Sunday, May 29, 2016

How Much is Too Much?

I recently read a post on Heather's Stitching Lotus blog about a woman in the US who died, leaving her family with 15,000 yards of fabric to deal with. It wouldn't all fit in her house, so she had rented a storage space.  If you are wondering how much 15,000 yards is, the news story says it will stretch across about eight miles!  You can read the news story here.  

I'm guilty of buying fabric or threads or beads or other stitching items just because they appeal to me, with no plan of how I'll use them.  

I bought these three fabrics several months ago and have yet to do anything with them.  Sometimes I have a plan for my stash items but not enough time to start or finish the project.  Even though I'm a little more mindful of what I buy now that I am in Japan, with less space to store it and less available money to buy with, I still add more things.  When we moved here from the US, I had to get rid of a lot and I only brought the things I liked best.  After being here four and a half years and finishing many things, I still have many unfinished and unstarted projects.  

The American woman in the news story had four children to deal with her stash after her death.  Who will deal with my stuff?  What about you? Do you have more than you can use in a lifetime?


  1. Indeed, this story can leave us thoughtful and lead us to some mindfulness ! I must say I gasped when reading "15,000 yards of fabric" (!) God, this is no more stashing, rather compulsory buying ? I bet the children must be thinking about all the money spent on this, which is quite understandable - hopefully, there's a quilter (or two) among them ? ...
    I must say I've always been in awe, seeing some pictures of quilter's stashes, when visiting quilt Blogs. Some of these are really looking like real quilt shops !
    As to me, compared to this, I consider myself as "reasonable" (yet not frugal enough). My own "stash" is neatly stacked on two shelves - each one measuring 1,50m - including my notions and sewing machine...
    Of course I'm very often tempted but 23 years of quilting taught me being Wise when buying. For instance, I limit myself to 2 or 3 printed fat quarters a month, and once a year I indulge myself in background fabrics, backings, and wadding (generally 4,50 meters each), which I USE as much as I can.
    Retirement also limited my income, and forced me to get "wiser" and try to resist impulse buying.
    Moreover, I'm living in a very small Belgian country village, with only ONE teeny, tiny quilt shop, offering, say about 50 different bolts of fabric; and I have vowed to NEVER use my credit card in Webshops...
    Some people might think this must be difficult, regarding a creative process. Yet I have noticed that the LESS you've got on hand, the MORE you become creative, the key word being MAKE DO. (I often think about those pioneer women, using every bit of old fabric on hand, to make quilts that are now famous and in Museums) And it works ! :)

    Mind you, life and budget forced me to be like that, and I'm faaaaaar from perfect : I've got a huge pile of UFO's, I'm human, and there are fabrics I know I'll never use, simply because my tastes have changed...

    To finish this looong message (sorry, Pamela) I gave some instructions to my dear hubby :
    1) let the kids (4 none of them is a quilter) & grand kids eventually chose among my quilts,
    2) call my friends and let them choose, as well, including the notions
    3) bring the rest to the local quilt shop - she knows how to share & distribute among less Lucky quilters.
    AMEN ! :)

    In stitches and again with my apologies for having been so long.
    Enjoy your quilting, Pamela !

  2. That's why thrift shops are so cool, they're all about recycling, repurposing. I hope all the stuff my kids don't want, after I pass, will go to the local thrift shop.

  3. Like Nadine I am always amazed by some of the stashes I see online. But maybe mine is like that because it is just 'stashed' away around the house wherever I can find a space as my little room is just a corridor and has no storage space. I am starting to think about where my stuff will go eventually. Fortunately there is no quilt shop near by so impulse buys are far less likely. I love those blue fabrics - have you anything in mind for them? xx

  4. As my husband's health has failed quite a bit in the last 3 years, this thought is on my mind a lot. I will use as much of my stash as I can. I'm taking an on line quilt class and you bet I'll make some quilts. My daughter will know how to dispose of my stash. She knows I would want it to be used. There are a couple of places in our area that provide space and the tools needed to teach seing/quilting to young women that would not afford to learn or buy their own supplies. Local stores donate unsold fabric etc to them. A great cause.

  5. Pamela - yes I saw that story - the family rented a shop & is now selling the fabric, wow there sure was a lot of it to deal with!!
    I won't be leaving my family to sort out my stuff when I'm gone - but as I'm only in my mid-40s now, I hope that won't be for a while yet!