Care and Feeding of a Stash

A stash. Quilters and knitters have them. Some have STABLEs (Stash Accumulated Beyond Life Expectancy). And here is how it happens.

About a week ago, I posted about needing 16 fat quarters for an upcoming mystery retreat and after looking at what I had, shopping and adding five. I sorted and selected and got ready to cut, which necessitated rereading the directions. Uh oh.  All of the fat quarters were to contrast with the background. I had, instead, a nice variety of shades, some too light to “contrast with the background.” So I sorted again. Have I told you that one of my favorite stages of quilting is the hunting and gathering stage?

I ended up with these–more than sixteen

first "sixreen"

but that is okay. The directions indicated more would work well, but not fewer.

I still had some that looked too light and I really, really wanted  more green to balance the blue and lavender.  And that led to more shopping, more stash feeding.

But let me back up a bit to the history of this portion of my stash.

I started out avoiding thirties print fabrics, thinking it a responsible way to moderate my collecting.  It seemed I had enough other collections going to skip starting a new theme. Then a local quilt shop held the proverbial “$5.00” quilt sale. You pay $5.00 for the first block, then bring it back finished the next month to get the next one free. Usually this continues for twelve months. You get instructions, a chance to buy small pieces of the same fabrics in your block (it is a good design approach to repeat a fabric in two or three places), and a chance to see some new item that is available at the shop.

Here are the blocks I made at that time. Even though I put them away while I worked on other projects, I could see potential in them, and I realized I’d need a big variety if I were going to make a queen sized quilt, the size I often opt for. So while the blocks and ideas incubated, I shopped.

thirties blocks

Now I have been hunting and gathering long enough to know that manufacturers make fabric designs in limited quantities and very often do not repeat. So if you like something you have to grab it when you see it. That is the first principle of feeding a stash.  So I tried for variety of color and print and shopped till I couldn’t remember if I already had that one or not.  Now if I had been caring for my stash properly, I would have known. Fabric needs to be looked at and patted.  But I had turned my attention elsewhere and was neglecting the thirties group;  not wanting to duplicate, I  quit buying them for a while.  The earlier shopping, however, provided  fabrics to select from to start this new project.

Now, back to the current project, and my wanting green.  I logged on to the computer and pulled up my three favorite sources.  Previously, the search term “thirties” had brought at least a page of thumbnails to select from. This time I got only plain colors at one site, about five at another, and only prepared combinations (quilt kits, various sized squares and strips), and all I wanted was one perfect green. Was this the end of a fabric era?

I inquired of my friends and was directed to a few more sites. One of them led to a Close Out shop. And when I landed on local quilt shop sites, many listed sales of half off or listed how few yards were left. More handwriting on the wall?

So while some thirties prints still remained, I evaluated against the possibility that a fabric theme was ending. (I have a picture of the hoarding at the grocery store before either announced bad weather or an announced shortage.)  I had an abundance of pinks and reds and lavenders. I had added yellows, but was still a bit light, and was definitely low on oranges and greens. So look at what “one green” morphed into.

New thirties fabrics

With these additions,  I could now get serious about selecting my sixteen or more. And I did.

Last selection?

The only decision left is whether or not to include a red fabric or two.  Would you?

The retreat is next weekend. Tune in again to see what the mystery turns out to be. Meanwhile, I now  have more greens and oranges than reds and blues…and so it goes.

How does your care and feeding of stash compare to mine?



Filed under quilting, shopping

2 responses to “Care and Feeding of a Stash

  1. Well…it looks to me like the results were worth it. I would rather have a quilt that I was VERY happy with rather than MOSTLY happy with, and sometimes that means shopping.

    • Thanks! I think that is good to distinguish between very satisfied and almost satisfied. A good way to put it. I will have very poor to feel guilt about shopping to reach “very.” Claire

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