Monday, January 31, 2011

in which I ponder.

 This weekend brought me some new, bright and shiny fabric goodness.

new lovelies

Loving Haven's Edge by Tina Givens!  Those charms at top left are from the collection, as are the Walls in Turquoise and Walls in Violet.  I knew at first sight that these tonal geometrics were must haves.  So glad that Sew Love Fabrics stocked them! 

I also indulged in a little tasting of Soul Blossoms by Amy Butler.  That Delhi Blooms in Lime is a particular shade of green that is totally lacking in my stash. I tend to buy up olive green, but lime looks great with lots of colors!  In fact, I actually like it with all of these fabrics (excepting the charms).  That would be an interesting color palette for a quilt, would it not?

After making my Love pillow, I was completely out of Woodstock in passion from Innocent Crush.  And, I decided, I can't be through with that yet so here we are.  Below I picked up two more prints from Innocent Crush by Anna Maria Horner. Again, they're stash balancers - I have so much aqua blue and few "true" blues. Plus, I'm almost out of stripes. (must. have. stripes.)

But I can't ignore the brightest and most outspoken in the group...  Have you met Kumari Gardens?  This is Tarika in gem, my favorite of the collection.  She reminds me of clouds and summer and cotton candy.  I wonder what she'll grow up into someday?

Do you worry about that, those of you fellow fabric stashers?  And to those of you who don't buy fabric without a particular project in mind, does this kind of shopping seem reckless, I wonder? 

There's a very interesting discussion going on about stashing, stashbusting and scrapbusting at a new-to-me blog, Completely Cauchy.  She posed a question about the terms themselves and our motivations when creating within the context of these words.  The entire thread of comments is fascinating.  I replied:

I have used the turns “stashbusting” or “scrapbusting” without much introspection before. This is giving me reason to pause. Yes, there are negative connotations here that are not quite right. I do not have too much fabric. And, yet, at the same time, I rejoice when I make something entirely from my already owned fabrics – it feels so resourceful. Sometimes the fabric inspired a project. Sometimes a project requires a new fabric. But, when the two work hand in hand (when I have on hand what I need, as a previous commenter mentioned) the experience tends to make me happiest of all. There is a satisfaction to be gained in using what you have.

OK, I’ll also admit that my scrap accumulation does make me a little nervous. I don’t like the feeling that I may not be able to ever keep up with “using” all of the scraps that are created by my sewing. But, the simple solution is to give them away to someone less scrap-blessed. Is that scrapbusting? Let’s say we need a new word.

I'd love to hear your take on all this.  I suppose the word "stash" might imply something hidden away, not to be used, to be hoarded.  I'd like to say that I don't think this way about my fabrics at all, but just the other day I was processing that I should piece together the backing for my next quilt, rather than buying new yardage.  And, I felt an odd mixture of "yes, wonderful, let's use these lovely fabrics" and "oh, no, then they'll be gone!" 

But I think that's normal, right?  Afterall, that's kind of how I feel about my children getting older.  I rejoice in each new milestone and the way in which our relationship evolves with their maturity.  On the other hand, I wish I could pause it all because I don't want another stage to be gone. 

Back in fabric land...  Perhaps the terms "stashbusting" and "scrapbusting" derive from our need for a little push to go ahead and use up beautiful fabrics.  And then the idea of "stashing" describes our joy in replenishing our creative resources for another inspired moment.  One thing I know for sure - I don't buy fabric to "have" it, just as I don't make quilts for them to sit in a cupboard.  I appreciate Cauchy's prompt for self-reflection.  Today seems meant for just that.

Did you see, did you see, did you see?  Anna announced our January winner to be Jolene of Blue Elephant Stitches!  Her beautiful dresden plate pillow was made extra special by her love for her grandma. Congrats, Jolene!

Rita of Red Pepper Quilts is going to kick off our February party with an announcement of the prize(s) on her blog.  That's right - plural - cause Rita's stitched up a little something extra for you!


  1. This post hit home for me as just this last week, I came to terms with balancing using fabrics from my stash and buying new ones. I'm at the stage now where I'd much rather have a finished item using fabric I love, rather than having it on my fabric shelves where I only see it occasionally! Even with fabric I absolutely love, if I make something and give it away, at least I got the joy of stitching it all together and passing along a wonderful finished item.

  2. I am not a's probably the frugal minimalist in me. I only buy what I need for a particular project that I am working on at the moment. I don't ever buy fabric just for the sake of having it on hand. The fabric world can feel a bit consumeristic at times and there is a hidden pressure to quickly purchase "before it's gone"...I don't like to be driven by that mindset and it's easy to slip into. But that's just me! I know most quilters love to keep a "well-rounded stash" but I'll just stick to buying what I need when the need arises.

  3. I definitely feel the tension between holding onto my stash and using it up... especially with particularly special or favorite fabrics. Strangely this doesn't happen to me with my yarn stash. I told my husband the other day that my fabric stash was like ingredients in the kitchen - when I run out of favorite things it makes me kind of sad because I feel like it limits the possibilities of what I can make. But I just try to keep a balanced stash and not worry too much when I use things up...

  4. Very interesting topic Rachel! I agree that the term stash has a negative connotation to it. We use that term for other things that are not so healthy for us as well. ;)

    I think that you may have hit upon why I would never and have never purchased a book with "stash" or "stash busting" in the title. I like my fabrics. I don't need to bust them! lol.

    With my fabric diet, the goal for me is to curb on the whim purchases and be a better consumer in general. But it is also so that I take time to evaluate what I do own and why I own it. Would I choose to own it now if given a choice? That's the question I keep asking myself with every single fabric. Like I said on my blog. I want to truly love every single piece of fabric I own. Each one should make me want to put everything down and use it!

    Interestingly enough (to me at least), this is very similar to how I feel about clothing. I would love for every item of clothing I have to be my favorite. To feel beautiful in every piece and have nothing that makes me feel guilty for purchasing it. That means a lot of different things to people, but for me it means a hard purge on the wardrobe every 6 months or so and making myself try things on. And letting someone see me in the item. ;) It really helps.

    So I think that I'm in the process of "trying on" my fabric and seeing how it looks on me.

  5. I've only recently started sewing, but am really enjoying building a stash of fabric! So far, I've bought fabric just for the sake of it being pretty, I've gotten it with a project in mind, and I've purchased it knowing I have something to pair it with already in my stash - and that was probably the most fun project at all!

    I think clearing out one's stash from time to time is okay, especially if you can swap it or sell it on eBay or something. No use in keeping something around that you've had for a while and have no plans for!

  6. I like this topic! I have totally been inspired to design my own quilt patterns and so much thought go's in to that along with the fabric and color choice. So if I h purchase 5 different blues to find just the right one for my quilt, then I will do that! And I love it all! It's all part of quilting! I know I will eventually use the other blues in another quilt someday and it will be just right for that quilt. If you don't have a can be difficult to design a quilt pattern with the fabric and color in mind! You have to feel it and smell it! he..he..

  7. To me, the term stash denotes the fabric that we keep on hand to be used for our ministry quilts. We try to keep a balanced stash - enough solids, a variety of colors, basics like polka dots and stripes, juvenile prints - so that we can pull together quilts quickly without having to purchase anything. We've been blessed to have fellow quilt bloggers donate lots of lovely fabric, so we have an ever-refreshed supply to work with. Usually the only fabrics we need to add are solids.

    Scrapbusting is a whole other thing - and something we definitely need to do, as we have bins of scraps to deal with. Those get cut into usable sizes so they can be made up into kits for quilts.

    I think sometimes as consumers, we get caught up in the "limited time only" marketing philosophy and worry that we'll miss out on a particular fabric - but by the time we get around to missing it, something newer will have taken its place in our "wanter"!

    Interesting topic - thanks for bringing it up!!

  8. Ooh, really good food for thought! Yes, the fabric market creates a "get it while you can" mindset, which really complicates everything. Hmm...

  9. Very interesting! I can say that I both love using the fabric I have and acquiring new fabric, which I always have a hard time cutting into.

  10. Scrapbusting vs. Stashbusting are completely different animals in my book.

    I have no problem what so ever with "busting" out my 'scraps' to use them in a project. I don't see the word "bust" as a bad connotation in that sense. I happen to be someone that sews and crafts a lot, and with it comes a lot of scraps. There's no way around it for me. Big or little, they eventually get used or sent to someone who can use them more than I. If I term a project, or a pattern I design a "scrapbuster," it's because I want the reader to know that particular project is going to help them use what they have held onto - or what they have on hand. Often people don't know what to do with their scraps. They linger. I can see everyone's opinions in it, but really, I think it's more a general term to let you know that what you have on hand is going to work for a particular project. Not to hurt it, not to bust it. To let you know, "hey! you don't need to run to the store and buy stuff to get this done!"

    Now, Stashbusting... If that term is used in my vocabulary it is because I probably made a choice in a fabric purchase that was not as exciting as I thought it would be. Time to purge it, it doesn't do me any good by letting it sit here; I'm not loving it, I won't use it. Let someone else (ie. charity groups, friends, others who may not have the $$ to buy fabric) use it for their projects. Spread the fabric love. I don't buy my fabric to resell it as "stashbusting". I have however purchased from stashbusters... Because I liked the print or the color and it inspired me to make "something".

    For me, my stash is my palette. I glare at it daily and ponder my projects, I use it; even if it's going to busted.

    Sorry to ramble! :-) This was good to look inside myself at the use of the words. I feel better now.

  11. I just picked up some Kumari Gardens, too! So beautiful.

    I agree with i like orange: I consider my stash to be my palette. I did make a stashpact for yarn purchases this year, but my knitting time has substantially decreased lately, and I have plenty of beautiful yarn to enjoy for quite some time. Fabric, on the other hand, is worth continuing to stash. I'm like you, in that I try to fill in holes of color or pattern, and I typically buy with specific projects in mind. I don't feel as if I'm throwing my money away, but I do try to practice some restraint (so I can plan for things like the Sewing Summit!).


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