An embarrassment of riches! A rant!

quiltnhenSeptember 12, 2012

Decided the clutter in my evolving space was getting out of control. Peculiarly decided that bringing all the stash, notions and formerly unpacked sewing stuff up from the guest closet was going to help that. We're still planning the space and hoping to install drawers and shelving ASAP.

Needless to say, even if you only consider the fabric itself, it's considerable. About 20 years ago I unloaded all the fabric I'd collected since high school and sewing for the kids. All I needed after that was quilters cotton right? Well if you don't count the 8 or so large pieces of rayon I thought I'd make into something wonderful some day, or the cotton knit to match each piece for tops.

All my overstuffed plastic buckets of fabric probably have stuff I don't need, because each time I search for "just the right thing" I end up buying MORE! Like the neutral light I bought yesterday for this month's block, then today found the box that had that color in it!

Time to consider a fabric donation bag, just like the hospice donation bag.

Linda B/CA

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I had another liberating experience about 5 years ago --- I do miss a few things, but I get over it quickly. And when you look for something, if you don't find it right away, you don't feel guilty buying new, because you 'must have donated it!' My Dh is the one who finally said (or I finally heard) that I would never use the old fabric, I always want new! he is right!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 8:28PM
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Someone was cleaning out his mother's sewing room after her death. He knew I quilted so passed on a lot of material. Last year, I passed it along as well. After looking at it all several times, there was nothing appealing about any of it, so off to the thrift store, it went. I need my cupboards for "new" stuff.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 9:07PM
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We have some dedicated shoppers who check our stores every day for fabric. Anything you donate will go to good use and it will find it's way to someone's sewing machine.

I really need to do that too. Last year I took several fat quarter sized pieces, folded them neatly and put them in a ratty old basket, then labeled it "Quilter's Cottons". I was told it lasted about 5 minutes in the store before someone grabbed it!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 9:41PM
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I keep a 2 gallon ziplock bag on my cutting table. Scraps I know I won't use (no less than 2.5") go in there. Every couple of months I clear out other larger pieces.

I, too, label the bag "100% quilter's cotton scraps". Off to Goodwill, and I've also been told that the bag gets snatched up the first day or so.

Life is too short to hang on to fabric you won't use, or fabric you hate.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 10:24PM
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Again, lots of great ideas. I will begin!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 10:39PM
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In the past I had a job and could afford to buy fabric any time I had a whim, even though I had no definite plan for it. Now I am without a job and working out of that stash and grateful for it. I do get to buy fabric about 3 times a year with wild abandon, gift certificates from DH for birthday, Christmas, and Anniversary. Other than that I rarely buy any unless I need something specific such as backing material, batting or whatever to finish a project. I guess what I'm saying is, if I had decided to rid myself of unused fabric I wouldn't be quilting very much now. Yes I have fabric down in the bottom of bins that I hope I never have to use, but you know the saying about when you are given lemons....! Since this stash isn't encroaching on the rest of my house and life, I'm keeping it.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 7:01AM
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Last month I did the clean-out.
I gave a lot to the local Salvation Army thrift store.
I had it all packaged and neatly sorted into separate bundles....3 boxes of large pieces, 2 Xmas fabric bundles, 2 juvenile prints bundles , a bundle of felt pieces and a bundle of fabric panels, a box of 2.5"wide strips and 2 boxes of squares(2.5"& 3.5"). I took a pic of each lot of fabric before bundling it, printed the pic and taped it to the bag/box.
I went back 2 days later and didn't see any of it.
I asked the girl about it and was told that it was put out after hours and was all gone by closing time the next day.

I felt great about that. I knew it found a good home.

I encourage any of you that have extra 'stuff' that you know you will never use to please donate to worthy causes.
Many people that are on tight budgets visit the thrift shops on regular basis and you not only help them, you also help charitable organizations.

The only thing I would have changed.......I would have given it in 2 or 3 lots(different times) so that more people would have access to it.


    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 7:53AM
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I've been lucky enough to "inherit" fabric. I've gone through it on occasion and donated a lot of it. I find it exciting just to finger through the fabrics and think of all the projects I can make :-) It also refreshes my memory on what exactly I have! And then there are those times I need something specific and you'd think with all that stash, there would be something I could use? I love and excuse to visit the fabric store.


    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 7:56AM
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Rita, I know what you mean. My life has been so full of ups and downs that I don't feel the need for rollercoasters, I'm already on one! Fortunately, right now I'm on an upward swing, but with the post office having such an encertain future, I've lost that feeling of security. Right now my stash is growing because thankfully I can add to it from time to time, but it won't always be like that, and when the time comes I can no longer buy fabric, I'll have some to dig through and use to make myself feel better.

And yes, goodwill is a great place to find fabric! If not in the crafts section of the store, I've found a small section where they hang large pieces of material which I enjoy looking through. And, there's nothing there, I can always go through the clothing section of the store because there is a lot of fabric hanging on those hangars, waiting for me to repurpose!

Enjoy your day everyone!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 9:18AM
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Well, y'all know, if you hold onto those outdated fabrics, eventually they will be in style again! :)

And now admit it...if you took fabric to Goodwill or Salvation Army to at least looked to see if they had any for sale, didn't you? LOL


    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 9:24AM
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Yes Donna, I am guilty! I did look at the fabrics that were there...not much selection.

For some reason, I never find much fabric at our Salvation Army thrift store but there is another thrift shop that does have fabric and I have bought fabric there.

I LOVE going to thrift shops and yard/estate sales and often buy. My DH says that I am only buying someone's junk but there's the old saying-one man's junk is another man's treasure.


    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 12:29PM
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Last year I policed up all of my lengths of material I knew I'd never use. They were left-overs mostly from home and clothing sewing, or things I wouldn't have voluntarily chosen from too-good-to-be true fabric sales where it would have been cost effective to even use them for shop rags. They went to the local Good Will where they'll fill a niche, but not for quilters. Much of the redundant material were given to me in boxes of other people's stash. I'm about ready to go through the fabric bins again to get even more serious about repurposed cloth I've collected and if it isn't suitable for things like rug-making, it's going as well.

I'm thrilled to have a large stash, and I won't dispose of anything of good quality, whether I particularly like it or not. Not with quilting cottons pushing twenty dollars a yard. They'll go into gift quilts, because not everybody has the same tastes and somebody might love those patterns. They'll also find their way into quilt backs.

However it's done, a stash should be 'fighting weight'. IOW if you absolutely know you wouldn't be in your right mind to use it, why keep it. Let somebody else put it to good use. I'm working on a bag for our local Mennonite market who welcomes quilt materials and scraps for their quilting circles to make items either for charity to to fund thier own charities.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 1:49PM
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Last year I was given fabric from a friend of a friend of a friend's stash, since then I have given away about 1/2 the fabric to friends and family and it felt good to give some of it away, keeping only the fabrics I thought I might use some day. I would say I have a medium sized fabric stash, not too small and not too big and still some room to store new fabrics if they are needed for new projects. I try to work from my stash as much as possible though.

Well I purged some things out of my craft and sewing cabinets today. My local library, and I have a great local library, they have children's storytime. Earlier this summer I picked up a flyer they had set out telling of things they would like to have donated for children's storytime. I phoned the library today to find out just how small of pieces of fabric they are willing to take and I mentioned that some of my fabric scraps are as small as 1.5" x 3" and they said they would love to have it. Aside from going through my stash I also had school supplies left over from previous years. So I put together 2 stuffed Walmart bags full of old buttons (I still have a button stash that I am keeping here), lace that M-I-L didn't have a use for anymore, left over spools of crochet thread, ribbon, stickers, felt, yarn, glue, crayons, markers, pencils, paint, glitter glue, velcro, the list goes on and am donating it to my local library for their children's craft storytime. And am donating also to the library a shoebox full of fabric scraps and small 4" scrappy quilt blocks that I know I will never use. So I feel good as I just finished cleaning out my cabinets. My local library is on a tight budget so I feel good donating to them as I know they will put it to good use. So don't forget about your local library when purging out craft supplies and fabric.

Best to you,

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 2:58PM
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I have a length of knit fabric I got at the Sewing & Quilt Expo a LONG time's turquoise and "furry" (for want of a better descriptive word). By the time I got home from the Expo I was wondering what I was thinking! But I've kept it all this time, thinking someday I would make a jacket or something.

Now...y'all remember the movie Monsters, Inc? I realized the last time I looked at this fabric that if I made anything out of it I would look like Sully...the big blue furry guy.

Yeah, it's still in the closet...someday it will go to a new and better home!


    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 4:29PM
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I have gotten rid of most of my "sewing" fabric (Still have a little wool and things of doll clothing) but I am greedy when it comes to quilting cotton. I have a good sized stash and I am positive I will never be able to use it all but I still love looking through it to find a color, pattern or what ever to get inspiration. I have turned to it more recently as a challenge to use some of it, thus more scrappy quilts.
I admire those of you who devest yourselves of your stash so others can benefit but I have to say I can only do that when someone has a personal need. I guess it is part of my addition or perhaps selfishness may be a better word.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 7:41PM
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