Stash stories – not stashing!

A couple of weeks ago I scored a complimentary ticket from the kindly folks at Linton Tweeds (swoon) to attend the Knitting and Stitching Show at Harrogate.  I cannot tell you how much I was looking forward to a day off of mummy duties; petting yarn and getting elbow deep in the fabrics at Linton and Rosenbergs.

But as the date drew nearer, that feeling began to change.

I’d made a list of the things I really ‘needed’ for the sewing room. Some silk thread for handstitching. Some more needles for the overlocker. Interfacing….yes definitely need some of that.

The show opened on the Thursday and my Instagram feed filled up with all my favourite suppliers tempting me with their amazing stands, fabulous fabrics and pretty patterns. But I couldn’t get away from the niggling feeling that I didn’t really want to go to the show after all.

In the end I gave the ticket to a friend and she had a super time.

It’s taken till this morning to realise that the niggling feeling was, in fact, my inner voice stopping me from unpicking all the good work I’ve done over the last 12 months or so, slowly purging the stuff I’m not going to use.  Fabric and yarn bought on a whim, that isn’t really anything I would wear now.  Fabrics that have been passed to me from someone else’s stash clearance.

There are another 2 bags of books and one of yarn waiting to go to a crafty friend who will make good use of stuff that I wont.

It feels to me that stash is like weight….really easy to put on….less so to get rid of!

I’d also recently made a quick list of stuff I want to make over the winter. Or, more accurately, of fabric in my stash that is winter appropriate and patterns in my stash that I can use to sew it up.  There is more than enough fabric to keep me going, and I have all the patterns I need to make it happen.

I have yarn for 5 pairs of socks (I don’t mind having sock yarn in….I always have a sock on the go), a cardigan for hubby, a hat and mitts for me, and a sweater for Summer.  That’ll keep me busy for a while!

With all this surplus being removed, and knowing that even if we’re snowed in for the winter I have enough to keep me occupied, I felt so uncomfortable at the thought of adding more back into the mix.  It would likely just get me back to square one and start the whole cycle again, which is wasteful and stressful, and not where I am in my sewing journey.

As I have less sewing time at the moment, a season that I’m trying hard to embrace, I also want to revisit my skills and sew better.  I have some plans in my head for how that might happen, but stockpiling fabric and yarn no longer feels joyous.

When I started sewing I bought on a project by project basis, and whilst I’m probably never going to go entirely back to that model, my conspicuous consumption of fabric and yarn over the last few years really isn’t a model that works for me any more*

It’s been an interesting weekend as I’ve worked this out.  My sewing practice is definitely in an odd place at the moment….a place of flux and evolution.  And, it would seem, my sewing related shopping habits are in the same place.

I’m interested to see how this develops. Watch this space!

* This is definitely a personal view.  I know there are some amazing and inspirational stashes out there and if that floats your boat, no judgement here!

10 Responses to Stash stories – not stashing!

  1. Tracy says:

    I can so relate to this post. I am in exactly the same position. With the numerous Black Friday fabric and yarn deals recently and in pariticular the new local Abakan store sale I found that after my initial excitement suddenly my enthusiasm waned. Like you I thought about all the fabric and yarn I have already and all the immediate and potential projects that I already had in mind versus what I needed in my wardrobe. I found that I simply could not justify adding more to my stas. My stash is starting to feel like a weight dragging me down. So I am making an early New Years resolution I am going to start planning and always first shop in my stash first.

    I intend to plan ahead for spring-summer and autumn-winter and base my makes on what I need in my wardrobe and family members requests. Over the past year I have been focusing on fit (which seems an increasing challenge as I get older). I am hoping to get a good collection of tried n true patterns that I can adapt for most of my needs. I can then try new techniques on these. I am finding that I am enjoying working on two or three patterns then sewing each one separately helps develop my fitting knowledge, ensures my clothes are not orphans and motivates and enthuses me more than working on single projects.

    • Evie says:

      Oh I couldn’t have put this better. Fit and filling gaps in my wardrobe are my focusses going forwards too. My next big project is to pad my dressmakers dummy to match my body (a terrifying prospect 😉 ) to aid with fitting. I’m sewing for my life now, not just the next hit pattern to be released.
      Good luck with your plans!

  2. Jacqui says:

    I hear you. I made myself the promise when 2018 began to “live life with less” that doesn’t mean doing without but not consuming stuff for the sake and to stop buying things that sit in my already very over flowing cupboards. I also started on an all encompassing decluttering quest. My motto has been “If i don’t use it or don’t want to use it pass it on to someone who does” As the end of 2018 draws close I realise it wont be all done (40 years of unbridled acquisition takes a while to sift through) and will continue through 2019, but what I have noticed is that I have slowed if not stopped my urge to acquire things just because I can. And you are right it does make you feel lighter!

    • Evie says:

      Hello!!!! We haven’t spoken for ages. Hope you’re all doing well!
      I’m totally onboard with the decluttering. We’re being quite ruthless with the rest of the house too.
      A wise friend pointed out to me that I’ve been working hard to slow my life down and declutter obligations as well as stuff, and I think that’s had a huge impact on my need to buy less. I think I’m just more aware and have less of a knee jerk reaction to the pretty things. I can admire them, but also rationally work out if they have a place in my life.

  3. I hear you, Evie and fully suppor you! Last summer I also became very overwhelmed with my stash…or rather the number of pattern magazines I have. I am less and less inclined to adjust patterns and try to reuse as much as possible. Though I have allocated a budget for my sewing hobby I haven’t been spending much. I did make an exception in the last couple of weeks: some leather for bags and a pdf pattern…I did resist the temptation of buying more fabric. My projects are now stash driven…and I think I will have plenty for another year. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • Evie says:

      I have soooooo many books and magazines. The 2 bags going to a friend are only the start of it I think. It had got to the stage where 2 double bookcases were full to overflowing. It’s too much.

      I can’t wait to see your bags. I’ve only ever hand sewn a leather bag kit. I’m intrigued.

  4. Kim says:

    I totally understand this attitude – I have spent the weekend deleting emails offering patterns at good discounts. Like you I have started to feel that the stash (fabric,yarn, and patterns) has run away somewhat. Reducing what we buy, and passing on our errors, is very liberating. Well done for recognising that you didn’t want to out yourself in temptations way and giving a friend a lovely day out 🙂

  5. Tialys says:

    So well put!
    It’s when you realise that you not only have a stash beyond life expectancy but probably a wardrobe beyond life expectancy too that it gets really scary.
    My daughter buys on a one project, one fabric at a time basis but that’s because she hasn’t got any storage room. Give me a space and I’ll expand into it.
    I was tempted by a coat pattern in the sales – and the fabric to go with it – but I’ve never made a coat (never thought I wanted to) and fell in love with a particular pattern and thought it would challenge me so went ahead but, the rest of the tempting emails, I’ve been deleting. Having said that, a friend of mine heard I was thinking of making a coat and asked me if I’d be using the length of wool she’d given me last year which I’d completely forgotten about. I felt really bad because it actually would have done very well for the coat – maybe I’ll have to make two.

    • Evie says:

      “a stash beyond life expectancy” made me laugh out loud! We’re doing wills at the moment and I’ve appointed an executor for my sewing room. 😀 My husband is always saying I should have had the smaller room to make into a sewing space so I wouldn’t have been able to accumulate so much stuff!
      I see two coats in your not-too-distant-future…but that’s not a bad thing.