Sunday, November 11, 2012

weekly stash report -- how obsessive should we be?

I can't really explain why I keep track of my stash. It's that same weird little quirk that used to make me keep  lists of how many books I read in a month or year and then try to beat my record. (Teenage Daughter has taken over that habit, starting her own lists years after I stopped keeping my own.)

And it - sort of - helps me keep myself in check. I'm not trying to use up my stash, or even put too much of a dent in it, but keeping some sort of balance between what comes into the house and what leaves the house seems like a good idea.

It gets tricky when you're buying fabric that doesn't come in neatly labeled amounts. Somewhere I read that a pound of fabric equals about four yards, so I weigh the scrap bags and do the math. I measure my finished quilts and keep track of how much fabric got used in each one.

It's a flawed system, because I don't get any credit for scraps of fabric that got trimmed off and tossed while I was cutting the quilt, or the extra inches I trimmed off the backing.  If I bought yardage to make a quilt and made that quilt, it should count as having used the fabric, right? But I wind up penalizing myself for what's left over...

When the trash can under my cutting table gets too stuffed to hold another bit, I weigh the fabric scraps before tossing them, so it does sort of work out in the end. I tossed eight yards worth of trimmings (too small to even be useful as crumbs) last week.

Keeping track of the yarn gets even trickier, since I'm making mostly baby hats that use partial skeins. Last year, I just assumed that each hat took about fifty yards. This year, I'm making a lot of different sizes, so I weigh them and do the math. It works out to about 1.85 yards of worsted weight acrylic per gram, according to the ball band. I'm sure the weights of the different yarns vary a bit, but I'm not going to be that finicky.

The yarn I'm using for the witch hat has no information on the labels as far as yardage or gauge or anything else. It's Lopi wool and that's all they're going to tell me. So I measure out ten yards, fingertips to nose because it really doesn't matter in the end, and weigh it on my scale and do the math.  If I ever finish the hat, I can weigh it and figure out how many yards of yarn it took.

Some stuff just isn't easily measurable. Mrs. H from At Home With Mrs. H solved that problem by weighing her entire stash. Her definition of hoarding fabric and mine are apparently different.

Next year, I'm going to tweak my system a bit. I'll definitely stop converting the sheets into yardage, because until I cut into them they're still sheets. And I shouldn't have sheets that wound up covering beehives to protect them from a raiding swam in my fabric totals for the year! (Not that I do, because I used sheets from the linen closet instead of wasting something vintage.)

Weekly Stash Report

Fabric Used this Week: 6.25 yards
Fabric Used year to Date: 65.25 yards
Added this Week: 0 yards  
Added Year to Date: 446 yards
Net Added for 2012: 380.75 yards

(104 yards or trimmings and unusable stuff  flung)

Yarn Used this Week: 0 yards
Yarn Used year to Date: 995 yards
Yarn Added this Week: 0 yards
Yarn Added Year to Date: 3900 yards
Net Added for 2012: 2905 yards

If it wasn't for that last garage sale Grandma found, I'd be at 0 yards added. But there's no way I would have passed on that fabric, so I'm not complaining! To see more weekly stash reports, click over to Patchwork Times. And, if you're in a link following mood, check out this fabulous chair that Evelyn's mom had reupholstered with old quilts!


Teresa in Music City said...

My goodness, you do get down to the details on your yardage, don't you! I haven't gotten that bad yet, but I'm probably headed that way :*) I always have a problem when I'm making a scrap quilt, but i use a friend's method of doubling the inches in the finished quilt. It's close enough. Like you, I also use the stash report to help manage it, not to deplete it. I enjoy adding new fabrics and seeing it grow in a positive way. But I also like to see how I'm using it - it hits home when I don't have any usage several weeks in a row!

Norece said...

it is indeed hard to be accurate when counting fabric used in a quilt. Everyone counts their fabric usage so differently.

This is how I measure how much fabric a quilt has in it.

Width X Length = A (I add five inches per side for seams)

Divide A by 144 = B

Divide B by 9 = yards used for top, add same amount for backing and add amount for binding = total fabric used

not perfect, but works for me - this way any bits left over from the top and backing will be able to be counted into the next quilt.

Enjoy your day.

Denise :) said...

I love keeping up with my stash ... not because I really care about how much I've used or the ratio...I've just found it interesting to see how totally carried away I get when it comes to fabric. When I first started quilting ... in the very, very early days ... I remember thinking that people who bought stash, "just in case", or just because it was pretty or whatever, were silly. And thinking that I'd *NEVER* buy fabric that I wasn't using for a specific project! LOL!! :)


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