To "stash" or "not to stash"...

This adorable cartoon is found  here

This adorable cartoon is found here

There are myriads of jokes about a quilter and her stash.

Most of them involve the size of their stash and the problems of locating it in their house.

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You’ve seen the jokes, I’m sure.

Or the cartoons.

So…what about having a stash?

What about building a stash?

Not long ago I read an article by a blogger encouraging all of us to quit building a stash. She even said that we should “ditch the stash culture”.

She said we should buy only what we need for our projects as we need them and get over the idea of building a collection of fabrics that we might use “some day” (a stash).

My immediate and first reaction to the article was,

If everyone did this, the whole quilting fabric industry would go through a severe recession as we use up our stashes and buy ONLY what we need" .

(She proposes that instead of fabric we should spend more money at our local quilt shop on classes, long arm services and patterns. At least that is what I got out of the article. In other words, more services/experiences and less ‘fabric’ - she wasn’t actually proposing spending less money - just spending it differently - and yes, she sells patterns - I checked and it kind of made me chuckle.)

The quilting fabric part of the industry is driven by people who collect fabric.

Hopefully we use it too. But most of us collect it faster than we can use it. There are various reasons for this, I believe - which is beyond the scope of this blog post.

So where am I on this idea?

I am on the fence.

I do believe that you should “Do what works for you.”

I do not believe it is a “right/wrong” issue and will not tell you to

“ditch the stash” or “build a stash”.

That is totally up to you.

What works for a 30-something with small children at home finishing 12 projects a year might be something quite a bit different from a 50-something who has no small children at home and finishes 50-100 projects a year.

I look at my stash of fabric for my sewing like I look at my pantry for my cooking.

There are some people who do not stockpile food items.

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They buy weekly what they need - including sugar, flour, baking powder, etc. This method of food shopping means that you never really stock up on anything and you could be “out” of food in a day or two should something happen and you can’t or don’t shop. To most Americans, this is just…well, unthinkable. Not so here in Europe.

However, since I am an American, and think like one, I do buy lots of sugar, flour, and other things I use, etc. I don’t like popping into the store often - as it seems to eat up my time and leaves me open to impulse shopping. Yes, I stock up when there are sales, if at all possible. I hate running out of eggs when baking or needing more more baking soda. That’s why I always, or almost always keep extra. I don’t like to plan so thoroughly for every item/meal I make that I need to buy it all each week. There are some who do, however.

Just not this person. Nope. that’s not how I work.

Maybe I’ve been influenced by cook books that talk about “once a month cooking” and such. I’ve learned from them….never could quite master that, however!

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So, since I treat my fabric stash like my pantry, you’ve probably figured out that I can’t actually imagine how I would feel without it. I would definitely feel hampered. I can make pretty much anything I want right now. Well, as of this writing, I’m desperately in need of buying another roll of solid black. but you know what I mean.

So, while I really don’t care what YOU do, I will keep my stash.

Thank you.

It’s not that I don’t care about you - it’s just that about this issue - it doesn’t bother me what you do.

The person who chooses to cook a meal a week in his or her home may not need much in the way of groceries. They can plan easily and run to the store to get what they need. The person with 5 children (like we had) and cooks daily, bakes often and often has company is actually helped tremendously with some “extra” in the house.

I feel the same about fabric. If you are busy with your young children or other things in life - maybe a career or full time job— and don’t really sew that much, then a stash may be a waste of money, space and energy for you. But if you are someone who sews prolifically— and my definition would be someone who makes 50 or more quilts a year - then I believe you would find a stash a help - almost a necessity. Running to the store constantly to buy what you need for each project would take up valuable time that you could spend sewing - but that is up to you. Maybe that is what you like to do!

Naturally there are pro’s and con’s to having a stash and not having a stash - but those are beyond the scope of this blog post!

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As I said, I don’t really care what YOU do. You should do what works for you, your personality type and your budget.

I will do what works for me.

I am actually grateful for my stash…Every single day.

(I also know that I didn’t have such a big one as I have now until my sis and I bought out a lady’s stash who had Alzheimer’s..That’s another story. Another post.)

Don’t let someone’s post on the internet make you feel “guilty” for an issue that is not a right/wrong one.

We tend to like to throw around “should” and “should not” a bit too easily in our quilting world.


Maybe it’s the internet.

Maybe it’s the nature of bloggers who need to have something to write about.

Who knows? I’m just writing this to to try to help you, if you are the type that has a sensitive conscience, and suddenly feels guilty for something that she didn’t know was a bad thing, that you don’t have to feel guilty!

Now, go and sew!

And have a great day!

Be sure to check out what my sis has for you in the store!