Saturday, November 29, 2008

To Collect or Not to Collect

Even though I had a jam-packed day at work yesterday...I did have time to read a few setting up conference calls! Elaray's blogpost was about "Too Much Fabric." It is an interesting opinion on what constitutes too much fabric for one person.

This, of course, is the line that intrigued me, "With all due respect to stashers, stashing is a practice I just don't get." I believe this is the integral discourse between a fabric collector and someone who has just enough fabric on-hand to construct the next few projects. Now apologies to Elaray, because I'm not aiming this comment directly at you, it's just an observation, but as a fabric collector and someone who enjoys owning as much fabric as I always seems like a belittlement of my collecting ways...and I always feel like I have to justify something that gives me joy....hmmmmm!

Then I began to painters have this discussion with fellow painters? Hey dude why do you have like 18 shades of red paint? Don't you know if you have one tube of red, some black, pink, white and blue you can make any shade of red you want? Or do cooks have this conversation, Why do you have 7 different size spatulas? Can't one or two spatulas handle your flipping needs? Or seriously Shamos, do you need ALL of those spices? I can get by with my basic 10 and make many appetizing meals! Do you think those conversations occur?

Or are we the only community of artists that think that owning sooo much fabric - our basic creative medium - is guilt inducing? And why do the materials of your craft, give you pressure? Shouldn't these materials that you took time to purchase and store, inspire you and encourage you to new creative challenges? Or are we back to that age old argument that since sewing is a "women's craft" somehow we shouldn't expend too much of the family's hard earned money on it?!

Now, before you start slinging those arrows...I understand that we are in a global recession and for some buying a whole lot of fabric is just unrealistic! Or even if you are not the primary breadwinner in your home and you want to be respectful of that fact, or if the economy has really kicked you & your family's budget in the pants. But and here's my but people, if you have the means to stimulate the economy and keep our fabric retailers both online and in bricks 'n mortar shops buzzing, if you have the storage space *LOL*, if it does not adversely affect your home budget...and most importantly if it gives you pleasure, why can't you collect, store, amass to your heart's content?! Why is there a need to justify this to a non-collector?

As I stated previously, this is a constant conversation between stitchers...whether to collect or not? And no, I don't call it a stash...never a stash! To be perfectly honest, have I ever felt overwhelmed and challenged by my collection - Yes! Have I ever wondered that I've created a monstrosity that my children will have to deal with upon my demise - Yes! Have I ever called a retreat, hesitated or wondered if I should add to or continue to add to my collection - YES! However, all of that is overshadowed by the feelings of joy, inspiration, peacefulness, the hopes and dreams that my collection affords me, the ability to share it with friends and family and most importantly the fact that on almost any occasion I can walk into the closet and pull a piece to use that day without a journey to the fabric store.

Now I've written about this pheonomena before, "Are you ashamed of your fabric collection?" and I guess that periodically this discussion reappears in sewing land...but I would like to put it to rest this saying this...some people are happy coloring with a box of 8 Crayola crayons, but even as a small child, I always wanted the 100 box set of Crayola crayons with the special crayon sharpener!

So today's "Question of the Day" is: Did you color with the box of 8 Crayola Crayons or did you have a larger box? And do you believe that the size of the box you owned reflects your attitude towards purchasing fabric today?!

Have at it people's...I'm off to dye some fabric and it's all LindseyT's fault?! More on that later!!!!


  1. You are not alone! I always wanted/needed that bigger box of crayons too, lol. I have a huge stash as well but would not give it up for the world. The pleasure that I get from handling it and dreaming of my next project is worth the space it takes. And since it is cold in my part of the country right now, those stacks of fabric make great insulation, ha!
    My husband buys fishing stuff that he does not have time to use, so I do not feel guilty about buying fabric.

    Glenda in NW Missouri

  2. i have a large stash of fabric.None of it have i paid over $5 a meter for and most was $2.My desire to sew is just larger than my actual time to sew thats all.I'll get to it eventually and sometimes i'll change my mind on the use a fabric should go to so hanging it up for a while is a good thing for me so i can take time to think on what i really want to make from it:)

  3. I love my stash. I can always find fabric to whip up a gift or complete an outfit. I can even find stuff to fix a tent or repair a couch cushion. No, I do not feel bad about my collection. And yes, I had the big box of crayons. I loved to just look at all the colors- and the smell of a new box- I still remember it.
    Right now I am unemployed. So I have time to sew. And my stash is saving me. I can sew in between the job search and not spend any $. I can make christmas gifts. I have made some pants that I can wear to interviews- working on a suit too. All from fabric already in my stash. There is nothing like a new outfit to boost your confidence and I need that right now. Thank God for this fabric stash!

  4. I'm definately a fabric collector! I don't always have the time to sew as I would like, so having it home and available when I do is a huge time saver. Also, I'm able to put together small gifts or things that my kids miraculously need that I can't always find (or afford!) with very little notice. BTW? I'm the kid who got the 100 crayon box and still had to melt and mix few to get the right shade on occassion!!!

  5. Well, you know me. I wrote a Blog post on SABLE. Clearly I believe in it. And of course, being in the business doesn't help....

  6. I loved that big box, but mom wouldn't always get it for me, just on occassion, since it was more expensive. I, too, have a decent sized collection of fabric and always keep an eye out for more.

  7. I'm a big box girl and my fabric collection reflects it. There definitely is something gratifying about being inspired to make something and being able to go to the closet and pick out the perfect fabric and notions! Mary

  8. I am also a big, big box lady and I own the fabric collection to prove it. Yes, sometimes it is overwhelming; however I don't buy on impulse anymore, the fabric must speak to meeeeee

  9. Oh, I waas and still am a big box girl. Today, I am a stasher. Some of my fabrics have finally aged properly - those pieces purchased with the intent of making something for my kids that I am now pulling out for grand children... I also have a couple pieces in my collection that were from my grandma (she passed away about 25 years ago... and probably owned the fabric years - no make that decades - earlier). As a matter of fact, I just got home from Joann's where I purchased 4 more pieces of fabric. Never enough...

  10. Of course I had the big box. I think it was 144 crayons, though and I loved the special sharpener. It never would have occurred to me to make the connection between the two. I don't see how a collection of anything can been seen as bad. Does it hurt anybody? No. Does it cause my family financial stress, No. In fact, it gives me stress relief, much cheaper than any professional couch could. If I choose to sew up one of my collection pieces, then great. But just owning the fabric can also bring much pleasure. I agree with you Carolyn on this.

  11. Carolyn, you discussed this topic from a fabric collector's viewpoint so eloquently that I have little to add.

    I must admit to a gargantuan collection as well, and my only regret is that perhaps my DD will have to dispose of its remains along with mine one distant day in the future. ;-)

    Otherwise, I really enjoy having a collection that is (or will be once the boxes are unpacked from our recent move) well sorted and conducive to the creativity that wells up in me when I plan a new sewing project.

    Like you, I do not find having this much fabric burdensome, (although the movers did :-)) ). Rather, I am grateful that life has afforded the opportunity and wherewithal to indulge this singular artistic passion of mine. To me, sewing is as essential as breathing and enjoyable as what I imagine flying like a bird would be. Having beautiful fabric at my fingertips just heightens that already pleasurable experience.


  12. This is my first real year of sewing...where I've made more than one thing, some things a bit harder than other, etc. It's also the first time I've bought fabric that I just wanted for it's own sake and have not yet sewn it up (online shopping!). I don't sew quickly so it takes me a long time to get even a small project done. That being said I had crayons in 16s or 24s and ALWAYS wanted the bigger box. My stash is getting there.....

  13. The only part of my collection/stash I sometimes regret are the WHAT-were-you-thinking pieces. But even most of those have a useful purpose as muslins. For me, the best thing about my fabric closet is that I can become inspired, pull fabric out, and immediately start cutting/sewing. No trips to the store, no waiting for UPS to get here. I'm impulsive and the fabric closet serves that trait well.

  14. I was given the 8 pack of Crayolas but I wanted each and every color they made!!!!

    I guess that explains why I own so much fabric. I don't have a problem with it except that I'm having to make room for DF's things as we prepare to combine households. Otherwise I'd continue to collect.

    Well, actually I still am, but at a slower pace. And I'm sewing more too, which is a good thing!!

  15. Interesting concept!

    Well, in my case there wasn't really much money for too many crayons. So I had to make do with the small box. Which has transferred on to my adult life in positive ways. Although the times in which I was given the big box of crayons I was elated, lol.

    I have however, made every purchase of fabric with an idea in mind of how I wanted to use it. With time that idea would change or I would leave the fabric to sit while I pondered on what I really wanted to do with it.

    And so, with that my collection has grown.....more than my family expected it to. I want to buy some more fabric but they're actually stopping me, they tell me to work with what I have. I guess I should make do, like I did as a kid.

    Making do can be very creative too, and I enjoy that. Do you make do at times too Carolyn? I'd love to hear about it. :):):)


  16. Now apologies to Elaray, because I'm not aiming this comment directly at you, it's just an observation, but as a fabric collector and someone who enjoys owning as much fabric as I always seems like a belittlement of my collecting ways...and I always feel like I have to justify something that gives me joy....hmmmmm!

    No apologies necessary! And you don't have to justify anything, either. We're both grown :)

    Before BWOF, I had way more patterns than I could ever sew. Now I have more BWOF's than I need. Rather than get rid of any, I'm looking for new places to store them. I collect mugs - I no longer have room for them, but I keep accumulating them. And yes, I had the big box of 64 crayons. Everyone needs something they are passionate enough about to go to excess. For some, it's fabric. For me, it's not.

  17. PS: I love the pink and orange pieces in your box!!!

  18. I am preparing a blog post about how much I love my fabric collection. I don't feel the need to justify it to anyone and most of the time feel no guilt whatsoever when I add to it! If I have the space and the money then why not? My sister-in-law is a gourmet cook and doesn't bat an eye at spending $250 on a pot or $25/hour for cooking classes! I don't know why people think it so odd or shameful - no one questions Norm Abrams about all the wood and tools he has in his shop. :-)

    Frankly, buying for one project at a time would be creativity-stifling for me.

  19. I totally understand fabric collecting.

    I "collected" my first piece of fabric before I even owned a sewing machine, and probably 8 years before I ever sewed my first garment for myself.

    I was doing research for my dissertation in Syria and I was in a shop in Damascus and saw the most beautiful 7-color, hand woven silk brocade I had ever seen and I HAD TO HAVE it. It was $50.00 a meter. I could afford two meters.

    For years I carried that silk with me, as I moved from one grim grad student apartment to another. I finally decided to DO something with it, and hired a woman who did custom wedding dresses to make me a sheath dress, because all I ever sewed was curtains. I didn't trust myself to make anything out of it!!

    She did a gorgeous job, eeked out a knee-length sheath, lined it with the most beautiful gold silk, that was nice enough to be the outside of the dress!

    So, I completely understand collecting fabric. Because I started before I ever even sewed my first garment!

  20. I'm a collector by nature. I think its primal. It's what we do.

    I collect everything and I want the most of anything.

    I got the 64 crayons with the sharpener too. Never used many of them either! LOL!

  21. I never had crayolas but craved and eventually received the big box of derwent pencils.
    These days if you don`t buy material you love then the next time you go the whole shop will be gone ! So therefore I BELIEVE in stashing.

  22. Carolyn, let's face it, collecting fabric is more than just a collection but wait, I guess evryone gets joy from just "being" with there collected stuff. I love to fold, admire, dream and then sometimes just refold and put away. Actually most times we get to create something from it. I asked for the big 100 box of crayons for Christmas (shows you how gift buying has gotten out of hand! not exactly a Wii was it! ) Think I got the 64 box though. All you need to do to reinforce your creative side is to go shopping with a friend that doesn't sew at all. I dragged my BFF to Kashi's and Mood last week. She was awed at the sight of all those bolts but honestly said she saw nothing but bolts. I have a 92 year old aunt whose collecting filled her basement at one time. She is giving it away piece by piece..and still using it though from time to time. So..a toast.. shall we all live long enough to either use our supply or at least give it away personally to good homes.

  23. I loved this piece you wrote.
    Just like you I am a vivid fabric collector.

    You are right it is an ongoing discussion and indeed people are asking you to defend yourself for your collection... but... its my collection..
    and I love it!
    And... the inspiration I get out of it is priceless...

    so.. enjoy your collection...
    and make something beautifull :D

  24. Yes, also a big box of crayons girl!! And also have a large fabric collection! live and let live, that's what I say!!

  25. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this subject. I use to feel guilty, because I grew up with a mom who was a great seamstress/designer, who only bought fabric as she sewed. When she died, I inherited a sewing machine and a box of thread and hemming fabric

    My best friend and I have a deal...whoever dies first, the other gets her sewing room cleaned out as fast as possible and passes on all the patterns and fabric to whoever needs/wants it!

  26. Does that desire for the big box of crayons speak of an early artistic appreciation of the beauty of colour? For me definitely.
    Buying fabric is often so much more than buying supplies. It can be buying art (the perfect combination of colour, print, texture and fibre content), as well as buying inspiration. If you are someone not comfortable with calculating how much cash is sitting in a cupboard, then don't buy it. If you can see the promise and beauty in fabric, then buy away. I can feel a shopping trip coming on!

  27. Well, I don't intend to collect. Most everything I have is because it would make a great __________. But I don't have enough hours to get to it, so I stash or collect or wait for inspiration to hit. And I don't buy pricy fabric unless it's to use right now. I think everyone has to go in the direction that makes her comfortable, and suits her finances, and no one else has the right to call that direction correct or incorrect.

  28. I was a big box of crayons girl and I have a very nice fabric collection, thank you very much! I think being women has a lot to do with guilt. We were taught to put others first and collecting fabric is about us and our needs.
    I don't live near a good fabric store and having a collection enables me to sew right away. The internet has enabled me to sew more, in direct proportion to the size of my stash. But, I don't stash just fabric. I have yards of interfacing, muslin, zippers elastic, thread, you get the picture. I am ready to sew without having to make a trip to the store. I love the helping the economy comment Carolyn! We have nothing to feel guilty about.

  29. I sew very little and I'm very slow at it. I began collecting fabrics in Jannuary 2008. Now I have 4 gigantic rubbermaid trunks (the biggest ones they make) full of fabrics. I don't even have space right now for that collection, the trunks are piled up in a corner of my bedroom (I have to make curtains so my bedroom doesn't look like a storage room).

    I just can't seem to be able to enter a fabric store and not buy at least a piece of fabric. I buy with no project in mind other than "oh that would be nice for a skirt" or "this will make such a beautiful jacket".

    I feared, at one point, that I was obsessive-compulsive when it came to fabric. I don't shop anything else like I shop fabric. Maybe I am OC, but then all collectors must have this trait in common don't they?

    I never though of the convenience of a fabric collection though. I'm glad to read about just pulling a fabric and make something out of it at a moment notice. When I'll be a grown-up, accomplished sewist, I'm sure I'll greatly appreciate that. That means more pleasurable shopping will happen then, which is more fun for me than shopping with a list.

    BTW, we didn't have Crayola where I grew-up, and I have a collection of kitchen tools which make our friends tell me I could go to restaurant business at a moment's notice. ;-)

  30. I have a lovely collection of fabrics. It makes me happy to just look at it. (And guilty that I don't have time to sew it all and show it off to the world!) Growing up in a rural area, we always bought more than we needed right at that moment, because you never knew when you would get to the store again! (My friends, growing up, thought my pantry was the best!) So I say keep collecting, you never know when you will need it!

  31. I was and still am a big box girl! I loved looking at all the possibilities. Why use just one shade of pink when I could use two or three? But my fabric stash is modest. Probably around 20 yards or less. However, there is a correlation between the big box of crayons and my book/magazine collection. They are mostly reference type books. I have very few novels. Sewing and craft related, nursing, computer, legal, and recipe books/magazines. Some I enjoy on a daily or weekly basis. Some I go for weeks, months, or even years before I enjoy them again. They are like old friends I can revisit when ever I wish.

    I don't apologize for what I spend my money on, be it fabric, books, or anything else. And I don't expect anyone else to justify why they have a large collection of ________.

    We are, after all, adults.

    BTW, I still have a large box of crayons in my crafting supplies. I love the aroma of a new box of crayons, it takes me back to my childhood!

  32. One of my customers (owner, quilt shop) observed that no one ever tells a Stamp Collector that they have to USE their stamps...or a Coin Collector that they must spend their coins. The public needs to GET that fabric is an investment collection, too. :)

    Personally, I apologize to no one for my stash.

    :) Linda

  33. Carolyn, I had to laugh when I saw this post. I was looking at my fabric stash earlier today, shaking my head at how it has grown - but I'm also a fine artist besides being a sewer, and I'm delighted to tell you that all of my professional artist friends collect more art supplies than they will ever be able to use and when we sit around we often tell each other about a new on line art supply source we've discovered, or a particular color that is a new "have to have". Winsor Newton's yellow ochre is nothing like Sennelier's so therefore one must have both! Now, when I look ruefully at my fabric stash, I'll just think of it as more tubes of paint. It's just the tools we need to do our creative work. It's a necessity, not something to apologize for! Happy Thanksgiving!

  34. I think with the fabric thing you are either a collector or you are NOT. I am a collector. Like many collectors, I have pieces from my mother, aunt, sister, grandmother - they all have family connections. I like being able to make something right away without going to the store. The nearest nice fabric store is miles away, so having what I need on hand is like having a well stocked pantry. You can't cook without ingredients!

  35. I was always the girl who wanted the box of 100 crayons too! I love my stash - I like looking at it and imagining the possibilities or just having it on hand for when the 'right' pattern comes along. It's also great to have on hand for when going to the fabric store isn't an option or it's late at night and I'm feeling creative.

    I do respect people who don't care for having fabric on hand. That's how I was for several years before I discovered some of my favorite fabric sources!

  36. It's nice to have fabric on hand. I am sort of new to this sewing gig, so I just need to figure out how much fabric to buy so that I have useful quantities of fabric.

    Now that would be a nice blog post... how one organizes one's fabric. By yardage and then color and then fiber? On shelves, in boxes, or something else? A virtual tour would also be fun... just sayin'.

  37. I have to say that the timing of this post is particularly propitious as I just blew a bunch of money today splurging on high-end fabrics, and stocking up on notion-y stuff at a notions store that is sadly going out of business in a couple of weeks (at least it's because the elderly couple want to retire and not so much because they're being squeezed out).
    I am not sorry for the excessive amount I hemorrhaged today, I believe it all to be money well spent. However, since it is the largest amount of money I've laid down on this substance habit in one day it did scare me.

    Your post has re-fortified and heartened me! Thank You (particularly for making me feel like I was doing something helpful like boosting the economy, lol).

    I think I had the 144 box of crayolas once, but I never thought to relate it to my fabric collection, huh.

  38. My brothers and I had to share the bog box! I don't think the size of the box reflects my stash attitude though. It's more the Depression era Yankee-ness I inherited from my gradnparents and my parents. Use what you have.

    My stash is the result of country living, where nice fabrics came to the neighbor's house in 6" or 8" squares on description cards and you ordered what you wanted, and then it came, just like Sears, which was a small storefront with a counter, catalogs, and a few appliances on display. So we bought several projects ahead, always. I kept up a swatching service subscription after college, and added fabric, but didn't have enough time to sew it up. So the stash grew. And grew more during grad school. I always bought notions and interfacing etc when needed, but not usually fabric. A stash is important if you can't wear all colors because you buy your colors when they are available, and make them up when you have time, no matter what colors happen to be "in" just then.

    I have never apologized to anyone for my stash, and I never will. I actually did fabric shop for a specific event garment and it was just as frustrating as shopping for RTW. I will NEVER do that again.

    BTW, I have at least 10 spatulas, 2 Foreman grills, 2 rice cookers, 4 or 5 KitchenAid mixers, 3 sets of pots/pans ... 3 of the 4 or 4 of the 5 mixers were rescued from actual trash piles or via Craig's List. Same for some of my other duplicate appliances. I need an enormous pantry in my dream house.

    I also have every DMC floss color. Every one, except the variegated which I never use.

    I'll stop there. ::)


  39. medium box of crayons

    big fabric collection, though I'm not up to your standards.

    "She who dies with the most unmade fabric wins." GO!

  40. I don't think I had any crayons - just 12 cheap pencils. I didn't have a Barbie doll and never any party shoes! And we weren't particularly poor. So now I can have any shoes I like and can dress myself anyway I want :)) And accumulate lots of fabric. Thanks for reminding me it is ok to do so!

  41. I thought I had a lot of fabric but it's nothing if that is a picture of your fabric collection (notice I didn't say stash)I purchased a lot of fabric when Wal-Mart discontinued their fabric department but as long as it fits in the closet under the stairs it's not too much. No apologizes we work hard and should be allowed to indulge our passion, whatever that may be. While visiting my Father I noticed that he had what I would call an insane number of fishing poles and he was very excited about his most recent purchase a "cricket bucket" and explained how it worked, I told him he has his fish and I have my fabric. Fishing has kept him sane in his retirement years I hope that my fabric collection will do the same for me.

  42. This is my first full year of sewing garments and let me tell you - I am bursting at the seams with fabric. My family have started calling me a hoarder rather than a sewist. But its all good and its what makes me happy.

    Funny thing, dd asked me to make her some lounging pants and what did I do broke-out in a sweat digging in my closet and finally produced 3yds of terry cloth fabric to make her garment. For that moment she understood the purpose behind my

  43. I had the 8 box as well as the 144 box. My DH commented yesterday that he was a collector-tennis shoes and boots. I collect patterns, which I have more quilt over, as well as fabric, which amazingly I do not have guilt over. There are times that I know I must restrain from purchasing when there are major living costs I have to pay. I thus fall back on my collection and find I have something "new" to sew up.

    As always a thought provoking post.

  44. Had to have the big box of crayons.
    Saved my allowance and bought them. I have alot of fabric.
    I had to move my husband out of the large bedroom to the smaller bedroom just to house some of my collection(there is still a lot of fabric in that small bedroom closet!).OH! but when I pull out a piece of fabric that I forgot that I had,ohhh it's heaven.There is no need to feel guilty about our passion. And yes she/he who dies with the most fabric wins!

  45. "Why is there a need to justify this to a non-collector?"
    I only think it's a problem if one does feel the need to "justify" it, whether it's to loved ones or the tax man or whomever.
    I wonder if part of the guilt we associate with our fabric collections is that we initially purchased the piece of fabric with an intention to do something with it, other than simply own it as part of a collection. My stash has grown organically, as over the years I've purchased more than I ever have time to make up.
    The other interesting thing I'm realizing about the stash collection is that it becomes a source of safety in itself. As I've started to sew down the stash a bit, I've found myself getting a bit panicky, thinking I need to replace a certain piece, so that the potential of the fabric is still there. Crazy!
    OH, and I was a big box girl, and honestly pretty possessive of them. I had a slew of younger brothers and had to protect my crayolas from them.

  46. I wish I could just buy beautiful fabric for the fabric's sake, but I have problems with decision making. If I saw a fabric I loved, I would have to decide at least what garment type it would be and preferably have a pattern in mind or I would NEVER be able to decide how much to buy. I envy those people who can just buy 2 or 3 yards of whatever and wait for the right pattern to present itself.

    The second thing is I like to use everything. If I did decide to just buy 3 yards of every fabric I liked (and could afford) and then later found the perfect pattern that only took 1 and 3/4 yards of fabric, I would feel like I was wasting the rest and not be able to do it. I would find a patten (or two) to match the amount of fabric I have. And it would bother me to have a yard hanging around burning a hole in my pocket, so to speak. So actually having the fabric on hand limits my creativity because I feel constrained by the amount of fabric I have.

    But then, my creativity is much more driven by patterns and magazines than fabric. I am the proud collector of patterns and browsing through those is what gives me peace, dreams and happiness. Nothing makes me happier than seeing something in a magazine that I like and trying to find the right pattern and fabric to make a copy of it. Or to envision and outfit in my mind and find a good pattern and fabric for it.

    Only rarely do i see a fabric that I fall in love with, and I always fall for it as "this would make a great gorgeous dress with pattern XXX" Fabrics that I love for their own sake very often would not look good as clothes or on me, so I resist them.

    So I'm afraid I'm with Elaray on this one, but I don't think collectors of fabric need to justify themselves to me!!! You folks just have a different creative process, is all.

  47. You said that very well. I've always likened my stash to a well stocked pantry. Could you imagine if you bought a box of cereal and they wouldn't let you eat anything else till you finished that box? Or if every time you needed to bake a cake you had to buy exactly 5 cups of flour, one stick of margarine, etc... and then next time you wanted to cook or bake you had to go back to the store to buy more flour, margarine, etc.???

    Always wanted the big box of crayons, but due to finances my parents felt they were being more than generous by letting me have the box of 24 colors.

    That's probably why I've had a 1000+ yard stash for quite a few years.... the reason it stays close to 1000+ yards is that I go through a couple of times a year & "destash", giving away the overflow to a sewing friend. Last year I gave her about 200yds of fabric... told her I was just tithing ;-)

  48. lol, it is fun to read your post and all the responses. I was telling a co-worker about buying fabric to relieve stress and she subsequently teased me about it (in a slightly mean way). Weeks later, she described her freezers full of food they bought on sale. They have 3 frozen turkeys. yep. So just think about THAT! You don't have something as stupid as 3 frozen turkeys, do you? Um, no.
    Now that I have a lot of fabric, in wonderful colorways, I feel secure that I'll never get bored. It is a very nice feeling.

  49. oh gawd, now I feel mean for criticizing someone else's turkeys. It's all good, really. LOL. (but our fabric won't get freezer burn)

  50. I had the big box of crayons and didn't wait to use them up before I bought more. I love fabric so much that even when I wasn't sewing for years I still bought fabric and patterns. I love looking at it, feeling it and looking at and admiring what other sewists have. SO, I say flaunt your fabric stash or any other fiber or craft findings. OK, I know I'm going overboard but there could be worse addictions.

  51. Wonderful, provocative subject! For me buying fabric is buying the future. I go thru the store, put together palettes, and get that creative high in my head over what I will make, in that perfect future. Then I take my future home. Its an action of creative hope. And when I fondle and search thru what I have accumulated, the future becomes the now. Its an incredible feeling and why I keep sewing.

  52. What a great post!

    I read Elaray's post, and I wrote a comment that I never actually submitted, because like you, I felt kind of like I had to justify myself, which I know was NOT Elaray's intention, but rather a result of having the same conversations over and over with my non-sewing friends.

    IMHO, I think maybe the reason I feel kind of protective of my tiny stash (only about 400m) is because of the perceived value of it, combined with the sheer physicality of it.

    A box of really expensive oil paint is still just a single box of paint; you can store that under a table and it's like it's not there, but my stash is PRESENT. It's up on the shelves, sorted into bins, carefully stored on it's bolts, but it's all over my sewing room, in my crazy fabric filing system. It's not hidden away; it's EVERYWHERE.

    I really, REALLY appreciate your question about whether fabric collectors are the only artists who get questioned about their supplies, as opposed to painters with paint and chefs with spatulas.

    I love my stash, and you're right, it's my creative medium. When I go in my sewing room, I feel pleasure and possibility. I don't ever feel pressure about unfinished projects.

    Because I'm new to sewing; everything I do is basically lacking in the kind of "finish" I see in the blogs I love to read (like this one).

    I can understand folks who feel guilty about the expense, but most of my stash was built from clearance sales when Fanny's Fabrics closed down, and also during the Fabricland seasonal clearances; my average price per metre is probably just over $2.00, maybe a little less.

    But I think that even if my stash was made up of super expensive fabric, I'd still feel all right about it. If I'm going to have a bad habit, I'd rather it be fabric acquisition than, say, crack.

  53. Holy cow - didn't realize my comment was so long. Sorry!


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