Category Archives: Stash Reduction

The Straight Stitch – What to do with extra fabric?

Dear Keep it Thimble,

I inherited an armful of fabric from a local quilter who passed away and it has been sitting on my shelf for a couple of years. She had a tendency toward traditional fabrics and patterns; I don’t share that. I don’t know what to do with this. Keep it until I find a use for it?  give it away? I am afraid that the minute I give it away I will find a use for it. And I feel badly since this fabric was a gift from her husband, who wanted other quilters to have it.

But I have little storage space and this stuff is taking up badly needed space…I favor bright colors, batiks, polka dots, not flowers.  Any suggestions?

Susan

What should I do with extra/unwanted fabric?

Hi Susan,

Thanks for writing.  If you haven’t found a use for it yet, and you know you don’t really care for it, it’s unlikely you will find something to do with it in the next few years.  Since it sounds like you can use the space, you want to explore ways you can either give away the fabric with a clear conscience, or at least swap it out for fabric that is more to your liking.

One idea would be have a fabric swap where you invite some friends over to swap out pieces from your stash.  This doesn’t solve the storage issue, but maybe it will make it easier to part with the fabric that you aren’t too crazy about and be assured that this fabric is going home with someone who wants it and has a plan for it.

Another idea is to use the fabric to sew up some quilt for charity.   There are always organizations that can use these quilts and this might be a nice use for the fabric since you don’t plan to use it for personal projects.  Here’s a link to a list of charities you can check out:

http://www.quiltersworld.com/makeadifference.php

You could also donate the fabric to a local quilt guild.  They can use it to make quilts for charity and will make sure it gets put to good use.    Another option, less altruistic, is to have a quilter’s yard sale to get rid of the fabric.  I’ve done this twice in the past and have had great success.  Depending on the quality and age of the fabric, you could get $2 – $5 yard, which can add up quickly.

Hope this helps.  Keep it thimble!

Heather

 

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April Flea Market Finds

Here’s the current stash reduction report (through today):

  • Used the last month: 3 yards
  • Used Year to Date: 8 yards
  • Added in the last Month: 25 yards
  • Added Year to Date: 57  yards
  • Net Used for 2012: 49 yards

The reason there was such a huge leap in what I added this month (I have to justify this) is because there was a big sale on Civil War fabrics and I purchased a bunch of half yards to use in my quilts.  I also have to take 1 yard of Civil War fabric to my monthly sewing circle and I will need at least 20 more yards for the duration of the club (so I am all set for the next two years!).

I haven’t been as productive in the sewing room as I would like.  I’ve done a lot of traveling and the spring weather makes it difficult to stay inside.

Antique Spool Chest - Front

Of course, I always have time to go to the thrift store and flea market and have soem great finds to share with you this month!  The best find this month is this antique spool chest.  Make of oak (I think) with 4 drawers.  It is small enough to set on a table.

Antique Spool Chest

Antique Spool Chest

I have a  huge antique postcard collection – it’s a hobby I had when I was younger, so do keep an eye out for good postcard bargains.  Most of the good cards are at least $5 these days (I remember paying 50 cents for the same cards 30+ years ago), so I don’t usually get them.  However, I find a treasure trove of some Thanksgiving and Valentine cards (some of the harder holidays to find) and got the whole lot for $2!

Antique Postcards

This is a great old tool carrier –  probably from the 40’s.  I may put some plants in it, or wash it off a bit and arrange some mini quilts on it.

Antique Tool Carrier

This is a sweet little handmade basket.  It is signed by the maker and was made in 1980 – so it is over 30 years old so it qualifies as vintage!

Handmade Basket

Here is a real find – some vintage Hawaiian fabric from the 1950’s.  There is enough here for me to make making shirts for my husband/son and a sundress for me.  Family picture time!

Vintage Hawaiian Fabric

There were some good book finds this month.  I usually find one or two sewing/quilting books each month (note, I will never have time to read them all), and they are always fun to look through for ideas and inspiration.  This month there were a ton of books at one of the stores – someone must have been doing some major spring cleaning!

Stack of Quilt Books

Finally, the treasure of the month is this special seashell toilet seat!  My son saw this and had to have it – he is obsessed with sea creatures.  What he doesn’t know is that I am re-doing his bathroom this summer with a Hawaiian theme.  This will be a perfect match!

Seashell Toilet Seat

Hope you are having a great spring.  Keep it Thimble!

Two Pillows – Finally Finished!

First off, here’s my monthly stash reduction report for February 2012:

  • Used the last month: 4 yards
  • Used Year to Date: 5 yards
  • Added in the last Month: 2 yards
  • Added Year to Date: 32 yards
  • Net Used for 2012: +28 yards

As you can see, I had a much better month then January, since I actually used more fabric than I bought.    My overall net went down by 1 yard, so surely by the end of the year my net fabric used will be running in the negative (that’s the goal).

Wool Rabbit Throw Pillow

Wool Rabbit Throw Pillow

I also had time to finally finish two pillow kits that I’ve had for at least 4 years!   The first is a cute little wool bunny – perfect for Spring. This kit is from a LQS (local quilt shop), and I think the owner of the shop drew the bunny pattern.  This is wool applique on top of one of those colorful cotton dishtowels.  The trim is a cream colored fringe that sets off the pillow perfectly.

Fourth of July Pillow

Fourth of July Pillow

The second pillow is from a Crabapple Hill pattern (I think it was a freebie pattern she offered a long time ago).  It is stitched with Red, White, and Blue perle cotton.  I love the fireworks!

What projects have you been able to complete this month?  What are you working on for Spring?

Keep it Thimble!

True Fabric Confessions

I have to confess, I’ve already blown my stash reduction resolution made at the beginning of the month – it’s a lot harder than I thought!  In my defense, I had good reasons for purchasing the following items (and some of it falls under the rule exceptions).

Adding to my Halloween stash

Here is a bundle of Halloween fabric I purchased at an online quilt shop.  This fabric line features “Boo Kitty” and is designed by Bonnie Sullivan of All Through the Night.  There are several good reasons why I needed this much.  First, it was on sale for a very good price and there was a 1 yard minimum cut per fabric.  Second, this line was released years ago and is VERY hard to find.  Third, I have the cutest pattern for a Halloween table topper that uses this fabric and I WILL make it – I promise!

Halloween Celebration by Bonnie Sullivan, All Through the Night

Next, the Local Quilt Shop (LQS) was having a one day sale of 30% off all fabric.  This shop is one of the few in the area that carries Civil War fabric.   This style is very useful for all the quilts I make, plus I have to bring five fat quarters of Civil War fabric to my monthly quilting bee.  It’s best to stock up when it’s on sale – right?

Adding to my Civil War stash

Last, here is my haul from the thrift store.  I usually find nice large pieces of corduroy and denim that I can use for my bags.  There is a new pattern in the works and I will need to make a few prototypes.  It’s better to use fabric from the thrift store since it is so cheap (about $1 a yard).

Thrift Store Stash

So, as you can see, all these purchases were justifiable.  But just to keep things honest, I am going to write down my MONTHLY stash report (it’s apparent these need to be done monthly, in order to have the desired effect of actually reducing the stash):

  • Used the last month: 1 yard
  • Used Year to Date: 1 yard
  • Added in the last Month: 30 yards
  • Added Year to Date: 30 yards
  • Net Used for 2012: 29 yards
Keep it Thimble!