17 Feb

Stash Busting

Today is “Fabriholic Blog” Day. See, the great thing about having so many blogs rolled into one is that sooner or later, I just might post something someone can relate to. 😉

Anyhoo, there’s some talk amongst the fabriholic blogs about how one can organize their fabric stash, what makes a well rounded stash, is your stash pre-washed and neatly folded, etc. A few of my answers are:

I rarely go out shopping for a specific fabric/project. When I see something I like, I usually buy a half yard. That bites me in the butt later when I want to make a garment, or a quilt with a large plain space, or if I want to actually make blocks with the same fabric in them. Hence, my quilts tend towards the “scrappy.”

I am a pre-washer. Who can be bothered to stop and wash when inspiration hits? I don’t care if I get a tangled mass of threads, I just want to get rid of any sizing and prevent unexpected bleeding. I don’t often iron though. That can wait until I need to use the fabric since it will just get wrinkly squished in my drawers anyway.

I sort my fabric by color. Then I shove it in my drawers. When I can’t fit any more fabric in a drawer, then I know I need to stop collecting for a while. Blues were out of control until I made a strippy blue baby quilt and the giant blue string Lone Star quilt. Now I need to make something purple — STAT.

I consider all my projects to be stash busters. If the colors are right, I have no problem mixing something contemporary with something that’s been sitting in my stash since the 1990s, with something gifted from a friend or picked up from the Quilt Guild freebie table. A perfect stash has the full range of colors and neutrals and covers a wide range of lights to darks. Some fabrics with interesting textures like wools and silks are a good addition too. I’ve never met a fabric I didn’t like (well, except for the bag of polyester double knit house dresses from my neighbor’s mom), and my stash shows it.

And that has led to a recent stash crisis. Somehow, in all the piles of half started projects, the thing that bugged me the most was my full-to-bursting scrap bin. Two days ago I HAD to make something from scraps and take the bin down to hopefully half capacity.

I was thinking a spiderweb quilt and when we were out buying buttons for my new asian blouse the other day, I saw a lime green solid that screamed basis for a scrap quilt! (I bought 1.5 yards!) Then I decided that the spiderweb scrap quilt was being done very well by sewists with happy light fabrics and lots of linen and that I would hate mine in comparison (silly me, but whatever). I switched gears to a log cabin with an interesting layout seen in an Amish exhibit. I had sketched the quilt thinking subdued dark neutrals with cobalt centers, but hey, it would work as a completely scrappy quilt too. Besides, my stash is mostly subdued colors anyway, right?

Wrong! Apparently, I’ve been on a brights kick. I’ve also got some pretty ugly stuff at the bottom of the bin that hasn’t been skimmed off in many a year. I think you can tell something about a person from their scrap bin. Is there a preferred color scheme? Does the person buy fabrics in collections? Are the dated fabrics removed? Are the scraps mostly florals, or plaids or geometrics? Mostly large or small scale prints? A yes to any of those questions would probably result in very nice tidy scrap quilts. I have to answer no to all the questions. The first few go-rounds on my log cabins were looking pretty hideous, but I decided that the only way to beat the scrap bin was to keep going. I’ve decided (since I’ve barely made a dent) that I’d increase the size of the blocks from 6″ (the size of my square ruler) to 8.” I think this will help to homogenize all the wacky color combos going on. There’s some hot pink and aqua competing with the green centers, but I think they will be OK in the end. I’m on day two of sewing and the scrap bin is just laughing at me and spitting up crazy fabric, but I will persist.

6 thoughts on “Stash Busting

  1. Ditto everything you said – we could shop together and fit perfectly into each other’s stash! I’ll just put you in my will and the stash will fit right in to yours! It’s the out fo control scrap bin that ledt to this 4″ log cabin block monster! Oh, and my fabric drawers are totally out of control in blue.

  2. I’ve been slack in quilting this past year or two but when I was in the midst of quilt mania I kept a tall narrow basket near my cutting table. It was perfect for scooping those small but still-useable pieces to sort at a later time. However, I usually ended up emptying the basket into a bag and handing it off to someone who does paper-piecing….they love small pieces and the variety of someone else’s stash. (smile)

  3. The scrap bin is like clothes hangers – those pesky scraps multiply in the dark! Your blocks are looking like a lot of fun!

  4. I have a different box for each colour of scraps. the blue is 3/4 full, the pink and purple have a light dusting of fabric at the bottom the yellow does not exist, the green is full and I can’t get the lid on the one labelled African Scraps! I too think I need to de-scrap. I am thinking crazy style with appliqued animals in the centre patches which would be plain. Or maybe paintstikked animals….

  5. i think fabric busting/organizing is the eternal problem!!!! i keep bits thinking i am going to make more than that one quilt..and i am addicted to quilting cottons – just don’t quilt! someday – you and the other 12 are my inspirations 🙂
    your dress and blouse are lovely! really and truly fantastic!

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