Thursday, August 30, 2012

Fabric Collector - or Hoarder?

Someone brought up this question in my Yahoo group today. Do you hoard or collect fabric? Sometimes we say we "collect" fabric - it sounds so much better and more dignified and that's what I will tell people from now on. But I also think I secretly "hoard" my favorite pieces of older scraps a little too much sometimes. I love them and savor them and can't part with them. I will never find some of those prints again and, if I use them up, I will miss seeing them in my bags of scraps! So silly. I have to tell myself they will be much better off in a quilt where I can look at them all the time. But it IS more like hoarding, don’t you think? 
Hoarding has gotten a bad rap since that TV show about sick people "collecting" stuff they cannot part with, things that remind them of painful losses they cannot get over easily. I looked up the definition of hoarding and it said that, in archaeology,  artifact hoarders sometimes died before retrieving their valuable treasure of hoards! OMG - I know they will find my little fabric pieces after I'm gone and say: "What the heck was she thinking??"
My current baskets of scraps, waiting to be sorted. Ho hum.
I also know I am not alone here and that many of you are much much worse than I am. I have seen some of your closets LOL. But I am bad enough. (I will never take a picture of my closet, of that you can be sure.) Someone e-mailed me recently and asked if my sewing room was messy or neat.  All I can say is I do the best I can. Some days are better than others, depending upon whether or not I want to eat, or bathe or do anything else. What can I say?
Yes, I save my scraps! Anything over 1 1/2 inches!
You know you're in trouble when - OMG, is that a cradle full of scraps?? Where will the baby sleep??
But I DO organize my scraps sometimes -  Don't laugh, here's a basket full of larger scraps that I'm going to use in my Dear Jane quilt . . . . someday.
These are often pretty neat and accessible. Not really scraps, just smaller cuts I will use someday. (Yes, I am still "hoarding" that blue wavy fabric left over from my Orange Peel quilt!) No, they are not always nicely folded if I am busy or in a hurry to move on to something else and need to get them off the cutting table.
More, waiting to be sorted. Oh dear.
Question:  Am I really really ever going to use that little green piece? Best Answer: You never know. Better save it just in case.
Maybe we can call ourselves "Stockpilers" until they decide to make a TV show about that and ruin it. That got me thinking and here's what I want to know  - why aren’t there any situation comedies about quilters, I ask you? Or even dramas? Someone should come up with a medical show where quilters get hurt using their rotary cutters or dropping their featherweights on their feet and cute doctors save them . . . . How about a  "Quilting  Police" drama . . .  "Knock, knock – you're under arrest! Your piecing is awful!"
Perhaps a reality show with quilters confessing to their fabric addictions. Quilting Interventions! Where caring guild members and friends intervene to save the lives of too-far-gone quilters whose families are starved for food and attention. Wait - a brand new season of  "Lost!" (featuring quilters wandering around, asking: where did I put my ruler, thread, glasses, that pattern I just bought??)
I'd settle for an episode of Dr Phil - Why Quilters Quilt and How Quilting Affects Their Housekeeping. (I might volunteer to be on that show. But not if Maury or Springer did it, because then I might have to get naked or reconnect with long-lost family members . . . . ) Homes of the Rich & Famous Quilters. Some of you might even cough up for cable just to see  this one, that's how unbelievable it would be. I could go on and on . . .  .
Puppy says - "Mom, will you stop playing around with your fabric, the camera and the computer and please let me out!"
Have a good weekend. This coming Monday is Labor Day in the U.S., a day that many have off  work. I will be doing last-minute shopping and helping my daughter get all her stuff ready to go back to college. No rest for the weary parents! Remember, the September  challenge quilt will be posted AFTER Sept 1,  maybe Sept 4 or 5, we'll see how it goes.


  1. I don't think I'm a hoarder, altho I have a couple of lengths of fabric from my dressmaking days... oh got be 20 yrs in the stash. But I only have a couple of those.

    As for the quilting stash fabric, I think I have a reasonable amount.... but most is for a specific purpose. I don't buy fabric just to have it... unless it's cobalt blue... or I know I will regret not buying it. That fabric... I've never regretted buying...

  2. A very funny post, Kathy. If you are a quilter and you don't hoard fabric, then how can you call yourself a quilter. I have a medium fabric stash, but boxes and boxes of scraps. I can't bear to throw them away. I'm sure they will be good for something. Just like that little green square of fabric, if you throw it out, then your next quilt will be the one wanting just that perfect piece of green. I think "Stockpiler" sounds good. Not quite like a disease. Have a great long weekend, it's also Labour Day here in Canada as well.

  3. Oh I'm definitely a hoarder. I've loved fabric since I came out of the womb. My mother tells me that I used to pick at my receiving blanket when I was tired....along with twirling my hair. Fifty years later I'm still doing these things:)...only the picking has turned into what quilters call fondling their fabric!

    But I do also quilt with these fabrics...when I'm not twirling my hair.

  4. I'm a hoarder--no doubt about it. I can't stop it, so I guess I may as well enjoy it! At least I'm in good company! :)

  5. We have to hoard fabric, there may be a shortage one day - then what would we do?

  6. Great Blog today, you're so funny. I could star in Lost...I do that all the time, where did I put that pattern I bought last month? Never mind that I spent lots of time going to different quilt stores and ended up finding it online and paying for shipping. I had to have it right NOW...and now it's lost in my messy sewing room, weeks later. I really am trying to clean up and organize in there. I keep uncovering more boxes and containers of to get them cut up into squares, ready to sew into 9 patches or something. Have a great holiday weekend, and thanks for the laughs.

  7. Hoarder - but approaching the age when there may be too much fabric and not enough time! "We brought nothing into the world and it is certain we can carry nothing out." Oh dear - need to get moving or my name will be mud with my kids afer I've gone. Off to the Great Northern Quilt Show this weekend. What are the chances I'll come home with nothing?

  8. Love your post today. We all might have to become hoarders if the prices continue to climb. I really don't keep smaller than 5" squares, FQ's & FE's. I am passing smaller pieces on though.

  9. I collect fabric and my husband collects wood for his prpjects. I can fold and roll fabric to go on shelves or in baskets. Can't fold that wood though. Just sayin' !!!!

  10. I look at it this way...people collect stamps and no one expects them to actually use them, right? So, I refer to my stash as my fabric collection.
    That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

  11. I don't think I'm a hoarder or collector, I'm just a fabric purchaser. The obsession is not in the keeping - it's in the buying. AND, your right, I'd tune in for the Quilter Rich & Famous.

  12. I am a collector with a shortage of storing room...fabric stored everywhere it can be. I started quilting when fabric was under $5.00 and remember the "uproar" when it went over that price-point. Having it over $10.00 a yard now makes me very happy that I have the large stash that I do...I only buy for borders and sometimes backings..usually piece those. I do shop for fabric for kids quilts as I don't have much on hand for that type of fabric.

    As for saving scraps, I use plastic shoe-boxes to save in for squares and have sizes 1-1/2" up too 5", and then strips starting at 1-1/2" and up to 3" that I keep in larger rubbermaid containers. I started cutting 2-1/2" strips back when Debbie Caffrey's book "Open A Can of Worms" came out so I have the most of that sizer, second most would be 2" strips. I like having strips already cut to work with.

  13. You are so funny today! I really enjoyed your post. I am definitely a fabric collector. After all, you have to "collect" the fabric when you can before it disappears. And I don't call it hoarding just because I like to keep it around for a while to look at it. Some I have had for a long time, but it is so pretty, if I use it I won't have it anymore!
    I have gotten into the habit of cutting up my fabric as I go. When I am cutting out a quilt, whatever scraps are left over, I go ahead and cut them into whatever I can. I now have containers full of 1 1/2 inch squares all the way up to 5 inch squares. They are ready to use in baby quilts.So I will have plenty to start on my next projects.
    I would love to see a show about Quilters Rich And Famous! Ummm- Wonder who would we get to star in it?

  14. Thought you might appreciate knowing my fabric stash is refered to as my "401 F". That's "fabric for retirement!" in case you didn't guess, and now that it's running $12+ per yard, I'm glad I've got it!!

  15. I'm glad our "conversations" in the group could inspire such a funny blog (my partner kept saying, "this is so you!") I prefer to think that we are just saving the fabric so the Smithsonian will be able to add it to their folk art collection when the time is right. I do have one idea for handling the fabrics that bring back memories: Using the 3-ring plastic covers (or those for scrapbooks), put a picture of each quilt and a representative swatch of each special fabric in a Quilting Remembrances album/notebook. I know I'll be accused of REALLY having too much time on my hands now, but it will take less space and possibly allow you to use those extra scraps, knowing that they have been acknowledged and cataloged, so to speak! My next purchase will be a wonderful wooden cradle to put all of my unsorted scraps in -- you are such an inspiration! Gail in DC

  16. I would so watch any of those shows with quilters. I could star in the Lost show too. I seem to spend a lot of time looking for something I just had. LOL
    I consider my fabric a collection.
    Recently a friend told me she saves scraps or dog beds. I am happy to part with small pieces that I don't really want to save, but can't throw away either now that it is for a 'cause'.
    I think you can not be a hoarder until you start saving actual broken stuff and/or garbage.;)

  17. I still have fabric from the 80's, I think I am guilty, lol.
    But, I am using up my stash now and making charity quilts with some and then I can use the ones I really want to use for my quilts.


  18. Giggle, giggle, I enjoyed reading your post!
    I think fabric brings us comfort, plus whether it's 1 metre or 1.5 " you paid good money for it, so why throw it away!
    Have you see Bonnie Hunter's Scrap user system? Very good, it is nice to have all that lovely fabric sorted to usable sizes.
    Best wishes......& I look forward to seeing you on the Dr Phil show :-)

  19. Anch'io ho scatole di avanzi... come si fa a buttarli via? possono sempre servire, chissà! una rifinitura, una identificazione per ricordarci da dove proviene quello scarto. Ti confesso che a volte mi dispiace usarli, ho sempre paura di poterli utilizzare meglio la "volta successiva". Comunque credo sia una "malattia" comune a tutte noi. Un grosso CIAO dall'Italia.

  20. yeah, i'm a stockpiler too and proud of it! and don't you love elfa drawers? ideal for fabric i do believe

  21. I have a hard time throwing away fabric as well. I thought I had gotten a handle of things with the rule that the fabric had to be at least one inch square, but then I heard about snippet quilts and ticker tape quilts and art quilts, and fabric used as stuffing, now I have a hard time throwing away even smaller pieces!

  22. Collecting, every time! Hoarding, me? Never! Well..., sometimes...:-)
    I keep the smallest pieces, my granddaughter and I like to make pictures with them. But I do agree, I have some fabric which will never be cut up! It can't be repeated.

  23. I live in the country and far away from quilt shops so whenever I am shopping I pick up lots of fabric just in case. Then I don't have to make special trips to town when needing certain fabrics to finish a project. That is my excuse, sounds better than I am a hoarder!

  24. Oh, I guess you would call me a hoarder, my children do.
    Some fabrics I know I will never see for sale again I keep for just the right project. Time is marching on and I think I really need to just use them. This is my fourth and last time trying the word verification. Have you ever tried listening to the sound version...get real.

  25. This is an easy question. If you buy fabric and display it like you would say your china or figurines, the you are a fabric collector. If you buy fabric, bring it home, stash it (possibly not even removing it from the bag!) and then never using any of your fabric in your "hoarde", then yes you are a hoarder. However if you buy fabric and you USE your fabric--ANY OF IT old or new--(even if the new stuff sits on the shelf--or floor--NOT in the bag--then you are simply a fabric consumer storing your fabric as you hunt and gather for projects sure to come in the future. Now if one falls into the hoarder category I think one could be saved if they will take their fabrics out of the bag, off of the floor and neatly store them and then they can be upgraded to a fabric historian--one who gathers and properly stores fabrics,so that future generations will have past examples of past fabrics. Boy don't you wish we had some fabric hoarders from the civil war era! LOL!

    Cathy ♥

  26. Your post was so fun this morning. All those shows would be very entertaining. Thanks for the smile.

  27. I find myself hoarding certain pieces of fabric and then catch myself because I bought it to be USED in a quilt! And really, I don't think it's hoarding to gather certain scraps together with a project in mind. That's just practicality--they'll all be together in one place when you need them.:)

  28. Another view is a financial one. Isn't it better to buy when the price is lower? Aren't fabric prices rising? If I had to replace my current stash at today's prices, it would be a much larger investment. So fabric stashes are an investment in tomorrow!

  29. Funny post today, thanks, it made me smile.
    I have a fair amount of fabric, but do use it. The scraps got out of hand, but I use Bonnie's Scrap system now, and they are tamed into boxes in their size.
    I have just finished a single scrap quilt for my eldest daughter to go to University with.
    Bev in Britain.

  30. I'm all for saving those scraps! After all, we paid the same price for the scraps as we did for yardage! Great blog post@

  31. This was such a cute post! Love it, and BTW I would save the little green scrap too! Am just finishing up some very small hexi's.
    Joann in Annapolis

  32. I am happy that I hoarded or collected fabric over the last few years. Now hubby is out of work for medical reasons and on disability, so it will keep my hobby going without having to spend money we don't have.
    Whatever anyone calls it, keep on enjoying all those lovely fabrics. I will miss going into the quilt shops and feeling all those wonderful brand names for a while. They are so nice to the touch even lol.

  33. Oh bless you. I am still laughing out loud. I am ashamed to say I would watch all those shows. Lol! I loved your post and could certainly relate. If folks could see what doesn't make it into my photos I would be very red faced.
    Thanks so much for the giggle


Let me know what you're thinking . . .


Related Posts with Thumbnails