Thursday, October 14, 2010

Color Therapy Thursday--Making Some Decisions

Earlier this week, I was blog hopping and I'm not even certain where I read this because I was having blogger's ADD--you know, where you catch up on all your favorite blogs, but then start clicking on links from their blogroll, and then to links from the links...anyway.

This topic appears from time to time, sometimes in a humorous way, sometimes in a more serious way. The topic? When does a fabric stash cross the line from being a stash to being a problem? I know. Mostly it's pretty funny and a lot of commenters will say something like "there's no such thing as too much fabric." But is that really true? I look around my personal stash and know that if I never bought another fat quarter of fabric, I could sew for years and years....and years.

This week I emailed my friend, Crystal. She hadn't posted for a while and I just wanted to say hi and check in. I noticed that in addition to her quilting blog, she had started another one about simplifying her life. Now Mark and I have been doing this for some time after hearing a speaker's message really hit home to us. When is enough "enough"? When is your house big enough? When do you have enough clothes? Stuff is stuff, and finally when do you have enough of it? In this economy, it's no coincidence that people are downsizing, some by choice, some by necessity, and information on organizing your stuff is everywhere you look.

So my question: why is it so easy to get rid of other "stuff" in my life but I keep adding to my fabric stash? I admit to many, many impulsive buys. Someone will post a stack of fabric or a new quilt top and the next thing I know I'm at an online store with fabric in my cart.

About five years ago, I worked in one of the local quilt shops...until I could no longer "afford" to work there. Much of my stash comes from that period in my life, a period right after a traumatic event in our lives. Working with fabric was good therapy. After being there about 1 1/2 years and knowing I was going to quit, I felt the need to "stock up" because of my great employee discount. Any new charm packs that came in? I bought two along with some yardage to go along with them. No real plan in mind. But it was too good of a deal to pass up. Right?

Then last year when my dear friend Sue was battling for her life, I admit to using fabric as grief therapy.  Yards and yards of fabric came into the house. No real plan for it. But it made me feel better.

So I'm making some decisions. I started going through my fabric, pretty much piece by piece, and asking: If I were to start making a new quilt today, would I actually consider adding this fabric to it? In any quilt? Ever? If the answer is no, it goes in a donation pile for my church quilting group. My extensive Asian collection? Soon to be gone. Batiks? Some gone now, more will probably be gone in the next go-around unless I can figure out a cool way to combine them with solids for a hip, modern look...

I have been exposed to fabulous fabric, fabric designers and quilt designers online that I wouldn't have even known about otherwise. My tastes in fabric and quilt design have changed dramatically. And a lot of the stuff on my shelves does not fit that style, and it probably never will.

Here's a prime example: two lines of fabric that I HAD to own because each was called "Charlotte" (yeah, I know, my selvage obsession kicking in again).

But neither of these remotely reminds me of this precious Charlotte. So into the donation pile they go, unless someone wants to pay postage and give them a happier home (after I cut the selvage off, that is...)

I don't think I'm the only one wondering about all this  fabric purchasing. Jennifer wrote about the very same thing this morning. Sometimes it just gets overwhelming. I love the fabric I have and want to use it. It doesn't do any good just sitting there on the shelf.

So...much of what I have will go to our church group.
Some will go into the destash section here,

and some will be given away (so stay tuned).

Don't worry. I haven't become cured of my fabric addiction (sorry, Mark). But I plan to "plan" a little more and buy with more of a purpose.

And save my pennies for this line coming out soon. I hope.


05 08
k said... #

I know exactly where you *were.*

I'd have a bad day and go shopping. By no means a break-the-bank-trip, but still hoping that something new would help the something bad I was always feeling.

Grandma G said... #

I don't have a fabric stash like yours, probably because I'm not a quilter. But I've been getting rid of other 'stuff' lately. It feels GOOD, doesn't it?! :)

Jennifer said... #

Funny that we were writing about this at the same time...!

I use fabric as therapy too. Bad day = buy some fabric. But I'm going to have to get over this and to some extent I think I've found something that helps. Instead of buying I'm designing, cutting, piecing, quilting, etc and it's helping!

Good luck with destashing; it's a lot of fun and it feels good too!

Jennifer :)

Letterpress said... #

Loved this post. I think a lot of us are kicking ourselves for "taking away our flexibility" in sampling new things because we feel so guilty about all that we have.

It's funny how the zeitgeist is working this way--I have a post I've been working on about this very thing.

I'll have to get it posted and link up to yours.


Chris said... #

Fabric is comfort food without the calories ;)

Jessica said... #

I do not have much of a fabric stash as I am a newer sewer/quilter, but I do understand the decluttering your life in other areas . . . We moved recently and I tried to get rid of as much stuff as possible, and when we move again (hopefully soon), I am hoping to reduce even more!

Andrea said... #

Totally understand it. I don't really use fabric as therapy, but the sewing part is my therapy. I find it therapeutic to whittle down the piles of stuff.

Have you thought about putting your 'donate' piles onto the flickr group that does swaps? Or, putting it out there for a swap of something you've got your eyes on?

I know there's alot of quilting groups that accept fabric donations for charity quilts too.

Good luck with your does feel good!

Regina said... #

I think the problem with fabric is that you know if you don't buy it when you see it that it'll soon be gone so you feel like you have to buy it right away. At least I feel that way. I have the perfect amount right now so I tell myself no more until I finish a project. Although, I have to admit that I did just buy more fabric recently that I didn't really need simply because it was a REALLY good deal,

Kate said... #

Loved reading this post! I find that I can't resist a bargain, and with the Australian dollar going up, I'm just itching to buy more fabric while I can get it cheaply even though I don't need any more. Also, I don't want to miss out on some of the fabulous fabric lines coming out so I buy up and then wonder what I'm going to do with it.

Your church quilting group is going to LOVE you!

Amanda Jean said... #

Good for you for paring down! I'm proud of you, because I know how hard it is to do so, especially in the fabric department! I think I'm pretty good about keeping the stash under control, but when I quit buying fabric, I notice I buy clothes. A disturbing trend to notice, for sure. I'm trying to scale back on everything in my home, but it's an uphill battle all. the. way. Sigh.

Terriaw said... #

I really love this post because I can totally related to what you expressed. I saw a lot of the same things here. I think I sew for a release, hence I buy fabric (and used to buy clothes) for that therapeutic feeling too. I have been ignoring a bin in my basement full of bits and pieces of fabric I bought ten years ago that aren't my style (and maybe anyone's style) anymore. It would be a relief to get rid of them like you are doing.

Marit said... #

Thank you for sharing! I have experienced the same feeling, lately. For me, part of it has to do with storage, or lack of storage options. I need a bigger house...
; )

Jen said... #

great post! I know I seem to buy fabric when it's on sale, just b/c I feel I have to. Then it sits in a cupboard. I probably should stop b/c the doors are coming close to not even closing! I think I need to do some reorganizing myself!

Little Miss Shabby said... #

Oh, I know how those stashes go! And I have been dying for that new Sweetwater line--it is so fabulous. I don't know how many times I have had to tell myself to step away from the Green Fairies preorder for some of this yumminess! =)

Brighton Breezy Sarah said... #

I so understand you! (And I agree with Chris - I now buy fabric instead of foody treats or that nice bottle of wine!)

Fabric is therapy, colour is therapy, sewing is therapy. When we're feeling low we need comfort. And look at the good you are doing for someone else, be it your church group, your pocket, or us :) by destashing.

I'm still building up my stash as I'm in need of a little comfort right now ...

~Niki~ said... #

I'll take it off your hands for you ;)
I actually (about 6 months ago) got sick of sewing. seriously. was overwhelmed. gave it all away.
kept a few bits and pieces 'just in case'. well now i'm interested again. go figure. and i have NO stash. it's very heart wrenching. so i'm slowly buying fat quarters but that's it. i have been there. i didn't have a HUGE stash, but it was big enough.