What do you usually sew?
I spend most of my time sewing pincushions, but I'm dreaming of new bags and quilts that I hope to start soon. Selling my pincushions does help expand the stash, however, and there's something kind of nice about the repetitiveness of making them, leaving my mind free to wander and dream of new projects.
When you shop for fabric, what size cuts do you usually buy? (i.e. If you see something beautiful, but you don't have a use for it right away, how much do you buy?)
I typically get full yards of each print to keep my options open. Sometimes I'll get half yards or fat quarters if I have a specific smaller project in mind and think I won't need more of the fabric later. Occasionally I get a wild hair and fall so rampantly in love with an out of print fabric that I snap up a bunch of it the moment I spot it.
Do you buy on impulse or do you go out looking for something you need?
I usually shop for something in particular, but to get my money's worth in shipping I'll top off that envelope or box with a few impulse items.
Are you a pre-washer? If you are, do you wash your fabric before you need it, or only when you're ready to use it?
I prefer working with unwashed fabric, but if I do need to prewash for making something like clothes I'll do it right before I need it because I hate dealing with a huge pile of fabric that needs ironing!
Do you iron it?
I always iron fabric before I cut into it, whether it's washed or not. It makes a huge difference in cutting fabric precisely.
How do you sort it? (color, print size, collection, etc.)
This probably makes me kind of nerdy, but I sort my fabrics by manufacturer, subdivided by designer, and then loosely by color. I tried organizing by only color once and I could never find anything because I keep prints categorized in my head by designer. Knowing which manufacturer the fabric came from makes it simpler when it comes time to add to the stash, and can make color mixing easier when I'm choosing prints for a project.
Do you have any special folding techniques?
Yes, I use the ruler method of folding fabric, except that I’ve done it so much that I no longer need the ruler. Because I now fold by eye, my fabric piles aren't perfect, but I have a well used stash and am constantly taking out and putting away fabrics so this more casual method is quick and works great to keep things pretty neat.
How do you store your fabric?
I keep my most used fabric on open shelves so I can gaze upon them for inspiration and get to them quickly. Fabrics that are shorter than a yard are kept rolled up in colanders, also in plain view so I can grab them as inspiration hits. My lesser used or bolts of fabric, interfacing, felts and non-quilting fabrics are kept in closed cabinets.
What tips do you have for building up a well-rounded stash?
I often think fabric in terms of "main print/coordinating print". If I get a larger scale floral fabric, I know I'm going to need a coordinating smaller scale print like a stripe or polka dot as well. I also tend to get prints in sets, so if I like a particular fabric line, I'll buy several prints that work together, which keeps my options open for quilting projects. I'm also trying to veer outside of my usual color preferences, because there are so many wonderful projects you can do with a full spectrum of color, which is difficult if all your fabric is green or blue.
When do you say enough is enough?
There is no such thing as enough! There are always new prints coming out that will add new project possibilities to my stash.
What are some of your favorite stash-busting projects?
Small patchwork projects like clutches, softies, or pincushions are great for using up scraps. Bags and quilts are excellent for using up larger pieces.
Do you have a current favorite print in your stash? Let's see it!
There is no way I could pick one favorite, I'm not even going to try!
What's your definition of the perfect stash?
The perfect stash has a full spectrum of color, a good variety of print scale, and has all your favorite prints both for projects you're planning and for those not yet dreamed up. It's also well-behaved enough to stay nicely folded and safely hidden when your husband asks if you've been fabric shopping, again.