Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What is your fabric hoarding weakness?

One of the aspects of quilting that we all seem to have in common is the accumulation of a "stash".    Last week over at Amy's Creative Side, she shared this quote.
 "The thing is: if you are never going to chose your own fabric, why do you have a stash at all?"  (April Rosenthal) 
 Reading that has triggered a landslide of thoughts during the past week about my own stash. 
I've been on both ends of stash development -- I've sold it and I've bought it. 
As a shop owner for 26 years, I suspect I've single-handedly built some pretty awesome stashes out there -- conservatively, I estimate that my contribution to local stash inventories might surpass 125,000 yards of high quality cotton fabric. 
That's a lot of fabric!!
And my own stash has the potential to keep me going for another 20 years though those last couple years will be frustrating as I'll be challenged by lots of "ugly" fabric.
As I get ready to set up my display for Vendors' Weekend at Lake Metroparks Farmpark Quilt Show this weekend, I'm pushing to finish this quilt. 
I know that when quilters see it, the first thought that will pop into their heads if they like it is to make one "just like that". 
And that is what diverts us from using our stash. 
We want to make that quilt in those fabrics
So my fruit and veggie Tessellated Windmill quilt will send someone on a quest to find all the veggie and fruit prints out there so she can make this quilt.  (If you can't find the tool locally, I usually have some in stock -- e-mail me at
But you are better served by using the inspiration of quilts that catch your eye to use your stash and here's how I do it. 
 When I see a quilt that inspires me, I take a deep breath and try to identify why I love it!  
What seems to catch a quilter's eye about this quilt is the way I used a set of fabrics unified by a theme contrasted with the "neutral" black prints.
So if that's the inspiration, how can you take that and apply it to your stash? 
What style of prints do you hoard?  (Hopefully, you use them once in a while as well!) 
 I hoard bird prints. 
 I hoard them in fall colors.
I hoard them in Christmas prints. 
I hoard them in Oriental prints (in fact, birds make up about 1/3 of my Oriental stash).  I'm already thinking my next Windmill quilt (love to make this quilt) needs to begin with this stack of Oriental crane prints. 
So find your hoard and contemplate using it this time.  And don't let these issues side track you!!
Have you ever heard yourself say, "if I use it, I won't have it anymore". 
If you use now, you are the one who got to use it --
 not some unknown quilter who grabbed it up at the yard sale for 25 cents.
How about this one?  "Its too beautiful to cut up." 
If you use that gorgeous large scale print on the backing of a quilt you are going to keep, 
you'll always have it!!
"I'm looking for the perfect pattern for it.
Really?   How long have you been in that mode?
Watch for opportunities to use those hoarded fabrics because it's more fun to play with them than it is to refold them. 
Once this weekend is over, I'm going to make a small wall hanging using this panel (love, love, love) to participate in the Tree Bird Blog Hop from March 13 to 23.  It's been on the "scared shelf" for over a year now and I'm looking forward to chopping it up!!
It's back to the quilting for me!!  For those of you living in Northeast Ohio, I hope to see you at the show this weekend.  My booth will be in the classroom just past the milking parlor. 
Stop by and say "Hello"!!
Mary Huey


  1. Inspiring post, as always! Off to cut something up to prove I can!

  2. Super post, Mary--all of those reasons not to use my own fabric hold for me! I am right now actually using my Asian Geishas stash--I love geisha prints for some reason (actually, a quilting friend thinks that all of my quilts--even those without Asian fabrics in them, look oriental!) I am supposed to be on a fabric diet--but I know if I see a new geisha out there--she'll be winging her way over to my stash. I like your idea of asking "why" we like a certain quilt--that is really helpful. ( I also collect landscapes and fruits and flowers a lot, too..).hugs, Julierose

    1. Thanks, Julierose -- your comments make me smile!! When I'm trying to control my urge to buy, sometimes it helps to "organize" a pile of my stash -- one never knows what one might rediscover??

  3. I feel a moment of sadness when my last scrap of a favourite fabric gets used up, but I still use it!
    My weaknesses are pretty florals and spots.

    1. I can so relate!! I have just used the last bit of a "scared" fabric from the mid-80's but it's scattered through several quilts that I still own so I'm always happy to see!!

  4. My weaknesses are earth tone prints, 1800s prints, neutrals, Civil War prints, caramel tones, serpentine prints, romantic prints, birds/butterlfy/bee prints, floral prints, stripes....heck I love it all! It is hard cutting into a beautiful fabric but it feels really good to see it in a quilt so eventually I bite the bullet and cut the fabric!

    1. "eventually", Karen -- you cut into lots of beautiful fabric and with beautiful results!!

  5. I do like having a well stocked 'resource center', LOL!! But you are right, sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and cut it up. I have always been pleased after I have done so. Visiting from NTT

    1. Love "resource center" -- I'm going to start calling my hoard that!!

  6. My fabric weakness is flowers, but I do use them! I've been on a fabric diet for three years now. I try not to buy anything except when I need a backing (and I don't have pieces that I can assemble one). I'm going on having used or donated over 300 yards. What draws me to a quilt is usually the fabric. I don't try to duplicate a quilt per say as when i try I can never find all the fabrics needed to do so. One store will have a piece, another store another piece - it's too hard trying to find all of it. I've thought of kits, but lots of times, they don't have kits for the ones I like. Actually, I think I only see about 1/1oth of what is printed and it goes out of date in just 9 months. I'd be intereted to hear your take on this, Mary. One thing - I'm finding a lot more with the Internet. Oh, but th postage! I don't mind paying the postage, but when they charge 5.95 for shipping and then send it first class for 2.25 - grrr. Sorry for sounding off, I needed that. Stay warm.

    1. Flowers? I have a big stash of those, too!! I never think of my quilting fabric as being out of date. One of the best things I learned in all my years buying for my quilt shop was how to blend fabrics together from lots of sources. I get a big charge out of taking a new print and combining with lots of my "older" fabrics!!

  7. I feel pretty sad too when I use up the last scrap of my favourite fabric. You have a lovely collection of fabric there :)


    1. Thanks for visiting, Soma -- fortunately, there is always some new beautiful piece of fabric waiting out there for a chance to be one of my "favorites"!!

  8. Preciosos travajo y bellas telas un saludo desde canarias

    1. Marta -- Gracias por visitar mi blog y su buen complemento - Lo siento mi español no es mejor!

  9. I love the idea that if you use it now, it saves it from the 25 cent yard sale buy later on. I've had to talk myself into the idea that I can always find a new favorite! But this really helps.