Tuesday, January 13, 2009

How do you feel about your stash?

I read two powerful blog posts this morning that precipated me writing yet another blog post about stashing and collecting fabric. The first one was on Marji's blog called, "Stash" (which called me out btw!) and the second was on Liz of Crossroads Knits, called "Resolve."

There were several points from both posts and the comments section that moved me to write about it here...so what follows are my thoughts on what I took away from both posts.

1. Purchasing Less

I have accumulated a collection of fabric that I adore. I have weeded out all of the "What the h*ll was I thinking when I bought this?" pieces and now have a collection of pieces that I not only love but can't wait to put to good use. BUT and here is the very important disclaimer, there is now just too much of it in my apartment...and it is starting to overwhelm me by its very presence.

I've realized that in the last few months I've used fabric shopping as a band-aid for several discontents in my life...and no I'm not going to list them, so don't ask! *smile* During 2008, I accumulated approximately 300 yards of fabric. That's right folks, 300 yards of fabric!!! IF I hadn't been keeping track of what was coming in as well as what was going out, I would have no clear idea of how dire the situation had become. Yes, I would have realized that I had an over abundance of fabric (I mean you can't miss it!) but I wouldn't have had the quantifiying numbers staring me in the face...this leads me to Points A & B.

~Point A
I will not acquire any fabric for the next 60 days! This is an unchecked situation that must be brought into perspective...and there is the storage factor to be considered also!

Last week I read a post by Lisa who's blog is called Sew Random. Lisa stated that she only purchased 85 yards of fabric last year. To me that was very admirable especially based upon her considerable output. It really stirred in me a commitment to get to a number similar to hers!

So the goal I've set is to purchase less than 100 yards of fabric this year - approximately 1/3 of what I purchased in 2008 - and the 60 day moratorium is included in this goal. By setting this goal, which I think of as a positive and not a negative, I will still be able to purchase both a few wants and some needs without feeling as if I'm punishing myself...this brings me to Point B.

~Point B
I was a little taken aback at the discouraging words directed at people who track "yards sewn" and/or "yards in." On the one hand, I can understand the disdain of tracking, hey I've been there, but on the other hand if I didn't track the amount of yardage I used I wouldn't know several things:

  • actual amount of yardage used for a project instead of the ambiguous "Carolyn 5"
  • how many yards are actually coming out of the collection and ending up as finished garments
  • a realistic measurement of the output from my collection versus the input
In my world, there is a very real need to track yardage out. It provides a checks and balance system direly needed.

I wrote all of this to say, that I am very committed to maintaining my goal of reducing the amount of fabric I purchase in 2009. AND I am concerned about how if we all lower the amount of fabric purchased, it will affect our fabric vendors. The concerns can and should go hand in hand. It shows my awareness of how all of us are inter-related and how we need each other to thrive!

Marji also posed a question, "Do you get this whole stash busting thing?"

My answer to that is a resounding NO! I don't understand sewing things just to use up yardage. I don't understand the guilt associated with fabric stashs. I do have several emotions associated with my fabric collection, but guilt is certainly not one of them! But I really don't understand why someone would deliberately suck the joy out of this hobby we all profess to love. . . unless there really isn't any love there! So, No I don't get it!

Stashing/Collecting can be such a polarizing element in our sewing community. Sometimes it seems as if there is fence between us and you stand on one side or the other. Stashers to the right and non-stashers to the left! And even then behind the fences there seems to be cliques, "The Natural Fiber Stashers", "The high end expensive fabric stashers", etc. and on the other side, "Not more than 5 pcs" clique versus "The small cupboard full stashers"...y'know what I mean?

It seems no matter how you slice it ~ fabric is an integral part of sewing. No fabric - no sewing. And we are as diverse a segment as any other group out there...so can we just agree to disagree and keep it moving!

And this is the last post I'm writing on my fabric collecting tendencies for at least 30 days! ROTFLOL!

Have a good one!!!


  1. I totally understand the need to have a stash of fabric. especially since the nearest Fabric store is over 100 km away, but when I think of "stash busting" it is more along the lines of ctually getting to the project that I biught the fabric, pattern, notions, etc for! So I don't become owerwhelmed with projects to finish!
    And I commend you for being honest with yourself and actually counting yards in and out. That takes more work than I have energy for!

  2. I think my stash is beautiful. I, like you, feel no shame about it. I sew clothes that express who I am more than anything I could buy in a fashion store, and that means buying fabric when I see something that I know should be mine. That does tend to self-limit because I do not buy just because it is on sale or a good price or whatever. However, sometimes my eyes are bigger than my stomach, so to speak, and there are left overs. But how can I regret any of those purchases when upon opening the cupboard I remember the joy that made me purchase in the first place. And I am confident that one day they will all be clothes that I will love.

    As far as tracking input/output, apart from the fact that I don't see it as anyone else’s business, it suits my pedantic nature to keep a track of things. I used to do it on paper and now I do it on the blog, which after all has become my main planning/project control tool. So what's the problem?

    Anyway, after that long spiel I dropped by to thank you for you comment and to tell you that I am thinking you are right about the big orange thing so am reconsidering the crochet project. The fact that I only found 1 orange crochet item on the internet dented my confidence in my intrinsic good taste … grins. I am now considering making a dress out of it, dying it black and having the orange jacket over it. We are still in the planning stages!

  3. I like my collection. If I didn't like something, I'd get rid of it. I don't get the concept of making something just to make it to "stash bust". What's the point? For me the point is to use the fabric I have to create something I like and to enjoy the process of making it.

  4. My stash consists of not only things I've purchased, but also fabrics and trims that I have inherited from my Great Aunties and my Mom - and some of the fabrics were purchased for her by my father. So, there is a lot of memory and good feelings associated with those fabrics. I don't feel bad about my stash - I feel bad that I am not as productive a sewer as I could be. I set myself a goal that is very ambitious for ME, but pretty sluggish for many of you guys - one project completed a month this year. Considering I only made one dress for a wedding last year, this is huge for me, but I know there will be people laughing their heads off reading it.

  5. I love my stash. It makes me happy. Sometimes when I'm completely uninspired I go in and run my hands over the shelves and the sewing demons start to wake up and give me ideas again.

    Some of my stash is inherited from family, some is gifted from friends, but most is self-acquired. I have no discipline when presented with quality fabric, especially quality fabric at a good price.

    I'm attempting to not buy any fabric at all for the first 3 months of 2009 (with the exception of linings, etc. to finish an existing project). I did it last year and it didn't kill me.

    I am trying to sew down some stash right now, but it's a combination of trying to lighten the creaking shelves, filling in some gaps in my wardrobe, and practicing with my coverstitch machine, so if I can blow through a decent amount of knits during January, I will have accomplished 2 very good things, and reduced the stash at the same time.

    I used to think I envied the people who hardly stashed at all, but you know what? I don't. It works for them; it would never work for me. To each their own.

  6. There's a positive side and a negative side to stashing. I COMPLETELY agree with buying fabric when you don't need it if it's a fabulous sale or if it's something you're not going to be able to get again. My mom and grandma both have beautiful stashes and it's so fun to look through them. Looking through the fabric stash can be very inspiring.

    For me though, I am kind of a less is more type of person, in all areas of my life. I live alone and like to keep things simple in case my life changes and I have to move or something (Even though I haven't moved in 6 years!) I personally think the most satisfying kind of sewing is sewing fabric that you just bought for a particular project. That, of course, leaves me in the lurch sometimes when I want to sew because I have to go to the store to buy everything.

    I do have a fabric stash, but it's probably only 12-15 yards of fabric that is for a couple of skirts and a couple of jackets and a dress. These are for my next few projects. I usually don't have that much but I was in a different city over the holidays and found a really great fabric store. Oh, and I have about 4 yards of leftover fleece that I'm fashioning into tops for around the house as we speak.

    But I think it's ok to stash. I don't think you should fight your style of sewing. It's ok for us each to have a different way of doing things. If you get joy out of buying fabric and it doesn't negatively affect you then GO BUY!!! This is your hobby, you can enjoy it as you see fit :)

  7. I love my fabric and sometimes I just sit and sort through it. It inspires me and sometimes I get great ( or just pretty good) ideas just from looking at it. I have not bought any fabric since last March and it didn't kil me. I now have a good idea of what the gaps are in my collection, and when I do buy next I will do so knowledgeably, to fill in the gaps.

  8. I think stash is essential, for me, at least. You know, when we have a limited income (we live on a commission basis), then I have something to pull from to make a gift or work with. I allow myself purchases when we have extra money. I love Fabric.com for the sales and just bought from them some pieces for clothing and from Country Stittches on ebay for quilting. I try to keep a project in mind, it may not be for now. Right now, I have a stack of clothes for the girls cut out one size larger for spring/summer, all from stash, remnants and 1-2 yd pieces. If I did not have it on hand, I would never have been inspired to do so. Now for fashions, I am trying to stick to more solids, to make them more versatile, in colors I like. But, to each her own.

  9. I like to have a fabric/sewing stash. After years of over-working, and wanting to start a sewing project in off-hours, I better have something right handy. I buy "my" colors when they are available, which they aren't always.

    I also have a well-stocked pantry. No matter what, weather, schedule or whatever, I can put a meal on the table.

    We have a well-stocked wine cellar. If we want wine with dinner, we shop our cellar. No need to go to the store.

    We have an unbelievable inventory of garage/basement/barn stuff. Scrap lumber, thousands of fasteners, tools, paint, toilet repair kits - you name it, we have at least one.

    any kind of inventory allows you to proceed without having to go out.

    Is any of this necessary? Certainly not. We live in an overpopulated urban/suburban area with plenty of retail options within 10 miles. But it is really great when you can just start something and make some progress late at night or respond to a tenant emergency after Home Depot is closed because you already have everything you need.

  10. Hi Carolyn, good post. I love my stash too but I would like to make some of it up so I can buy some more :) I think in 2008 I bought very little fabric. I think this year I should only buy from independents and not the chain stores. I don't really need or feel the need to buy but you have a good point about supporting the industry. And I am sure if I actually went and had a look I would find some treasures.

  11. I think there's always room for varied opinions when it comes to fabric collecting. I have pieces that go back to the 80's that I bought and never found just the right pattern for. That being said, I've just starting sewing again after a hiatus of being "Mom" so I hope to use up some of my stash in the next couple of years.

  12. Guilt is a man-made emotion. Just say no.

  13. My stash is probably on the out of control side. I'd say I probably have around 4-500 yds of fabric. In addition to my own fabric accumulation efforts, I inherited a very large stash from a woman that died. While I loved being the recipient of more fabric, I always feel a little sad when I see/use her fabric. I assume my fabric, that I love to feel and dream about, will eventually get passed to someone else. If I'm lucky it will be my daughter.

  14. I have been lucky (or perhaps unlucky enough) to have storage not in my home for some of my "finds". I am telling my age but I have nice cotton blouse weights that cost .25 a yard from a clearance sale way back when. I have always picked up some pieces from the $1 tables sometimes bolts occasionally but I only take something that I think is exceptional -no junk buying. I have recently become interested in sewing for myself and the fabric prices for what little choice is left leaves me in shock. I am very happy to have a stash that I can eke out a wearable ( or unwearable ) garment before I commit to fabric at today's prices. Money is not a big issue in buying the fabric but in our area at one time there were so many textiles,notions,etc. sold cheap from the garment factories left overs that I got really spoiled price wise. Of course if I had to live with all my stash or puchase it at retail price, it would be lots smaller for sure. I have always used anything I have for a project if it is suitable so I guess that is stash busting in its own right. I am always happy to see others thoughts on the subject. There is a happy medium somewhere in all this madness.

  15. Sewing...and tennis are my joy. I've got a nice little stash going, probably far less than the more productive sewers. I have diligently tried to be a smart shopper, quality, but at a reasonable price. Doing that tends to limit my purchases. Another thing that helps is that I am truly a one-project-at-a-time girl. Buying fabric is like purchasing the excitement of things to come and we all get sucked in. But life is too short to not enjoy what you love. Carry on girlfriend, you are fierce!

  16. I love having a stash but have had to learn to limit my impulse buying. I love the excitement of opening up a box and fondling new fabric. The only thing that I feel guilt about sometimes in not sewing as much as I should.

  17. That was an interesting an thought-provoking post. I was one of those who disdained tracking in Marji's comments, but I see it is more complicated. I guess I do track fabric because I know how much many types of projects take for me as opposed to what patterns say and I rely on my personal tracking data. And I since I record what I bought, I know how many yards came in. I just think of my fabric in terms of projects and potential projects as opposed to yards. I see I need to think more.

  18. Well, of course I'm never going to condemn or criticize anyone for having a substantial stash. Heck, I keep threatening my kids that I'm going to leave it to them. They are horrified!

    Seriously though,I love having my stash. It keeps me in projects and I have enough of a stash of zippers and notions that I don't have to go to JoAnn's in the bitter cold to finish a project.

  19. No guilt here! I'm going on a food diet so there ain't no way I'm going on a fabric diet too. I love my collection even though I don't get to sew as fast or as often as I'd like, I love looking at it, feeling it...it fills my sewing room with color and texture & my life with joy!
    The fabric collection stays! The one thing I need to commit to however is tracking what comes in and what goes out (as finished projects)

  20. I love my stash! No guilt- I have plans for everything in it except the box of fabric from Fabric Mart that was the mystery box. That stuff I'm not so sure about, but I like getting it out and looking at it.
    My big goal this year is to get the beautiful silk tweed I bought from Julie at Timmel Fabrics last year made into the suit it is supposed to be! Someday, I WILL be a super sewer like you, Carolyn!

  21. Wonderfully provocative post, Carolyn. I have a relatively small stash, mostly of basics. I tend to by for the current project at hand but do buy my basics when they are at a great price without hesitation. While I have no desire to count my yards or track them, I did keep track of dollars spent last year on sewing, basically fabric and notions. Let's just say it was WAY more than I ever would have thought. So counting the dollars is another way to go. Or is that too scary? LOL!

  22. I have found a use for the unloved fabrics, the "what was I thinking" lengths, or the odd pieces that well meaning friends pass on to me: muslins. Putting ugly fabric to good use with no guilt!

  23. I try not to collect. However, I have still managed to amass quite a bit. A friend at the ASG meeting last weekend recently had some financial issues due to her job. Sewing was her salvation. Not having money made that hard, because she had a collection, she was able to continue sewing and soothe her soul while her life improved.

    It was a pretty powerful reason to have a collection, no matter the size or type. g

  24. This year I went into my clothes closet and cleaned out all the too small skinny clothes I have been saving for 15-20 years. To me they were my clothing "stash" made by me for special occasions out of wonderful fabrics and trim and gorgeous buttons but not wearable. I felt every time I went into my closet the skinny clothes were laughing at me and whispering among themselves, "She will never be this size again, so why is she keeping us hanging here?"
    So, to create a vacuum and a space for positive energy to enter into to, I gave all of them away to some skinny friends/clients/health workers who would appreciate well made clothes and fine fabrics. Now when I go into my closet, there is space and I don't feel like I have failed in maintaining my weight for the past 15-20 years just to wear those clothes.
    The same goes for my stash. I see the fabrics I had high hopes for and the patterns that were co-ordinated with them back 15 years and it makes me feel bad to think I have not made time to actually create them. So this year when my local American Sewing Guild has another summer Yard-Age sale, I am rooting through some of the oldest fabrics and giving them away so they can sell them and raise money to buy fabrics that they make into baby clothes for poor families in our area or to buy batting to fill quilts that keep older folks and veterans warm whether they are living in a retirement home or under a bridge. Letting in some fresh air will certainly clear my mind and allow me to dream of future projects with what fabrics I have left without buying more for a while.

  25. I have a stash of fabric with most pieces of fabric I love. Its wonderful to be able to sew up something at midnight, or first thing in a morning when getting to the store is part of the plan. Its great for gift making, and quick things that my kids ask for. That said - I am trying to keep it under control. I only have so much space to store it.... I track how much yardage goes IN & OUT each month, which reminds me not to overbuy.

  26. Well, I have a a single, six-shelf cupboard with double doors in my closet full of interesting, unusual, real-find type fabrics/linings...I was excited about each piece, and each piece was bought for a particular pattern or type of pattern. I realize that I really want to be able to sew more garments than I possibly can at this stage of my life....I am sure I am not alone. I, also, realize that I could get a few more outfits completed if I spend less time reviewing my favorite online fabric/pattern sites. I recall a few blogs (perhaps yours!) talking about finding small blocks of time, 15 minutes here are there, to sew....a seam, a sleeve hem, etc. I only have so much time to devote to sewing, fabric, and patterns;I am going to take a break from all those tempting sites until Spring and use that extra time to actually sew!! I really want to be able to complete a few extra projects over the next couple of months. So, this comment is not about stashing or stash busting; it is about trying to find more time to sew and to complete special projects. I hope this makes sense!! While it is surely enjoyable time, have you thought about how much time you spend every week reviewing the online fabric/pattern sites? Linda

  27. I am so enjoying the current run of posts, most especially yours of course, on fabric stashes. My stash is good for the amount of time I have been sewing and I am happy to sit with it or increase when I see something that must be bought. I will say that with 2 young children, I enjoy that my stash allows me to pull out patterns and fabric and set out to make something without having to run to the shops with children in tow. Although my stash is not as large as many long time sewers like yourslef (obviously not as large as yours LOL!), my husband said last week that I must have hundreds of dollors worth of fabric, I had to laugh at the (under)estimate.

  28. Hi Carolyn

    Have been reading your blog for some time now and you are a great inspiration. I started reading sewing blogs at work when we were told that our office was closing. During the following 6 months I don't think any of us did much work - but I got lucky as I found all you wonderful sewists and have been lurking here since!

    You and your stash make me laugh - I have a micro-stash by comparison and I still feel the pressure to sew these fabrics! I have: chocolate brown moleskin for trousers, mauve fleece for a top, raspberry pink knit for a long sleeve T - and that's it!!

    Maybe less surfing and more sewing is the answer....! Looking forward to seeing your creations in 2009.


  29. I'm sorry. I have been a sewist since I was eleven. I am now 53. I stash. I sew. I buy. I don't. I use stash favorites. I buy new when I see something I like. Of all the things in the world to worry about, are you seriously telling me people are ARGUING about this? Yikes!

  30. I am at the point where my stash has become and overwhelming burden to me. There is so much, not all of it good, that many, many times I start to look through it to choose a fabric to sew, get discouraged and just walk away. My pattern stash has become the same way. I spend so much time looking for things that I lose interest and just walk away. I like the idea of going through the stash and keepin just what I absolutely love. That might motivate me to actually follow through on some of my garment ideas. Right now, it's gotten so out of hand that I have an entire room in my apartment that I don't even like to go into....sewing should be joyful, not a burden.

  31. I have to say that I love my fabrics and I have a lot of fabric. More than any reasonable person would normally have in their home. But I do love being able to sew what I want, when I want and not have to go to the store. Now, that being said, the amount of fabric I have around me has become overwhelming and seems to be blocking my creativity. So, I made a call to my local sewing guild to see if they wanted a bunch of kids prints for the Ronald McDonald house project. With 166 members, they are more than able to handle anything that I throw at them. I realized that my fabric stash had grown so quickly because I have a mother with a shopping problem. Hundreds of yards had come to my house and I let guilt keep me from getting rid of the fabrics that I didn't love. Then it was the "but I can use them for muslins" defense. Now that I've connected with the guild and they have a new location to meet, I can pass on the fabrics that fall under "what was I thinking? Why is this here? Did you seriously think I was going to use this?" and instead, have my pretties to choose from. So, yes, I'm going to purchase less this year, but I'm not going to count the fabrics that I bought on New Year's Eve when Fabric Mart and Fashionista Fabrics had those great sales. I'll also exclude the fabrics from Fabric.com -- I had been waiting for a sale on those fabrics for a while and yes, I edited my order quite a bit. Still, it's over 100 yards. (eek!). But I'm 100% confident that I will use them since (a) I don't really shop retail for work clothes, (b) I love making handmade gifts, and (c)I've admired them for quite some time.

  32. Yep, it seems to me if they really loved sewing they would just "get over it"! Each to their own... sure there are times when I realize like you... "what was I thinking?" I either donate those to someone else or to a charity and move on! But argue about whether to stash or not? Too Funny! If everyone did things exactly the same as everyone else what fun would this ole world be? Pretty boring if you ask me!
    I don't have a clue how many yards of fabric I have and what I've used in the past year... bringing it in or using it up. And that's fine for me. I admire that you keep track, if you want to do that I say... good for you!
    If you think about it I'm thinking that everything will work out for the industry because there are a lot of us out there and not everyone will stop buying at the same time! Need, events, presents for birthdays, baby's, weddings etc... come in different times for all of us. So, to be honest I think that they will be all right! Sure they may have to cut back a little, this time of year the fabric stores always do! They cut hours and their income is less. It's like that for the department stores too this time of year.
    Do what you need to do. I will buy when I need something or if I need something... but I haven't needed to buy something for a few months now. So, everyone's timetables will work out the way it needs too. I just started my New Years Resolution early I guess.
    Thanks for all your wonderful thoughts Carolyn! I guess if you felt like it, you could get rid of something that you don't use (clothing wise) everytime you make something new? Sorry, that's not happening here! I don't have that much... I always seem to sew for others not so much for me! I need to change that!

  33. Stash busting. Sounds so....wrong. Personally I think that sounds like something bad like moths/mice/mildew/cat pee/flooding/"helpful" child with scissors or permanent markers/etc has ruined the fabric, or patterns for that matter.

    When I go to the stash and use what's there, whether for the original purpose or to use a "what was I thinking" fabric as a muslin or learning piece, I think of it as stashercise or stasherobics, depending on how far down I have to dig.

    Do I buy fabric with no clue what it will be - yes. Do I do it often - no. so for me, keeping track of yards in/out isn't a big deal, but I'm certainly not going to comment on those that do. That might change if I ever start ordering fabric on-line though. (That's a subject for another day).


  34. Great Post. Don’t get me wrong I love having a stash, I love that I can open my closet and just stand there and admire what I have accumulated, I love that I can pull out my fabrics and caress them despite having no intent to sew at that moment, I love talking about my fabric and just loving my fabric just because…hehee At the same time, I know I will always have a stash, but there is a need to stash bust periodically. Firstly, I need to make room for new fabrics, secondly, fabric that was intended for a particular pattern, that moment has come and gone… hence the reason for new fabric, and thirdly, stash busting allows me to sew items for family instead of buying fabric just for their project. This past Christmas, I was able to sew up a dozen hat & scarf sets, which made me super happy that I was able to use fabric that I no longer wanted for a particular garment. So my stash busting is not about sewing something just to use the fabric, but allows me to redirect its purpose for the enjoyment of others.

  35. I am sewing from my stash because I lost my job. So I can have new clothes without spending $.
    But I do think you need a stash. And the fabric has to age and sit together. I have found awesome fabric combinations when I cruise thru my stash for ideas. Things that I have had for years, suddenly shout to be sewn into an outfit combined with something else- that I didn't realize would go with it. I don't know if the fabric talks while I am asleep at night. But something happens- and those are usually the best outfits.

  36. I really love my stash, so no guilt. But I am running out of storage, so I'm trying to sew from stash. Is that the same as stash busting? Probably not, but it's still destashing! That's good so I can stash some more. :D

    On the other hand, I have lots of beautiful quilting fabrics I bought, that are taking up lots of space, yet I still really love them and don't want to get rid of them. So i've been looking at them in a different light, trying to come up with different ways to use them. Like pretty throw pillows or even pillowcases for mine & my daughter's beds. That's sort of stashbusting too. But I dont' feel I'll be sewing those things just to use up fabric. I really WANT to use the fabrics, and don't have specific projet planned for them.

    And after that obscenely long post...I still don't have guilt!! :P

  37. I LOVE my stash. No stash busting here. Since my early 20's I've collected fabric. It's beautiful.

  38. A friend of mine simplifies her life by asking 2 questions of any new acquisition: Is it beautiful? Is it useful?

    We are all on a continuum of perspectives with regard to our hobbies, ranging from passionate to a passing interest.

    Some of us need to collect, some of us don't. Museums collect, and thus preserve cultural history. People use objects, and use them up. There is a need for both.

    Some of us need to measure stuff, others don't. We all choose different forms of measurement: projects, yardage, memories, stories. You can't equate the power of a memory of the person who gave you a length of fabric with its number of yards.

  39. I've been thinking about this post for a couple of days now.

    Why do women beat themselves up so for indulging in a passion?

    I have a lot of fabric. Most time, I beat myself up about all the fabric I had, and purchased more. Now, however, I'm retired, and don't have the money to buy as I used to.

    As a result (thankfully) I look upon my fabric...stash, collection, cashe, hording...however you'd want to call or JUSTIFY it... a lot differently. I love it, and don't care a tenth of a d**n if others like it or not.

    See, it pleases ME. I NEED to be able to sew. It, among other of my 'passions' is like air to me.I heard a very wise quote recently. This isn't verbatim, but it went something like:

    "If you are passionate about something, and hold it inside, it will destroy you. If you let it out, it will save you".

    I had a very interesting conversation with a yarn shop owner awhile back. She was 'incensed'. I'm sure she's heard it all from her customers. She asked me "Why do we, as women, make ourselves feel bad about the things we buy for ourselves/well being? Men don't. If they want golf clubs/trucks/fishing gear/whatever, they go ahead and get those things,and don't feel bad or apologize for it". Perhaps that's so.

    I think she may have a point. Now, that's not to say that there isn't a point at which (for women or men) enough is enough.

    She who dies with the most fabric doesn't "win". We all realize that. Moderation in all things. Yes, it's hard for me to keep that in mind, but I'm trying.

    Do I buy fabric. Yes. Not nearly as much as before, because I really do want to use what I have.

    BUT, and this is key, I no longer beat myself up or in any way feel bad about the fabrics that I do have. I know that I'm blessed to have them.

    Think of it this way. If you feel bad about all the fabric you have amassed over time; (maybe there's good reason for doing so, I don't know) it's because you CHOOSE to feel bad. You can just as easily ( theoretically) choose to feel good or "less guilty" about it all.

    As for "stashbusting"? Well, hey, whatever floats ones' boat. To each, her own. ;-)

  40. I love this blog! I am an avid quilter, but this year my goal is to begin making clothes. I am adding your blog to my favorites list and will be visiting often!

  41. Dear Carolyn,
    I stash; I always have, and always will. But there is a huge difference between having a stash that works for you (and gives you a buffer in your life for the bad times) and having a stash that keeps you from having a life. My grandmother and my mother (bless her heart) both have a stash that has paths through the piles. They don't have company over; they don't go to guilds; they can't get to the cupboards or the basement. It is crowding them each out of having a full life.

    My stash is (currently) more manageable than theirs, but I still have more piles than I am comfortable with in my sewing space. The line between having a stash full of options for creativity and a stash that is stressing me out to the point of stopping me from producing has to do with piles crowding out my life. I don't think that it means stop buying, though--I think it means start sewing! Let that fabric become something fun, new, interesting, different, and pass the blessings into your wardrobe. Or, buy, but sew as much as you buy.

  42. Much of my fabric stash is wonderful. I inherited my mom's stash and plenty of that fabric is also wonderful. At present my stash is too big, not because it has x number of yards but because I don't have space for all of it.

    I read this thought provoking article on Slow Stashing on knitters review a couple of weeks ago.

  43. I really don't want mine to get much bigger than it is, because I don't want my kids to be the position of having to throw it out! It gives me pleasure, but I don't want it to become an anchor around my neck.

  44. A couple years ago I pruned my fabric stash and took a carton of fabrics to my doll making group to have at it. I definitely kept all the fabrics with African and African American imagery (e.g., Nelson Mandela prints, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of Liberia, black Santa Claus and angel fabrics, baby prints featuring black kids, and now, Barack Obama fabrics). Last week was able to get a yard of George Bush fabric that was made in Tanzania. Like many folks - I'm just not buying as much fabrics now.

    Best, Kyra

  45. As a veteran lurker, I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed reading your blog. Most bloggers talk about what they are sewing. You talk about the process of sewing. I celebrated my "golden jubilee" of sewing a few years back having sewn all my life, but slowing down for a few years as my life and in particular my body moved away from the perfect Vogue size 12. With the closing of so many fabric stores and the advent of quilting, I feel that I am a stranger in a strange land as the majority of my sewing is 'dressmaking'. I appreciate reading along with you as you work through your construction. I celebrate your finished products. Thank you for being there.


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