Thursday, April 5, 2007

I Want it ALL!

Is it possible to have too much of a good thing? I'm tempted to say "no," but I'll concede that in some--rare--cases, too much is just too much. I have friends who have too much fabric. They can spend hundreds of dollars in one shopping trip and then do the same thing again a week or two later. I'm sure they have reached a point where they don't even know what they have or where it is. So, with that in mind, when having "too much" puts a person into a constant state of confusion and chaos, maybe it is, indeed, TOO MUCH.

And that leads me to today's subject, one of the most controversial among quilters. Stash. Yep, stash. The American Heritage Dictionary defines "stash," as "something, such as money or an illegal drug, that has been hidden or stored." Very appropriate since for most quilters, their stash certainly represents money--spent not hidden--and although not illegal, a fabric stash can be much like a drug. A happy drug. And I think I'm addicted!

Most quilters, it seems, have a love/hate relationship with their stash. In moments of weakness, lust, or a need for retail therapy, we add to it. We proudly take our new acquisitions home and play with them, love them, and then oftentimes put them on a shelf with others of their kind. Later we ask ourselves, "What was I thinking?!" We look around and realize that even if we were to live to be as old as Moses, we'd NEVER use all that fabric. But still we buy more.

When I started quilting, I dreamed of someday having a stash. I worked hard at it, and eventually my efforts paid off. STASH! Lovely, lovely stash! Then, over the years, I heard more and more quilters talk about desperately trying to USE UP their stash. I just didn't get it. Why would anyone want to deplete their stock? Would a stamp collector pull out his treasured stamps just so he could mail off his bill payments? No way!

As you may have figured, I'm a stash-builder, a hoarder perhaps. That's not to say I don't use my stash. After all, that's why I have it. I can't tell you how many times I've gone "shopping" in my stash and pulled fabrics for a quilt or hunted down just the right color and pattern in the middle of the night, when all the fabric stores were closed. I'm not adverse to using the fabric I've collected, but I'm not driven to make a conscious effort to use up what I have either. I told a friend a few years ago that for me, having my stash is a little like an artist having a selection of paint colors, tones, and hues. (She actually just laughed at me--can you imagine?! I get no respect! LOL!)

I new blog friend suggested I might want to look into the Stashbusters webring. While it's a great group of ladies and I truly enjoy reading their blogs, I don't think I possess the right attitude--I'm sure they'd kick me out in no time. A wolf in sheep's clothing. A republican at a Hillary Clinton fundraiser. A gumball in a bowl full of M&Ms. You get the idea. The only fabrics in my stash that I wouldn't mind "busting" are my two drawers of scraps, and I actually DO use my Thimbleberries scraps quite a lot.

What I really need is more time. More time to make the quilts floating around in my mind; more time to use the fabrics I'm inspired by, the ones that insist on coming home with me. Making quilts just so I can use up what I already have isn't the way I want to spend my time. I want to be inspired by a fabric, whether it's on my own shelf or on a store shelf, so that working on a quilt is a joy every step of the way.

I've only had my blog for about a month now and I've thought it would be nice to belong to a webring, a group of like-minded quilters. Is there a Stashbuilders ring, by any chance?! Maybe we should start one. Stash Lovers Unite! Stand proud! Remember: Fabric is a GOOD thing and we love it, don't we? Even if it is a guilty pleasure sometimes?! But don't we all need guilty pleasures?


Angie said...

Priceless, Kim, just priceless ROFL!!! I'm all for that Stashbuilders ring if you find one! :D

Su Bee said...

StashBUILDERS! Yea! Where do I sign up?? LOL - more more more more..... and it is fun to go stashdiving and find things you've forgotten all about - ALMOST as good as shopping!

Marcie said...

Very cute post! We are addicted, it's true! I don't have what it takes to stop buying, as many stashers are proclaiming. I DO want to use up my uglies. But if you start a quilt like the one I am making, with the houses and applique, your stash is a gold mine. You need that wonderful selection only a good stash can give you. Stash on!

paula, the quilter said...

I guess I have the yin/yang attitude of stash: use it/don't use it. I have been busting stash when it comes to prints etc that I DON'T like and hoarding/buying those I do? Help!

Conni Lu said...

Kim, I hadn't come to the part of your blog yet that informed me you are a 'newbie' here too (me, January). I'm with you! I can't possibly join a ring that encourages stashbusting because I would be a round peg in a square hole...but I definitely fit the description of the fact if I show you my stash, you can show me yours...I'm almost embarrassed to reveal the extent of my stash...that bad here......
How about calling us the "I can't help it, I have to have it" group...hahahahaha
Gotta run, Dh is taking me to supper....yaaay, no cooking!
Conni Lu

Gypsy Purple said...

Wishing you and your family a happy and blessed Easter

Tracey @ozcountryquiltingmum said...

Sign me up! it took me a long time to get a stash...and i see it as being like my stretch marks...a sign I've fought the good fight... I use it quite regularly but like owning it as well.(Mind you i was tempted with stash buster, just to make more projects and as an excuse for more shopping!) Tracey

joanna said...

I am with you in a big way. Now, I would never encourage people into consumerism or solving their life issues with "retail therapy" but I totally agree that the stash is like an artists palette. No one would ever tell an artist that she needs to start giving away her watercolors or pencils because she just has too many!! Give me a break.
You go girl. I'll join your ring any day of the week.

Darlene - Dazed Quilter said...

Oh a Stashbuilders Ring would be great! One that would encourage me to buy, buy, buy! Where do I sign up?