Sorry stash!

I need your help guys!  I have a sorry stash. I apologise to my stash for being so poor, so depleted, so not me any more! Take a look. This is it:

Fabric stash. © Stephanie Boon,, 2013

A meagre pile

Fabric stash. © Stephanie Boon,, 2013

Hmm not sure about any of these…

Why do I need your help?  Well, no, I don’t want the key to your neighbour’s stash whilst she’s away on holiday and I promise not to raid yours while you’re not looking either (I promise!), but I could really do with some advice as to how to begin the rebuild, the new design.  Here’s what I’ve already got: the few pieces on this shelf are the largest pieces I have, the smallest piece is probably about 15″ square, the largest maybe a metre and a half or so, most of them are fat quarters with bits cut out of them!  I’ve also got a few shoe box size boxes of scraps (i.e. teeny tiny bits!)

 Fabric stash. © Stephanie Boon,, 2013


The fabrics in the picture above are the paltry remainder of some of my favourite fabrics – the bottom 5 are ones that I’ve chosen (I have an unhealthy attraction to Kaffe fabrics) and the Valerie Wells row above are from a stack of fat quarters I won at Hopeful Threads (great blog if you haven’t seen it), and although I love the prints they’re not all in colour ways I would necessarily pick myself.

Below are a selection of fabrics I’ve acquired mainly through very generous friends, although I’ve bought a couple of them for specific projects: a tiny mix of kids’ and novelty fabrics and a few with metallic overprinting, which is something I really don’t like. I wouldn’t want to use any of these as ‘feature’ fabrics (not at the moment anyway!), but I’d be happy to use them as ‘fillers’ – quite a lot of orange though isn’t there, hmmm…

Fabric Stash, © Stephanie Boon,, 2013

Children’s and novelty

And here are my remaining sorry looking florals. I love the one on the top left, a vintage 40’s fat quarter that I bought at a craft fair, the others I can take or leave, although three of them in the left stack are actually needle cord and feel fantastic! Again, all good fillers.

Fabric Stash, © Stephanie Boon,, 2013

Sad looking flower garden!

And finally, ladies and gentlemen, this is my teeny selection of plains and nearish plains, the only large piece is the red (left overs from this project). Obviously the two on the top right aren’t really plain and they have the dreaded silver over print, but they’re in colours I like.

Fabric Stash, © Stephanie Boon,, 2013


“Why are you asking me how to build a stash? You’ve been doing it long enough to know what you like!”, you might be asking yourself. Well, this is true. My favourite quilts I’ve worked on recently are the hexie grandma’s flower garden, bold, bright, lots of Kaffe Fassett and modern designers; and two quieter ‘natural’ designs Found and the Peru inspired quilt I’m still working on. I kind of vacillate between the two extremes.

So how can you help? Well, a lot of my US quilty friends (that’s you!) have great stashes, I think because the cost of fabric is sooo much less than it is here in the UK, so I’d love to know what you find most ‘useful’ in your stash? Do you have something that you go to again and again, so it’s worth investing in (plains maybe or a particular style of print)?  Do you buy, say, fat quarters to get a wide variety of prints, or is it better to buy fewer but in metre/yard cuts?  (I tend to have a lot of scrappy style quilts because I haven’t been able to invest in larger pieces – or have used them up pdq!)  The trouble is, buying fabric is a. expensive (and I’m financially poor!), b. it’s not like buying a few paints and being able to mix a thousand colours! (I could dye my own, but that would be a fair investment in dyes, sigh!).

So my BIG question to you is:

If you had to chuck out all but 10m of fabric, which ones would you hold on to with a vice like grip?!

It’s ok, you can breathe now, and put the phone down to the paramedics: it’s just a hypothetical question after all! But it might give me an insight into where to start my rebuild, I hope! So I hope you’ll forgive my shock to your system (do let me know how I can make it up to you!)

Next post I plan to come back with a roundup of some fabric sales I’ve seen, so stay tuned for that – and THANK YOU, dearest friends in anticipation of your much needed advice!

Back soon 🙂


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8 replies
  1. lynn blake
    lynn blake says:

    I’ve built up a stash for 37 years and I doubt I’d do it again. The 10 yds / m I ‘d keep are my petting fabrics. You know the ones you’ll never put scissors to, hand screened, hand dyed, painted, printed one of a kind.
    The rest has all changed so much that older fabrics look dated. Gotta keep up with the times. I buy for the current project. What’s leftover gets cut up into pre-cuts and the smallest scrapes I donate to a group that makes them into stuffing for animal shelter beds.

  2. Susan
    Susan says:

    First I had to figure how much a meter was…. I actually have a medium stash, but here’s the things – they are all left overs from projects or have a specific purpose. I do NOT impulsively buy fabric. If I dont have a plan for it I don’t buy it. Why? Two reasons, one I dont really want a horde of fabrics lying and around and two, my taste changes. A fabric I LOVE right now, I might hate next year. It’s working really well for me so far. 🙂

  3. Paula@TheSassyQuilter
    [email protected] says:

    I agree with Susan. I have in the past bought lots because I loved it, but never seem to have what I exactly needed or enough. I have found the bundles bought for specific projects were best! And add solids to your stash for background and fillers. This way you don’t have things you love but just stare at:)

  4. Ann
    Ann says:

    My experience is similar. I’ve built up a stash for 40+ years and have decided it’s better to keep it moving. Styles change. I’ve quilted so long that the solids I quilted with in the 80’s are back in style!

  5. Suzanne
    Suzanne says:

    Interesting to see what other people suggest – and I’ve been thinking about it deep and hard. I suppose it depends how close you are to a decently stocked/priced shop – like can you just go and choose fabric for specific projects easily? Fabric is pretty expensive in NZ too – so online shopping from the US helps to feed the addiction without breaking the bank. Have you tried making a bundle of the things in your stash that go together? That you like? Then you could focus on things that help to bring that grouping into a cohesive project. What else do you need to add to your existing stash to make it easier to work with – more lights? More darks? Or just more? I wouldn’t buy random solids… as I think they really need to work perfectly to go with other things. However, everyone has very different approaches – I like fat quarters because they give me lots of variety without having to have lots of yardage. My friend always buys yardage – and rarely fat quarters. It’s all about doing what suits you.

  6. Elaine
    Elaine says:

    Im new to this, but I got excited over a quilted Christmas ball tutorial on you tube (the kind my aunt made 50 years ago). I plan on going to the thrift store or your ” charity shops” and looking for some second hand satin and velvet dresses to cut up.
    I think quilting started with recycling didn’t it? I don’t think I could bear cutting into a few yds. of new velvet. Well that’s my 2 cents, I buy for the project and the scrap becomes stash.

  7. Leonie
    Leonie says:

    I’m with Elaine on this. Check out your charity shops Steph for clothing, large skirts etc. Usually there are lots of prints available. One of my quilter friends, who is a top teacher here in Canada uses only recycled fabrics and she makes some splendid works. It’s a reasonable option and you can find some wonderful fabrics.

  8. Stephie
    Stephie says:

    Thanks for your fantastic comments everyone! Solids are (comparatively) cheap here, so I just buy them when I have a need for them. The trouble with buying for a single project is that it becomes a large financial outlay in one go, which is something I’m not really in a position to do at the moment. I do and have bought old clothing for quilt projects/stash (and have some very generous friends that give me theirs when they have clear outs!), but even charity shops are ‘expensive’, from about £7 (about $11) for a dress isn’t unusual. I have though had some other ideas…maybe car boot sales, or jumble sales – I just need to get off my backside and seek some out to see what’s on offer! Will keep you postedv 🙂


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