Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Getting into my stash

As you can tell from posts over the last few months, I have really been into using fabric out of my stash.  I've shown you pictures of how I have it organized, by color and all folded nicely.  Need a reminder? ...

By collection

By color

I love walking into my quilting room and seeing these nice neat little stacks.  Somehow my stacks have grown ... even though I haven't added any fabric.  I think when I was over in the cottage, I was able to spread out more.  I had some cabinets and a shelving unit in addition to a bookcase full of fabric.  Now I just have the bookcase ... it is making me get organized and pare down ... that is good.

I have told you I am a saver of scraps, but I take my scraps and cut them into strips ... from 1" to 3 1/2" and then put these strips in bins

Obviously just a picture of the strips, but the bins are full and overflowing
See?  Clearly a strip quilt or something is in order!  I brought this subject up, because my theme for the year is managing my stash ... using my stash, what is a stash?!  If you have quilted for any length of time, then you have collected fabric.  But like everyone, when I'm trying to create a quilt, it is so much easier (and more fun) to just buy new fabric.  Who wants to use that old stuff that maybe I'm not as much in love with as when I first bought?  And it's so much easier to make a quilt out of a line of fabric than actually having to dig and think about what I have.  If you've been paying attention, you have noticed in my blog over several months, that I've been focusing on this idea.  My goal for this year is really getting serious about getting into my stash and using all those fabrics I keep passing over.  We've all done it, and you know what I'm talking about.

A couple months ago in preparation for a new class I'm going to be teaching this year at the store, I made a table runner out of my stash.  I loved what came out of the creation ...
I started with picking five fabrics ... I didn't really know in what direction I was heading.  I picked a couple of greens, a couple reds and a yellow.  I really wanted to use this yellow because I thought it made everything pop.

Then I added a couple more greens to give it some depth and difference.  I picked several neutrals; I wanted some interest in the difference in colors ... not just all one shade.
This is what I came up with!  I thought it best to design a pattern that everyone could make instead of just talking about their stash.  But this has been on the schedule now for two months, and not a lot of interest.  So I'm going to refocus my energies on really using the stash.  The class is going to focus on bringing stash to class, talking about what to do with it, and giving you lots of encouragement and ideas.  My class is the last Friday of the month from 10 to 1.  I am so excited about this whole concept and I want to get everyone else excited about it too!
When I put the runner together, I did not have enough lights to balance out the color, but I went with it anyway.  My original thought was "oh no, there are too many of the dark neutrals and I can't leave it like that."  But then I remembered that this was not about perfection and what it should be ... it is driven by what I had to work with.  You know what?  I love this little quilt!  It is so darn cute and fun. 
After I got it all together, I was trying to pick out a binding.  I didn't want to use the red that was already in the quilt, I just thought it was a little too blah ... I thought about using a scrappy binding, but it didn't thrill me.  I had this windowpane red fabric that I had not used a lot of in the quilt and I knew that would be dynamite as the binding!  It sure is and I love it.  What I've realized lately is that it is really nice to have some kind of a nice geometric print as the binding.  I used to stay away from those because I thought it was too distracting and that the print would not align correctly.  I have changed my tune there ... I don't care if it is not perfect ... it's not supposed to be, it is just supposed to catch your eye ... and this one surely does.
I hope you will play along with me here and dip into your stash and start creating and using what you have. This venture has really made me think twice about purchasing new fabric ... I keep telling myself  "oh, I can't buy new fabric.  I keep talking about using what I have - I cannot post that I bought new!"  So you all didn't even know it, but you're keeping me on track!  Ha, ha

Dip into your stash ... start with a small project to get your feet wet.  Find a block that you like and make a few of them.  This block was set on point because it really made it stand out even more.  But you don't need to do that; just make a few blocks, add a border or two, and step back and admire what you created!  This little venture helped me use about 3 1/2 yds of fabric.  So there you go!  Please let me know what you're working on and what you create.  I would love pictures and also your permission to share it here and get all of us going in the right direction. 

As I've said before ... the more fabric we can use, the more excuse we have for adding to it to deplete our losses!


Amy, a redeemed sheep said...

The quilt I just made was a stash buster for me. I am also trying to use up my stash, so I won't tell you I bought over 20 yards recently. All neutrals and blenders to go with what I have. That makes me feel better. Haha! You can go to my blog and use one of my pictures to share if you want. It is the pennant quilt. =!


jayne said...

You make me want to "not" buy and use my stash!!!
Thanks :)