on a day when 10.75 yards of my favorite fabric arrived in my mailbox, i ordered some "rare finds" on etsy, and spent half my morning reading about fabric selection and stash building (parts 1 and 2) at blue elephant stitches, ironically i also happened apon yet another of rebecca's brilliant ideas: fabriholics anonymous. she's come right out and admitted the problem many of us have with fabric buying, not only admitted it, but pledged to do something about it! brave, brave girl.
liz and i talk about this from time to time. we joke our friendship is built on our naughty buying habits. well, it did start that way. and i had another conversation with someone (amandak, maybe?) a few months ago about this very topic and perhaps the need for some help from each other in our community to stop the madness and the enabling. rebecca has addressed the issue and fleshed it out for us with some great guidelines for a 6 month fabric fast. i borrow from her page:
- To use the Stash I already have!
- Finish UFOs without distraction by shifting to other new beautiful fabric.
- Stop the insanity of constantly buying the latest and greatest fabric.
- Save the $$ I spend on stashing.
- Destash the fabrics that I realize I am never going to use.
FABRIC FAST RULES:
1) No fabric purchases for 6 months beginning January 1, 2014.
2) At 6 months reevaluate status and decide whether to keep going for full year. Evaluation July 1, 2014.
3) Create a UFO list and complete them!
- Backing: purchasing a backing to finish a quilt top is permissible. However, attempting to use fabric in your possession for a backing is preferable.
- Books and Magazine purchases are allowed as they are not fabric. Notions acceptable too.
- Swap Mama Fabric: if hosting a swap you are permitted to by fabric to execute swap duties, but you may not join a swap simply for the sake of being able to buy fabric!
- Quilts for Publication: if you are making a quilt for a publication and need certain fabric to execute it correctly then that is a major exception - who can blame you?
there is a link up on her page if you want to join in and pledge publicly. i'm
my list of quilts i want to make as soon as i'm done with the kids' quilts for Christmas is already about 6 projects long. and i have the fabrics for them, too. there is just no end in sight to finding more projects and more fabrics to buy. fortunately, i'm not aware of any lines coming out that i'm dying to own. but i'm sure that's only because i don't know about them.
i guess it's just time to come clean on this. i missed the "show me yours, i'll show you mine" confession link party this summer, so this is where i personally stand with my own stash & addiction:
i've changed a lot as a quilter in the last 3 years, or at least i understand myself and my style a lot better than i once did. i could eventually use all of this, even if for charity quilting, which i'd like to do. but the reality is there is a good chunk i'm not so excited about anymore. i destashed bits of it in Lucy's fugly party earlier this year, but i could realistically get rid of more if i made myself.
my weakness has been precuts (!!!) and sales, online or in person. I've actually gotten a lot better at this, but many of these pieces made their way to me when they went on sale somewhere. maybe it's safe to say that i don't buy a whole lot of fabric anymore, but that i once did and that's my main problem.
so that's the ugly truth hiding away upstairs. let's look downstairs in my public space:
oh, there is also the bag (on the right) that contains my pull for penny patch 2.0 and baby boy quilts for my two newest nephews. i ran out of boxes. all of these fabrics are spoken for.
so the downstairs looks pretty good. it's the huge hoard, and let's face this, too - it's a hoard, not a stash -that is the real problem.
if i look at my purchasing over the last 6 months or so, it has become more responsible, but is still on the unhealthy side considering what's sitting around. i almost always only buy for a specific project these days. the three exceptions to this type of more responsible purchasing are favorite fabrics, zakka, and stash-building.
1) i've found lately that i'm coming close to running out of some pieces i really like and know i will use more of them if i can get it. so i go look for it when it runs low. this is fairly intentional and reasonable stash purchasing.
2) my new little collection of Japanese/cute novelty prints for patchwork, please! style zakka projects is perhaps the biggest exception to my healthy buying. i've been gathering a little pile of these fabrics, mostly in fat quarters, for a few months, here and there, online. i probably have enough to fill one project box.
3) i've bought a few quarter yards and precuts of fabrics purely for stash after considering them several times before purchasing. it was more thought out, but not really "necessary" buying.
fortunately for me, i haven't traded any real necessities nor have my children done without so i could acquire all these fabrics. all spending has come from a regular personal discretionary fund of my own. the fact that i can technically afford all these fabrics in no way justifies my purchase of them, my consumption for the sake of consuming. oh, i did have plans for a large number of these buys, but i can't produce fast enough to keep up. penny patch did make a small dent in one corner of the old stash shelf. but there needs to be more of this happening. perhaps what i need to aim for is getting all unused fabrics to fit on my shelving before i consider more purchases and new projects.
so to what am i willing to commit?
i need to work from stash. honestly, i have enough to keep me busy for months with just the few projects i want to do next year once . . . you know, my 7 current projects are done. let's revisit rebecca's list with my comments and modifications in color:
- To use the Stash I already have! check! use the items from my stash that i really love before getting new stuff. i'm gong to have to discern between what i will likely use and what will be put away for charity.
- Finish UFOs without distraction by shifting to other new beautiful fabric. check!
- Stop the insanity of constantly buying the latest and greatest fabric. check! the only things i'm aware of that i really want are the new anna maria horner line and the blender true color fabrics from amh and heather bailey. lucky for me, they aren't moda and will likely be around for a bit.
- Save the $$ I spend on stashing. check! while i whittle away at my stash, i should be spending my fabric budget on some worthy projects and causes instead.
- Destash the fabrics that I realize I am never going to use. i am torn on this one because i feel i can use any fabrics i have for charity quilting. and I'd like to do this, eventually. i will have to think on this more before making any commitments.
FABRIC FAST RULES:
1) No fabric purchases for 6 months beginning January 1, 2014. ouch! okay. i can do it for 6 months.
2) At 6 months reevaluate status and decide whether to keep going for full year. Evaluation July 1, 2014. check! great idea! it's not forever, there is an end in sight!
3) Create a UFO list and complete them! already working on this. find some of the cool link parties for motivation.
4) Exceptions oh, yeah, i have some of these!
- Backing: purchasing a backing to finish a quilt top is permissible. However, attempting to use fabric in your possession for a backing is preferable. definitely agree!
- Books and Magazine purchases are allowed as they are not fabric. actually, i have more than enough of these. i'm waiting for lee's vintage quilt revival this month, and then no more until i have begun using the books i have. Notions acceptable too. agreed! i tend to buy these on an as-needed basis anyway.
- Swap Mama Fabric: if hosting a swap you are permitted to by fabric to execute swap duties, but you may not join a swap simply for the sake of being able to buy fabric! i'm not a swapper, no issues here.
- Quilts for Publication: if you are making a quilt for a publication and need certain fabric to execute it correctly then that is a major exception - who can blame you? not me either! however, i retain the right to shop in the middle of a project for more bits that might be needed for that specific project.
- there are two kinds of fabric that i now know i use that i don't have stashed: low-volume and solids. so i will retain the right to determine if i need any more of these two types for specific projects. if i find any i really like on a bargain sale, i will consider at length my desire for them before giving in.
there. that feels reasonable. i can commit to this. i guess i better go sign the roster.
how do you feel about this, friends? where do you stand? how about only commiting to the fast until either your current quilt is done or for only 3 months? could you maybe at least think through your own habits and decide on some few ways to be more responsible? i hope so! let me know if you need a sounding board or cheering section.
and thank you rebecca lynne!