Monday, February 8, 2016

Stash Exchanges

An I-spy quilt I made in 2013 with a lot of contributions from friends

Part two of yesterday's post:  

As I get older, I want/need/can afford less and as Allie suggested, it has made me more creative in my quilting and especially in how I accumulate fabric for a project.  Here are some ideas I've seen lately...

START A STASH EXCHANGE:   I have some great friends and we love exchanging fabric for each other's projects.  This is really helpful for scrap quilts or I-spy quilts or that dreaded day when you realize you are just short of the fabric you need to complete a project.  

You can do this with your local friends or internet buddies.  It's a great way to get what you need and give what you can.  You can even make an event of it: "come for coffee and cake, bring some hand sewing and if you like, fabric you don't want anymore."  It's not extravagant but a fact of life: we CAN tire of a color palette or style.  I am binding my third yellow/black/white quilt and believe me whatever pieces of fabric left are going....

USE YOUR GUILDS:  A lot of guilds are starting to implement stash sharing into their groups.  At my guild, people just leave what they don't want or need anymore on the free table and people take what they can use.  About a year ago, we sold the fabric stash owned by a guild member who had passed away. The fabric was affordable and even better, the money raised was donated to the people who had adopted the member's beloved pets.

FRUGAL SHOPPING:  If you need fabric and are on a tight budget, I've found flea markets and yard sales to be really wonderful places to pick up fabric.  Boxed lots at auctions can be a treasure trove.  The other great place to buy fabric is your local quilt guild shows (not the big quilt shows). Often they have an area for reasonably priced fabric that members donated.

Marimekko fabric I picked up last summer at a local yard sale.

EVEN SHOPS CAN HELP!  Last year, a local quilt shop sponsored a flea market day where people could sell their unwanted fabric and find treasures in each other stashes.  It may seem counterproductive for a shop to offer this but I believe the owners found that people still shopped for "new" fabric to go with the odds and ends they had picked up.  A large stash is no friend to a quilt shop and by depleting some of what people have is always helpful.  

MENTOR SOMEONE:  This is great if you have too much fabric.  I adore my daughter-in-law and was so excited when she expressed an interest in sewing.  She tells me there aren't many good fabric stores in Philly, so I take her fabric whenever I visit.

Sewing lessons with Jessica.

If you can think of any other stash sharing techniques, please let me know!  I'd love to share them on the blog! 


  1. Great ideas, Mickie! I would add one - I shop the thrifts and pick up shirts that are 100% cotton - not too thick, not too thin, and use them for quilts. The bigger the better, lol. I look in Queen size first. And a few years ago, my mom and aunt found $3 pajama pants in all cotton, they got several pairs, and they're going to be used in a quilt for mum. I think Bonnie Hunter is the men's shirt quilt queen, but I don't go for stripes and things, I like the pretty florals, lol.

  2. Forgot to say I LOVE that quilt in your first pic - and the Marimekko fabric, *swoon*!!