Confessions of a Quilt-aholic – My Stash

As I sit in bed watching MTV’s Awkward on my laptop, after a failed attempt to go to sleep, I stare at my totes full of fabric. I think about how I got the fabric. Being a broke college student, quilting is quite an expensive hobby, but since I don’t go to bars or anything like that I never feel too bad about my fabric shopping exploits. However, most of my fabric I didn’t buy from the store. I buy a lot of it on craigslist when people are clearing out their stash. I also got quite a bit as a gift from a very kind woman who just wanted me to have it. In fact I think the backing I used for Miss A’s Quilt came from her. It was such a kind gesture and I’ll always be grateful for it, and that is one of the reasons I try to give back with my quilting to organizations such as Quilts of Valor. So as I gaze upon these totes I can see hundreds of possible quilt tops, and it’s honestly a little overwhelming. Perhaps that is one of the reasons I quilt in a manic state… or maybe, I’m just manic.

I see all of the fabric, probably 200 or 300 yards I have stacked away, and I just think about all of the things I want to do with it. I even have a bin of fabric that I hand-dyed myself. Yet, for some reason I want more. When I go to Joann’s or any quilt store, all I can think about is how I want more quilting fabric. I never buy patterns, because I can see one, and then make it myself. (I’m 5 classes short of a degree in financial mathematics, so intermediate geometry is quite a breeze for me.) Since I never buy patterns, fabric is pretty much the only thing I buy besides thread and incidentals like bobbins and needles. I know I do not need more fabric, but I see something pretty and all of a sudden, I’m a 5 year old in candy store, but I’m constantly broke, so then I feel like a 5 year old in a candy store that has a peanut allergy, and all of the warnings say, “may contain nuts.” As is my life, so once again I stalk craigslist for anyone trying to de-stash, and I buy as much as my meager budget will allow.

I’ve been quilting for 1 year this month, and I’ve made 17 quilt tops, and quilter 5 of them. I figure I have used about 100 yards of fabric to make these 17 quilt tops if not more, and I think about all of the fabric I used, and the patterns I loved but used all of so now they are just a fond memory. Sometimes I even rifle around in my stash looking for a particular batik that I don’t have anymore.  I suppose this is what all quilters go through as they sew. So, once again as I sit here watching Awkward and typing this, I have a bittersweet feeling of having an infinite possibility of future projects, and only a finite amount of fabric. I think that’s why people are constantly growing their stash… Unlimited number of possible projects, finite supply of fabric.


  1. Tracey H says:

    I just had to recently tear down my sewing room and put it all back together. I KNEW I had black fabric, but could not find it. Now after a week, I have sorted, stacked, placed in various bins all my fabric. I have enough to make 100 quilts or more…so hop to it, right? Now I just need a little motivation to finish some projects.

    One activity I partake in, is the local, district and state fairs. You would be surprised how talented you really are when you put your work up for display. That, and most give cash prizes…and a little cash isn’t a bad thing too. I usually make $50 a year with district, and a possible $50-$100 with state fairs which can add up quickly. You just have to enter.

  2. Chuck DeBono says:

    I love to surround myself with beautiful things, I am a collector of antiques, glassware (over 3000 pieces of Fenton, carnival glass and Roseville pottery and still collecting) I have always wanted to quilt so my partner (of 23 years) and I decided we would take one of our bedrooms and making a sewing studio. With that said, we are now in the process of building a stash and I am drawn to patterns and he is drawn to prints. We have approx. 6 tops made and quilted and the desire to accomplish many more gets stronger and stronger. I think if you enjoy to be surrounded with more and more than do it. don’t justify or feel quilty just do what makes you happy and let your creative juices flow.

  3. Carol Olson says:

    in the quilting world you have become a SABLE!! Congratulations!! (stash accumulated beyond life’s expectency)

  4. I used to work at Jo-Ann and let me tell you, it’s like a alcoholic working in a liquor store. I had to quit. I even gave away a boat load of fabric shortly after to a group of ladies who made quilts to donate to those in need. I was just too overwhelmed with all the fabric I had, that it was paralyzing. I couldn’t quilt because I had no idea where to start. I just made two quilts tops yesterday with fabric that I bought over 3 years ago and was scared to cut into it.

  5. Becki says:

    For a while I would go to the quilt shows just to buy fabric (and also take pictures of the quilts I really liked, but really, it was about the fabric!). Lately, I’ve been thinking more about how far that fabric has traveled to reach me: where was the cotton grown? Where was the fabric woven? Where was it dyed or printed? How much were these workers likely paid? (An outgrowth of reading an excellent book, “Where Am I Wearing?”) And then I’d look at my stash and think, you really do have a lot of fabric (although it is probably smaller than many quilters’ collection), more than enough to make A LOT of quilts.

    So my new goal is to make quilts from what I have. If I am making a quilt for a specific person, I give myself permission to buy fabric if there is nothing in my collection that would work (for example, batiks seemed required for my BIL’s wedding quilt, and I don’t have any in my stash). My goal is to become a more responsible quilter, while still working on my quilting techniques, and go from there.

  6. Pingback: Quilting | brittasbayfestival

  7. Pingback: Confessions Of A Quilt-aholic: Hoarding Machines | Eric The Quilter

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