I spent a fair amount of time today pouring through my yarn and threads stash. It represents many years of acquisitions. When I married 27+ years ago EVERYTHING related to my crafts fit into one small footlocker. It now seems to burst the seams of the lower level of our home. How did the collection get so grand in scale?
In the first year, it still fit in the original footlocker. I had a sewing machine borrowed from my mother-in-law. I made skirts for work, a few pillows for the living room, a Christmas wreath and a few Cross-Stitched pieces. I did not really have a lot of extra funds to spend on supplies. So by the time we moved from New Hampshire to Texas The crafting supplies were well contained.
After moving to Texas, I bought my first Sewing Machine, a White brand mechanical one. It was a beast. I never got the tension controlled well. More home decor, maternity and then baby clothes were constructed on it. Prior to baby I had a bedroom as a sewing room and all of my fabric stored on a half dozen hangers in the closet.
Then I started to take quilting classes. My sister and I signed up for one when my eldest was 6 months old. My hubby said that I needed to get out and give him guy time with our son. She quit the class half way through, as her work schedule changed, she gave me all of her supplies for the class. I made several tops from quilt shop fabrics. Then I spotted an ad in the paper for a warehouse sale one weekend a month. I was in heaven. I think I bought a year's worth of fabric each month not just enough to get me till the next sale. I was sewing furiously both quilts and clothing. The piles of fabric were getting bigger. Then there was the vendor at our favorite flea market who had wonderful bright cottons for quilting and home decor....and the fringes and laces, oh my. And I bought.
OH MY! is also what I said when I had to pack all of it up and move it to west Texas. I was starting to store it in Rubbermaid 18 gallon tubs. I think there were 5 or 6 of them for fabric, threads, patterns, books and other sewing related stuff. I had also started to make afghans as well so that footlocker now had both cross-stitch and yarn in it. I bought a new machine, a computerized Janome. I NEEDED MORE FABRIC.
In west Texas, I discovered quilt guild meetings. Lots more sewing, I had lots of friends to do it with! The provisions in west Texas for sewing were modest (although I did a good job on helping a shop with there going out of business sale.) I joined the Smockers too. I had another new baby, a girl. You have to sew for her. We drove to Dallas to visit and shop for fabric (and other stuff) periodically, Yes there was even more fabric than I could ever hope to use. I realized that it was like family and I had a hard time parting with it.
Then we moved to a rental house in the Denver area. Professional movers got it all there. It filled the small living room in the tri-level home. I became involved with the state guild, The Colorado Quilting Council. What fun, meetings were in different cities all over the state each month. So many shops! so much fabric! and I bought it all. A year and a half later we bought a house. (Did we use fabric for collateral?) Hubby's new friends in his office offered to help us move. An almost continous comment was, 'What another box of FABRIC!' I started to realize that is a fabric problem but did not realize that retail therepy in fabric stores was not the answer. I also was purchasing more yarn having found that garage sales were a great source of yarn, needlepoint and other fun fiber stuff. Colorado has great yarn shops.
About 5 years ago I decided that I needed to stop buying fabric...for the most part. I do not think I have purchased 20 yards of quilt fabric in the past 5 years. But now that we live in Colorado, it is colder than Texas, I started crocheting afghans. Everybody I know has at least one in their home. My kids each have at least 3 and there are several that just keep the sofa warm. For each afghan I made I bought yarn for at least one I have not made. So I started donating baby afghans and that is helping with the stash.
In the past few years, I have managed to give many 30 gallon trash bags of fabric and yarn away to charitable organizations and to the art teachers in my kids schools. There is still a lot left. know that I would not miss a lot of it if I got rid of it, because it is sort of a treasure hunt every time I go through a box. However, I still find it hard to part with it.
It is an ongoing problem. I recognize it now and have no plans to do any serious shopping except from my own stash.