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Stash Question

Stash Question

Old 01-30-2020, 08:16 PM
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Default Stash Question

I love reading the Quilting Board as a new quilter and I always seem to have dozens of questions...sorry. I keep reading about quilters stash, some of which is quite extensive. I have competed 2 quilts since June and have the blocks finished for the third. (Binding Tool Quilt). I do have small amounts of left over fabric from each quilt and I am looking at the best ways to store the fabric. But...I am asking for advice of how to prevent myself from becoming overwhelmed with "stash". So far I have only purchased fabric for the project that I am going to start. Thanks!!!
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Old 01-30-2020, 09:58 PM
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Location: Ontario, Canada
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Many cut their leftover pieces into specific sizes like Bonnie Hunter from Quiltville. I like to leave my scraps as is and I throw them into a clothes hamper for scrap quilts. Yardage I fold onto mini bolts to store in my stash cupboard.
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Old 01-31-2020, 03:03 AM
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Very northern Wisconsin
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Anything as large as FQ I keep in plastic flats. See through ones are the best for me. Yardage I keep in 18 gallon tubs. I label what’s in it on an index card. I separate by theme such as civil war, floarals. Separate tub for batiks. I label what color yardage it is. I have a special tubs for donated quilts to be made. I’ve used this system about three years. Has worked for me. Flats and tubs sit on shelves.
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Old 01-31-2020, 03:31 AM
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The best thing is to designate a specific amount of space and stay within that. Whether it is a single box or an entire basement! There is nothing at all wrong with collecting textiles. I love and covet fabric of all sorts. Other people let the stores "store" it for them. But you quickly find out that if you find a piece of fabric you fall in love with and don't get it, that even if you go back the next day the likelihood is it will all be gone and you will never find it again...

So ask yourself first what/why do you wish to keep your scraps? I have a scrappy style and that is fine for me, but if you don't want to do projects like that why accumulate bits you won't ever really use?? Many of us have a thrifty nature and it bugs us to throw things away, but you can also give them away or even sell them if you must.

When I first started, I threw my scraps into a hamper but that didn't work well for me. It was a horrible mess, everything needed to be ironed all the time, you had to dump the whole thing out and dig through it to find anything. I prefer to use boxes now which are sorted either by color groups or types. So I have boxes for blue, red, brown, etc. as well as "farm", batik, "travel". And in the last couple of years I decided that while yes, I needed a lot of different fabrics for my style of work, I didn't need a lot of yardage or a lot of different sizes of small pieces to take care of, so now I don't keep anything smaller than a 6.5" strip, and I've given away all my smaller pieces. I can always cut a 2" square from a 6.5" strip if I need to and I don't need to deal with the remainders.

As a piece of yardage gets smaller than a fat quarter, a strip is cut off, put in the box, and any usable rest (or if it is too small) goes to a crumb quilter I met here on the boards. I keep a box by my cutting area and send it to her when it is full.

The short form is that you decide how much space you wish to devote to stash, and how big of pieces you wish to keep in that stash. Keep that in mind for when you see fabric that you wish to buy. I rarely buy anything larger than a 3 yard piece, mostly 1/2 yard cuts. I have a friend who rarely buys anything smaller than a 6 yard piece and will happily buy a bolt (typically 8-14 yards) if she loves it.
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Old 01-31-2020, 03:53 AM
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Location: Central NJ
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I'm one of those who only buys for projects. I don't have room for a stash. That said, when I do purchase, I always buy a bit extra. Usually 1/4 to 1/2 yard extra. Gives me comfort if I make a cutting mistake. After my quilt is completely done, I will usually keep some larger pieces of the leftovers but sometimes not. I do like to have a bit of fabric on hand in case I see some cute little project that I want to do in the interim. I'm not a 'scrappy' quilter. I tend to be very traditional in my quilting style. Whatever I do keep I just have in drawers in a dresser in my sewing room. I've become friends with another QB person who is local to me who does much charity sewing. The fabrics I don't want to keep I give to her. Works for both of us.
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Old 01-31-2020, 04:22 AM
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I've been quilting for a while and have managed to accumulate a lot of stash, but for me, dealing with those smaller pieces leftover has been the biggest challenge!

For larger pieces, I use the folding method described in this video, though I use the 8 1/2" ruler.

Smaller pieces get cut into my "scrap system," more or less based on the Bonnie Hunter method.

I progress through a scrap piece using these sizes:

"Nickles" (5" squares).
4 1/2" strips (I use these for scrappy backs)
2 1/2" strips
2" strips
1 1/2" strips

Uneven ones or smaller pieces go into my string collection.

I love scrappy quilts and have tons of sized piece of fabric from fat quarters up to 1-2 yard pieces. I tend to buy a little extra when buying for a specific project (just in case!), not to mention grabbing whatever catches my eye! It does make it easy to "shop the stash" for certain projects, but yeah, it can get out of hand very easily!
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Old 01-31-2020, 05:14 AM
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I have an extensive stash of fabric that is over 3000 yards right now.At one time it was twice this size. Several things happened along my quilting career that caused my stash to expand in giant leaps. At first because I was not following any pattern I would guess just how much fabric I thought I was going to need. It seemed I always had more than I needed. Then I would see a fabric on sale that I thought would look good in a quilt one or two ahead of what I was already working on and would buy that. It stayed pretty level until a JAF near me was closing shop as well as a Hancock Fabric. When I was able to get fabrics at 80-90% off I was getting everything in sight and coordinating one quilt on top of another until I was a good 20-30 quilts ahead of my current quilt. Oh my I realized I was becoming a quiltaholic. When we moved into my new home here in Waterford DH built me in the best sewing studio ever with a big cabinet just for my stash. Of course I wanted to fill it but I was still doing well and had empty shelves and only about 1/4 was filled. Then the big day came where I was let in on a llittle secret. A woman had passed away and she literally hoarded fabrics. She had 2 large bedrooms floor to ceiling and rows of shelves and built ins full of fabric. Her daughter sold it to me at $10 a large black garbage bag. I spent $200 on some of the most beautiful fabrics ever. Some was still in coordinating 5 pieces pieces and in the bag from the LQS! By the time I got it all washed and pressed and put away my once lightly filled cabinet was almost full. I try to work from my stash most of the time but found that I would still buy new fabrics on sale a great deal. Then I stopped going to the LQS and JAF unless I needed something important. Now I purchase online and I only do that if I can't find what I need in my stash.
I seperate fabrics by yardage. 1,2,and 3 yard pieces and coordinate by colors and lay in the cupboard as flat folds.
I have a second upper cabinet that is 1/2yd and fq's. I then have 3 seperate bins for scraps.
Last fall I ran into an exceptional sale at JAF that blew me out of the moratorium for a bit when I bought fabrics for 1 penny a yard. I bought 140 yds of fabric for $1.40! Now I have fabrics stacked under a workbench and in boxes. There is also fabric under beds and in cedar chest. I do donate fabrics to charity groups from time to time. My stash will out live me 3x's I'm afraid but I do know it will go to good use in a quilt someday. Friends and family make frequent stash raids and it brings a smile to my face.

The best way to prevent this from happening to you is by doing what you are currently doing. Buy only what you need for a quilt always being sure you buy just a bit more than a pattern calls for just in case of a mistake. Save your scraps for scrappy quilts and don't get started buying extra fabrics. I have put a lot of $$ into my stash over the last 30+ years and have no regrets and I have never put fabric before family or bills even though I know I am a fabricaholic.
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Old 01-31-2020, 06:08 AM
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I think there are 2 types of quilters. It all depends on how your brain works! One buys fabric for a specific project/pattern. You buy what the pattern says you need. The other one buys fabric they like, often without a pattern/idea in mind. I’ve been quilting for 15 yrs and very seldom use patterns. I start with basic idea and go from there. It allows great creativity in the process which I love! For some, that is stressful. So I have a large stash (some purchased but mostly a relatives huge stash). I seldom buy fabric unless I have a very specific need. I bought bookcases that are less that 12” wide and project boards (Dollar Store). Cut them into 6 pieces (10x10) and wrap my fabric around them. I can now audition fabrics without removing from shelves. I also cut the squares into 5” squares and use for smaller pieces of fabric. I found containers which fit shelves perfecting at IKEA. I gift a crumb quilter with my bits and pieces.
You’re a new quilter. Start stash building slowly. Your fabric choices with change significantly as your skills grow. There is so much to learn about threads, needles, batting etc. Do what comes naturally to you. There are many ways to be a happy quilter! Good luck in your journey!
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Old 01-31-2020, 07:01 AM
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I have a stash but I'm not fond of scraps as a rule. Everyone is different and I think as you go along you'll find the right balance for you.
I have quite a bit of yardage for backings and some 1-3 yard pieces but the majority of my stash these days is comprised of precuts. I love them!!! So much fun to work with.
I tend to get sick of fabrics over time so I've learned that it's important for me to use what I love when I love it, not in the future when it loses the appeal it had when I bought it.
I almost never buy fabric with a project in mind. As I said- everyone is different.
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Old 01-31-2020, 07:45 AM
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Sounds to me that you are doing the correct thing to not accumulate a "stash" by buying only for what you intend to make. But do save your scraps from those projects to turn into lovely scrap quilts at a later date.
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