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.