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2016 – Year of the Stash!

Posted on: January 23rd, 2016 by Lorna McMahon

This is it… 2016 is the Year of the Stash!

Do you have stash issues?
Is your stash out of control?
Do you even know what all’s in your stash?

In case you were unaware, let me tell you…..
Jenn of A Quarter Inch from the Edge is hosting a series you may be interested in.

Jenn has written a Manifesto, stating her intentions to get her stash under control and prevent the storage space from becoming any further overrun. And she is providing some great tips and lots of encouragement for those of us who are having stash issues.

I love 

I was hanging back at first. Stash issues? Nope. Not me.

Denial? Maybe. But realistically I knew that my stash needed some TLC. Some sorting. Some organizing. And perhaps some kind of inventory system. And definitely some labels.

Quilting Hallway

Back in September I moved out of the “quilting hallway” and shared a post showing what things looked like into my new sewing room. I did go through some of my “stuff” during that move. But my stash still really needed a good clean up.

New Sewing Studio

Now, as all of you know, going through your stash with the intentions of cleaning up and clearing out???? Well, that just gives you a bit of a panic attack! As quilters, it is only natural to have a little anxiety when sorting through your fabric and trying to decide what to KEEP and what to GIVE AWAY. Repeating the phrase, “I am not a hoarder. I am not a hoarder.” helped a little. And I did my very best to fight the urge to KEEP.

Mid Purge pic #1

Four empty containers made for a good start…..

Mid Purge pic #2

I love these long totes for storing yardage. Especially for backing. Less wrinkles!

Mid Purge pic #3

The above photos show how things were looking after gathering up ONE bag of fabric for my mom. Knowing all of my GIVE AWAY items would be going to a good home, made it so much easier. The fabric I removed from my stash will all be going to my mom. She is out of pillowcases!

The below photos show how my shelves were looking after setting aside another bag and one of my big totes. My mom is going to be super busy…… 

Post Purge pic #1

Post Purge pic #2

My mom has some experience quilting, but mostly she is a sewist. She made clothes for us when we were kids. And now she sews for other kids.

A few years ago, my mom began sewing dresses for children through Little Dresses for Africa. During that time, she has made over 900 pillowcase dresses. And she has also scoured the sales racks for specials on shorts and t-shirts for little boys. Her contributions have been shipped overseas. And her hard work has paid off in the rewards of happy smiling faces!

This photo was given to her by the mission worker who delivered a shipment of clothing which my mom had contributed back in 2014. These girls are wearing some of the dresses that my mom made and the boys have on the shorts and shirts she found.

Children of Zambia

Little Dresses for Africa is a non-profit 501c3, Christian  organization, which provides relief to the children of Africa. Simple dresses are made out of pillow cases, and distributed through the orphanages, churches and schools in Africa to plant in the hearts of little girls that they are worthy!

Now of course I did not give away ALL of my stash. There is still plenty left to play with. And while I was sorting, I took the time to gather up some pieces to do this remake of the Rural Squirrel quilt in neutrals. The Northcott Rural Squirrel version has been completed and I will be sharing about it in a post very soon!

And I sorted some aside for future use in another Dog Gone Cute.
I can see this Year of the Stash is going to be an ongoing process. Purging is hard…. 
But I still have intentions to do more sorting, organizing, labeling and creating an inventory.

Do you have stash issues?

A Quarter Inch from the Edge

Join me over at Jenn’s A Quarter Inch from the Edge!

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29 Responses

  1. If you give your fabric to your Mum, you can always get it back again… if she hasn't sewn it up yet that is. Ha, ha… I'm definitely a bit of a fabric hoarder.

  2. I don't have a huge 'stash' – I am a scrap quilter. I keep so much yardage to compliment all the gifted bags and boxes of tiny bits. And it gets used rather than worrying about how to store it. As an area of yardage gets used – I usually hit an 'end of bolt' sale. If I start to get an abundance of a certain size scrap, I have 'go to' patterns or blocks that quickly uses them up.

  3. Nancy J says:

    My stash has been reduced so much with the last challenges, but still plenty left in boxes, and all labelled. But I could not find one piece of blue knit today, for leggings for a friend's grandson!! Then, I think I gave it to another friend. In another few months, less in the boxes, after some more bags to make.

  4. Sewmotion says:

    I have to admit, I have a ridiculous stash, but I spent a few days last year sorting and folding, and creating my own colour wall of fabric, now its a work of art to be enjoyed everyday! That's what I tell myself anyway 🙂 Good luck in your purging x

  5. Unknown says:

    I have a big stash, and I need to use it. My biggest problem is my mom seeing great deals at auctons or clearance sales and then pressuring me to take some home. My crafting area is in my bedroom so space is limited and I have to be organized. Amazingly there are often times that I can't find enough fabric to complete a project! Miles of blue, not enough red…is there a 12 step program?

  6. Kate says:

    Wow, you made a lot of progress in sorting and destashing a bit. I've started the fabric closet clean up, it's going to be a long haul project.

  7. I recently purged a couple of boxes of stash in fabric patterns that I don't know how I acquired and would never use. They went to a lady who is sewing charity quilts. It felt good to get it out of the house because I feel obligated to use whatever is here. I still have dozens of quilts worth of fabric!! 🙂

  8. I have a much smaller stash then some quilters do but I do have a stash. I keep it all organized on open shelves in the quilting room so I can see what I have – this reminds me very much to shop from the stash first – I have a lot of fat quarters and smaller, some yardage and when I look at my stacks of 1 yard pieces I wonder why on earth did I get them all, and what to make from them. The last two years has been a shop from the stash kind of thing but still I did buy more, last year I bought very little and this year I hope to continue that — mainly what I do buy now is my whites for backgrounds as that is what I like and backings/battings.

  9. Oh, I know the feeling. I like your mantra \”I am not a hoarder!\” I gave away 12 yards of fabric to a friend earlier this week for her cancer quilts, and had to take a deep breath as she left the house. Kudos for organizing so well! I have so much fabric I have to keep it in 2-gallon plastic zip top bags, and it completely fills a huge closet full of shelves. I'll be checking out the year of the stash!

  10. Thanks so much for spreading the word, and the love, about The Year of the Stash! I look forward to seeing your dash adventures over the course of the year. Thanks for linking up.

  11. Hi Lorna! Pam has very good point, if you want any fabric back you can ask it from your mom, if it's not yet little dress! For me this 'stash' thing is much easier because anyway I sew from my stash…and especially this year because of the capital control here in Greece. Fortunately I can find solids and white from here and bought enough from Finland. I just organized my fabrics and now it's nice to see easily what there is. I love your squirrel quilt and would like to make that pattern! Have a lovely weekend! x Teje

  12. CaroleM says:

    I find the biggest problem going through my stash is being reminded of what I have and that I still have plans for that fabric! And I can't say no to hand me down fabric. My friend gave me a large tote of fabric and it's like Christmas going through it! On the other hand I manage to keep myself in line by using scraps a lot. By the way I love your sewing room because it's so normal and not magazine perfect.

  13. Ioleen says:

    I've signed up with Jenn and am doing very well at using what I have. I have not organized my stash completely, one step at a time. I have also signed up with 2016 finish a long with Leanne over at shecanquilt. I have projects that need to be finished and I am using my stash to do so. I did buy backing for placemats I finished, I didn't buy enough first time.

  14. Oh Lorna, you have done a massive effort here.I love how neat and tidy it looks now. I use plastic totes for my \”stuff\” too.Your mom is a doll, how lovely she is to make dresses for the kids.Yes, I have stash issues 😛

  15. Carol S. says:

    I got rid of some of stash a couple months ago when some quilter friends stayed overnight at my house. It felt so good, especially knowing it was going to good homes. I still have more clean-up to do, but I'd rather sew. :O) Sweet dresses your mom made!

  16. I periodically go through and clean out my stash, but I still end up with so many scraps! I just don't know what to do with them all. I try to make quilts or other stuff with them, but most of the time I'm tired of them and don't find them inspiring anymore. I hate to waste fabric, but I also don't like to store a bunch of stuff I'm not using. For me it's such a dilemma – I feel like I should make stuff from scraps but the truth is, I don't want to most of the time. And the only fabrics I've really had thouble letting go of is my African fabrics. My mother and I had a small obsession with them a while ago and I inherited all of them when she died. Now I am really done with them, but I haven't been able to give them up. I might want to make another African thing…some day. Everything else I'm pretty good at letting go of. I love the idea of taking it to guild and putting it on the giveaway table. I just need to remember to go to guild…

  17. Patti says:

    Ha do I have a problem?? As my sewing room is on the second floor my husband keeps saying one day the floor will give way. Truly it isn't that bad but to be honest I do have a LITTLE problem.

  18. Lisa J. says:

    It's great that you have your mom to give fabric to. One of my friends is collecting squares of fabric to take to Guatemala….but we have to cut our fabrics first.

  19. SarahZ says:

    Wow Lorna! All that purging may have you feeling like splurging next great sale you see 🙂 It is fun to see your efforts pay off in those cute little dresses! My fabric still only fills 2 totes, so as long as I keep up the present sewing pace, I can remain happily in denial of any stash issues 🙂

  20. Kudos for organizing and purging!! I so desperately need to organize my stash and do some purging as well. Love the dresses that your mom makes.

  21. I sew mostly from my stash too, with a few inputs each year to keep things fresh. I do need to purge, but am having the hardest time deciding what I can give up. I also need to do a better job of organizing the stash so I can find what I need right away.

  22. I started the year posting about my stash issues too. I'm determined to work from my stash this year. So far so good. Now I'm off to check out Jenn's post and the Little Dresses for Africa link. Have heard of it before but never looked it up. Good luck with your stash.

  23. Wendi says:

    I do have stash issues but not as much as you :). What your mother is doing is wonderful with the dresses. Good luck

  24. It was with our last move, that I decided to just use up the fabric I had and that would be it – no more moving with all my fabric 🙂 – well I found a 'few' quilting blogs and….I 'quietly' bought some cute baskets to store more fabric in. You see, at first I 'needed' some more fabric to finish the quilts I was making from my fabric stash. You've found a wonderful outlet for your fabric stash – your mother is special for doing what she does!

  25. Tish Stemple says:

    I think knowing that fabric is going to a good home, makes getting rid of if much easier. Knowing that it's going to a good cause as well, even better. Freeing up those extra totes deserves a big pat on the back!

  26. Katherine says:

    Bravo! I love the feeling that comes from being organized and finding good homes for fabric that I thinned from my stash (a good \”pruning\” now and then just makes good sense – even if it can be hard to do ;o). Your sewing space looks cozy and well managed (nothing worse than not being able to find what you need when you need it, but that won't be happening in your neat space!).Happy stitching and thanks for sharing!

  27. Cheryl says:

    Great organizing! I recently went through my stash and got rid of all of the fabrics I did not really see myself using which has definitely freed up some space on my shelves.

  28. Oh, I definitely have stash issues. And this is *after* purging two huge tubs of fabric two years ago! (Both my boys could fit in *one* of the tubs!) Sooo… I think I'm going to happily hoard my fabric since I'm not over that trauma yet. 😉

  29. Lara B. says:

    What a wonderful cause to destash for Lorna. Your mom is amazing and so is the photo of all the smiling children!I'm working on sorting too and it is quite a job. Congrats on your newly organized room!