Sunday, November 16, 2008

still thinking about next year's stash busting

while i was busy sewing today i spent some more time thinking about fabric comming in and going out.

it's good that we have had this year to practice stash busting. I've learned some things this year about stash and material and quilting and especially about buying that i didn't think about before.

one of the things i realized is that while we all started the year out wonderfully well, very few of us finished in positive numbers. That's sad, but i think it's the fault of the system and not us.
let me explain.

i know that the goal is to reduce the total yardage in our stash, and that the system of adding in fabric we bought this year served to remind us of that goal. that was the positive side.
the negative side is that this system works best with a very large stash, and fabric that is purchased in multiple yardages rather than in bits and pieces.

So next year i'm going to try something different on two fronts.
1. i'm going to make sure i have all the yardage i need for each quilt i make. this was something i did in June this year--going thru each of the patterns i wanted to use and checking to see if i had all the fabric necessary. if i didn't have it, i bought it, and my totals took a really big hit because of that necessary stash addition.

2. I don't want to go backwards and loose hard-gained ground if i need fabric, but i also don't want to become paralyzed by the thought of only using my stash.
So instead i'm going to buy smart.

what is buying smart? glad you asked!
Most new fabric lines have anywhere from 10 to 40 fabrics in the line. Years ago we didn't think twice about buying the whole line in fat quarters.
then came jelly rolls, layer cakes, sweet rolls, and even triangles cut from the whole line.
These are great, but there's only so many patterns we can make using these shapes.

so on comes 'buying smart'.
I used to start with a fabric line i liked and then decide which quilt i wanted to make. But in doing that i've noticed that with most quilts you can get by with about 6 colors plus one or two neutrals for the whole pattern, and not need all of the 40 fat quarters.
So next year instead of buying a fat quarter tower and getting a little bit of all the line, i'll start with the pattern.
I'll go thru a fabric line and choose just the amount and colors of the fabric i need for that pattern. no more. I will be in control of the stash, and not let it run away by trying to have everything.

Secondly, i'll keep a stash of neutrals on hand since all quilts seem to need neutrals. if i splurge anywhere it will be in neutrals. if they get out of hand i will make a quilt out of just neutrals.

finally because i will be buying smart i know that my stash will decrease because whatever will be going into it will definitely be comming back out......so i'm not counting the increase next year.

instead i'm going to concentrate on how much stash i am using. I want to see my numbers going up, not going into the negative. I don't want my hard work to count for nothing.

and i will also be "using smart" which is just as important as buying smart.

Using smart means that when i pull fabric off the shelf or out of the drawer, i have a real plan for NOT filling that empty space with more fabric.

for me that means taking empty totes out to the garage or pulling the empty drawers out of the unit.
For someone else it might mean removing shelves or drawers from a unit so they can't be filled again. Do whatever works, but DON'T leave empty space around. when you are used to having the security of seeing a huge stash, the growing emptiness might have a negative effect instead of a positive one, unless you have a plan for coping with the change.

Getting rid of the empty shelves by removing them will instantly create a full (but smaller) space again. as you get used to emptying shelves or bins, it will be another thing to count in the positive achievement column.

so that's it. that's my plan.
Buy Smart, Use Smart, count the yards used, and keep it positive for next year.

1 comment:

Infinity Quilter said...

I like your thinking! I have been thinking about my stash too and really if I'd only buy fabric for a specific pattern/project, I would not have my current problem of fabric taking over my sewing room. But it's so much fun seeing the pretty fabric. ;0)