I have been using a bit of self-tough-love the past couple of weeks. I put down my foot and decided I wasn’t going to purchase any more fabric for my yo-yos. Afterall, the point of making the yo-yo quilt was to bust my fabric stash, empty out those bins (in truth there is only one bin). I enjoyed digging through the remnant bins and picking out fat-quarters, but those actions were counter-productive. To be fair to myself, I “probably” wouldn’t have had enough in my stash alone. The scrap leftovers from the yo-yos have become crazy patchwork squares and I am really enjoying the process of making “something out of nothing.”
A few years ago, I resolved to bust my stashes of a) quilt batting, b) fabric, and c) yarn. For Christmas that year, I made three or four little-girl sized quilts. Since then, I have used up even more batting in other lap quilts, coasters, ie. mug-rugs, snack-mats, tablet cases and just recently I have been quilting little baskets. There is very little batting left, actually not enough to make anything much larger than a coaster…which is proving to be a bit of a problem because I have projects started needing larger pieces of batting. Eventually, one of those projects will be using up those crazy patchwork squares. So I do see more batting in my near future!
I can confidently say I have also busted my yarn stash. There are two shoe-box sized containers with odds and sods, in addition to some fancy fibre yarns which get used primarily for trims. To use up the stash, I knit socks and booties. I have managed to give away the smaller newborn sized booties, and a few pairs of socks. There are remaining socks, however, and therein lies the problem with stash busting.
In order to bust the stash, one has to use up the materials. Using up those materials means making something. Once you have made something, you have created another item to store, in essence changing the yarn stash, for example, into a sock stash. It is stored in a different place and as a different item, but it is still stored. One can give them as gifts, nice to have on hand, or donate them to a charity, so someone can get benefit from one’s work.
All creative types have stashes, it is a necessary evil, recipes, patterns, instructions, even web-bookmarks. My sister-in-law knit mittens, every Christmas we were gifted a new pair; my mother-in-law knits slippers. Some clean-up or down-size their stashes, meaning others are “lucky”(?!?!) enough to inherit that stash. One man’s trash is another’s treasure – sometimes, but not always.
What is one to do? Make a resolution! Flip through the pattern stash, pull out the yarn stash and use it up. Resist temptation, we all know it is impossible to match something that has been in the stash for years, go for a scrappy-look. Knit or crochet an afghan and donate it to a shelter, make a lap-quilt and pass it on to someone on dialysis, or make small blankets for the animal shelter. Altruistic creativity – the best kind. The joy comes doubly, first in the making, and second in the giving.
….and if you just can’t help yourself, you have the third pleasure of picking out new yarns, fabrics, patterns, or notions – but this time for a specific project you can’t wait to start!