the not-so-secret stash

It happened yesterday. I thought I was safe, didn’t think it could happen to me. I think I realized it WAS happening to me, so I joked around about it with my friends. But I never actually made any admissions. Never came forth with the truth. I’ve never uttered the words, until today…

My name is Maria and I have a problem. I am a fabricaholic.

I’m a junkie. An addict. And no, I’m not poking fun about addictions. This is real, just as real as any other addiction that a person is consumed with, feels the need to feed and then hide it from others. I’m addicted to fabric.

It’s not shopping, that’s not the problem. It’s that I feel the NEED to OWN every beautiful piece of fabric I come across, knowing full well that someday that will turn into the most amazing finished project. But I have collected so many of these ‘potential projects’ that I can barely find one stacked under all the others. 2 years ago I bought the tiny twister and I STILL can’t find it!

I love fabric. I love the vibrant colors, coordinating patterns, the smell of the dyes, the feel of good quality cotton between my fingers. I love looking at each piece individually and imagining it’s potential, and how beautiful I could make it.

Pause for a deep breath. Ok, better now. Let’s keep going.

I first started to realize that I had this problem when I looked at my expenses and income for last year. The amount of money I spent on fabric was literally insane = I had NO business spending that much on ‘possibilities’. So this year I put myself on fabric hiatus. I told myself no spending on fabric unless it was for a customers quilt, AT LEAST until I had worked my stash down some. That’s when I started really getting busy making some charity quilts.

I ended up so busy with customer and other charity work that I really only finished 2 charity quilts, start to finish so far. I have another one almost done, but obviously 3 small quilts didn’t even make a millimeter dent in my stash.

Let’s make sure we’re all on the same page here… These bins contain, no that’s not the right word. These bins are STUFFED to the brim with fabric in a color similar to the bin itself, to help me stay organized (notice there’s 4 blue bins!). Many of the bottom bins, as well as the cubbies with no bin, hold excessive yardage of fabrics that I was SURE would be used as a beautiful backing someday.

main stash

The bins below are additions I (sigh) had to buy because these bins above were already full. And there are two more behind me, not in the picture. Most of these contain my newest additions = batiks.

secondary stash

And finally, my, um… table.

this is why i can't invite people over

this is why i can’t invite people over

The blue bin tucked under the white and yellow repair quilt is full of quilt tops I’ve made but have yet to quilt. The green bag next to that is full of fabric, as is the small plastic bag next to it. The table holds not only a printer (can you find it?), but fabric, a bag full of strip scraps, a bag of clothing sample squares (for a replica quilt I’ll make someday), the woven basket FULL of vials of beads (my next venture, after I make all these quilts from my stash..), fabric in the box, behind the box, a pillow I made with fabric under it and behind it. And on it.

I was just coming clean with my husband about all this. He called me a hoarder. But at least he said it in a nice way.

Which leads me to this.

I was recently informed that I could participate in the annual garage sale at the local quilt shop. This means I can bring in any quilt or sewing related items to sell. I decided it was time to come clean and stop hoarding.

I measured all my finished quilt tops and I think I have 15. I also have 3 with backing ready. Then it was time to hit the bins.

fabric barf

fabric barf

You can see Fred in the background. I think he was scared.

I started with my bags of fabric sitting over to the side, and then grabbed what I could bin by bin. I measured and cut yardage, 1 yard pieces, 1/2 yard pieces, fat quarters and some ‘charm packs’. I had fabric from the very first quilt I ever made (like 13 years ago?) and some I’d bought 3 years ago and hadn’t seen since. Time for it to go!

I made a lot of progress yesterday going through all this. The blue tub holds quilt tops, yardage, 2 charm packs and a kit and book. The bags on the floor hold the yard and 1/2 yard cuts. On the table are more 1/2 yard cuts and the fat quarters and some squares I cut to make charm packs. In the chair to the left is more fabric I still have to work on. And I still have about 10 bins to go through.

the aftermath

the aftermath

It was nice to touch each piece I had collected. My stash is quite varied, and some of the fabrics looked ugly next to others in the bin where they were stored. Being a fabricaholic, of course NO fabric is really ugly. I was able to see each piece’s potential and beauty again as I caressed it. sigh.

I have a lot of scraps from all this, but most of what I make when I go on retreat is scrap quilts. So that’s not a bad thing – I look at it like I’m getting to keep a little piece of each fabric. Like a memento.

This really is a win-win situation. I either sell a lot and come home with $, or I don’t sell it and I get to bring it back home.

The challenge will be not spending the $ I make from the garage sale to rebuild my stash. Because after all, I didn’t say I was a recovering addict. And I have all these half empty bins now… 🙂

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5 thoughts on “the not-so-secret stash

  1. antarabesque says:

    What an awesome idea! I’m not quite there, yet. I feel like you do, the God given creative impulse is so great I can see potential in every fabric I come across. Hoarder, yes. I’ve been busy sewing tops for Oklahoma tornado victims lately. It helps that my husband bought a long arm. I’ve managed to empty one bin of 3 1/2″ strips. Wooo hoooo!

    • thank you – you know, i feel EXACTLY like that!!! and yes, working on those charity quilts makes it feel so worth it to have the fabric to make them. but really, there comes a point when we just don’t NEED this much! keep working thru it girl!!

      • antarabesque says:

        You are so right, I don’t NEED this much. When I pitched the idea of Quilts for Oklahoma, someone asked why did I want to do that. When I saw the complete devastation in Moore, that anyone in the path of the tornado essentially had nothing left and I had a stash that bordered on ‘obscene’ I knew I had to give from my abundance, just as God gives to us from His. It’s what we’re called to be as sisters and brothere in Christ. Charities quilts are the best, because the right hand does not know what the left is doing. We don’t know who actually gets them, where they will go, or how they get used. It helps to keep us humble. Blessings on your ‘ministry.’

      • Thank you = you are SO right! I feel so great doing charity work, knowing that this fabric just sitting in my house is going to end up helping someone else stay warm at night! It is tough to give it up, but really, God gives and we should give too.

  2. dawnmariew19 says:

    I am so there with you! Lol 😉

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