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The Stash Is Winning - Episode 1

Posted by Dawn Hunter on

Make no mistake: I have stuff.  I have lots of stuff.  Every hobby I have, and I have many, needs its own area for gizmos and gadgets and supplies galore.  I am a proud member of We Who Make Stuff, and people like me seem to collect tools and supplies as easily as breathing.  Some mornings I wake up and seem to have more stuff in my sewing room than I had the night before.  We Who Make Stuff euphemistically call these piles “stash” and say that we “need” it create the things we make and to better pursue our “hobbies”.

Certainly the obsession - I mean hobby - that takes the most space in my room is quilting.  The batting is big, the machines are big, the stash is huge, and I seem to buy new tools at least monthly.  Thread?  Weekly.  Sometimes daily. 

Have I mentioned my project bags?  I consider this to be my UFO pile.  On a baker’s rack that is 4 feet long with 4 shelves, I have stacked my project bags.  That’s 16 feet of UFO’s that are staring me in the face ALL OF THE TIME.  In each bag is a quilting pattern and the fabric to make that particular quilt.   Sometimes I’ve gone so far as to buy the backing and binding and put those in the bag too.  And a couple of bags even contain quilting stencils and the thread I want to quilt it with.  Did I mention that all 4 shelves are full?  And that there are bags spilling onto the floor?  And into 6 or more totes on the floor?  And onto a table next to the totes?  It’s true.  It’s embarrassing, but it’s true.

Not long ago I was at a weekend sewing group; there were about 8 of us there.  One of the women, and then another, admitted to having a UFO spreadsheet to track the progress of their various unfinished projects.  This was followed by the requisite discussion of the definition of UFO; the general consensus was that having all of the materials for the project was not sufficient, actual cutting of the first strips was required.  In other words, the project had to be started in order to be unfinished.  Much entertainment was had at the expense of these two women and we had a great sewing session.  Did I make fun along with everyone else?  Of course.  Did I then start thinking about making my own UFO spreadsheet?   Yes I did.  I already had a spreadsheet of finished projects, so why not a list of the unfinished ones?

Approximately 3 hours later – yeah, you read that right – I had discovered some rather interesting things in my sewing room.   Empty project bags here and there, half-finished class projects from untold years ago, spools of thread that I was going to use on that quilt “very soon” that I have since repurchased because I didn’t know I had that color, stencils I never remembered buying, fabric in bags with no project pattern, and complete kits (5 of them!) that I will never, ever make because they’re just not my taste anymore.  Good Lord, what else is in here?

Okay, here’s something interesting:  a project bag with 3 cuts of fabric: 1yd., 1yd., and 2-1/2yd. The pattern calls for 10 different fabrics ranging from ½ yd. to 1-1/2 yd.  I wonder how I thought that was going to work?  And here’s a quilt that I meant to make for Mom about 8 years ago.   And a bedspread that I could be using if it had been quilted sometime in the 6 years since its completion.  And another bedspread intended for the guest room in the last house.

I know what you’re thinking: I could die before I finish all of my projects.  I have to doubt that I will.  Die before finishing, that is.  I once saw a doorknob hanger that read “Sable Room”.  I think I should get one of those for my sewing room.  What is “sable” you ask? 

Yup, sounds about right!

The final tally makes me dizzy.  The number of quilts that I want to make badly enough to have purchased all of the fabric: 125. Quilts that I have actually started: 38. Quilts that are pieced and waiting for borders: 3. Quilts that have borders and are waiting to be quilted: 23.  Calculating that I’ve been quilting for about 12 years and I’ve finished approximately 92 quilted projects in that time, maybe I shouldn’t go to that quilt show next weekend after all. 

In case you were wondering: those 5 kits that I will never, ever make?  They’re not even on the list.  They will be donated off as soon as possible.  Also not on the list are those project bags with fabric and no pattern.  Those were broken down and the fabric either given to charity or returned to my stash.  Oh yeah – there’s an enormous stash in addition to the 16 feet of UFO shelving.

I don’t yet have so much stuff that I can’t count it all (I went to college, so I can count pretty high) but I think it’s getting close to burying  me.  Someday Spouse will realize he hasn’t seen me in a while and come looking for me.  Upon reading the first draft of this article Spouse offered to buy me an avalanche beacon and I’m not really sure if he was joking.  It will be too late, of course, since I will have suffocated under the piles long before he finds me.

The stash is definitely winning.

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