Have Your Say

29th January 2021

Continuing our Stash Love Affair

by Nancy Williams

Hello 2021! Following on from the articles in All Stitched Up! at the end of last year, I wonder how many of you have spent time in your craft room over the holiday break, reorganising, reimagining or simply communing with your stash? I know I have, particularly as I had the pleasure of hearing from so many of you. If I wasn’t inspired to fall back in love with my stash before, I have certainly made inroads now thanks to our wonderful Inspirations community.

As such, although some time has passed since the initial articles, I really wanted to share with you some of the other responses we received.

Many of you told us how you’ve gone about organising your crafting space. Teresa Cain, clearly a woman after my own heart with her joyous love of threads, explained how she has sorted all of her wools, threads, fabric and other fibres into clear plastic containers which not only keep things tidy, but allow her the pleasure of being able to see everything in them.

She states: ‘They’re clear and oh, so beautiful!’ – a sentiment I just adore.

Patty Hawkins used the lockdowns of 2020 as the perfect excuse to reorganise her stash. She was ruthless in deciding which patterns and projects she was really going to do and which she wasn’t; the latter going to her local Guild or recycling bin! 

She then went through all her kits and listed them on a spreadsheet. Now, as she does a kit, she highlights the line on the spreadsheet, so she has a visual representation of her progress. I will admit, I was so taken by this idea that I implemented it myself as soon as I read Patty’s email and I fully relate to the satisfaction that it brings.

Beautifully organised ‘packages’ from Anne Shields’s stash.

Organising was also at the top of the list for Anne Shields who decided to separate all her smocking projects, recording each one in a notebook and putting the fabric, threads, buttons and other notions for each individual project together in a plastic bag. 

Discovering that she had over 75 projects to do, she hasn’t needed to purchase any fabric since. So, not only did Anne find a way to get organised, she saved herself a whole lot of money as well.

This is how Anne Shields records her projects in a notebook.

Ann also shared some fantastic practical advice in terms of dying thread and fabric using acrylic paint. She either uses the paint undiluted or makes up a solution of paint and water, to then soak the fabric or thread. Once dry, Ann then irons it to help fix it further. The process doesn’t need to cost a lot either; cheap tubes of acrylic paint can be bought at the local discount or dollar store.

Christine Igot’s tribute project, all stitched from her stash.

In terms of using up what you already have, I loved this fantastic tribute project completed by Christine Igot. Christine is clearly a fan of the late, great musical artist, Prince. She worked his iconic motif using needlepoint wool, beads, rayon thread and floss all from her own stash. Luckily, she completed it before the lockdowns and was able to get it mounted just in time to enjoy it sitting on her wall while stuck at home. It sure was a fabulous way to use what you have, and as Christine so rightly said:

‘It was wonderful to be able to shop in my own stash for this project.’

I really liked the idea of ‘shopping in your own stash’, and the reality is, many of us probably have stashes which would rival any shop! I am so glad that my admitting it has allowed so many of you to also feel confident enough to not just admit it but to embrace it too. 

Robyn Tate was grateful for the inspiration and is now looking at her stash with new eyes, and Gerry Kendall, already someone who likes to ‘stitch outside of the box’, shared with us that she’s going through all her kits, patterns and UFOs in order to find new inspiration for her unique ideas.

Many of us see the start of the new year as the time to make changes. Perhaps this year is the year to get on top of our stashes and start to incorporate it into our stitching. I do hope you’ll keep sending us pictures of pieces you’ve worked from your stash, or ideas for how you keep it organised, fresh and exciting. Learning from each other is one of the best parts of being in this community, so make sure to keep sharing.

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