The Art of Being a Goldfish - or sewing from my stash





The Stash. Every crafter has one, it may be big or small, but chances are, if you make stuff, you probably have a healthy collection of material/yarn/wood/whatever waiting to be made into something.

It was a point of pride for me in my early knitting days that my entire yarn stash fit into one medium-sized basket.  Similarly, my fabric collection was in a few boxes. I was living in an apartment with one closet and sewing in my bedroom. Then we bought a house, and I got every crafter's dream. A whole room, just for making stuff. 

And I goldfished it. I grew to size of my bowl. And I goldfished bad. 

Now, I have legitimate reasons for some of it. The basket that used to hold my entire yarn stash is now dedicated to skeins of sample yarn and leftovers from a single company. My design work makes that basket of yarn necessary. 

But most of it? Most of it (fabric and yarn) is something I bought or saved either with a specific project in mind (most often), or because it was pretty and I was at a festival/on vacation/in a new shop (fairly often), or because it was really cheap and/or gifted to me (sometimes).

I have a big bag of old t-shirts waiting to be cut up and crocheted into rugs. I have two bags of scraps waiting to be stuffed into a footstool. I have the fabric for that footstool. I've got bins and boxes of half-skeins of yarn and scraps of fabric with no discernible purpose. Then I've got the sweater quantities waiting to be a sweater, and enough uncut fabric for a dress.

And... you get it. It's a lot. 

Now don't get me wrong, there's nothing specifically wrong with a stash. Mine is often very useful to me. I've been able to make last minute projects and gifts because I had that fat quarter and zipper on hand, or could swatch something for a submission deadline I nearly missed because I had some suitable yarn in a bin. We needed some new potholders (because after a decade, they stop working quite as well) and I made some up out of the leftovers of two coats and an apron and didn't need to buy a thing. 

But I've been reading The Craft Sessions Stash Less series, and it got me thinking.

So I poked through my bins and boxes over the last few weeks, trying to find a place to put leftover fabric from the coat I just finished, and I was astonished at the amount of stuff I forgot I had. And it was really good stuff (thanks Past Me, for having good taste) and it was perfect for patterns I already owned and wanted to make (right amount of yardage and linings and everything!). 

At the same time, I wanted to sew some leggings for LMC and had nothing suitable on hand. It was either too small a piece or not the right color (so much plain blue, when I have a pink/purple/print loving girl) So I stenciled up some stars in the hopes it might be of interest and no dice. Meanwhile, I had bought tons of cute cotton prints to make into dresses for her, and I've learned that she just doesn't really like wearing wovens (or dresses). 

So in some ways, my stash is serving me very well. And in other ways, it's a big dud. 

In any case, it's taking up too much space in my room and my brain. 

So I'm going to work on it.  My first goal is to get it to a place where it fits in the containers I currently own (with the lids actually closing). I actually like the vast majority of what I've got, so the plan is to use it. My second step is to take a long hard look at the leftovers I've been saving for "someday" projects and try to be realistic with myself (gulp!).  

I'm not planning on any of kind fabric/yarn "diet" and, in fact, just ordered some new fabric in the mail for a birthday present I'm working on for LMC. But at a minimum, I'm going to check to see if I've got anything suitable to use first.

So, what about you? Anyone else guilty of being a goldfish? 

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