Tuesday, 1 November 2016

A recent stash sort-out...

I've recently been trying very hard to seriously re-organise my sewing and knitting supplies, as a large corner of my room currently looks like a landslide. It's a bit horrific. I started by pulling out cuts of cotton and viscose fabrics and storing them in this suitcase. I have a separate large storage box for wools, silks, linings and interlinings; all trimmings and haberdashery are separate too. In all seriousness, in an ideal world I would like my entire fabric stash to fit into this suitcase, with a separate bag for scratchy tailoring canvases and bulky wadding.

Having a stash makes me feel nervous because it is a whole world of unspent opportunities, pointing to wasted time. There's the monetary factor too, although I have very little disposable income and, believe it or not, purchase fabric very carefully. A fair amount of what I have was donated by de-cluttering family members or leftover from costume jobs that I've done. I've tried to put a check on that last one, but it's hard because you don't want to put large yet odd remnants of special and expensive fabrics into the bin. I currently have a piece of gorgeous silk chiffon 4m long by only 0.5m that I have no idea what to do with. Do you?

Acquiring a stash is easy, because it's really fun to go to wonderful shops and dream up the possibilities on offer. You can buy far quicker than you could ever make. The second problem is waste, because I don't think that many of us really like the idea of cloth sitting in the landfill for hundreds of years. I read through the entire Stash Less series on The Craft Sessions, and it gave me loads of food for thought. After an insomniac night of reading, I started unravelling old sweaters I don't wear because they didn't really work. I now have an additional 4 sweaters worth of yarn in my stash!

Having so much ends up being counter-productive, as I feel guilty every time I look at all the beautiful materials that I have done nothing with. Making becomes a chore, an act of de-cluttering, instead of a stimulating and enjoyable hobby. I don't want this to happen, but it's surprisingly difficult to lift this strong feeling of guilt and regret. One small change I've recently implemented was to pick up my knitting needles instead of my phone, and whilst Instagram has been neglected, I've made most of a cardigan. At the end of the day it seems like a pretty great trade-off.

What are your feelings on having a stash? Do you feel strange and sad about it like me, or is it something you take pleasure in?

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