Saturday, January 17, 2009

Musings on Stash

It's time for me to chime in on this topic. Since Marji posted her thoughts, several of us sewing bloggers have joined the discussion. Since I have a load of "stuff", I just couldn't let this one go by.

I'm in the process of getting a bit more organized with my fabric collection. Not necessarily because I want to, but because I have to. DF is in the process of moving in, and he's getting the guest bedroom for his dressing room and Man Cave. That means I need to give up the auxiliary storage space (aka the guest room closet, bureau and under the bed). It all has to fit in my sewing room now, more stuff in less space.

I've already given a good bit away, having taken several unloved pieces to the ASG Trading Post. I still have some bags of upholstery velvets, brocades, etc. underneath the ironing board. I have a friend who teaches in the theater department at UNM, so one of these days I'll give her the first right of refusal on all of that.

Once again, Sterilite to the rescue! I discovered that I could stack Sterilite covered boxes 2 deep and 6 high in the sewing room closet. Great! That gave me a lot more storage, but I can't root around like I could when I had the closet and bureau.

So I've numbered all the swatch cards (um, there are 314 of them!!!!). I plan to get some stickers, number them, and stick them onto the side of the boxes so I have some idea of what's in there.

I always think it's funny when people tell me how organized I am. I don't think so. For me, doing organizational stuff is a means to an end. I don't organize for organization's sake, but to make my life easier and simpler.

But before all of that, I'm going to rearrange things so I'm making the best use of the Wall of Sterilite and the open shelves. Like with like and consolidating what I've got so there's room for future acquisitions (I know how I am) And yes, there may be another round of purging fabric that no longer speaks to me. That's ok, life moves on, tastes change.

For the most part though, I enjoy my fabric, so let me make clear that I'm not getting rid of any of it out of guilt. Why should I feel bad about having a collection? I enjoy my fabric and the possiblities it represents. If I want to start a project in the middle of the night or on Christmas Day, well, I can.

When I read the inevitable threads on PR and Stitcher's Guild about stashes, there are always comments along the following lines:
  • I feel guilty that I have a supply of fabric.
  • I feel guilty if I don't use every square inch of fabric that's left over; what do I do with it?
  • I feel guility that I have fabric that's "too nice" to use.
  • I feel guilty that I have fabric that's "too cheap/ugly/off register/off grain" to use.
  • Having fabric is a burden.
  • I have to sew up x number of yards before I can buy y number of yards.

With all due respect, I can't hardly read these comments anymore! Honestly, sometimes I think sewing is the last refuge of the obsessive-compulsive. The guilt and shame really get to me. Am I at a stage where I need to divest? Yes! Do I feel guilty about it? No! It just a fact of life. Folks, let go of the guilt. Collect, don't collect. Whatever. Your hobby should reflect you and your needs. For most of us, sewing is a hobby. That means it's supposed to be enjoyable, not a burden. Don't feel bad about having a hobby you enjoy. And if you don't enjoy sewing, find another hobby. Please. Life is too short for your hobby to be yet another burden in your life.


Carolyn (cmarie12) said...


Little Hunting Creek said...

You are so right! I love my stash. I stopped collecting last March because I was told I was an addict and couldn't stop. Of course we made bets, and of course I am going to win, because I am even more stubborn than my kids! But I love being able to go to the collection and choose something to work on that I already love. If people feel guilty they can make something for charity! I throw away scraps that have no other use.

ACorgiHouse said...

Very much Amen! Addict-schmaddict. If I get a kick out of my fabric collection, so be it. I don't feel guilty, I feel enthralled by the options and thrilled that I nabbed that piece that I saw one day back when, even though I didn't have a plan or the time for it then. I love my stash. K

Gorgeous Things said...

Sing it sister! Obviously I have a biased opinion, but I think if a stash makes you happy, then by all means, enjoy it! I refuse to let anyone make me feel guilty about having a supply of fabric and notions.

Anonymous said...

I agree also, I was wanting to sew up all the material I had bought over the years, but now I see so few really nice pieces of fabric in the stores in my area, that I feel when I run across a nice piece that I truly love, I am hoarding it for future sewers who will never see really great material. Right now I am wearing a top made from material I found at a thrift store, which I could never find in a retail store, a light wool knit in a lovely asian pattern made in the 70's.

Gigi said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I too get tired of reading those comments. I love my fabric! I love having my own little store right here at home! No matter how hard I try, I do not understand feeling guilty about something that makes me so happy.

JuliaB said...

Gosh! Are there really people who say those things? Life's too short! I can think of much worse guilt inducing things! x

a little sewing on the side said...

Well said Nancy!
My daughter likes to say, "Don't Hate - Congratulate!" I am not exactly sure what that means, except it does seem to fit a lot of situations & having a nice stash is one of them :)
I am with you, I love my stash.

Cennetta said...

Amen! to that! I love my hobbies, especially sewing. I am proud of collections, fabric, patterns, magazines and notions.

Karen said...

Bravo. I'm another one who loves my collection. I pet it frequently, and more often than not - for my budget and space requirements, not any guilt reasons - I bring it new friends.

I love your "wall of Sterilite." Hadn't thought of an actual wall - I have a tall cedar closet that is the exact size to contain 5 of those tubs standing one on top of the other, but I haven't gotten around to actually labeling the contents yet.

The "good" fabric (as opposed to that I can't let go of, which is in the tubs) is on shelves, on more shelves, and in piles on the end of the table. Waiting for inspiration to strike. How can that happen if you have 4 pieces of fabric in your stash?

Stash with pride.

Carole said...

Thanks! I was wondering why I didn't feel as guilty as I apparently was supposed to. I collect books and was proud of that; why not fabric? Although I do regret that all those great garments I visualize are still in flat fabric stage. (I have read the books, after all.)