If It Looks Like Fabric…Or Stash Transparency

I have a (not so) secret obsession.  I used to keep it mostly in bins, boxes and closets–in the back of the house.  Something happened, something went wrong, horribly wrong.  (as I write that I am smiling gleefully inside my minds eye, the same minds eye that is picturing my fabric stash) My fabric stash has grown since I moved into this house in 2004.  When people notice that there are an exorbitant number of books and stacks of fabric in my house, I feel guilty, I squirm and try to explain…I tell a lot of people that I inherited my beloved grandmother’s stash of fabric when she died–and it is true I did!  She had a LOT of fabric. It is here, I sew with it, Lexi and Jianna sew with it and we do projects with it. I tell a lot of people that my friends move overseas and bring me their fabric, books and various treasures that they are not taking with them.  And it is true!  That really happens.  I explain that I keep clothing that is made of fabrics I like to cut up and sew with. And it is true! I do, I really do and I have for a long time.

But seriously, I have gone beyond that amount by about 10 times at this point.  I can’t believe I am really writing this. Sigh, I want to come clean about my stash.  It is like nothing I have ever seen except in one place.  I was watching a video about quilting that I love and have watched over and over and there is a short clip on a Quilt Artist filmed in her studio.  The studio is about the size of a large 3 car garage and is filled with those white folding tables.  Every table is covered in bolts of fabrics lined up standing up and down bolt edge on the table! An incredible amount of fabric to be sure.  She was unapologetic and her work was fairly well celebrated on this show.  I frequently want to whip out a picture and say “see there are quilters with even MORE fabric than you are seeing here in my living room/hallway/storage container/guest bedroom!” 

If you are sensing a bit of conflicted feelings about this fabric, you are a very astute reader! I am conflicted.  I want neat orderly areas to work and sew and live and store the materials that I work with and create among AND I want to have access to thousands of excellent options for sewing and crafting and designing and quilting at any given time. I want to be able to think and say I am a moderate person who does not carry material goods to excess  AND I want to own any and all fabric that I see, would like to use in the future and is accessible to me as well as keep any and all fabric that I have ever owned or had the option to own for the same reason.  I want to be moderate, but for me and my work style this is moderate!

My habits as a quilter/seamstress are somewhat disorderly in that when I am working on a project I start with an inspiration piece and then I begin digging and looking and sifting and sorting through my stash, looking for the perfect colors/prints/textures to complement my inspiration piece.  As you might picture to do this successfully lends itself to a large, messy, accessible stash of fabric. My greatest nightmare is that someone comes along and puts all my fabric in boxes.  You would think it might be losing my stash but with it all out of sight, I might as well have lost it because I can’t work with it that way.

Perhaps I am an extreme person, not exactly on the same scale as everyone else (I think some professionals refer to that as being on a certain end of a certain spectrum). Perhaps I am trying to set up for the way I work.  Perhaps if I called myself a quilt artist, had all this fabric in a studio and was not apologetic in the least it would simply be the materials an artist will work with.  But somehow I am not there yet.  Somehow I feel both guilty and completely justified and an artists delicious anticipation at such a vivid variety of fabric (paints) to work with.