Wednesday 15 July 2015

To Stash or Destash? That is the question

Last week my sweet guild, Maritime Modern Quilt Guild, had a fun summer meeting. We had a Destash Yard Sale. The destash your stash, bring said destashed items to the meeting, put a bowl of loonies out for change and other guild members shop! Some of us made a few bucks and some of us spent a few (or many!).

My Yard sale Table

Based on the questions and comments floating around amongst my guild buddies leading up to the sale it became clear to me that not only are we fond of our stashes, we REALLY do not want to give them up! Oh the precious fabric...

When I started to think about destashing I got kind of excited! I mean, I don't LOVE every single piece of fabric in my stash do I?  And let's face it, I could likely sew out of my stash for a couple of years without buying anything. So I could afford to lose a few things right?!

I was brutal! You see, my stash now filled (and by filled I mean tops did not fit) twenty-four boxes and a my scrap drawer was busting - in fact I could no longer close the drawer and it had become a cat bed on many an occasion.

Not being able to close my scrap drawer did not concern Penny at all

So when I left for the sale my scrap drawer was reduced to this and I had four empty fabric boxes. I felt lighter, I felt accomplished, I felt friggin fabulous!

And I didn't buy anything at the sale either. Now that I had gone through my stash I felt like I didn't really need or want - that's right people I said "I did not want" any more fabric right at that moment. In fact the only thing I came home from the sale with was this

Empty boxes, a couple of left over books and one piece of fabric that no one wanted and it turned out I still loved and could not part with. Now I did not sell every bit, but what didn't sell I already knew that I would be giving to a quilty friend who is trying to build her own stash.

But I could tell by the anxiety ridden social media comments that not everyone feels the same about a good clean out. That for many folks the fabric is our family, no matter what. It must stay with us, we must love it and stitch it, or maybe just pet it.

Now let's be real... I still have TWENTY boxes of fabric. So I am by no means judging those who do not want to let things go, but what is it about fabric that keeps us so connected to it? Is it the color, the design, the silky feel of the cotton? Does each piece evoke some memory? Maybe it is combination of all of that.

I'm not sure of the answer to all of these question, but I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter. Do you hold tight to you fabric babies, do you only buy what you need and keep your stash small, or do you like a good destash?

And if your answer is - I keep it all and will likely be featured on a fabric inspired  episode of  "Hoarding Buried Alive"...would that be such a bad way to go?

Thanks for dropping by and reading my ramble.


  1. A few months ago I went through ALL my fabric and pulled a bunch that just isn't my style anymore. I then emailed a quilter/blogger in Toronto whose blog I like and asked if she wanted it. So I paid money to mail away fabric I had bought. Funny how happy that made me!

    Next time around I hope it won't cost me as much. But admitting my tastes had changed was very freeing.

    Also, what is the piece of fabric that is in front of the most right hand bin in your first pic? It's teal, red, coral maybe? and some white crescents. I like the colours in it and would like more info if possible.

  2. I have parted with a few Fat Quarters in my stash to help out some quilty friends complete a project but I could never do a destash. I have a difficult enough time cutting into fabric that I love! And then after I'm finished every project, I want to keep them all! I have been trying to curb my fabric purchasing. I'm still buying fabric but definitely not as much as I use to. And I'm also making 95% of my sewing projects out of my stash :)

  3. I have 3 piles of different types of fabrics! One is all batiks, second is what I call not modern and the other is modern (with lots of Kona solids)! I have happily let people take fabrics from the first two groups for projects they are working on in the hopes of reducing the volume of fabric there! I have also donated fabrics to support charity quilts. With my modern fabrics, I love using these in my projects, contribution of blocks with my bee mates and as examples to share with others. I do need to make a more concerted effort to free up more space (needed for my modern obsession!). I am hoping to find a sewing group for youngsters where I can offer my fabrics that I no longer love or will use.

    I will say, seeing those modern fabrics throughout my sewing space puts a smile on my face every time I enter the room. I am making more of an effort to use what I have and supplement as needed!

  4. It was very hard to let go of fabrics, and I came home with pretty much the same amount. less of this, more of that. Not sure why it is so hard to part with fabric - even the stuff I don't like as much - perhaps it is because most of these pieces have a story : where or when I bought it, etc...
    On another note, didn't you come home with a panel of some sort?

  5. I'm afraid to let most of it go, because as soon as it's gone, I'll need it for a project. LOL It never fails when I try to purge the house of stuff, I always end up needing what I gave away. I like having a good selection in case I want to start something new.

  6. I cleaned out a lot of my older fabrics and some cheaper ones a month or so ago. I realized I needed to do that when I was looking for my stash to make a charity block and I didn't want to use so many of the fabrics. After I gave them away, I also felt lighter and happier. When I look through my stash now, I see fabrics I love now without the distractions of ones I don't like.

  7. I look at my fabric stash as like my paints or threads. I need options for when I am ready to create the next quilt. So a healthy supply is good but I am starting to realize that fabrics I have set aside and not using are not helpful, so my goal is to put them into the regular piles and out of the special piles. Good for you for having a nice clear out of the things that were no longer working for you.

  8. My stash is pretty minimal, but I have had some fabric donated to me recently. One bunch was an assortment of scraps and another was fabrics that were NOT my style at all...but they were my grandmother's style! So I've been cutting out squares to make a quilt for her so they don't take up room on my shelves!

  9. LOL, I seem to remember you leaving with that panel Dominique mentioned. I have no idea what the duck you are going to do with it but I look forward to the reveal. 😁

  10. Bravo! It's sounds like you were pretty ruthless and determined! For the most part I am guilty of hanging on to my fabric instead of getting rid of it. A lot of the fabric that loses its appeal goes onto the back of my quilts so it doesn't just gather dust though.:) A very few times I've gone through and completely purged out a style of fabric that I simply detest or know I will never, ever use. It feels good at the moment, but it's a very difficult step for me to even admit to the possibility that I may not ever find a good use for it!

  11. I love a good craft room clean out! In fact, I clean out every January and by the time I start sewing again, I wouldn't be a able to tell you what I gave away! Guess it's not missed. I find it so much more inspiring to get to work in an organized environment-I love it. And no, it's not that clean at the moment but I'll get there again someday.

  12. It was so enjoyable to send some of my fabric and books on their way.... knowing that it was going to a good home! One has to make room for the new... and re-evaluate the treasures in there! I hope we'll be able to make this an annual event!