Wednesday Words – Not All the News is Bad (Part 3 – After Market sources)

Welcome back to part 3 in the series “Not All the News is Bad”…my take on some bright spots in the fabric industry.  Part one (the link is here) of the series allowed me to explore some of the bright spots in fabric consumption/production… highlights being Jafftex’s purchase of Free spirit, and the purchase of Keepsake Quilting by Steelcity LLC.

Part two gave us guest blogger Beth Ditkoff’s perspectice of living within a self imposed fabric embargo – you can link to that part of the series here.  Beth’s move to her retirement home, coupled with the amount of fabric and UFOs she moved, gave rise to a year of working with what you have…

My premise in this series (based on opinion, and reading tea leaves such as they are – is that we ALL shop

Linda’s yardage stash, circa 2018

faster than we sew.  But with wonderful choices the fabric industry has given us, there is just an oversupply of goods.  I am sewing more now than I was when I was accumulating my stash, but I’m using a lot more of what I have. Here’s why…

This is  my stash, accumulated lovingly over the course of my quilitng career…or most of it. You don’t see what’s hiding in bins, in boxes and in my closet in the UFOs that I have. this is yardage and fat quarters,  which is the lions share of what I have.  It’s a beautiful stash, and I have loved, fondled and petted it for years – i think the technical term is curated.  And for those of you with eagle eyes…the ‘bolts’ on top of the shelving units (there’s another one hidden from view which is books), aren’t full bolts at all – they’re just big cuts of fabrics that I have for backings, and that was the easiest way to store things.

At my rate of sewing, I’ll be set for fabric for two lifelines – and I’ve seen some fabric stashes on Pinterest and websites which make me look like a definite lightweight.  Keeping the fabrics organized like this allow me to truly see what I have – and I have plenty.  Unless it’s plum…that seems to be a small hole in my color wheel.

Now you know where my bias comes from – I love seeing what’s coming out in the shops, and online – and if I get a commission to work with a fabric line, I’m not going to turn it down.  Because, fabric.   But I’ve also become aware of a phenomenon in my circle of friends and guildmates…what happens to our stash when we depart this life?  How do those left behind deal with it?

The After market in the subject line of the blog comes from yard sales, destashes, estate sales, I’ll never sew all of this sales, free tables at guild meetings, you name it.  Quilters today have more options available to them to purchase ‘quilt shop quality’ fabrics – some vintage, some even new! – than just the traditional shops, and I think that shop owners need to recognize this factor.   I’ve also seen messages from quilters who are working through their unfinished projects, and need a particular swatch of a given fabric – it’s amazing the level of detail you can find with a good photo.

I’ve been contacted several times in the past year (as have several of my quilter friends) by people who need to liquidate stashes for family members who have passed, or who have moved into assisted living facilities and can’t take it with them.  If you’re not a quilter, there’s no understanding of the real value of the machines, fabrics, notions which we have accumulated – remember the cartoon about my husband selling the items for what I told them it cost? That’s another blog post.

I’d love to know about what your plans are to pass along your stash – do you have plans?





1 Comment

  • Cheryl Campbell says:

    Linda, for about 4 months last year John & I were planning to put our house on the market. During that time I filled the back of my SUV four times and passed along the material to a friends mother. Her Mother and 5 of her friends sew for charity so I was very pleased to pass it along to a good cause. When the daughter gave her Mom the first load of material you would have thought it was Christmas. After the four loads, I then found a computer paper box full of chemo pillow cases that I had cut out,I have no idea how many were in the box. Her Mom agreed to take all of those. I was truly grateful for the ladies. Well — we decided to stay where we are so I unpacked the cartons. It looks like I didn’t even put a dent in my “stash”. So I will continue making baby quilts and chemo pillowcases for charity until the material is gone.

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