Sunday, March 15, 2009


What is it about people that makes them want to share of themselves? My husband and I met in college. One of the things I remember is that he was voraciously curious about me. I, in turn, was a person who loved to share of myself. Thoughts, facts, stories. Later, after I had known him several years and we had traveled in and out of each other's lives several times, I started wondering about him. Where did he grow up? Who was his family? It occurred to me that while he knew me inside out and upside down, I only knew who he was at the moment. It was like he had hatched out of an egg full grown. That thought stays with me, even now. Yesterday I asked him "Did you ever listen to 10,000 Maniacs?" and he said "I think I first heard them in college." which just floored me. Because 10,000 Maniacs In My Tribe was one of those formative albums for me, and I can't even imagine high school without them. Just hearing a phrase of any of those songs brings back technicolor memories for me.

So my husband is just not a sharer. It's not that he doesn't want to, or gives pieces of himself grudgingly - quite the opposite. But I wonder what it is about me that makes me want to post my "25 random things" on Facebook. Or complete the Stash Interview on Sew, Mama, Sew. What makes me want to give myself to random, faceless people?

Eh, well. That's who I am, no? So enough with the philosophical thought and on with the interview. Even though I'm late as can be with it.

  • What do you usually sew?
I just started sewing in ernest. I used to just make things when I needed something. I made a lot of tote bags, some curtains, a crib set for my youngest, not much else. And then I started sewing kids clothes. And more bags, and jammies for my husband. And baby shoes. I'm hoping to get started sewing some clothes for myself, too.
  • When you shop for fabric, what size cuts do you usually buy? (i.e. If you see something beautiful, but you don’t have a use for it right away, how much do you buy?)
It depends on where I'm shopping. The place I usually go for fabric is a kind of odd-lot place and fabric is generally $3 a yard. I've been known to buy two or three yards with no plan for it. But only if it is nice stuff. Michael Miller from 2007, Flea Market Fancy (short bolt - $1.50 per yard!). That sort of thing. But if it is something I have been oggling online and I am paying $9/yard for it, I will buy a half yard, or in the $6 range a whole yard.
  • Do you buy on impulse or do you go out looking for something you need?
Both. I like to hit my special discount store often, so the intent is not impulsive but the actual choosing is. They have a jingle at my special store that goes "I should've bought it when I saw it at Marden's" And that is quite true. (Can you believe I didn't buy the whole bolt of Flea Market Fancy? It wasn't there the next day, though, when I went back for more.) So I don't hem and haw too much about it while standing with a bolt in my hand. And I do a lot of oggling online, but it takes a lot of oggling for me to buy something, so that's not impulsive.
  • Are you a pre-washer? If you are, do you wash your fabric before you need it, or only when you’re ready to use it?
I pre wash everything as soon as I bring it home in hot water with a super hot dry. If it's going to be wrecked, I want it to be before I spend a lot of time with it, and with kids clothes, chances are it will get washed on hot, with other random colors at some point.
  • Do you iron it?
I grab it out of the dryer as soon as it is dry and fold very carefully. Then, I will iron if I need to when I go to use it.
  • How do you sort it? (color, print size, collection, etc.)
I have a bin for anything larger than a yard, and anthing smaller goes in the cabinet, with larger pieces going on the bottom shelves and smaller pieces on the top shelves. And I have two bins of very small scraps - one bin of favorties, and one bin that are not favorites.
  • Do you have any special folding techniques?
I wish. I try to keep the edges inside, but I need to develop a technique that works for me and my cabinet.
  • How do you store your fabric?
Just folded up in the cabinet or in the bin. I have found that I can't cram stuff in the bin, though, or it requires more ironing before I can work with it. So I tend to have stuff piled up on my bin, too.
  • What tips do you have for building up a well-rounded stash?
I guess I don't think I have a well rounded stash. I have only been at this for 6 months or so. I just buy what I like, and then I buy other things that aren't as compelling because I think they will be useful or they match something else I have. Often, I will find something I think will match something I already own and bring it home only to find it is from the same fabric line. I don't know if that is impressive or lame.
  • When do you say enough is enough?
I have no idea.
  • What are some of your favorite stash-busting projects?
I haven't needed to bust my stash yet. I have been a knitter for a long time, though, and I have never been troubled by my stash. I keep what I like and get rid of what I don't.
  • Do you have a current favorite print in your stash? Let’s see it!
Right now? The ducks. I love the ducks. There is a coordinating all-over duck print, too. You can see in lining those baby shoes in the last picture of my bin (that's where projects hover in progress).

  • What’s your definition of the perfect stash?
You know, I think shopping and choosing and aquiring are as much fun as the sewing, so I would hate to have a perfect stash. I am a collector at heart. I'm sure it will be a neverending quest to complete my stash.

And here are some pictures. My work area, all neatened up for your benefit. I'm really pleased not to have to drag everything to the kitchen table to work, but my space is small. Small, I tell ya.

Anything less than a yard in here. Tub of not-favorite scraps at the bottom.

Patterns, favorite scraps and thread.

Here's the bin of big pieces. Baby shoes and pajamas in progess as well.

Let me not forget to show you my ironing 'board'.

And here is the whole room. It is 8x6 - really it was a walk in closet. Jason has the left half, I have the right. It's tight if we're in there together. Tight, but companionable.

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