Monday, March 14, 2011

got your steel-toe boots on? cause i'm steppin' on toes today.

more than enough scraps
an old picture of my scraps and my two children. one of them is completely buried - his hand is sticking out.


a friend shared a picture of her growing stash recently, and the comments on it made me think of this blog post that i've been meaning to write. but first let me ask you a few questions.

did ever buy a shirt (or other garment) that you love? it fits perfectly, you love the print on it, great price, etc? has that perfect shirt ever gotten to small, it's not so flattering, or it's out of style? what did you do with it? did you make it work? did you wear it anyway? did you stuff it in the back of your closet with similar things because you could never get rid of it? or worse....did you buy it and never wear it and never will? *gasp*

have you ever bought a piece of furniture that you no longer love? or doesn't match your decor anymore?

has someone ever given you some hand me downs that were perfectly fine, but they just weren't your style? did you keep them?

well, what did you do? did you have a yard sale? did you pass them on to a friend? did you donate them so a charity could sell them for money? or did you keep the item determined that you spent (or someone spent) hard earned money on it and that you would make it work?

now what if the said item was fabric? i see so many people hold on to fabric that they no longer like. fabric that may never make it into a quilt. fabric that could be passed on. i'm not saying it's wrong to hold onto fabric. but be realistic. do you have the space? do you like the challenge of using "old/ugly/no longer love" fabric? or will it sit and never get used?

can you view your fabric like other items in your home? are you willing to get rid of it if it no longer fills its purpose? many of us have bought fabric with the best of intentions of using it and then haven't. i have for sure. but i have a limited space for my sewing/quilting supplies. i've become more cautious in what i buy. i don't buy for "someday", or "it's a good deal but i don't know what i would use it for but i'm sure i'll come up with something", etc. i've tried to buy only stuff that i love love love and/or for a particular project that i will be starting soon.

are you willing to set limits to your stash? and i'm not endorsing a small stash or a large stash. you need to decide what is best for you. a shelf. a cabinet. a closet. a room. i think above all else, quilting/sewing is a pleasure. if our stashes give us guilt, then we should be able to relieve ourselves of that either with more thoughtful purchases or more thoughtful donations. or both.

if you are willing to donate a shirt you no longer love, why not fabric?


how are your toes? did i step all over them? feel free to blow a big raspberry in my direction and go on your merry way. these are just rambling thoughts out of my head.

ps don't get me started on saving "crumbs"!

pps want to give away some fabric? post it on flickr or on your blog. some people will even pay you to ship it to them. or be extra generous and spring for the shipping yourself. call it a "giveaway" and someone will think they have won something.

17 comments:

Brenda said...

good point. I try to limit what comes in and use up what I have, but I still have lots of fabric that I'll never use. since people have been generous to me, I try to be generous when someone needs something from me. thanks for the post.

Michele said...

Excellent idea. And it's always fun to share.

Jenny said...

I love this post. I feel the same way. Except, I have a hard time getting rid of furniture and upcycle clothes.

I recently read about using very thin pieces of fabric not enough to sew in spinning. I have some soy silk to spin and thought, "Hey I'll start saving the little useless strips!" I quickly talked myself out of that. Thankfully.

Jilly said...

When we moved, and I knew my craft space was going to be downsized, I gave away about half a garbage bag of fabric along with two truck loads of other stuff (furniture, clothes, toys) that we didn't have room for in the moving truck. So far I haven't missed any of it -- it was stuff I didn't love anymore anyways.

Thanks for the challenge. I love it when you write honest posts like this; they always make me think.

Valerie said...

Amen! I just last week gave a nice big pile of perfectly usable - but not by me - fabrics to the Girl Scouts. Felt great to do it and cleared up some space for things I'll love.

(But we won't talk about the gorgeous, perfect shoes that live in my closet even though they're a full size too small mmkay?)

Mary said...

We move frequently so I do donate my stuff including fabric but because I make scrap quilts I'm always concerned about having enough variety. I'm lucky that I can donate some of my less loved fabrics before I leave and have Sheree piece backs for our HeartStrings quilts but the real test will come when I actually start going through the fabric.

mainer said...

I have only just reached the point of being able to give away rather than receive. I recently gave a lot of my strips to a new weaver. There is a section of quiltingboard.com that lets you announce giveaways.

Molly said...

I don't have a hard time getting rid of anything, including fabric. Thanks for this thoughtful post.

Kris said...

Great Points - I recently downsized from a large house to an apartment. I am divorced and my daughter is in college. I gave a box full of fabric to a lady that makes charity quilts and a lot of fabric to the women who are making pillowcase dresses for the girls in Africa. There are so many charities that will take you fabric. I also had fleece that a no-kill shelter likes to make blankies for the animals. I do have fabric regret immediately after giving it away. I had a friend over and we were sewing a costume for her daughter and I had the cutest Hello Kitty yardage that I had bought for my daughter when she was a little girl. I gave it to my friend. I immediately wanted it back, for no other reason but to have it my stash. it is a constant struggle for me. I really just love love love fabric.

Kris said...

Great Points - I recently downsized from a large house to an apartment. I am divorced and my daughter is in college. I gave a box full of fabric to a lady that makes charity quilts and a lot of fabric to the women who are making pillowcase dresses for the girls in Africa. There are so many charities that will take you fabric. I also had fleece that a no-kill shelter likes to make blankies for the animals. I do have fabric regret immediately after giving it away. I had a friend over and we were sewing a costume for her daughter and I had the cutest Hello Kitty yardage that I had bought for my daughter when she was a little girl. I gave it to my friend. I immediately wanted it back, for no other reason but to have it my stash. it is a constant struggle for me. I really just love love love fabric.

Little Creatable said...

I could just hug you! I don't have a lot of money but I really love quilting so I have to make do with what I can be given or what I can re-use. I usually feel bad that I can't go and buy beautiful fabrics...but truthfully when would I have time to use them all. Thank you *hugs*

VivJM said...

Great post! I have come to realise that there is no joy in using fabrics I don't like, and a couple of weeks ago donated a box full of scraps to a local community scrapstore. I think I will follow your lead in buying only what I love love love OR what I have a definite project in mind for.

But I do appreciate that it's difficult for lots of us to get rid of fabric compared to other stuff. I have the same trouble with books...but that's another story lol

Tonya Ricucci said...

A couple of times in the past I've done a purge - sorted through the stash and ended up with big piles of fabric I wanted out of my stash. The first time I let friends choose whatever they want from it and then donated the rest to Linus (hey, it was still fine fabric, bought in quilts shops etc). When I was in Egypt it all went to women who lived in "Garbage City" and made made quilts and pillows to sell to tourists.

I just can't bring myself to mail it though. And hey, don't pick on my crumbs and strings - I LOVE those.

Meg said...

No, ma'am, my toes are just fine! In fact, I went through my stash to reorganize about a month ago, and sorted out three boxes-worth of fabrics that just weren't working for me anymore. I contacted the local guild, whose members were delighted to take it off my hands, to be used in their charity quilt initiative. Works well all the way around!

Alex said...

My toes are just fine!
This is a perfect post for me right now. I haven't touched my fabric stash in over two months I think, not keeping track but it's been a long time. I don't have $ to go and buy fabric all the time. I only buy what I love love love too. I am lucky to have generous friends and family that share their stash with me, but yes sometimes I need to sort and pass on what I know I won't use. I don't have the space to keep those " just in case I will come across a project where I can use this" pieces of fabric.

Hands Sew Full said...

Thanks for the honesty, I have been given a huge volume of fabric and I am guilty of buying what I love on top of that! It is consuming more than it's fair share of my home and is in need of a purge. I think it helps to have "permission" to let go of the fabric. I had to once before and there are pieces I regret losing but indeed...it is time!

Patty said...

It’s so easy to collect fabric without realizing just how much you have. Before my children were born, I used to collect fabric with the intention of using it for future baby, toddler, and children’s clothing. However, I found I used very little of it because the styles/prints changed so much.

When I made the “big decision” to get rid of most of my fabric stash my first thought was “what if I need it”.

Well, it has now been more than 2 years since cleaning out my stash and I have found very little that I truly needed and wished I still had. In fact, it feels so nice to have more space in my sewing room that I wish I had cleaned it out sooner!