Category Archives: Stashbusters

Stash Reduction Isn’t SO Bad – Is It?

What goes through your mind when someone says the words  “Stash Reduction”?  Do you get a sheepish look on your face and nod knowingly?  Do you cringe at the idea of actually using your beautiful fabrics? Does it mean nothing since you don’t have a stash or even know what one is?

My Fabric Stash - January 2011

For some reason, whenever I think about my stash, I get a twinge of guilt.  It does seem a bit … indulgent…to have more fabric in my possession than I can ever use in a lifetime.  When people come over to my house I am a bit shy about showing them my stash closet for fear I will be judged harshly.  However, most people obsessed with sewing understand where I am coming from and don’t judge me :).  In order to alleviate some of these guilty feelings, I sort through my stash once or twice a year and either sell or donate the fabric.  My goal is to not outgrow the current stash closet, because once that happens I will have TOO MUCH FABRIC.

Fat Quarter and Miscellaneous Stash - January 2011

There are many reasons that it’s hard to use the fabrics in your stash.  One, you never know if you will see that same bolt of fabric again, so you need to get a yard “just in case”.  Two, once you have the fabric in your stash, you have to find the perfect perfect project for it.  Three, when you start a new project, you need to buy more fabric because you don’t have anything in your stash you can use (this is similar to looking at a closet full of clothes and not having anything to wear).

This year, I am making a concerted effort at Stash Reduction with a two-pronged approach: first, I don’t plan to buy any new fabric in 2012* (gifts are fine), and second, I will get rid of at least 300 yards of my stash by using it, donating it, or selling it.  I have some projects in mind and I think I can do it – but it will be a challenge.

Stashbuster's Pledge (from http://www.patchworktimes.com)

Judy Laquidara at Patchwork Times created a Stashbuster Pledge in 2009.  While I’m not ready sign a formal pledge, I think this is a great idea.  Judy’s blog is very inspirational for people like me who hope to reduce their stash.  She does a weekly stash report that I plan to adopt (although my reports will be posted every 2 months – first one post at the end of February):

  • Used the last two months:
  • Used Year to Date:
  • Added in the last two Months:
  • Added Year to Date:
  • Net Used for 2012:

Do you think I am crazy for doing this?  Anyone want to jump on the band wagon and join me?  Any ideas for stashbuster projects? If so, please email me or post in the comments!

Finally, I am pleased to announce the debut of “The Straight Stitch”, an advice column for those to love to sew, embroider, craft, etc.  Please email me your questions and they will be answered!  Feel free to ask me anything, I’m here to help you Keep it Thimble!

*Exceptions: it is from the thrift store, on sale for $4 a yard or less, needed for binding or backing, or it is the only non-stash fabric needed to complete a project.
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Christmas Stockings and Patterns

Only 17 more craft days until Christmas!  Not much time left to get those handmade gifts completed for your friends and loved ones.  This year I also need to think about Teacher Gifts – I need 11 of them!  I was planning to make each teacher one of these little stockings and put a gift card and some candy inside, but it’s time for me to admit that I need to go to plan B.  Right now I have 4 stockings and I won’t have time to make the other 7 before my son starts vacation.

Mini Patchwork Stockings

Mini Homespun Stocking

No worries though, I do have a back up plan, but it involves buying it from the store (gasp!).  However, I did want to share this stocking with you as I think they make very cute gifts and can also be hung on the tree.  These stockings are great stash-busters and best of all, the pattern is free.

If you need a larger stocking, you can download this free pattern from the McCall’s website (but you have to join their mailing list first). I made a few of these last year and they are also cute.  This pattern is nice because it is simple and you can get creative with the embellishments.

Christmas Stocking

Christmas Stocking

I am already thinking about Keep It Thimble’s plans for next year and hope to have some new features to roll out next year.  More on this in a few weeks.

Keep it Thimble!

For the Birds!

My friend wanted to make some little peace doves to give as gifts this year, and asked me to help her since she knows I love to sew!  She emailed me a few pictures of some stuff birds she liked, and I was able to find a great FREE pattern at Spool Sewing for these birds (the free pattern is available for download in the right hand sidebar).

Little Blue Bird Softie

I stitched together a quick prototype on my sewing machine so we had a better idea of the finished product.  It took no time at all and you could easily create a dozen of these in an evening.   You can embroider little eyes using french knots, or you can attach a beads (be sure to do all these embellishments before stitching and stuffing it).  Another idea is to embroider designs on the body, or create little wings in a contrasting color and sewing them on.

I don’t have a picture of my friend’s, but she used white felt for all her pieces, and then hand sewed them together with a blanket stitch (in white).  It would have also been cute to sew around in contrasting color like red or blue.  I plan to make some of these as well, but wanted to get this posted in so you can get the pattern and start making some yourself.

We used the pattern as is, and then used copper jewelry wire to make little feet.  I pocked a hole in the bird body with a little awl, stuck in a dab of hot glue, then pushed the feet inside.  Since the birds are pretty light, they stand up pretty well on the feet.  You can adjust the feet after you get them glued in.

Mini Patchwork Stockings

Aren’t these the cutest little patchwork stockings?  I found the pattern FOR FREE on Connecting Threads about 2 years ago and have made quite a few of them.  The directions show you how to make four little stockings (all the same patchwork pattern, but you can add variety by using different cuffs, bindings, and backing).  It’s a great stashbuster since you use 10 different fabrics for this.

Mini Patchwork Stockings

This is done with a clever strip piecing method and takes very little time.  I estimate that you can knock out all four of these in about 2 hours if you were able to work without interruption!  These make great teacher gifts, gift card holders, candy cane holders, and decorations!  One day, I plan to personalize some of them by embroidering a name on the cuff.

 

Mini Homespun Stocking

You can make different sizes by changing the size of the strips  – imagine a set of miniature stockings that were half the size!  Enjoy this pattern – there’s a lot you can do with it.

Folded Patchwork Star

This is a folded patchwork star that is easy to make.  These make great Christmas gifts and it’s a great way to use up some of your stash (to make room for new fabric).  My grandmother showed me how to make these stars when I was little – I can still remember carefully looking through all the fabrics in her stash to pick the fabrics for the star I made.  Once the star was completed, we got an old round cheese box, covered it in fabric, and sewed the star on top!

Buy Pattern – Sale! $2.99

Folded Patchwork Star

The pattern is available for purchase in my shop.  It contains step by step directions for creating the Folded Star, with photos showing the key steps.  It has  finishing instructions for both a fabric covered box and a table topper.

Radiant Folded Star and Covered Box

Keep it Thimble!