Wednesday Words – Not All The News is Bad (P. 2 Tales from the Inside)

Welcome back to the blog. In this entry, I’m going to give you all a brief update on some of the news that has come to light since the first installment in the series, and then I will turn the blog over to Beth Ditkoff, who is guest blogging for me. Beth isn’t a regular blogger, but a friend of mine who has spent a year on a fabric diet, sewing primarily from her stash.  She provided her insights on this process as a favor to me.

So…some updates:

I never made it to the Keepsake Quilting annual sale last week…I was tempted (and the pictures posted online didn’t help), but I was headed out of town for a personal weekend on Friday, and something had to give.  This morning, on their Facebook page…they announced a warehouse sale (something I’ve never seen done before) on August 23-25th. That one is already in my calendar.

This next update comes via Timna Tarr’s facebook page, concerning the reopening of Valley Fabrics via an article from the Daily Hampshire Gazette.   There’s a nice bit of background behind the story of a reopening of a shop that has been gone a while, and the differences between the shop then and now.

The last update is an additional resource I was to point you towards for Jefftex and Scott Fortunoff.  Scott has been blogging for  a while, and he has a website that he uses to archive the blog posts at  The blog posts cover a wide range of topics, including his efforts to revitalize the sewing industry in a program called #sewrevolution, and more.

Now, onto Part 2 of the series – from Beth Ditkoff…



I found my passion for quilting in the late 1990s. When my husband and I retired in

2016, we followed our dream and moved to Maine. In anticipation of that event, I

“stocked up” knowing that we’d be living on a fixed income. Plus, we’d agreed

upon a budget for my quilting needs. It was and is a fair amount and I generally

did well sticking to it.

First we packed and moved to Maine. I sort of unpacked into my quilting-space-tobe.

Then I packed the space up again while my space received power, lights,

sheet rock, flooring and paint. The room is sunny and bright, and I was quilting

quite happily and prolifically until I realized I kept losing things. Tools, project parts,

you know the drill.

I gradually became aware that using cast off shelves or plastic bins with no larger

organizational plan in place was making me nuts. To improve that, I hired a friend/

handyman. Packing happened again. Shelving was built to fit the space and my

needs. I unpacked yet again and I was finally ready to go. I have a beautiful

sewing room, built to my specifications and I’m a very happy girl.


Beth’s studio shelving – new


However (there’s always a however) with all of the packing and unpacking and

moving things and losing things, I got more than one really good look at My Stash.

My Stash consists of various parts, mainly in three categories:

  1. Projects in a Box – I have all the parts and have not started the quilt.
  2. Projects in Progress – generally each in its own tote.
  3. The Other Stuff – yardage, collections of things like Civil War Reproduction

prints, Fat Quarters, pre-cuts, plastic totes with scraps cut into set sizes, the

large scrap basket, and more.

Handling all that fabric over and over again made me have an epiphany: it’s too

much. I’ll never use it all. I spent good money on this, I should use what I have

before I buy anything more. And so began The Fabric Embargo. No buying fabric

for a year. My friends thought I’d lost my marbles.

My Embargo started in early April 2017. I allowed myself to buy fabric only if I

needed it to finish an ongoing project – borders and backing primarily. I received a

couple of commissions and bought fabric for those. But otherwise I stuck to

patterns and notions. Really, I really did. Almost.

I did buy a Layer Cake at an auction in Williamsburg, VA. I also bought one yard of

sale fabric from my favorite store. It was $4. It had cute birds on it. But that was it.

I did it, for an entire year. Success was mine. However (another however) My

Stash really didn’t look much smaller. How did that happen?

So I’ve decided to continue my Embargo for another year, but a bit more loosely.

Maine has a state wide Shop Hop every April, with 30 shops participating and lots

of freebies and prizes. I visited only 10 stores, but I did tumble off the wagon a bit.

There’s a jacket pattern I’ve been eyeing for months, so I bought all I needed from

one shop. I bought way too many patterns, another piece of cute bird fabric, and

little bits here and there. We all need to support those Local Quilt Shops, right?

I’m going to try to remain focused, and be really critical of my purchases. Do I

really need it? Is there something in my stash I could use instead? Does this

purchase have a project or plan behind it, or is it just more of something I already


Beth Ditkoff’s work station


I’m going to try to use what I have, not buy any more patterns, and make wise

decisions. We’ll see how that goes, and where I am next April. Until then, please

hide all the cute bird fabric.


Beth’s working fabric stash

Thank you, Beth for giving us your prespective on what it’s like to work inside a (self imposed) fabric embargo.

Please come back next week to join us when we look at the other side of the equation – stash planning?

1 Comment

  • Patricia Middelmann says:

    Inspirational blog. I am trying to limit my fabric purchases as well. Your post gives me inspiration!

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