In Part 1 of Time-Saving for Quilters, we talked about the importance of preventive maintenance for all quilting tools, machines and other equipment. Today, we look at physical space and that storage hog, the STASH!
Lesson 2: Downsize That Stash
We all keep too much fabric in our stashes. We buy fabric because it’s beautiful, we love it, it’s on sale or an otherwise good deal, or we make a mistake thinking a particular piece is just what we need for that next project.
The truth is – we buy too much fabric, too many notions, threads, art supplies and all the rest!!
We’re brought up as consumers, right? So – there’s nothing we like better than shopping, and shopping for fabrics and art supplies is a trip to Heaven!
Pull out all those fabrics and cull them down to about 25% of what you’re presently storing. Think in terms of how much fabric you can make into quilts in one year.
Think about how long you’ve been collecting fabric. Look at the pieces you bought over the last year. How different are those fabrics from the ones you bought during your first year of quilting, if you have any of those left? See how your eye has become more sophisticated, how you know yourself better now than you did a few short years ago?
Begin with the fabrics that have been around the longest. Chances are they are beginning to rot; nothing lasts forever, yes? And if you were ever going to use them, you would have done so before now.
To those, add the ugliest. Come on, you know they’re in there! Those fat quarters that came in a bundle you thought was glorious until you opened it? That piece you never did like but mistakenly thought it would enhance a work-in-progress? That one over there – see it? – it’s a misprint; get rid of it.
Carry on in this manner, truly, until you force yourself to respond to your newly refined tastes.
So, go on – clean house on that stash. Sell what you don’t want at your next guild meeting. What’s left over from that can be donated to a church, a self-help group or a school in need of craft supplies.
Write it off on your taxes.
Do whatever you have to do, but get rid of that unwanted fabric that you are never going to use!
Storing fabric is expensive. The fabrics deteriorate, develop permanent wrinkles and folds, and take up valuable space you could be using for something else.
Be tough on yourself for this all-important step. The outcomes are rewarding. You can:
- Free yourself from a lot of (really) unwanted baggage; it’s very liberating to cut down on your stash!
- Eliminate the hidden pressures to produce something out of all that fabric you no longer really like, making way in your heart and mind to work on the projects you truly want to complete.
- Create a lot of new-found space in your studio. No matter how large or small your studio space, every cubic inch counts when we’re talking about storage, doesn’t it?
- Finish with a selection of only gorgeous, wonderful fabrics that are truly worthy of your talents and your commitment to production.
- Reach for what’s available and get on with the work. You no longer need to spend hours poring over your fabrics in search of the perfect ones to do a job. Learn to buy what you need, and to use what you have on hand.
How does downsizing a stash make more time for quilting? You spend a little time, a big investment actually, in making sure that you only stock those fabrics you truly love and are likely to use. This important step clears physical space in your studio or sewing corner, and clears mental space in your mind for thinking about present and future quilt projects.
After you complete this important but not difficult job, you have more time for quilting because you spend less time searching for the “perfect” fabric. You spend less time searching through fabrics in general.
Save time, and quilt more!
Time-Saving for Quilters is an 8-lesson series of blog posts, reprinted here with permission, similar to the kind of instruction students receive at QuiltEd Online in all of our online art quilt classes. Read the entire series: Part 1, Part 2, and the remaining posts to follow in sequence in coming weeks. Subscribe to QuiltEd Online News to receive notifications of these and other useful quilt blog posts!