Thursday, June 27, 2013

That's MS. You-Have-Too-Much-Fabric to YOU, buster!

Can one have too much fabric?

Well, I think maybe one can. More specifically, yes, I think maybe I do.

I'm feeling buried alive by the fabric in my sewing room. I've been quilting for more than 30 years (OMG!), sewing for longer than that. I'm not sure when I began collecting/amassing fabric, but it has been accumulating for a long, long time.

Pretty fabric, on sale fabric, on a whim fabric, thrifted fabric, inherited fabric -- it's all there on my shelves. Big yardages for clothing, small cuts for a specific project (did I finish that project? did I even *begin* it?) Fabric bought on trips, fabric given as a souvenir of some else's trip. More & more & more.

The quilt shops were smart when they started cutting fat quarters -- just a sweet, inexpensive taste, like the little spoons at the ice cream shop -- perfect for a small gift, a little pick-me-up. Then the manufacturers began selling pre-cuts -- the beginning of *my* undoing. At first I thought, what can you do with a stack of 5 inch squares!?! Then I began to enjoy the restrictions of the 5 & 10 inch squares, the 2.5 inch strips -- I often cut my yardage into these dimensions. I found working within the structure a bit like haiku, kind of fun & freeing once you get into it.

For the last several years, when my Mom was in nursing care & I was spending 2 to 3 months of the year away from home visiting her, fabric shopping -- especially e-fabric shopping -- was my self-medication. I think most of us have seen those hoarding shows on television & know that the shopping isn't about the things being bought, it's about filling a hole, healing a hurt. Is it better or worse if you know what you are doing & do it anyway? I don't know, but it gave me something to look forward to when I got home from a sad & stressful trip. And an e-cart is so benign. Your purchases have no volume, just electrons, so it seems like nothing & so easy to "Proceed to Checkout". Then the giant box arrives at my door, like a present -- that is, until the bill comes.

The thing that is overwhelming me now is all the stuff I've been bringing back from my parents' home. A lifetime of things saved & things never gotten rid of -- clothing from nearly every stage of life of each member of my family, yard goods never used, scraps from dressmaking, hankies, linens -- there's even a silk parachute! -- etc, etc, etc. Baskets & bins & bags of it (oh, my).

I'm making a serious effort to realistically look over this new-to-me stuff & the stuff I already had, evaluate what I can use, what I will use, what I don't like or want anymore, what there just isn't enough hours in the day to get to.

But will I stop buying fabric? Not likely. Over the years I've learned that, for me, fasting leads to over-doing. Moderation works best, so I'll try to cut back.

I am really trying to cut back.


Becca said...

Haha, thimble gazing. That's a good one.

Too much fabric? To sew with? Maybe. To look at? Never!

MariQuilts said...

I'm trying to cut back as far I've been totally unsuccessful. I can so relate to this post, Beth.

cauchy09 said...

yes, one can have too much. gotta keep a good balance of "fabric in" and "fabric sewn." it's not easy. at. all.


i hear ya.

beth said...

Too much fabric can happen VERY quickly!

Nifty Quilts said...

Oh, aren't you lucky to have all those treasures from your mother's house! So wish I had some of those from my family. There's never too much fabric, as long as you have a place to put it. How about a second home?

Tonya Ricucci said...

I hear ya. I have soooo much fabric. and I love love most of it. love to see it and fold it, so even if it doesn't get sewn into a project, it does make me happy. but that stress shopping to make me feel better is dangerous.

Quiltdivajulie said...

I think we've all felt that "overwhelmed by the stash" feeling at one time or another . . . I purged a while back and donated several boxes to Margaret's Hope Chest (their volunteers will make quilts). It felt SO good. I, too, must be VERY careful of the "I'm stressed" shopping sprees!

Rachaeldaisy said...

You're wonderful for verbalising this feeling of Too Much Fabric. You had me laughing and nodding my head in agreement as I read. I love that your thoughts lead to the acceptance that you will still buy fabric. Moderation is the key to everything, including moderation because sometimes its good to splurge. Ps I wonder what you'll use the parachute for? I had a friend who made a canopy for a bed with one.

O'Quilts said...

Ha ha...we are twins...well