Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Stash Management

BRRRRRR. The last few days have made a good argument for human hibernation. Would someone please reach inside Phil's snug little burrow and yank him out so that he can explain exactly what he meant by "early spring"? A quick thaw any minute now would be just fine with me.

On a more positive note, this weather does lend itself to staying inside and getting some sewing and quilting accomplished. You might even want to get a jump on the spring cleaning bug and organize your sewing space. My customers and friends are always telling me that they "need" to use up their stash. Well friends, it isn't going to go anywhere unless you dive into it and put it to use. Maybe it is time to put your big girl panties on and deal with it.

Quilting "stash" comes in many flavors. There are those pieces that you absolutely LOVE. Those are the pieces, no matter how big or small, that make your heart beat a little faster just looking at them. As silly as it sounds, you can't possibly "use" those pieces, because if you did, they would be "gone". I understand completely. Fondle those, refold and set those aside. Quilter-to-quilter, we get it.

At the opposite end of the stash spectrum are the "What the heck was I thinking?" fabrics. You know the ones. You have absolutely no idea what possessed you to purchase them. They don't work with anything else in your stash. They may even have been a beautiful green in the store that turned into baby puke yellow when you got it home. You know in your heart of hearts that you are never going to use them, but you paid good money for them and can't possibly throw them away. Here is the solution:

I Karen Montgomery here by grant _____(insert your name here)____ permission to donate any fabric of any length or size that they deem not worthy of their esteemed stash to a worthy cause.

There, that should do it. Take all of that unworthy fabric out of your sewing space and give it away! The Million Pillowcase Challenge is still going strong. There are inner city programs that teach kids to sew that are always looking for donations. Quilts of Valor groups all over the country are doing amazing things for our Vets. There are many, many more groups that would love to have your "ugly" stash. If you live local, give us a call, we can put you in touch with the people we know.

Now that just leaves the middle ground of stash. The pieces that you like and would love to see used, you just don't have the time to drag it out and put it to use. Why not use one of these frigid snowy days to grab a rotary cutter and put it to good use?

I suggest that you cut 10 inch squares, 2 1/2 inch strips and 5 inch squares. These are the standard cuts that are used in hundreds - maybe thousands of books and patterns. You don't have to know what you are going to make, just cut, sort by color and size and enjoy the feeling of "using up" some of your stash.

Once you have nice neat pre-cut pieces to play with, imagine the fun you will have! Grab a pattern, your pre-cut pieces and you will be ready to sew in minutes! Scrap quilts abound! You are ready for any Jelly Roll, Layer Cake or Charm Square pattern you see, including all of the ones pictured here.

Now don't you feel better about your stash?


JoAnne said...

Thanks, Karen, that's an excellent idea! Last year I decided to use up some of my stash for pillowcases for the 1 Million pillowcase challenge. I decided to make ten. I ended up buying lots more fabric and have done about 250 so far. I think I need to stop. I tend to overdo it sometimes.

Last summer, for your nine patch thing, I made 496 blocks. I'm still making them between other things. I love nine patches! DS bought a house and now wants a few quilts for it. Those blocks were just waiting for him!

Pollyanna Patchwork said...

Great idea for stash if I can just bring myself to do it! Procrastination and patchwork just go together don't they?