Monday, July 17, 2017

How and Why I'm Reducing My Fabric Stash

I've been reading about Minimalism recently. Have you seen the documentary on Netflix?

Minimalism is defined by The Minimalists as a "tool to rid yourself of life's excess in favor of focusing on what's important - so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom."

It's not about living with nothing, it's about living with the things that bring you joy.

I spent the first half of this year "minimizing" my wardrobe. It created a closet full of clothing items that I'm happy to wear any day. My closet is less crowed and and choosing is super simple.

I started thinking about my fabric stash. It, too, was feeling crowded with pieces of fabric I felt so-so about. Don't get me wrong, I love my fabric and it brings me much creative happiness. But too much was feeling stifling.

That's the "why".

Here's the "how"...

I started by going through every piece of fabric I own and pulling out pieces I really didn't like, styles I seldom used and colors I rarely used. Those were sold on an Instagram Destash Sale or donated to my guild members for charity projects.

Next, I've made some scrap quilts. (This is how I do scrappy :) Coordinating pieces often by the same designer in collections I've stashed over the years. Below is a Quarter Log cabin block that I'm currently working on using Bonnie and Camille collections. It's a great block for destashing because it uses a lot of fabrics, both dark and light...


Here's another quilt in progress. I started with the leaf print by Leah Duncan and added coordinating prints from my stash...


My third current WIP is a collection of Heather Bailey fabrics, most of which have been used in earlier quilts. The quilt pattern is Hexie Framed and will use up just about every bit of my HB fabric.


Another scrappy quilt...
This is a small quilt made of sixty degree triangles that will be donated to my guild's charity project for kids.




And finally, I went through all of my multicolor print fabrics, many of which are left over from other projects and made Drawstring Bags using the pattern by Jenni Baker. I spent a few days and made about a dozen and have given all but these two away. Eventually they'll find good homes!


Don't think for one moment that I'm not buying any more fabric! I am trying to buy more methodically and thoughtfully. Realizing that just because a fabric print is beautiful, I don't have to have it. And it's not easy :) The nice thing is that today I can find almost anything I need and even have it delivered to my doorstep in a couple of days!


How about you? Do you love to have a huge stash or feel a bit overwhelmed by it?

I've been working on this for a few months, and although I haven't kept track yard by yard, I can definitely see a difference in my space. And that makes me happy!

Cindy

34 comments:

  1. Yes, I have recently gotten rid of many small scraps. Some had been there for many years. Our local thrift store will not accept really small scraps of fabric, so the ones that could not be used in a scrap quilt were thrown away. Kinda sad, but just like any other excess, they were also a fire hazard. The clothing was accepted by the local thrift store.

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    1. Yikes! I use small pieces for stuffing for bedding for my local animal shelters! Nothing goes to waste.

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  2. I don't have a huge stash at all. In fact, I think most people might consider my stash to be more "scraps" than "stash", but it works for me and isn't too overwhelming that way. Even with that being said, I regularly go through and donate fabric to organizations that accept fabric to turn into charity quilts during the year as well. And interesting timing; I'm doing a 30 day de-clutter challenge right now and today was going through my shirts and dresses - I got rid of 14 shirts! I think that there will always be an interesting balance between buying fabric because it speaks to you and buying specifically for a project. There are times when a stash is really necessary, but I do find myself kind of fantasizing about just having some basics yardage and not much else.

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  3. Compared to some I've seen, I don't have a huge stash but it is way more than I need and can use. I haven't been quilting for a long time and I made an effort to build a stash when I first started out. Now, of course, my tastes have changed and I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with what I have. I've been doing some of the things you mentioned and plan to do more. I've also donated a fair amount of fabric that I know I won't use. Thanks for your post; it has given me a couple of other ideas.

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  4. Oh my goodness! I went through my stash today and found same Leah Duncan print, which I did not delete. I did delete some really large flower prints I couldn't figure out what to do with. I'm on a "no prints" diet, until things are caught up. However I am on a Kona cotton binge to go with all the other stuff.

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    1. oh kona!! I agree-you can eat up any print by pairing it with a good solid... I have done the same!

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    2. Those large prints might be good to try a "One Block Wonder" hexagons quilt--they make up surprisingly beautiful!

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    3. Me too on the Kona binge!

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  5. I have spent the last few weeks going through all my fabric, weeding out and then ironing and refolding what I kept. I finished the solids and canvas type substrates last night. I'm pretty excited to get back in there and sew. I feel like I have a good handle on what I have and where my stash is "thin". I shared everything I pulled out and have no second thoughts whatsoever. There is still some cleaning to do but I feel lighter already.

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  6. I have an overwhelming stash that goes back many many years. Often I'm surprised at what I find when I go hunting around in there!

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  7. I cleared out my closet the other day..4 garbage bags full to Goodwill. Been going through the ginormous stash over the past few months and taking bags full to the church--hasn't seemed to help at all. Good grief. Also been making quilts for QOV (already awarded 6 with 2 more to go and 2 more to make). Can't think of anything else to do to get rid of this 'crap'!!!

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  8. Wow Cindy! good work there! Soldier on! Everything looks lovely to boot!

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  9. I don't have a huge stash,, but it's big enough and so mish mash enough that even trying to sort through it gets discouraging. But, like you, I'm trying to use it up in as many creative ways that I can. Enjoyed seeing all of your WIPs. Drawstring bags are a good idea!

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  10. I have a large, overwhelming stash. But seeing as it's all tucked away in random, meaningless piles, I'm hoping that organizing it all will make it less overwhelming. Which is a bit of the "darkest before the dawn" philosophy because organizing it is overwhelming at points too. I needed my ruthlessly objective husband to set up a system for me, of just sorting, no analyzing, no petting the fabric, no daydreaming about quilts. Sort, sort, organize, sort. :D Love seeing all these scrappy projects!!!

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    1. Sounds like you're on a roll, Sarah!

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  11. Well, I am also a little overwhelmed with three or four tubs of assorted sized of scraps, and then I have my stacks. I have a lot of fabric. I give away a large box twice a year to my friend that has a sewing school about 5 miles away. The past 5 years I have been over loaded with caring for my parents, so my fabrics got out of control all on their own.
    Now I am putting in a few hours a week cleaning up.
    Cynthia, your projects are very very inspiring. I need to finish up a few projects and then I hope to start using up fabrics too. My younger daughter and hubbs just bought a town home 30 mins from my house, and I hope to bring over a desk, Featherweight and sewing box to work on stuff.... thinking I might have 10 minutes during baby nap time hahaha
    Thank you for sharing your projects, you are so inspiring. This is encouraging

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    1. I felt like maybe this was something like fabric hoarders anonymous, and confession day hahaha

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  12. Do you have the directions for your quarter log cabin quilt? It looks like a great way to use up some scraps!

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    1. Yes, I'll share the dimensions soon! Probably in a week or two when I post the finished quilt. I'm on to quilting it!

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  13. I too need to pair down the fabrics that are nice but I don't really see myself using. Your quarter log cabin quilt looks awesome, you put that top together so quickly!

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  14. Reading about your methods to 'minimalize' brought back memories of January this year. I had clothes in our closet (and putting away clean clothes was a challenge because of how full it was!), and into the quilt room closet. Finally took a few hours and went through each closet, containers under beds, etc. As I had a pile, I put it into the back of my Highlander. By the time my husband did his side, we had a VERY full Highlander (seats down in the back), which I took to Goodwill. Lots of very wearable items, but I hadn't worn in years. Must admit, I really LIKE my closet now as it only houses what I actually wear. Not there yet with the quilt stash! Been a quilter for 40 years, and you can imagine.... Deb E / Oregon

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  15. Cindy, Your efforts at destashing your life seems practical and inspiring. I have lots of places that need this exercise too. Will say that I am making progress in tiny steps. ☺ I like your controlled scrap quilts. Any way that you do scrappy is ok by me. That's where I started out over 30 yrs ago and I never tire of them--controlled or chaotic is fine. Really like yours.

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  16. I think it's important to take a look at what you have and determine if it still brings you joy. There are definitely areas of my house that I need to look at. As far as my fabric stash goes, I can say without a doubt that it brings me joy. I consider it a comfortable size. If I had to label it, I'd call it moderate-large. But I'm still inspired by it when I spend time in my quilting room.

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  17. So there is an upside to a small house. I simply don't have room for lots of extras! I emptied my closets a few years ago and have been diligent on weeding it 2x/year. (small closet). I do have a large stash but I also love to binge cut up random fabrics al la the Bonnie K. Hunter scrap user system.

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  18. I find my stash overwhelming. It is depressing when you can't find pieces of fabric that you know you have. I then spend hours searching (missing out on valuable sewing time) or I give up and purchase what I need. Maybe it is time to de-clutter my sewing space... thank you for the inspiration.

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  19. I have ended up buying a LOT of fat quarters, and so when I find a good pattern, I then realize I don't have enough fabric (by using my stash). Hmmm...so scrappy quilts are the perfect solution. Just need more time.

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  20. I did this last year. I said goodbye to some fabrics that were stressing me out more than bringing me joy. Continuing to look at them made me feel guilty for not creating something with them. That's not what my fabric was for. Most was destashed to new homes and I'm contemplating another destash. I tackled a scrap tub last week and tried to organize it. Some stuff was just purged, blocks went to guild, and some I'm just scratching my head on. The blocks to guild have already been put to use in a new quilt. Great! That's what I wanted.

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  21. I just moved and got rid of every last thing I didn't want. Except...my fabric. I realized how much I have is ridiculous. I need to do a destash and start being more cautious what I buy. Then I think I will just make charity quilts, but will they ever all get done? It's a challenge with so many fabulous lines always coming out!

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  22. I have been working to decrease my stash for the last 2 years and it's almost to a place that makes me feel peaceful and not cramped. I have been making scrap bins and charity / baby quilts each month of different colors to become better at limiting the intake and usually use a piece of something I'm not in love with for the quilt backings because I know that the recipients will be happy with them and the fun eclectic nature they are taking. this is a great practice and i hope you find it as much a releif as i have

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  23. I'm slowly working on my, but need to get serious! Enjoyed reading about your process!

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  24. I jut bought the book Cut the Scraps and am looking forward to purging my bins! Love your quilts!

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  25. Have seen the documentary recently, too. Loved it. Any books you read you could recommend? Love all your "destashing" quilts. The all look very beautiful.

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  26. Beautiful quilts! I'm trying to sew from my stash, too. I have a ways to go. Your quilts are so fresh and fun!

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Thanks so much for taking time to comment!