From reading posts, comments and emails, I get the idea that some are feeling like they should be stash busting just because . . but they don’t really feel committed to doing it. Don’t! There’s nothing wrong with just buying whatever you want when you want it. Stash busting has to be right for the individual. If it doesn’t feel right; if you don’t feel excited about taking on the challenge, then don’t do it! Next year or the next year, you may feel like it’s the time for you to do it.
There are so many variables involved in stashbusting. Some that come to mind are:
- The size of the stash – I suppose this is one variable can make the biggest difference. Just because you have a big stash doesn’t mean you have a good stash as far as what you can work with. To be able to work successfully from the stash, you have to have the fabrics you’re able to work with. Putting together quilts using fabrics or combinations of fabrics that you don’t like wouldn’t be much fun.
- The type of fabric you have – If I had tons of big floral prints or sweet florals, or wild geometrics, I wouldn’t be able to do a thing. I mostly work with tone on tone fabrics. I can make quilt after quilt without ever using anything but tone on tone fabric. It may not work for you. You may not even like my quilts but that’s what Iike and I find by having lots of tone on tones, I can make most anything work together. I also find that tone on tone fabrics don’t ever seem dated and out of style.
- Your flexibility – If you’re making a quilt using the colors exactly as shown in the pattern, you may have a hard time busting the stash. If you insist on using the perfect fabric, you may have a hard time busting the stash. Here are a couple of examples:
This was my Labor Day Challenge piece. I started out with the yellow print and used tone on tone fabrics to go with it. I ran out of the yellow print before the borders were finished. There was a time when I would have searched high and low for more of that print and maybe stuck the whole top aside, and hoped to one day find more of that print. Instead, I just pieced in some tone on tone that matched and was done with it. This quilt will never be an award winning quilt but it will go to a child in an orphanage and they will love it.
This is the top I finished Sunday. See the purple border next to the lime/purple stripe? Click on the picture and make it larger. It isn’t the perfect shade of purple! It’s actually closer than it looks in the picture but there’s a Moda Marble that is perfect but I didn’t have enough of it. There was a time when I would have put the whole thing aside and ordered more Moda Marble. But, this quilt is going to my niece’s 11 year old daugher. (What do you call her? My great niece?) She is going to love this quilt. I doubt her mom or my mom ever say . . that purple really doesn’t go with that stripe. I’m happier that I was able to improvise than I would have been had I ordered the perfect purple.
In order to successfully bust the stash, we may have to change the way we look at fabric selections. We don’t want to make anything ugly but what is perfect anyway? I’m betting if 20 of us had taken that lime/purple stripe into the quilt shop to match with a purple, there would have been 20 different selections . . maybe none quite as far off as what I used but who’s to say what’s best, what’s second best, what is barely acceptable and what just plain old won’t work? Only the individual making the top!
One more thing . . do not allow your stash to paralyze you. It will do it if you allow it.
- If you’re trying to pull fabrics to make a certain pattern and nothing is working . . give up! Walk away from it and try again another day. Choose another pattern, or choose another focus fabric or change completely the colors your trying to put together. If it’s a pattern you have to make and nothing from the stash is working, go buy what you need. Don’t spend days or weeks stewing about something that isn’t going to work.
- If you no longer love your stash and yet you feel you can’t buy fabric because you have a stash and therefore you’re not quilting because you just can’t make a quilt from the stash . . what are you thinking? Every day that passes is a missed sewing opportunity. Piece the stash into small tops for donation to NICU; make lap quilts for old folks homes or veterans homes or for your local police or firemen to donate to those they come in contact with that can use them. Donate the fabric to a senior citizen home or to some place where people will use it or at least it will no longer be holding you back.
When I left Louisiana in 1997, I had a good bit of fabric that I knew I’d never use. I gave some away, and honestly, I tossed some. It was very freeing. From that point on, every piece of fabric in my stash is loved and I can’t wait to use it in something.
Think about how you can make your stash work for you . . do no be a prisoner of your stash!