Sunday, January 29, 2012

Decluttering the Stash (Part 2)

If you are following this Blog, you now have a box of fabric that is old and/or ugly and you have probably been berating yourself for spending money on it. So what do you do with it?

Get rid of it. If you are like me, you can't just throw it in the trash, but hopefully, you threw some of it in the trash already, the little bits that were cut into and ragged with frayed edges or the ones that had big seams going right down the center. As quilters we would buy those bits if they gave us a discount on them because we knew we were going to cut tiny pieces out of them anyway--had we ever used them at all. Well, so What now? If we can't just throw them in the trash what?

How about taking them to guild and offering them to other quilters who will pick through them and take the bits they like. This is good for fabric that is not Quilt Shop Quality (QSQ) fabric. If it is QSQ then you might offer it for sale to people at a substantial discount and make back some of the cash you spent on it. Or you can donate it to any number of groups that make quilts for charity. I can't stress more highly the idea of getting rid of fabric that isn't going to get used in your stash.

OK, now that your rid of the old/ugly fabric, presumably all you have left in your stash is good, new, beautiful, useful fabric. It is now that you have to ask yourself an important question. Is there still too much of it? Yes, no? Maybe? Count a maybe answer as a yes. If the answer is yes, than more sorting is required.

Your first purge should have let you see how much fabric from any given piece you are in the habit of using. I used to always buy a half yard of anything that I liked. I bought a yard if I really liked it and thought it would be nice to use as a major part of a quilt such as the background, or sashing, or as a major theme of a quilt. For the most part though I have found that I usually use less than a 10 inch square of any given fabric. There are exceptions to this rule for sure. But for the most part, if I don't have a particular use in mind for a fabric, I have to assume I will only use a 10 inch square or less. So what does this mean? It means, dear reader, that I only need to keep a 10 inch square of whatever fabrics I have. Not the full yardages that I seem to acquire. Again, there are exceptions to these rules, so as you go through your stash a second time, use your judgement. Did you buy 2 yards of this bright purple because you had it in mind for a project? Are you still going to do that project or have you lost interest in it? Could you get by cutting off a half yard of it to keep and getting rid of the other 1 1/2 yards? If so then do so.

You have a half yard of fabric and a 4 inch square was cut from one side of it. How about cutting it along the fold and selling the other as a fat quarter on E-bay or at guild. I took a bunch of fat quarters that I had cut this way to my guild's retreat and ended up making more than the cost of the retreat.

You're new assignment is to go through your stash again and downsize it by cutting off saleable parts of it and then keeping what is left over for yourself. The idea is to only keep what you will use, and only the amount that you are apt to use in the future. You should be able to reduce your stash by half this way.

Once you have done this, come back and I will give you the next installment in how to declutter your stash.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Decluttering the Stash--A how to moment

How many of you have uttered these phrases?

"I have so much fabric at home, I can't buy any more fabric!"

"I need to finish some of the stuff I have at home, so I can go out and buy more."

"I just inherited a huge stash from my (whoever) and I just don't know what to do with it all."

Don't tell me you've never said at least one of these phrases, I've heard you. I work at Interquilten and these are the three things I hear most often and usually it's an excuse not to buy any more fabric from our shop.

So let me tell you something about the fabric industry once and for all.

Number one, no matter how much you love the fabric that you are buying right now, later on down the road there will be another one that you like better.

Number two, the reason you need to buy more fabric is because the fabric in your stash is: (choose however many apply)
__ Too Old
__ Too Ugly
__ Too Bright
__ Too Dull
__ Just not right
__ Just tired of looking at it
__ Doesn't fit current project needs
__ Not this one in my hand right now

Number three, face it right now and take the pledge: You are addicted to buying fabric and your quilting has become unmanageable. You need a power greater than yourself to restore you to quilting sanity.

Well, I'm here. I've been there, I've done that, I've bought the T-shirt. (It's pink and it has a bunch of ladies in a car with fabric flags flying out the window and it says, "Road Trip".)

So your first assignment from me, your higher power.

Go through your fabric stash and pull out all the old and ugly fabric that is over ten years old and that you are tired of looking at. Put it in a box. That's all. Next week I'll tell you what to do about it.