Monday, March 5, 2012

Decluttering the Stash (Part 3): Special collections!

If you are like me, you have several of these special collections of fabric. Orientals, Civil War or Depression Era Reproductions, Christmas, Halloween, I spy's, hearts, Metallic, Cats, etc. All of these are considered special collections, especially if you have them in a separate area of your stash. Some people might consider Batik's a special collection. I don't because, well just because and I don't want to discuss it, OK? I love Batiks and I'm not getting rid of any of them. I've been collecting them for more than 10 years now and someday I will have ONLY batiks in my stash because I love them so much. Their colors and designs are simply luscious and I'm never going to get rid of them. So, just, get off my case, OK?

If you feel this way about one of your collections then by all means, keep it. It probably means that that's how you see color, design and yourself as a quilter. I know someone who is so into Halloween that she has a stash of Halloween fabrics to rival none other. She would never get rid of them in a million years. But for me, it was just more clutter.

I recently tried to make quilts to get rid of all my Halloween stash. I kept cutting and piecing and then found a way to make smaller and smaller pieces go further and further. I now have a Haunted house quilt, a haunted attic window quilt, a haunted log cabin quilt, a witches hat quilt, several Halloween wall hangings, and I still haven't gotten rid of all of it. I think the rest is going to pieced into backs. Same thing happened a few years ago with my Christmas stash. I wanted to make one Christmas quilt and when that was finished I realized I had enough fabric to make about six more full sized Christmas Quilts. so I set about doing exactly that. I did the same for my Depression Era Reproductions, and ended up giving the rest of them away to my dear friend and co-worker Sues Simpson for Christmas last year. The Civil War prints went to another friend, Sharyn Woerz who edited my first novel. I just stacked them all in a box, and mailed them to her. Feels good to give something to someone who wants it when you don't. It's freeing. Try it and see.

Again, as you go through these special collections try to remember why you bought the stuff in the first place. Do you have all these Civil War prints because you wanted to make an Underground Railroad quilt or Dear Jane? Did you finish the quilt you wanted to make with them? If so then maybe it's time to get rid of the leftovers. If not then maybe you need to put them in a box or package marked, "save for Dear Jane". This might give you the incentive needed to pick up that project again, knowing that once it's done you can then get rid of those fabrics. Did you buy every bug fabric you could lay hands on because you wanted to make a bug jar quilt? Did you make it? Is it done? Then pass those bug prints on you someone else who hasn't made one yet. Give them the pattern you used to, kill two birds!

One of the things I did to get my stash down was to find these collections and the patterns I still wanted to do with them. I did all the cutting for the project I wanted to do and then put all the pieces into a 2 gallon Ziploc bag with the pattern. These are called kits! You can store these in a box or old suitcase. I put them in my suitcase and then take them with me to quilting retreats. If all the pieces are cut then you know that all you have to do is start sewing them and retreats are perfect for this because you're being entertained by gabbing with friends.

Oh and BTW, there is no such thing as the phenom entitled: "Fabric too Pretty to be Cut."

If you think there is and have pieces of this in your stash then here is what I want you to do before you do anything else:

1. Go get it out of your stash and see how much is there. If it's more than a yard then cut off a one yard piece of it.
2. Take this yard and cut it into two half yard pieces. If it is less than a yard than cut in half. If you have 27 inches cut it into two 13 1/2 inch pieces, etc.
3. Go to your stash and find fabrics that go with this fabric. Use it as a focus and pull other fabrics out of your stash that go with it. You will need more than 5 of these and less than twenty.
4. Go to your block library or to this website and find one or more blocks that you like or just make a quantity of blocks that you like to make. Make enough of them so that you have at least three rows of blocks that are about 40-42 inches long.
5. Put one strip of the blocks between the two nice pieces of fabric and one on either side of them.

6. Now just border it out until it's the size you want. Voila! Instead of beautiful fabric that is getting no use in your stash, you now have a beautiful quilt that you can use as a throw or a bed quilt. Because it's more important to have a beautiful quilt than beautiful fabric! Right?

OK, so go have a look at your stash again, and declutter those special collections and those special fabrics. You won't be sorry you did!