Monday, November 7, 2011

Waste Not, Want Not

I've been suspecting it for a while, but today it became all too clear.  I am a hoarder.  No, not the kind you see on reality TV, but a fabric hoarder.

I think it all started back when I used to scrapbook.  I hadn't yet begun to quilt and for a couple of years scrapbooking was my craft of choice.  My favorite part of scrapbooking (other than the photos of my kids, of course) was the beautiful papers.  I loved the colors, the textures and the patterns, and I bought as much as my small budget would allow.  They looked so pretty stacked up and ready to go that I didn't want to use them and if I did, I saved all of the scraps.  When I discovered the joys of quilting, my interest in scrapbooking waned, and now I'm left with a ton of paper and a big plastic bin full of scraps.  I should probably give it away or at least let my kids use it up, but I don't.  Someday I plan to make a dent in that 9 year backlog!

I'm even worse with my fabric.  I love some of my fabrics so much that I can't bear to part with even the smallest pieces.  And when I'm cutting, if I end up with a scrap bigger than 1" square, I throw it into a basket to save.  After all, I make a lot of scrap quilts and I paper piece and you never know when you might be able to fit a small scrap of fabric into a quilt.  Unfortunately the volume of my scrap stash now threatens to surpass my fabric stash and it is so disorganized that I don't know what I have, I can't find what I need, and if I do find a scrap I can use, it's crushed almost beyond repair.

A sampling of my scrap baskets.

The small triangles in question.

I love my scraps, but this morning, while tidying my sewing room, I made a discovery and it occurred to me that my little habit might be getting out of hand.  Last spring I made a quilt using a fat quarter bundle of fabrics in blue, red, and cream.  The quilt had a lot of star blocks and after trimming the seams I was left with hundreds of triangles which I promptly threw into yet another basket.  Over time I inadvertently covered the basket with fabric, wool, and pattern ideas and there it sat for months, until I excavated it today -- I really must tidy more. 

Very small triangles.

The problem is that these triangles are small, really small, so small even I can't believe I saved them.  The smart, time-saving, healthy thing to do would be to throw away the triangles and maybe even some scraps from the bottom of my first scrap basket (circa 2003).  After all, I've got mountains of laundry and bathrooms that need cleaning, not to mention two Halloween quilts that I need to wrap up (still working on that whole finishing thing) -- honestly I don't have time to mess around with these tiny scraps.  To the garbage can!  Hurrah!  Freedom!

But, oh, they are so pretty!  And now I'm getting an idea for a miniature Flying Geese quilt.  What to do, what to do?  If I commit to using them on my blog, I have to follow through (rationalization)... I can always do the bathrooms tomorrow (procrastination)... besides, if I use the scraps, I'm not a hoarder, right? (rationalization)...

Okay, I'm keeping the scraps.

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