Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sunday Stash: Mystery Quilt Pull

I'm playing at the Sunday Stash party with the fantastic and fanciful Molli Sparkles for a second week in a row! When I started writing about my quilting adventures I didn't have a stash to speak of. I cringed at the sound of the word. 'Stash' gave me chills. When I heard someone say it, I couldn't help but think that if I did have a 'stash' then I would have to admit to my hidden, crafty, quilt-making obsession. I would have to 'come-out' of the quilting closet!

 I have accepted myself as a quilter. I find that I am drawn to places that other quilters frequent, like fabric shoppes and sewing expos. I now know where like-minded people hang out on the internet and learn from those who have accepted and embraced their quilty habits. I look up to those who generously share their insight and impeccable work. I choose to be an out and proud quilter! There I said it.  

 One might think that as a proud young quilter I would become accustom to my growing collection of quilting fabric, but honestly, I still have reservations about my stash. First let me show you the good stuff, then if you would like to stick around, I'll tell you about the skepticism surrounding the stash.

What is that paper all about?

The selection above is what I've chosen for a fun Mystery Quilt hosted by Cheryl over at Meadow Mist Designs. The fun is just about to begin, so you should check it out if you want to play along. All I know so far is that we need three groups of fabric: A, B, and C, and the suggested amounts for each which are detailed at her blog. 

For Group A, the main fabrics of the quilt, I have a selection of magenta inspired fabrics. From left to right there is: 
  •  Kaffe Fassett Shot Cotton in Magenta that has been in my stash since last summer and used in the Summer Sampler Series. (you can read more about my experience with that here.)
  • Carolyn Friedlander Architextures crosshatch in ???
  • Nellie's Garden 415C also a magenta with hints of orange.
  • Phillip Jacobs for Rowan. Westminster. 

Group B is the background fabric. I am choosing to use only one fabric for the background. It is this fantastic feeling grey cotton. I cannot remember who makes it, or what the exact color is, but I do remember that the kind person at the fabric shop saying that this brand has quickly become the staff favorite because of it's soft feel and slight sheen. It's actually a bit darker, but there is some reflective light bouncing back from it.

For Group C, the accent colors, I have some bright citrus colors that I think play well with Group A. Clockwise from upper right there is:
  • A random chartreuse quilters solid left over from my WERQ Bee block (JoAnn's Fabric)
  • Timeless Treasures Screen Texture in Tangerine
  • Carolyn Friedlander Architextures Crosshatch in Tangerine

Well you're here at the bottom of the page with me, so now the "SKEPTICISM SURROUNDING STASHES" 
1.  The perfect stash is an unobtainable goal. I sometimes feel that an underlying message in online media is to buy, buy, buy (And I don't mean the 'N Sync version). I see images of beautiful work rooms with shelves of lovely fabrics and well organized notions. I know that these images represent only a handful of quilters, but equate them to unrealistic images of models in magazines. That image takes, hard work, sacrifice, time and money.

2.Too much fabric may stifle creativity. I have been known to buy fabric because it's gorgeous and I just want it. Then comes along a brilliant pattern that the gorgeous fabric would work perfectly for, but I have in my mind decided that the fabric is too dear to me to use. What if it doesn't look right? What if there is something better for this fabric to come along? I have a couple of fabrics that I'm going to bite the bullet and make use of here, so that they are not just a part of the stash. 

3.. Finally and most importantly, I feel that having a stash of fabric goes against the traditional nature of patchwork. A hobby, craft, and art that appears founded in frugality has taken on a lavish tone. I think it is important to 'start where you're at and use what you have.' I'm fortunate to have the ability to supplement my projects with new fabrics, but would like to ensure that none of my purchases go on wasted. 

Now don't get me wrong, I love fabric. I love the colors, the patterns, the textures and even the smell. I probably would have a fantastically plentiful stash, but then I would wonder how I would find the time to use it all up.

Do you have trepidation about a stash? Are you stash busting or stash growing? I would love to know your point of view on the topic!  

Molli Sparkles


  1. Good post about stashes. I have a pretty big stash that I whittled down a few years ago (meaning, I gave half of it away to quilter friends). I love to have a big selection to till through when I want to make a quilt and I usually dump the whole lot of it on the floor and sift through it picking out the ones that "feel" right for my project. I've built my stash up over 20 years of buying. Now I almost never buy fabric for a project but shop from my stash instead. I love looking at all the fabrics and though I know what you mean about not wanting to cut into something, I've gotten over that for the most part but I will admit to something maybe a bit awful: if I'm making a quilt for someone I don't really love deeply (ie if it's just for a coworker) then I will use my least favorite fabrics... Although several years ago I also made a decision to stop making quilts for people that I didn't deeply love or care about because I found that I was just doing shoddy work and really don't want to waste my time on something that's not awesome. So if I don't care about someone enough to want to invest all my time making something awesome, I just don't make one. And that has been a big relief. Now I'm not churning out crap just to churn it out... I don't know if that makes any sense

    I've also found that my tastes change so what found gorgeous 10 years ago now I say why did I like that? So I say, just cut into that fabric and use it. If you use it all up right after buying it, it's probable you can still get some more before all the bolts are gone.

    1. Thanks for the response! I got a chuckle with the bit about the way you use the least favorite fabrics, or giving up on making those quilts all together. It's true quilts are labors of love, and I believe should be made for the most deserving. :)

    2. I like this anonymous comment. I have really only just started quilting (I have three and a half quilts under my belt), and, for me, it is really time consuming, and quite expensive. I couldn't imagine making a quilt for someone I don't love (unless it was to sell, maybe), because it is such an effort for me. Also, I think people don't realise what an effort and labour of love it is for you if you are just giving them out willy-nilly.

  2. What an interesting post, with a lot of good points. I agree with most of what you say. I have only recently taken up quilting and I'm returning to dressmaking, after a break of almost 15 years. My stash has grown way too quickly and I need to put the brakes on, hence my pledge. Thanks for stopping by my blog. It's nice to meet you.

  3. This is a great post. Firstly, I really like your choices for the Mystery block and think they will work really well together. As for stash, I don't regard mine as huge (and certainly not lavish), but I am an unrepentant stash builder. I do sometimes buy fabric for a specific project, but am much more likely to start with a special piece and then pull fabrics out of my boxes to go with it. They may not be the perfect match but I enjoy the challenge of making them work. So far I have never regretted this and I hope this is a least a bit in the spirit of patchwork's traditional past. As for the really special fabrics, again, because of the way I work I often choose to leave them in fairly large pieces, so that they are the stars of the quilt. I guess in the end stash is all about finding a level you are comfortable with.

  4. great post, one of my fave topics. I just love fabric and what it offers in color and texture. I have an enormous stash of fabric arranged by color, or content. When I get an idea, or approach a new piece of art, I am very happy to shop in my stash. I can't remember the last time I shopped for a project. I know I have the perfect material. Somewhere! That said, there have been times I had to paint the needed fabric to get just the right tone of red for example.
    I think it's a modern (time of plenty) version of make do as our ancestors did. I make do with what I have, but I have a lot. The problem for me, is allowing myself to cut into beautiful yardage, is the current project important enough to use it??
    LeeAnna Paylor

  5. Okay, so there's a couple of reasons I have a stash, which I'm not deliberately growing now, but I'm not abstaining if there's something I *really* want.

    1. In the UK very, very few of us live anywhere that means we can walk into a quilt shop. I'm a good 3-400 miles from one... So yeah, I have to think ahead. It's much, much cheaper for me to buy from the US though, so I tend to fill a priority envelope with fabric when I buy, although I don't tend to buy without coupons, and the fabric is usually on sale ;o)

    2. I'm in 3 bees (soon to be just 2) which are 'stash' bees, so I need a good range of options. When I did to help that was spend 1 year in the stash stack club at Pink Castle Fabrics. I did the FQ option, which meant 12 FQs in one colour dropped through my door each month. It meant that I built up a good range of fabrics across the spectrum without spending a fortune. Since then I've only bought FQs when I've actually been in the US on holiday in the odd shop I've passed, or on the occasional bundle.

    1. Katy, I hadn't thought of that side of things, but you are right about the UK, and often the shops here have a relatively limited choice when you visit in person (unless you are in London). I too fill up a priority envelope when I buy from US.

  6. Your colour choices are fabulous. I agree 1000% yes 4 zeroes, with #2, except for stifle creativity...I think of my stash as paint, and to be able to just go to it and (usually) find exactly the colours, shades, values that I want, or to be able to find a pattern I want to make, but combine random fabrics from many companies and lines and designers, is really liberating, no exhilarating I feel. I LOVE shuffling through it all!
    "how I would find the time to use it all up" -- I HEAR you once again here! but I'm going to have fun trying. :-) Going to follow you right away, probably with bloglovin', as I have really enjoyed the last few posts of yours, and I have a huge tie to Florida...

  7. I have a small room for sewing, with limited storage space. Since quilting is only one of the things, I do, I tend to keep a closes eye on my fabric stash. Mind you I also have a bead stash, fibre stash, roving stash, thread get the picture.

  8. As a fairly new quilter (less than a year) I find that I have a very small stash, but some days feel an urgency to make it bigger because of all the talk on various blogs about their stash. The advantage I can see to having a stash is being able to make a project without a trip to the fabric store. That being said, I find that the fabrics in my stash are usually not what I'm looking for (the Mystery Quilt is a good example, had to buy fabric). So, am I stocking my stash with the "wrong" fabrics?? I am hopeful that it will all come together one day, that I will find the perfect (or nearly perfect) project for each piece of fabric I own!

    1. Thank you Beth for your comment. I love to see everyone's veiw point on this topic. Stashing is a concept that I am still struggling with as far as the value behind it. I am currently on vacation and have unintentionally used the vaca as an opportunity to *ahem* greatly build my stash. Hopefully, like you've said these are not the "wrong" fabrics and will come together into some great projects.

  9. I'm only in the early days of quilting, but I prefer to buy for each project. I tend to buy a little too much, so that I have a very small stash, but I have no desire to stock lots of fabric that I may not even use.

    I totally agree with too much fabric (or just too much stuff in general) stifling creativity (for me, anyway). I am currently in the process of trying to rid myself of excess stuff, and to overcome my natural hoarding instinct :)

    I also like the old quilting idea of making do with what you have, and have kept old clothes, curtains, etc, that still have good material on them, to use in future projects.

    Luckily for me, I suppose, is the fact that I rarely get overwhelmed by a pretty fabric. I have much more interest in what the finished project will look like than what an individual piece of fabric looks like. I also don't have the space or money to have a large stash :)


Thank you for stopping among the groves. Please feel free to share any thoughts, comments or tangent ideas. I would love to hear your point of view and make every effort to respond via e-mail to you.