Fabric Scraps Obsession, Studio, Thrift Shop Adventures

A “Humane” Way to Eliminate Fabric Scraps

If you have followed my blog for awhile, then you know about my addiction to fabric scraps. This addiction seems to be incompatible with my desire to downsize and minimize my possessions.

The fabric scrap addiction began innocently enough – friends would give me their fabric scraps at quilting retreats. I would go for a “sew day” at a fellow quilter’s house and leave with some of her fabric scraps. As if that was not enough, I began to actually BUY scraps.

Yes, BUY FABRIC SCRAPS, you read correctly. There is a wonderful quilt shop in Central Oregon called The Stitchin’ Post and occasionally they would sell scraps bags of their beautiful high-end quilting fabrics.  I bought numerous bags from them.

Beautiful scraps or not, still I was buying fabric scraps.

In my post “Creative Inspiration: Organization???” I shared my new organization of my favorite fabric scraps by color. Although I had organized scraps by color I still had a GIANT box of remaining fabric scraps.

I knew I had to do something. I needed to let go of the fabric scraps I did not completely and absolutely love. However, I did not want to throw them away or try to convince another quilter to adopt them.

So I packaged them up into 30 bags and organized them into two baskets and DONATED them to our local Humane Society Thrift Store to sell! (How do I know that the Humane Society Thrift Store sells fabric scraps? Do you want to take a guess? Yes, because I have bought fabric scraps also from several thrift stores include the Humane Society Thrift Store in the past).

The Humane Society Thrift Store Volunteer accepting my donation seemed pleased that I had packaged them up for sale. I like to imagine if they sell each bag for a couple dollars or more each that could be over $90 – $150+ profit for a wonderful local animal shelter! Some of the bags are packaged by color and some are random – so many options for the Humane Society Thrift Shops’ customers!

A
A “Humane” way to let go of excess fabric scraps!

When I buy fabric from quilt shops in the future, it will be actual whole fabric (fat quarters or yardage). I still have plenty of fabric scraps and my fabric scrap collection contains only scraps I truly love and plan to use…eventually.

POSTSCRIPT

I am still working through the lessons from the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo that I discussed in the post “The Space in Which We Live“. 

Quality of Life, Studio

Invite Creativity In by Kicking Clutter Out!

I have been working for a while on downsizing my stuff and reducing clutter in my life (see recent post The Space in Which We Live).

As part of this process I have been working through my craft magazine collection (as a prequel to some day conquering my craft book collection – see post Craft Book Hoarder?!?!?!).

Since 2008 I have been reading and collecting Interweaves’s Cloth-Paper-Scissors Studios magazine (who’s tagline is “inspiration & ideas for your art and craft space).

In order to let go a a magazine, I feel like I have to read it again or at least skim it and see if there is anything interesting in the issue that I want to reference or stick in the back of my mind. So I stacked all my old issues of Cloth-Paper-Scissors Studios magazine and started going through them.

IMG_2625

I came across this great article in the Spring/Summer 2009 issue by Lesley Riley: “Clutter Out Creativity In: 10 Steps to a More Artful Studio”, and I wanted to share a listing of her steps to deal with studio clutter. I think they are fairly self-explanatory but I have added a couple comments based on the article or my own experience.

  1. Hoarding is a primitive instinct (but having a more limited selection may force you to be more creative!)
  2. Know thyself (think about what colors and fabrics you now enjoy working with and consider ditching the rest)
  3. Treat your stash like your clothes (in your closet if you have not worn something in a long time or it no longer fits you, maybe it is time to get rid of it – the same applies to using fabric)
  4. It’s not “all or nothing” (you don’t have to get rid of things all at once, you can whittle it down over time)
  5. Take your time (relax and find time to slow sort your stash)
  6. Share your favorites (shared a little of your favorite fabrics with others)
  7. Spread the wealth (I personally enjoy donating fabric I no longer need to the local Humane Society Thrift Shop as I know it can be a treasure to a fellow crafter who stumbles upon it and the proceeds help support the animal shelter)
  8. Create coordinated bundles
  9. The artist, not the fabric, makes the art
  10. You control the fabric (it does not control you!)

After I finishing letting go of my already read (twice) Cloth-Paper-Scissors Studios magazine, I can’t promise I will never buy an issue again. This is truly a wonderful magazine with glimpses into artists’ studios and their inspiration.

Audiobooks and Podcasts, My Minimalism Journey, Studio

The Fabric Purge!

Before I talk about my FABRIC PURGE, I wanted to give a little follow up on my Addicted to Audiobooks post:

I had mentioned in the post that one of the disadvantages of free audiobooks from your local library is a short loan period (14 days for example). Recently I discovered that my library allows up to a 21 day audiobook loan period but you have to set up your account that way! I guess when I first set up my digital book account with my library originally I accidentally selected the 14 day hold as my default. I wish I knew this earlier as recently I was in the middle of enjoying Beyond Willpower by Alexander Loyd and my loan expired! The audiobook has other library patron holds on it so I have to wait patiently until my turn comes around again. Ultimately it is my fault for alternating between three audiobooks at once time – 21 day loans will make it even easier (maybe I can alternate between four or five audiobooks…just kidding!)

FABRIC PURGE!

Sometimes you have to let go of clutter to make space for your creativity. I had collected an unwieldy amount of fabric in my 15+ years of being a quilter. My fabric collection (aka “Stash”) includes purchased new fabric, purchased (from thrift shops and garage sales) used fabric, recycled fabrics (old jeans, manufacturing remnants), and fabric given to my by quilting friends.  When I say “fabric” I mean anything from a 1/4 yard to several yards of fabric, not scraps. We won’t talk about my scrap collection at this point…

I had organized all my quilting cotton, non flannel fabrics either by color, by type (Batiks) or by collection in an old IKEA bookcase cabinet. This cabinet was REALLY STUFFED. It was so stuffed that I could not find smaller pieces that have somehow “melted” into the larger pieces. It was time to reevaluate what I really loved and needed in my collection and to let go of that which I do not really love or really need. I had taken Monday and Tuesday off from work for a little “staycation” so I had no excuse not to begin the PURGE!

The purge was kind of painful and tedious. I do not want to discourage anyone from evaluating their clutter and purging, I just want to be honest. I removed all the fabric from the bookcase cabinet and it transformed into a scary mess on the floor. In the spirit of honesty and full disclosure – I did at one point sit on the floor crying and exclaim: “Why do I have this much fabric? I do not need all this!” I had to keep self-coaching to get through the project, reminding myself how wonderful it will be to quickly find the fabric I am looking for and to get rid of what I will never use.

It took two days of sorting through fabric and refolding fabric to complete the project (by the way, I did take many breaks of course and did other things on my “staycation”). I found on Pinterest this wonderful link to instructions on how to uniformly fold your fabric using a ruler so that your fabric will stack easily together: How to Tuesday: Ruler Folding  (from a lovely blog – Create Kids Couture). I organized most of the fabric by color (this time I integrated the Batiks) and some by special collection (one shelf). I purged a giant bag of fabric to give my local quilting friends (oh no I am just adding to their stash so they have to purge someday!)

The fabric purge was worth it, despite some brief emotional distress. I feel like I have made room for my creativity by eliminating clutter!

BEFORE THE PURGE

IMG_0324.2015-04-26_195115

AFTER THE PURGE

IMG_0328.2015-04-27_194415