Sort Your Stash
Sort Your Quilting Stash that is! Is your stash actually holding you back?
When I first started to get really interested in quilting, you know pouring through magazines and such. Trying to work things out. Looking for endless patterns, the instructions always seemed to need quite a bit of fabric. Based on some of those calculations I began to realise that for every large quilt one would need 12 to 16 or even more metres of fabric. Well that seemed to stick in my mind, so whenever I bought fabric, I was concerned that I might not have enough. I’m sure all good fabric addicts out there will understand. More often than not I would just like the fabric and buy according to my own rule, worried that It might not be enough. Having said that …Enough for what?
Now don’t get me wrong, nobody wants to be caught short on any project, I learned that a long time ago. Knitting is another one, but much more critical to buy the right amount. Heaven forbid that we should need to purchase from a different dye lot!
As I began to make more quilts I realised that more often than not I would have significant leftovers, and that’s when the penny began to drop that I might, and I will say only might, have bought too much fabric!!! As as example a big quilt I made many years ago, I have only just finished working the last bits of fabric into other quilts and projects.
However as I became more and more interested in quilts I decided that actually the ones which have significant fabric variation really do it for me. It began to become more and more obvious that variation is the key, not necessarily volume. When I make scrappy quilts, and don’t get me wrong, I do use some colour control, small amounts of fabric are just wonderful, so are the leftovers. They are almost the best bits. I think it’s when one major quilt is finished it kind of gives us permission to cut up the leftovers to use at will.
Of course it’s always nice to have some really significant pieces of fabric when it comes to backing quilts. It’s nice if one can reach into the stash for a big suitable piece.
Anyhow, having gathered now what I consider to be quite enough fabric for one person to use, I have tried, not to succumb to too many new purchases.
I think we need to consider our fabrics to be a beautiful paint pallet from which we can create our quilts. On on that note, I have to say we need to come to terms with our own stash, be able to see what quilting fabric is available. Then it’s easier to create new projects. Store them in a way that the fabrics can all be seen.
So what I’m leading to is, embrace your stash. See what you actually have, you might be surprised. Truthfully I don’t know what is the best way to sort it but, if it’s any help this is what I did.
I was lucky enough to find a “new'” old cabinet. Very pre loved and rustic. I cleaned it well and made some of my “Cupboard Keeps” to live inside. I always pre wash my fabrics, then store ready for use.
I think it’s quite hard to sort just by colour because often there are prints from the same designer or group af fabrics and my instinct, rightly or wrongly, is to keep them together.
So this is how I sorted.
Light fabrics or backgrounds, plaids checks and stripes, groups from the same story, small florals, bright and modern prints, civil war style fabrics, oriental style fabrics, big prints, large pieces suitable for backings and solids.
The main thing is, I can see them all,
I can open my cupboard, just for inspiration!!!! I can find that just right piece to finish a project, I can change it around if I choose and I can come to terms with reality. I don’t actually need any more fabric. I may still want some, but I know what I have now. Think about it. Fall in love with your fabrics again. you bought then for a reason. Look at the colours, remember its your paint palette, work out where you can use your fabrics and don’t forget, not every fabric has to be a star. you need some plain ones to make the others look good.
Thank goodness fabric doesn’t go “off”!