The Truth, Revealed

I visited Amanda Jean’s blog this morning while I drank my first cup of coffee. This is part of my morning ritual… coffee, read quilters’ blogs. Amanda Jean’s was the first blog entry I happened upon. I looked at it, read it, scratched my head, thought about it, read a few more blogs, then came back to hers. I was baffled. I still am. Before I go any further, please go read her blog entry so my story will make sense to you.

I will wait.

OK. I think by now you have looked at Amanda Jean’s “Stash.”

Amanda Jean makes some very beautiful quilts. She’s a talented lady!

But, in all honesty, (and I love you Amanda Jean), Amanda Jean could make many more quilts if she wasn’t so obsessive about folding her stash into neatly arranged 5 by 5 squares. I thought about this for a long while… ok, maybe only five minutes… but the question that popped into my mind is this:

Do most quilters spend so much freaking time

folding their stash into neat little squares?

It may be that I need a psychiatrist who can help me analyze my sewing area and habits and help me grow into a better, more “normal” quilter. Perhaps. So I’m asking my blog-o-sphere quilting friends to give me some honest feedback.

Your comments will be read without any negative reactions. (Yeah, right). On the first day of November, I will send a small part of my stash to a “randomly selected quilter” who has been brave enough to respond. Yes, this is a FREE GIVEAWAY. I will use a number generator to determine the “winner.” That person will receive “some stash.” It could be a little, it could be a lot. It will probably not be pressed or folded. But then, there is a chance that it will.

So, here is the state of MY stash. Please click on the photos to open them up and see the real, raw honesty portrayed here. Keep in mind, the sun is STILL not up, and I am on my second cup of coffee.

First, a view of my Quilting Studio.

OK, it’s the basement. There are no walls containing the studio. I call it “free range quilting.”

My stash is kept in several different places. We’ll say it “oozes” from one spot to the other. But in my defense, I know (mostly) where my stash is, and can find it in a moment’s notice after much digging and swearing. I’ll let you enlarge the photos and look around. If you can find the purple paisley fabric I bought recently, please let me know where it is. I want to use it.

Just so you know that this system of stash storage works (kinda), here is the little Dear Jane block I finished yesterday. It is F 7 – Star Struck, free at last.


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23 thoughts on “The Truth, Revealed

  1. “Free Range Quilting” – I love it! That’s how I quilt. I now have half the basement (dye studio and longarm) and what was the family room in the house. I think I’m up to 1000 sq ft and I’m always looking for more space! As for stash storage, I’d say I’m somewhere between you and Amandajean.

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  2. I keep thinking I’ll organize my stash and have it all beautifully folded and stored — but it’s not going to happen!! Instead, I have bits and pieces that will make a great grouping of fabrics (I think) in various containers — plastic bags, boxes, baskets, you name it. As we live in an apartment, most of these various containers are under the bed, under tables, in the closet — you name it. Sometimes it’s an adventure finding things! LOL

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  3. Hmmm – my stash is definitely in between these two. I have mine pretty much sorted by color into one of the wire basket things. But not folded neatly, just sort of stacked in there. Every now and then one drawer really bothers me so I dump it out and refold neatly and stroke the pretty ones and occasionally set aside some of the uglies to give away.And I have one basket of “chunks” that are too small to classify but too large to toss. And maybe a few pieces in project bags or piles on the shelves….QMJudy at Yahoo

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  4. I howled with laughter as I read this post as I drank my morning coffee! I love your concept of “free range quilting”. My stash storage system resembles your system. In fact, I am on the hunt regularly for a specific piece of fabric. I like to think that this method of storage allows me to frequently visit what exactly is in my stash as the frequent “hunts” remind me of what exactly I have! LOL Let’s face it, creativity is not next to neat and organized in the dictionary!

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  5. Hi Caron,I had to laugh – I just tried to organize my stash on Saturday…and I just didn’t manage to fold the fabrics as neatly as I’d wanted to…{I hate when they aren’t the same width} But in the end, I only tried to squeeze them into the boxes I had so that the ‘chaos’ is tucked away. I wish I had a whole room to play in, so that I didn’t have to store them out of sight…*sigh*I think you have a point…instead of folding we should go creating…but it’s also a kind of ‘ritual’ to stroke all my precious pieces and say hello to them…Cheers, JuliaP.S.: even if I don’t comment I love reading your blog – thanks for sharing your progress on your Dear Jane quilt and all the other projects!

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  6. I am a little obsessive about the state of my stash, which is easier to do I think when your stash is on the smaller size. However I’m not manical about it. I do have some messy bits. ;^)< HREF="http://quiddity-quilts.blogspot.com/2008/10/stash-story.html" REL="nofollow">See for yourself! Pictures of some of my stash<>

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  7. I may get the courage to photograph my stash, I need to find it all first. I keep saying I am going to take a day and organize it but if I have a day to do that then I have a day I can sew. Such a dilemma. LOL

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  8. I will try to respond to this without being too defensive….I had just spent 2 days folding my stash before showing it off to the entire world. It’s not always that neat and tidy, but I try to keep it maintained and orderly so I can see what I have and actually use what I have.as far as spending time folding the fabric, well, that was a welcome break from all the quilt production that goes on around here. I needed a breather anyway.

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  9. Amanda Jean, Thanks for your response!!! I DO love your work… and I hope you weren’t offended by my blog post. You don’t have anything to be defensive about. There have been a lot of blog posts lately by quilters who are showing their “studio space” and their fancy stash storage methods. We don’t all have the luxury of a true studio… I would love one, but that isn’t in my financial future, I’m afraid. I would love to buy or build some great storage units so that I can see all my stash and not have it buried in tubs and boxes. It’s so hard to work when you can’t see your supplies! I know some people get depressed when they see fancy studios with mountains of fabric on shelves when they have so little space and stash themselves. I wanted them to see that not everyone in the world is afforded that luxury. Keep up the good work… I love your blog.Caron Mosey

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  10. Why take the time to organize your stash? Won’t it get get messed up when next you are looking for fabric? I love the idea of free range Quilting. My stash is all over my house. I consider my stash Bonnie’s store. When you go to the mall you go to different rooms to shop. Why not at home? Where else go I go to shop for fabric in the early mornings, late at nite or on holidays. My store never closesBonnie Tucker from Richmond

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  11. As a ‘newbie’ quilter I haven’t got a big stash of fabric. What I have got is folded like Amanda Jean’s. What I have got a big stash of is paper for my card making and that is stored pretty much as your fabric stash. I can never find what I’m looking for. I also find paper hard to store in a way it can be seen at a moments’ notice.

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  12. I don’t spend much time huddled around my stash. Some time ago, I bought a ton of bins from the Dollar Store and my stash is in those bins. They are colour co-ordinated so when I need yellows, I just pull out a bin and leaf through the colours to choose the ones that are needed. When I’m finished, the bin goes back on the shelf. I also have 2 big shelves that house the bins. I don’t spend time folding or pressing my stash. When I need a piece, I iron it before cutting. There is no point to ironing my new fabric after it has been washed because it will just get rinkled again anyway. My time is spent quilting and I get more done that way. My studio gets tidied up every once in a while; otherwise it is a mess… and I love it.

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  13. Free Range Quilting….crack me up! In all my years of sewing I have set up shop on the kitchen table…in the livingroom…claimed a corner of our bedroom…moved to the camper for a season…it wasn’t until 1998 that I actually had any space to call my own and My Creative Mind was born…since then it has been anywhere from neat and orderly to “did She-a-cane Pam just blow thru?” Recently hubby re-did My Creative Mind and yes, I do fold each piece using the 6″ ruler method~~but it wasn’t always that way!!! Thanks for the laugh…Free Range Quilting…hilarious!Pam@http://www.pamgwillim.commycreativemind@pamgwillim.com

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  14. Oh my goodness — your stash and my stash are cousins!! LOL.I am always buying “something” and then four weeks later remember that I bought “something” and I have no idea where it is in my stash!I just recently took pictures from pure frustration – I will post some!

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  15. “Free Range Quilting” I like that concept, no walls to hold you in check. You can never say that you have too much until the basement is overflowing. Amanda Jeans stash is pretty small so I guess she has the time to fold it any way she wants. Maybe she needs therapy! Just kidding. Maybe folding is therapy. I think that I have a way bigger stash than you both put together. Oops, I hope my husband doesn’t read this.

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  16. Oh dear me, I am jealous of your space to keep your stash! There is a reason I fold my stash, it wouldn’t fit in the place I have for it. Otherwise I kinda think my stash might look the same ‘grin’. Have fun quilting, it is your stash, you have the rigt to keep it the way you want to. Oh, and your quilt results are wonderfull!Bye Ellie (Using an old google account.)

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  17. Caron!!! I absolutely LOVED your blog… and I’m guessing that the purple fabric is in that bag, hanging off something – can’t remember what it was now, but I’m sure it’s in there! *grin*Thanks for your bravery and showing us your wonderful work area – hey! if it works, why mess with a beautiful thing, eh? *grin*I’ll be adding your blog to MY blog page, in a few minutes… *s*RosaP.S. If you REALLY need to send some of your stash elsewhere… I’ll “force” myself to welcome it, into my home… ROTFL!!!

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  18. Thanks so much for this hysterical post! After quilting for 27 years and working in a quilt shop for 4, I have quite a`healthy stash. For the most part, it is organized by color, haphazardly folded in mismatched bins and baskets, stored on garbage picked metal bookcases, crammed inside a closet. I also have various project piles all over the house. My only rule is to keep it visible, so I don’t keep things in bags or closed boxes. Even though I haven’t sorted through things in years, I still know what pile or bin a particular fabric is in. I have no less reverence for my fabrics than someone who obsessively folds hers with a special ruler or technique. To each her own. Personally, I’m envious of your refrigerator storage system. Do you keep your “cool” colors in there?

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  19. Here are my two cents about stash — some people can live with more clutter and still feel creative, productive, and happy. For others, having a clean slate is what helps them feel creative, productive, and happy. It’s when our stash gets in the way of our own creativity that it needs to be reigned in. Stash should serve us creatively. If it stops doing that, it should go. Or we should use it up to serve others!

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  20. I love your big space there! Didn’t see your sewing machine though…?I always have to tidy up… lots…before I can do things in and around my cutting table, and my stash is mostly in a mess more than tidy… Small sewing room doesn’t help either. Told DH that he needs to make me a shelf up above the door to the room to store my big roll of batting that I won…I did some posts on my stash between Aug 18th to 22nd… Organized to a point, but mostly not…Thanks for sharing your space and stash! 😎

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  21. Okay, I forgot to tell you how I “try” to keep things organized, in my studio.After I’ve finished a sewing session… I DO work during the week… I pick up ALL lose fabrics and try to hide them or put them away, somewhere – temporarily. Why, you ask? Because I have 4 kitties that LOVE to sit on my fabric and will settle into ANY opened tote container, containing fabric! LOLPlus, when I’m ready to START another sewing session, I “try” and tidy up, a bit, from the last one.DH would argue with me that things aren’t really “orderly”, but they are in MY eyes! LOLRosa

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  22. How funny is that!? I love your blog — how creative you are not only in your quilting but in your writing!I had a good friend clean out her stash and gift it to me. I spent 3 days pulling out ALL my fabric and ruler folding it, then putting it all neatly away. The dresser I use is FULL. THEN I realized that I have yet more fabric in several containers that didn’t get included. AND I also have absolutely no control whatsoever over my scraps, so that’s my next project. However, although I enjoyed fondling, folding and playing in my fabrics, I didn’t get much quilting done. So . . . . I’m thinking my stash and my scraps will never really be under control. I do like to go ahead and have my “kits” made up — but then I find when I go to make the project, I don’t like those combinations any longer — does anybody else run into that?Billye

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  23. :)))) I just loved this article!! I enjoyed seeing your errr… stash room and reading your accompanying comments, LOL. and I feel so much better now about my own stash store room. :))Elly

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