09 December 2012

“The Stash”

Holy $%*#!@ that’s a lot of fabric.


Okay, the time has come to organize – I mean REALLY organize- the studio.  The time has come to confront…. the stash.

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only fiber artist with a ridiculous amount of fabric, thread, do-dads and sewing notions stashed in every corner of their studio and/or house.  But knowing it and seeing it for myself… well, those are two different things.

This week I’ll have my studio appraised for insurance reasons.  That means I have to collect and inventory each one of my books, tools, sewing machines and bits of fabric.  That last thing – that’s the kicker.  As I went around to various shelves, boxes, bags and drawers finding fabric, I felt more and more like an alcoholic retrieving hidden bottles from every nook and cranny of the house.

DSC_0020Seeing it all in one place was disturbing.  Where did this all come from?  I have a half-serious theory that cotton fabric can breed in captivity.

Did I really BUY all this??  If so, I’m going to ask my accountant if I can list as one of my dependents.

The next step was to sort it all, then weigh it.  That’s how the appraiser will determine it’s value.  I’m not too proud to admit I paid my 7 year old $3 to help me sort all this into commercial prints, solids, specialty fabrics and hand dyed/batiks.  I am proud that he can now spot a real hand-dyed vs. the commercially printed made-to-look-like-hand-dyed by looking at the back to see if the color goes all the way through.

Okay, 30 pounds of commercial prints? Some of them must be 10 years old!  From the looks of it I must have had some brilliant idea to coat the world in fat quarters.

And why do I have this much satin brocade?  Seriously, why?

Moving on…. Now I have the evidence in front of me.  I consider myself to be a neat and organized person most of the time.  But this stash makes me realize I’m about one bin shy of being a hoarder.  (But I LOVE THEM SO MUCH! Is that so wrong??)


All right.  No sense beating myself up.  There it is.  The question is what to do about it. 

I began to see the bright side.  The process of organizing my studio allowed me to put aside a bunch of items that have never been used and/or never will be used again.  I put the majority of them into 2 tote bags, and gave them away at the last SAQA-CT regional meeting.

Now for what was left: I need to use what I have and NOT buy any more fabric any time soon. 

… oh, okay.  I bought ONE more yard. Yesterday. Carol Eaton’s gorgeous handmade ice-dyed cotton.  It’s perfect for a project I have in mind and I don’t have anything else like it (oh no, isn’t that the typical hoarder’s rationalization?)  I don’t care.  I love it and I’m not sorry!

My name is Kate and I’m a fabric-aholic.



  1. Hello, Kate. Welcome to fabric-aholics anonymous. One yard at a time :^)

    1. LOL Thanks Diane! I'm thinking I'll have to keep an eye out for stash-shrinking projects to get a handle on this. The satin brocade is already spoken for: Luka wants me to make a wizard's hat and cloak so we can play Harry Potter. Sure, why not?

  2. Oh Kate - you made me laugh! We can ALL relate to this dilemma!! You may not remember where or how your stash grew but I'm positive the journey was fun!

  3. Isn't it a pleasurable thrill? Reliving the first time you saw that fabric and imagined all you might do with it? And as you have changed your work you can come up with whole new ideas of what to do with it. The possibilities are endless, that's what hoarding is all about! Your sister in hoarding, Jeanne

    1. So true. As we were sorting the fabric, Luka picked out a colorful batik and asked me if he could keep it. I said "sure. what do you want to do with it?" he said "I don't know. I just like it."
      I can TOTALLY understand that. But now I think I might have passed on the gene. :-O

  4. One of my first times in quilt shop I saw a women with many bolts of fabric in her arms waiting at the counter to have it cut. I asked her what she was going to do with it and she said she didn't know, but she liked it so she had to buy it. I thought it was financially irresponsible of her. Little did I know that I would be doing the same a few years later. I have quite a stash now. But it does come in handy. It's nice to have fabric when I need it without having to go shopping for it.
    Thanks for showing photos of part of your studio. I'm getting one in the next few months (I hope).


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