I think I might have a problem

I visited Shiisa Quilts in Bloomington Indiana last weekend as part of my life-goal of visiting every brick and mortar quilt shop in the continental USA before I die (kidding. sortof…) and let me tell you, it did not disappoint. Owner Janet has stocked her shop with fabrics and sewing patterns by some of my favorite designers (Oliver+S, Figgy’s, Craft Apple).  I ended up walking out with this:

Those mermaids by Heather Ross? DIED when I saw those. And the Anna Maria Horner? Can’t ever have enough of that. And the Jay McCarroll prints?  I happen to have it on good authority that there will be another Boy Month coming up in February.

So here’s the question I struggle with personally: at what point does buying fabric stop being a normal thing and venture into problem territory (specifically a Fabric Addiction)? I’ve met plenty of people who laugh about how their closet is jam packed with fabric or not being able to shut their sewing room door but it always seems relatively harmless. I myself have enough fabric to last me at least a year (two?) if all I ever did was sew. But is this healthy? It makes me feel better to compare myself to the extreme: Deborah over at Whipstitch used to buy up fabric by the bolt for her personal stash. But at least she started a fabric shop to offload some of it and divert attention from the fact that she is a Certifiable Fabric Nutcase (Love you Deborah!!!). Where does that leave me?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue.  I’ve tried making rules for myself but it might help me to have a better definition of True Fabric Addiction. Is it having too much fabric to fit in a dresser?  Your sewing closet?  More fabric than you can sew up in a year? Your lifetime?  Finding that small rodents have begun to nest in your stash? I need answers. And from the looks of my sewing room, sooner would be better than later. I don’t want to end up on a Dateline special.

So how much fabric do you have? Do you have rules for yourself to prevent yourself from going off the deep end?

Notice how that fabric is neatly serged? I learned that awesome tip from Lindsay at The Cottage Home; I can’t believe how nicely everything washed up with just a little extra time spent serging the edges before washing.  No more tangly mess in the dryer. If you’re wondering how I could have gotten this far in sewing without knowing this and are just now realizing how daft I really am, please just smile and nod.

You can find Shiisa Quilts on facebook right here.  And guess what, yours truly finally figured out how to make a Made By Rae FB page too *does little victory dance* so you can follow me there if you want.

90 thoughts on “I think I might have a problem

  1. I am beyond thrilled to know that this fabric store is in Bloomington. I live in Columbus, IN and have been dreaming of a store where I could touch these fabrics before I buy them!! You made my day!!

  2. Thanks for the heads up on Shiisa Quilts. I am in Bloomington once in a while and somehow didn't know this LQS existed. As far as your 'problem', there are worse things! I wouldn't sweat it!

  3. Too much fabric is heaven and not a problem πŸ™‚
    And I am currently on a fabric diet that isn't working and would be very interested in learning what actually works!

  4. Consider you stash a future inheritance or blessing to a child, niece/nephew, neighbor, mere acquaintance. πŸ™‚

    My grandma has been handing off some of her stash to me and it's wonderful. And she's got fabric friends have given her over the years. It's fantastic!

    I think you can consider it a problem if you've got more fabric than you can safely store. If it's wadded up and not folded up nicely, if it's got mice nests (smile) or you can't move around to actually sew — then you've got too much. πŸ™‚

  5. If you're spending money you don't have on fabric, or if it's causing a problem in your marriage, it needs to stop. Otherwise, if that's what you want to spend your money collecting, it's no problem. Personally, more than I need (and I mean need) is too much for me.

  6. I really don't know the answer to how much fabric is too much. While I have quite a bit, it isn't that much compared to some people. Of course, I am on a strict budget, who knows how much I would have if I could spend freely lol I control myself by trying to buy only on sale and only if I REALLY love it, or of course, if I need a specific fabric for a project. I always buy more than I need for said project though. that way I have some for quilting ; ) lol
    I seem to be acquiring a habit of buying too many sewing/quilting books. I joined Crafter's Choice recently, uh oh! LOL

  7. Isn't it a most delightful sickness? I try to impose rules on myself to not buy new things until I sew through some of my old things. I also like to break the rules, so I have piles and piles. there is no known cure πŸ™‚

  8. Considering I go under the name 'Admitted Fabricaholic', I really dont think I am the one to be answering this question.

    I personally don't think its a problem (providing finances aren't suffering of course), so long as that fabric is used and doesn't just end up sitting there on a shelf.

    After all – fabric is NOT like fine wine, it does not get better with age!

    Do what makes you feel good, live, laugh, love, and BUY FABRIC! Lol

    Enjoy – great stuff you got there!

  9. What a fantastic fabric shop! I'm always on the lookout for places that carry fabric from all of the fresh, new designers, and not civil war reproductions like most of the shops around me.

    I love Beth's comment about passing her stash onto future children – I hope that my daughter will inherit my love of fabric and sewing one day.

    Currently, my budget is the only thing that keeps my fabric buying in check. We're on a super strict budget and I have to plan far in advance to make a big fabric purchase. I saved for months ahead of time to be able to get some of Heather Ross' FFA2.

  10. well i am at that point where everything is over flowing and i feel like i need to get rid of some of it. cause when i am i going to use it all? but i can't bare to do that either. and i can't bare to not snag some cool when i see it cheap somewhere. i think we just need to get more creative with storage and maybe buy some of those vacuum packing bags so we have more room.
    thanks for the info about the store in bloomington. my sister-in-laws live there and we visit sometimes. now i can ditch them for a bit and going shopping for fabric and patterns!
    maybe we should go this weekend??

  11. I made an attempt to organize my fabric yesterday, only to find 2 projects I didn't finish this summer! I allow myself a certain amount of money each payday, and at least half must be spent in local shops. Otherwise I would be at home in my pj's, hording fabric for the rest of my life. I could be spending the money on something worse, right?

  12. Oh, I hadn't thought about serging edges, but sometimes when I'm not in a huge hurry I'll take the pinking shears to the cut edges of new fabric before I wash it.

    I have fabric sickness as well, and lately have somehow been good about only buying fabric I need for special requests. Not sure how I've been managing it, so I can't share any secrets.

    Love all those fabrics you picked up!

  13. I have an obsession too. I try to limit my fabric purchases to only what I need for a special order or gift. If I make a sale at my Etsy shop I let myself use that money to buy "fun" fabric–whatever I want.

    This store looks like it might be worth finding a reason to head to Bloomington. . . thanks for sharing!

  14. I just don't buy any if I don't have the extra money, which is most of the time these days. Which has extended to not looking at new lines much so that I don't want in vain :). Good thing I have three small children that I can make small projects for that doesn't take much.

  15. I have the same problem and I realized it when I cleaned out my fabric stash. It has overtaken our guest room and I've decided I can't go into Fabric Depot (Portland's off the hook fabric store) until I start putting a serious dent in what I already have. I have no will power!!

  16. Ive made a silent deal with myself: dont buy more fabric unless I need something specific for a customer that I dont have in stock.
    Id LOVE to have fabric by the bolt but its just not happening thansk to the fact that we're basically a one income family here.
    My cabinet is chock full of beautiful fabrics. I have to be content with what I have right now…and create lovely things with just that.
    If storage and money were no problem Im sure Id have shelving filled with gorgeous BOLTS of it though:)
    Just like anything, moderation. Know your limits. Dont spend outside your means.

  17. I have recently been infected with fabricaholism. Until this summer, I lived in Canada and the high prices and poor selection (plus high shipping and import taxes from the US) kept me in check. Now that I'm back in the States, I've gone crazy.

    I've been told that it's part of the creative process and important to have fabrics that are inspiring. When it doesn't inspire you anymore, time to de-stash it.

    If I see a fabric I can't resist, I try to buy only a small quantity (FQ or half yard) unless it is hard to find.

  18. Well, as long as my husband is still in school (years, and years, and years) and we're acquiring thousands of dollars of debt every year (heh heh) I have the benefit (we'll call it that) of feeling guilty over a $4 walmart remnant splurge. So I guess living the life of a really poor college student might be a good solution for you.

    This being said, I still find my fabric stash expanding. It used to all fit in one box. Now it's overflowing out of its designated boxes. There is truly no way for it all to be "put away" anymore. And still I buy more. So I was thinking about this the other day too. And maybe it's just me, but isn't it also a little true that you have to have a lot of cute fabric before you cut one cute piece? Otherwise it feels like you're depleting the whole stash in one slice. Maybe that's just me. I like to hoard and then cut. Because you never know what might look good with something you're about to buy tomorrow.

    Alright, so maybe being a poor college kid isn't a helpful solution. But probably having more than you could use in a lifetime would be a good place to stop. Or at least pause.

  19. joking aside, I have known at least one gal that realized that your fabric shopping had truely reached the addiction stage. Where she was spending money they didn't really have to spend and buying more fabric than she could ever sew in her lifetime.
    I know for me, I've decided that while I like having a stash, sometimes it means I have to make do with what I have instead of being able to buy the perfect fabric for that project. I know non-sewers would wonder, how can you not have the perfect fabric when you have over a hundred yards of fabric. But I think you know how that works! πŸ™‚ I've been paring my stash back down to only what I LOVE. Of course, there are several lines I would like to purchase from right now, but I'm trying to do the whole "no spending" thing (not just fabric). I've been oh, so tempted, though!

  20. Seeing as how I've collected fabric since I was 15 years old (and working in a fabric shop) and I'm now 56, I have quite a stash. One large closet, two dressers, several bins, and a huge metal locker full, so perhaps I shouldn't be commenting. And I HAVE had mice make a nest in my fabric locker!

    I've made myself go on fabric buying moratoriums (for a year or more), and also have put up quite a bit of fabric for sale on Craigslist. And this is all for garment sewing—I just started quilting again, so there I go down another garden path.

    What I do now is to "shop my stash"—if I have an idea for a new garment or project, I check to see what I have first before I go on a buying binge. But as far as addictions go, this one is pretty harmless. I did see, however, a woman on "Hoarders" that stashed fabric (and a lot of other things).

  21. My rules:
    1. Is it on sale?
    2. Do I have a real need or project in mind?
    3. If it is something I can't live without and absolutely love and will I cry if it is unavailable any more?

    If I can get through those criteria, and I have the cash, then I go for it.

  22. I love fabric & would love to have an over abundant supply. I usually buy for a certain project though, that way my husband & I can still stay true to our budget. πŸ™‚

  23. Ouch. Here I am, reading along, laughing to myself: "Oh, she's just like me! I should leave a comment…" and then POW! CALLED OUT, on national blogivision. Yes, a bolt at a time. It's all true. Le sigh.

    Also: do those folks sell online? Because I'm all out of Good Folks, and I CANNOT BELIEVE they still have some… Maybe I can just grab a BIT before my Fabriholics Anonymous meeting…

  24. I am just beginning my fabric stash, but my mother-in-law has been working on hers for 45 years and has an entire basement closet full of fabric. Some of which she has had since the 60s or 70s. That's not including the dresser full of fat quarters and the half a dozen drapery bolts under her sewing table. And she still buys fabric whenever she finds something she likes. So I think you are probably just beginning.

  25. I used to buy a lot for my stash. Then we found out that we are moving across the country, and into a house that is 1/2 the size of our current house. I started weeding through my stash and found SO MUCH fabric that I didn't want. I bought most of it on sale or clearance, but I ended up giving away a lot of yardage b/c my tastes changed so much. Now I try very hard to only buy for a specific project. It helps me plan better and spend less each month. I will still buy something to stash away, but not like I used to.
    Precuts also help me stay on a fabric diet. I can buy a charm pack of a line and work with that first. Then I can decide what prints I love, and want to work with more!

  26. I have figured out the remedy, or rather the reason for so much fabric buying. We are RICH. By saying RICH, I mean that the purchase of fabric, or any item for that matter is something that we have the money to buy it. We don't have to first think of do we need bread or milk? Do the kids have shoes? Is there gas in the car in order to get to work? Of course the answer is YES! If we had to have those other things and had no money left over we would not buy fabric unless it was as important to make a quilt to keep warm as it is to buy bread…
    I am mentioning this because I happen to be reading some of my father in laws journals – written between 1924 and 1978…

  27. FABULOUS!! I live in a small town south of Bloomington and did not know this place existed!! Leave it to you, The Fabric Addicted, to clue me in! (Where in Southern Indiana do you visit?)
    Thank you so much for sharing the skinny on these wonderful fabrics!!

  28. I am just starting sewing and I already have a lot of fabric but i look atnew stuff and then i obssess on it til i buy it….very bad. i need to come up with rules. but i amnot very dicsiplined with this kind of self control…

  29. I recommend some of the Yarn Harlot's (www.yarnharlot.ca) writings on the subject of stashing. She writes about yarn, not fabric, but I think it's applicable. She says (among many other things) that stash is excellent for: inspiration; home insulation; and late-night emergencies when the shops are closed. And she points out that if you're a carpenter, everyone expects you to have lots of carpentry materials – why should crafting be any different? I say, as long as you're not taking out a second mortgage to cover the cost of the habit, stash away!

  30. Oh, man, I love all of these fabrics! I cannot blame you for going all out.

    I am on a strict fabric diet, however. Our house is small, and my fabric cabinet is just a little ikea deal. Must resist!

  31. I don't see a problem here…I once opened a quilt shop…sort of the ultimate "stash building" experience. My only regret is that I had to close because of health problems…

  32. I collect; I freely admit it. I have a full closet plus a dresser. …Plus some shelves. Ayiyi! I do find that, having been an avid sewist for about 12 years, I have numerous fabrics that I am certain will never be used — at least by me. Tastes change!

    One of my sewing room organization projects is to "weed out" those fabrics. I haven't gotten around to it yet. I am avoiding! :o)

    I find that a stash is almost necessary for creative development! Stash away!!

  33. If my stash no longer fits in the area that I have created to store it, then I force myself to use what I haveon hand before I buy more. Sometimes that is an excruciating task, like when sewmamasew is having a sale and I REALLY REALLY need…I mean, want new fabric, but I have absolutely nowhere to put it….

  34. I've got three large plastic bins full of fabric, plus a copy paper box full in my closet. I just bought some more online today, and I'm not ashamed. I look at crafting media purchases as an investment of sorts. I fully intend to use each skein of yarn, each piece of fabric; it just may take 3-5 years to do so. πŸ˜‰ I think as long as you're an active crafter, it's not a problem. If you haven't picked up the needles or sat in front of the machine in years and you're still buying, well, then, maybe there's a problem.

  35. I've got 1-2 dressers full of fabric. I don't think it's much! As far as it being a problem. I don't think it is unless it's affecting your budget or affecting your family's living space.

    Use your fabric stash for handmade presents and save big time on holidays and special occasions!

  36. A couple of years ago I watched an Oprah episode about suberb moms and "wine parties" … the women where saying things like "i don't drink before 5" or "only when the kids are gone"

    But in it was a quote that stuck with me "you have an addiction if you feel you need to make rules about what you are doing"

    I no longer make any rules. πŸ™‚ Here is to drinking wine at 4 in the afternoon and buying fabric!

  37. Hehe you're not alone! I started a 'Stash Amnesty!' interview feature on my blog to exonerate fabric hoarders (previous posts here and here, next one coming in the next few days) – get in touch if you'd like to be featured!

  38. Rae,

    Thanks for visiting Shiisa Quilts and for blogging about us!! Can't wait to see what you make with your new fabric assets… no pressure though… sometimes it just has to make friends with the rest of your stash!!

    Come back and see us!!

  39. First of all, Annabella, your comment had me cracking up! And Rae, this is such weird timing because as I was sitting in my car yesterday waiting for baby to wake up from his nap so that we could shop at our SECOND fabric store of the day, I started to feel beyond nutty and pondered the same questions you have. I have no answers. I have a 25% off coupon at The Mill End Store that's begging to be used today.

  40. Have you seen the show Hoarders? Well, that is all of us, but at least we collect beautiful fabric, rather then garbage.
    I thought I was out of control having two rubbermaid totes full, then I saw how much everyone else has – and I realized I do not have a stash, I have a "mini bar"? Not sure.
    When you cannot close the door to your sewing room, you should probably let up.

  41. Someone needs to start a support group…I have a HUGE problem. I try really hard to not buy fabric just because I like it, but you never know if you will see it again and what if you find the perfect project and it's gone?!
    So excited about another Boy Month!!

  42. hey rae, not the you need my little opinion, but I figured. I try and keep myself within a 4 cube portion of my expedit ikea shelf. when I have to start stacking fabric on top of it, then I know it's time to stop buying and use use use. I'm trying to be more selective these days. I know my tastes have changed even since last year so I'd like to get those fabrics used up and out of the way soon. Annnnd, I usually only buy 1/2 yard cuts unless I really really love it or I have a specific project in mind. oh and I loved lindsay's serging tip, I just tried it out today for the first time – lovely!

  43. I just loved reading all the comments about something that is so dear to my heart…my stash! I am proud of it and consider it a necessary palette if you are going to create. Spotting and buying and bringing home fabric that thrills me is one of the pleasures of my life. Most times I never have anything planned for it but I know that when the time comes to select the RIGHT fabric for my current project, I will find combinations that will be perfect. When I was younger, it was the same feeling when I bought clothes, then shoes, then beads and now fabric. When I look through my stash, I feel like King Midas counting his gold. I love the choices I made and don't regret the money I spent. All my fabric is sitting there, waiting it's turn to be cut and sewn into something beautiful. This is the best hobby I have every had and I think that if you find something that makes you happy, dive in, head first! ha ha

  44. I have 5 cupboards and a 3 drawer stack of fabric…. but there never seems to be the one I really need for the project I have in mind LOL I have come to the conclusion I am a collector and "the one who dies with the most fabric wins!!" LOL

  45. In our house, DH and I both have an allotted amount of mad money per month. As long as I stay within the bounds of that budget, I can buy as much or as little fabric as I please, and no one bats an eyelash. I still have a TON of fabric, but since it's come into the house in a financially agreed-upon way, it's never been an issue. Occasionally I'll buy fabric specifically for kids' clothes or for a home dec project, and then that expenditure gets classified under those categories — so it's a sneaky way for me to buy exciting fabric without cutting into my mad money (ha!). Anyway, not exactly what you were asking in the first place, but that's my 2 cents. I'd love to read a follow-up post about all these comments!

  46. I love the fabrics you chose (and have a couple of them in my own stash). Truly though it makes me sad when fabric gets ruined by mold, moisture, pests…what a waste. I try to keep my stash to an amount that I could use in a couple years. There will always be lovely fabrics so I'm not trying to save things for 30 years before I get around to it.

  47. As long as I'm spending less per month on fabric than DH is spending on books at Amazon.com I'm good. πŸ™‚ lol. Did I mention that I work at a bookstore and he COULD be getting those darn books for 1/2 off of 1/2 off… yeah. Lame-o lol. As long as we have the money that he can waste, I can too. Although fabric is never wasted money. Also, if it's for a gift, say a baby shower quilt… you can spend as much on new fabric as you would on the gift were it not fabric oriented (example, DH thinks $40 is a good amount for a baby shower gift so I can buy $40 of fabric even if I don't use it all up on the one quilt.) lol.

  48. From one fabric-a-holic to another, curb your purchases now! I have been stashing for too long now and sadly, some of the things I once loved I no longer do. It is wasteful – I spent good money on these fabrics and once loved them so, but times and tastes slowly but surely change. Now if I force myself to sew with something older, I am lust for the newer, latest beauties out there instead. Sometimes we get sucked in my good deals, fabrics that are scarce, etc, but I think how fun it is to go shop the latest collections for a current project and want to get to the point where I can do that again (and not feel guilty). Maybe sometime in 2025. Good luck!

  49. Anyone know of a fabric store like that in Southern California? I need! πŸ™‚

    Um, and there is no solution to the fabric addiction. I have it, we all have it. Oh well. I just stop when my husband says, "We don't have any more money right now!" And then I sell something, and spend that money on fabric. It's a delicate line, but I walk it.

    I'm so glad you have a FB page, now!

  50. If I said I could help you with your possible fabric addiction… you could just send me some of the lush fabric that you just got and that would make it look less like an addiction, right? LOL
    No, really. My husband has told me not to buy any more fabric till I use up what I have purchased over the past 12 months… the crazy thing is, I only just started to sew in late September, but I do love fabric. I see all the pretty colours, the textures, and all I want to do is fall into a big fluffed up pile of it, a look of bliss on my face! So you see… it may be an addiction (rather like chocolate for me) but there are plenty of us who understand.
    Now, I challenge you, what will you do with your stash? Use it for GOOD, girl!

  51. I am a self confessed stashaholic. Initially stitching supplies and threads and now quilting fabrics.

    I'm terrible – if I have the money, I will buy it. I'e had too many cases of seen something once and never again to even take the risk of missing that special item.

    As it is I have a room full of supples at the moment and a completely full 4 drawer filing cabinet. My only rule is that when the big cupboard gets filled, I need to stop/book a bed in the psychiatric unit.

    As a stitcher, we have a term for this syndrome – SABLE. Stash Aquisition Beyond Life Expectancy. Sounds like its rife in the quilting community too!

  52. I have to admit I go to Shiisa quite a bit. I know I have way too much fabric but it seems like as soon as you go through the door it starts yelling at you. lol

  53. I am afraid that I have the same problem as you and your readers. It is an addiction to be sure…but it is a lovely addiction. I cannot help myself. I especially cannot resist beautiful yards of lovely fabrics when they go even the slightest bit on sale. At that time it becomes more than just an obsession-I must have endless stores so that heaven forbid I ever run out of a beautiful print that is discountinued! My other problem is that I have tons of fabrics that I love but when it comes time for me to start a new project, I look up and down my piles of lovelies and decide that they are all just too wonderful to cut, so invariably I end up heading to the fabric store again for something that I will come home with and once again decide that it is simply too stunning to do anything but sit on my shelf with the others to be admired forever! I wrote a post about this problem during the summer: http://babyculbygrows.blogspot.com/2010/06/i-think-i-might-have-problem.html
    …only trouble is, admitting it to the blogging world did not help my situation, in fact since writing that post I have more or less accepted my addiction and indulged it fivefold (see, i found a new love for knits and corduroys and…)! oh my! I will be looking for a solution from you and your other readers–My husband will be forever grateful for the answer to this problem!!

  54. Lady, if you can afford it, buy it! Fabric is an investment in creativity and happiness.

  55. My stash fits into a large plastic bin! It kind of makes me sad–but I don't want my kids being $60,000 in debt when they get out of college, so….(and they are only 11 and 7!). I also only get quality quilt-store cottons for stashing and quality projects (practice is another issue!). $$, but better quality and no storage issues πŸ™‚

    If I had the money…I'd be in trouble. I actively avoid going into fabric stores for fun. Sometimes it is hard. I have the same problem with book stores!

  56. I share your problem. I have enough fabric to last me about 5-10 years. But! i do try and sell some of it in my shop FitsAllWhoFitIn.Etsy.com
    But even if I sold everything I wanted to, I would still have enough in my personal stash to last me 3-5 years.

  57. I love your fabrics and am equally excited about the serger tip! My birthday is this month & I have asked for a serger…What a great way to practice & it's functional!

  58. Those mermaids are to die for.

    I did find a rodent in my stash once. Ran the whole way up the stairs SCREAMING!! We quickly cleaned out the cold storage room and got rid of the problem (they come on every 7 years in our valley like a plague).

    I've got no rules and I really need to set some. Esp. since my local Wally's carries fabric and I tend to buy 2 to 10 yards every time I go grocery shopping.

    We all need help, but I am starting to worry cause of the show "Hoarders". πŸ™‚

  59. OK~I have the same syndrome here in Taiwan!
    If you find a cure, please tell me!

  60. I put a fabric buying moratorium on myself in January because I organized my fabric that month and discovered that I had way more fabric than I thought I did. And it's actually been a really fun few months, figuring out how to use the beautiful fabric that I have and make beautiful projects suited to their recipients, without actually buying anything. I'm not saying that I haven't bought ANY fabric since January – because I have! But I stopped buying fabric just because. I'm sure I'll start up again one of these days but it's been a good discipline for me. I don't think you really have a problem though! πŸ™‚

    And about serging the edges – someone else taught me the trick of washing fabric in with clothes – i.e. just do a few lengths of fabric at a time along with your normal laundry. It totally works – does the same trick as serging the edges but you don't actually have to sew anything!

  61. Several months ago I was at the fabric store with my children and as my 7 year old son was helping me stack the bolts on the cutting counter he asked, rather loudly, "Mom? Don't you think you should work your way through some of the fabric you've already got at home before you buy some more? Because you already have a LOT of fabric." My vote is when small children start noticing, then maybe you have a problem… that and the rodent thing. Ew! My husband just tells everyone that we don't have food storage, but I have enough fabric and yarn stashed that we should be able to trade clothing and blankets for what ever we need. πŸ™‚

  62. Ai yi yi. I know my stash is too much because I get comments from others that I have a lot of fabric. I personally don't think so, but when other people walk into my craft room and make comments (and that is everyone who walks into my craft room) then I should probably go with popular opinion, right? And I completely agree on the loving something, and then years later looking at it and wondering why I bought that fabric! My other problem is I have a brilliant idea (brilliant I say!) for some fabric, I buy it, wash it, fold it, and forget what I was going to do with it! Ugh. So frustrating. So lately I have been writing little notes in a notebook to tell me what I was going to do with all my purchases. That is the saddest thing of all. There is so much, I can't remember what I bought it for. And I noticed a sad lack of polka dots in my stash this month. So I need to start collecting polka dots. Oh, someone stop me please!

  63. I love your blog! I'm not much of a blog reader and have trouble keeping my own going, but I enjoy your creativity. I live in the Kansas City area and don't have any unique fabric stores nearby to shop at, so when I read this blog I mostly thought to myself, "She's LUCKY!" I'd have a ton of fabric, too, if I had more available to me. I recently learned how to sew (about 6 months ago) and it's my newest passion. I thank you for your sharing and am stoked to see what else you do in the future! (P.S. it is very cool you are a Physics teacher AND super crafty!)

  64. I totally serge my edges too!
    and addictions are fine if they're healthy, right? Clearly spending money on fabric is healthy. YES

  65. serging before washing? brilliant! now if i only had a serger. i could spend a ton on fabric. i find reasons to buy little pieces here and there, but truthfully, i've got a lot because the fabric hording gene is genetic. my grandma has a shed full of fabric-no joke-we call it the fabric barn! she's trying to thin out her stock so she sends a lot my way. i'm on a quest to use it all up so i have reason to buy more.

  66. I think the question is, are you a hoarder? Do you use the fabric? and if you don't, what happens to it? Can you get rid of the fabric that has been hanging for a few years? Personally, I don't have a sewing room (oh the joys I will have once I do!), so I use a sturdy old dresser to hold my fabric. I can't really outgrow that…lack of space. So for now, that's my rule. One day though, I will have a room…and I think we'll all be happy if I can keep the door shut!

  67. I never knew about serging the edges! That would save me so much time snipping all the threads that get tangled together in the dryer and then create one huge lump of wet fabric. Thanks for sharing even if it makes you look daft, because there are other daft people out there too! πŸ™‚

  68. I understand the desire to get to all the quilt shops. I FINALLY got to Keepsake Quilting in New Hampshire after at least twenty years of unsuccessfully trying to tack it on to every trip north.

    It was such a treat. I left with a collection of yellow/orange/blues fabric that I am still just staring at and enjoying–no idea what I will actually cut them into. Well, at least I've chosen the room they will go in.

    Even blogging about the place and putting up photos of the stash additions afterward was special.

    Yeah, I understand the problem. The only solution is to start sewing. Enjoy.

  69. I don't have a fabric 'problem', it's yarn. Same principle right? I have been to yarn shops the world over and always Google for them even if it's only a weekend visit.
    We lived in Russia for 3 years, yarn to die for and CHEAP. I bought back masses, and 3 years later am still using it.
    There are far worse things, it's not getting us into debt, keeps me occupied and my husband is not bothered. And… we have great throws in every room of the house.
    I shouldn't worry if I were you.

  70. Since I live in a small house I only by bolts of white. Everything else I buy with a project in mind. Few exceptions.

  71. I've known about serging the ends for a long time, but only recently got a serger. After reading your post yesterday, I decided it was time to try it. The very best part was that the fabrics came out so smooth-no more twisting which I guess the tangled threads caused! Thanks for the great & timely tip!

  72. Rae, that stash looks like fabric heaven!! I have most of Anna Maria Horner's new line on order and I can't wait for it to arrive!!! LOVE HER! I definitely think I divert attention from my fabric addiction through my etsy shop……my husband "don't you think you have enough fabric?….me "no honey, it's for the shop…."

    Thanks for linking to my serging tip. I used to dread washing my fabric until I realized I could prevent all the fraying. Yay, for pretty fabric!!

    And by the way, I seriously think I get a natural high from just looking at gorgeous fabric!!

    Talk to you soon,

  73. My Mother once explained to me that collecting fabric is just like collecting anything else. Some people collect plates or spoons from places they've visited. Some people collect books or art. If fabric gives you joy, if it pulls at the artist in you, why not have it around to touch, look at, and just enjoy? My Mother did. She would periodically sort through all her fabric and mull over what each piece could become. I do the same thing. It's part of my life. Every piece doesn't have to be used (at least not this decade). Some is just to have.

  74. Like "A." above, my husband and I have an allowance allotment each month. I never had a dime left because I spend it all on fabric. I don't have any new clothes, but I'm sure happy being surrounded by fabric. Also, like her, if it is for a specific gift, home dec project, etc., it comes out of the "house" account, not my allowance.

    I also have a a little framed sign in my sewing room that says: I am not just another fabricaholic. I am the curator of a textile collection.

    A problem? Maybe…I have asked our insurance agent about a special homeowner's insurance rider to cover my fabric.

  75. Sweet finds!!! I have my own fabric addiction going on–it kind of comes with the territory. πŸ™‚

  76. It's semantics really… you're using the word addiction, which implies a problem. I use the word "collector" which implies skill and forsight……
    That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

  77. It's only a problem if your stash is so big that it assumes an identity and becomes an active member of your family. In which case, you just have to make sure you include it in your Christmas picture, and you're good to go.


  78. ((Smiling and Nodding))
    I've been serging/washing my fabric since the day my MIL said I could 'borrow' her serger, which now lives with me :). In fact, it's the main use of my serger … LOVE it!

    My 'stash' is about 6 IKEA 'Expedit' cubbies full and then a few boxes that hold quilt fabrics.

    I'm not sure how I justify or rationalize it … I think when there is extra $$ in PayPal and I see a new line or a bundle that tickles my fancy I grab it. The hard part of using fabric for your business is that it is SO easy to justify ;).

  79. Do not worry. We are ALL in the same boat. I thought I was the only person with a fabric "problem". Anyone who sews will have a compulsive need to buy fabric. You know, that gotta-have-it-now feeling. There is no such thing as too much fabric. Honestly, I get my thrill in buying the fabric more than making something out of it :). Such prettiness to look at, the endless possibilities… This is coming from a self-proclaimed "fabric junkie" who has bins and bins, and more bins filled to the top of yards of fabric who are screaming to get sewn into something pretty and useful! My point is don't worry, if it makes you happy, it can't be that bad πŸ˜‰

  80. i've heard someone? who? say that sewists should stop describing their fabric as stash and start calling it a 'collection'. that way we aren't under any pressure to use collected fabric. stash implies that it is meant to be used!

  81. Oh. Wow. Gorgeous fabric!!!

    My fabric…is mostly free. Or thrifted. I spent all last year snatching up every available pattern sheet or fabric remnant on Freecycle and in Goodwill. This year, I've not bought a single piece of fabric. (Oh, wait. I take that back. I bought a yard of orange broadcloth last week to make Siu Jeun's Halloween costume.) I'm slowly working through my stash, project by project!

    I consider a stash to be like a pantry…there are a few staples that ought never to be missing. πŸ˜‰

  82. The fabrics you bought are beautiful! A beautiful fabric is like a piece of art.

    Personally on the "how much is too much" question, I think that it depends on what it does to you as a person. Does it make you greedy for more, like a dragon on his treasure, or does it make you generous and willing to share?

    I am a hoarder, no questions there. I hoard everything and it isn't helped by the fact that like many people we have a very low income [and thats ok πŸ™‚ we're very happy] so I hardly ever buy new, most of my fabrics are thrifted and often come from repurposed clothes, but I still have an obscene amount. We also have no fabric store for a good 300kms from where I live – which helps me justify buying things when I find them. But bottom line is that if I"m not generous with my fabrics then its doing something bad to my heart and I need to change my heart and maybe share my skills or materials better.

    Thats how it works for me anyway.


  83. I read wrong and thought it was you lived in Columbus, IN. It was a commenter, which is still exciting. I grew up in Morgantown, IN, and now live in Georgia. I was at Shiisa Quilts last week and came out with a pattern I've been longing for. They even pulled it out of a kit for me. I got some gorgeous Alexander Henry asian prints, that funny blue bird print that you have.

    As far as my stash. I finally cut into my stash and made a super simple quilt out of squares and rectangles so I could enjoy my favorites.


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