and I'm happy! Thanks for the clear instructions and pictures.

Di~ said...

I'm so with you on everything here, BUT I do have a stash because I didn't learn some of this soon enough. Many of my fabrics have gone out of style. It's ok tho', I'll use it some how. I too, feel it isn't fair to use my guy's wages for my hobby...Thanks.

Debbie said...

Amber, Thanks for fabric lessons. I do not have much fabric on hand either. My Mom buys 3 or 5 yards of something only to have it waste or go out of style. I buy fat quarters and yd pieces then let the quilt tell me what it wants on the back. Sometimes less is more. And I love using my scraps. Since I was laid off I need to be frugal till the next job comes along. Love your blog.