Sewing My Life Together

I Am Almost Afraid To Say This, But…..



I am giving away my stash, or most of it. Really. It has taken me years and months to come to this decision.

I have way, way too much, and my sewing area is a mess.  There is another reason: I don’t much like the fabric I have collected. I used some  to make a couple of rather disappointing quilts for my daughters (and the color schemes were awful, but I felt I HAD to use this fabric). My daughters don’t even use them on their beds. I don’t even have photos of these quilts; I deleted them from my camera and computer.

And the reason I don’t like these fabrics?  About four years ago, a teacher at one of my schools asked me if I knew anyone who would want a large stash of quilters’ fabrics; her neighbor had recently passed and her husband was looking to get rid of them. So I made a call and went to the house; once I got there, I was so nervous about taking the fabric of the man’s deceased wife that I didn’t ‘shop’, or look around for what I might like. Instead, we got some boxes and I took home about three or four full boxes. And I was new to sewing and quilting, so I am not sure I would have been able to find fabrics that I knew I would like and use.  I was, however, extremely grateful to this man and sent him a thank you card, telling him I had used some fabrics for quilts for my daughters. And now I am passing this ‘stash’ along to some quilters who might make them into something nice

She made more traditional quilts, so the fabrics were mostly flowers, small prints, in darker colors. At this point in my sewing, I am eager for vibrant colors and non-traditional designs. Maybe in five years I might want to tackle a more traditional color scheme, but if I do, I will go to a fabric store and pick out the fabrics myself.

And the emotional weight of these fabrics was weighing on me; I felt that I HAD to use them, and that giving them away would amount to creative failure on my part. However, being in de-cluttering mode this month, I knew I had to do something.

And last week I discovered “Freecycle”. It’s a website and you post things you are offering and things you want. I posted a bag of colored felt, a bag of novelty fabrics, and a bag of triangle and 3 ” squares. Within a day I had several emails from folks who wanted them.  I put them in white garbage bags, tied them to my front railing, and someone came and picked up each item. It was so freeing!

So, I am offering several bags of stuff on Freecycle (you have to be a member, but there’s no charge, and there’s no packing or mailing stuff all over the country.  You post on a local board (which, for me is Boston and Cambridge), and it is basically first-come, first-served. Personally, I would not use Freecycle for furniture or clothing, since I can donate those to Goodwill, but with fabric I think it is a perfect choice. here are some examples:

ImageA bag of muted blue prints.

ImageA bag of red yardage and scraps.


ImageI had loved this combination and I made a few bags out of it, but I am done with that for now. Someone else can be creative with it! So….it is time-consuming, a little emotional (Do I REALLY want to give away the black checked prints or should I make another bag?), but ultimately it is freeing. I only want to keep at close hand fabrics I am actually using or have a use for.

One important point: I need a backing for a new quilt top I made, and NONE of what I had in my stash came even close to what I need. So I learned a lesson: having is not the same as using, and using is not the same as creating.

I am sure these will be gone in a day or two!

This entry was published on March 9, 2014 at 9:28 pm. It’s filed under Crafts, fabric shopping, Ideas, Mistakes, Quilting and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

4 thoughts on “I Am Almost Afraid To Say This, But…..

  1. What a great way to get rid of things you won’t use!

  2. Congratulations! That’s a great decision. Having fabrics you don’t want is a drag on creativity. No more guilt, for taking them, not using them, or giving them away. You solved the man’s problem YAY for you! and now you’re solving YOURS and another person’s. YOU ROCK!

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