Too Much Fabric ...
Posted by JaneMiller on Thursday, October 14th, 2010
I think I need a 12-step program for fabric addicts, because I have too much fabric. I used to think that this state of affairs was impossible, but in the last few years, I've realized that not only is that not so, but that I'm a prime example of fabric overstock. Okay, maybe not prime — I don't buy entire bolts of fabric which I then store in my bathroom. I actually know someone who does this, but I consider myself to be on a higher plane because my stash is confined to one room. I rarely purchase even border fabric before the center of the quilt is complete and I hardly ever buy enough for a back without having at least some idea of where it's going. Unless it's on sale. And let's just ignore the times that I've ended up with 2 backs because I either forgot about the first one or later found one I liked better. (What are you going to do? — you have to have the best back!)
I could probably alleviate this situation through construction, but, silly me, I am unwilling to add another room to my house in order to increase my fabric storage space. Construction is so messy — there would be dust everywhere, including on my fabric. Plus it's a rule of houses and quilting that the stash will always increase to fill the available space. And since I've been making a conscious effort lately to use fabric I already own, my stash has diminished somewhat. This would all be perfect and according to plan were it not for the fact that, while I am trying very hard to work with what I have, I'm still buying. And FYI, working in a quilt shop is not conducive to stash reduction.
I've found that unless I'm specifically working with scraps, the larger pieces tend to be used first. Then all that's left are the quarter yards and 4-inch strips that I couldn't bear to chuck. Fortunately I do love scrap quilts and often use these smaller pieces in them. But in the meantime, I'm forced against my will to purchase more fabric for quilts requiring larger quantities of each piece. And the scrap quilt option, while solving one problem, creates another set of challenges, as I'm convinced that a beautiful scrap quilt is harder to make than one constructed from pre-selected fabrics. Don't get me wrong — I love scrap quilts and I will always make them, but they're more labor-intensive than many other types. The fabric selection takes longer because you're going through everything you own, or at least everything of one or two colors; the cutting takes longer because you're cutting from different sizes and shapes; the sewing takes longer because there's usually less strip-piecing; and arranging the units — blocks, strips, whatever — can be a bit like putting a jigsaw puzzle together. In fact as I read the previous sentence I realize that there are only a few reasons to make scrap quilts: either you love them or you want to use up some leftovers. Or you want a challenge. Or you refuse to purchase more fabric. Or more than one of the above. Hmm…
By now you probably think that I'm recommending a fabric-buying moratorium. On the contrary, I can list several very good reasons to buy fabric. First, if we want our local quilt shops (publishers, fabric manufacturers) to stay in business, we should be purchasing something frequently. This directly helps the shop and ourselves, while also giving a boost to the general economy. If every quilter bought one extra yard of fabric per week, we'd be out of the recession in a year. And since we'd then need more space to store our fabric, the construction industry could get some help from the aforementioned house additions.
Second, get the color while you can. We all know that colors go in and out of style and that the color you see this year may not be available next year. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean that you won't still need that color next year, but we don't have the painter's option of mixing our own colors. If you like lime green, for example, get some now because there seems to be less and less of it; if you like orange you missed your best opportunity a few years ago. There's also the lure of inspiration fabric — most of us have at least one largish piece of fabric that has stimulated the creation of at least one quilt, but that we are physically unable to cut. And what about the possibility of a cotton crop failure? — I write it as if it's a joke, but it actually happened a few years ago.Okay, those are some of the hazards of having too much fabric, as well as several reasons we still buy it. About that 12-step program: maybe the real problem is that I don't want to be cured.
4. Highplainsgal (12 November 2010 at 1:08 a.m.)I remember a day when it was very hard to find 100% cotton fabric. As a matter of fact I still have some of the cherished fabric (made into a lamp and shade). They say we should do more with less - I don't think I'll be giving away my fabric anytime soon.
3. Vita Marie in TN (15 October 2010 at 6:42 p.m.)I Love, Love, Love just looking at my fabrics...the more the better!
2. Pat in WA State (14 October 2010 at 5:06 p.m.)OMG! too. . . /am I really supposed to do something with my fabric and patterns except to store them?? I'd better get to work.
1. Linda in TX (14 October 2010 at 9:06 a.m.)"If every quilter bought one extra yard of fabric per week, we'd be out of the recession in a year." OMG! If course! This is the answer to all our economic problems - well, maybe it'll help. I, too, have too much fabric. I keep cleaning out bins and re-arranging fabric so it looks like I have some space and am not such a fabric hog. Then I buy more fabric to fill the empty bins because .... they look so empty.