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Friday, May 24, 2019

Stash Musings and Fond Farewells.


Irene and her Pineapple Blossom -

The “Over the Porch Rail” reveal!

Our time together was not complete until we could take this photo – epic! 

I first met Irene when I was teaching over a New Year’s Eve week in Plano, Texas many years ago now, and we hit it off like wildfire.  And my life has been so enriched by our friendship!  She not only keeps me laughing, she keeps me grounded.

This morning we are both packing it up and headed separate ways.  Irene- back to Louisville Kentucky, and me 100 miles south-east to Wallburg.


Ta-Da!!!

(Pineapple Blossom from the Free Patterns Tab!)

We not only stopped by Quiltville Inn for front porch photo opportunities – but to check on the status of the ceiling at the Quiltville Post Office.


Paint READY!!

This is happening this weekend!

Which means I am “that much” closer to moving my mail order center up to Virginia.  Painting, flooring for the bathroom, office, and back entry areas, overhead lights, bathroom fixtures and I’ll be ready.

My long arm machine is destined to be moved up here as well, but that will happen after everything else.  Getting the mail order functional here is the main objective for now.


All I can show of this for now!

The first two table runner tops for the dining room at Quiltville Inn are DONE. I’ll be writing about these in a future guest post on the C&T publishing blog soon.  I’ll let you know when and where to find it.


Even my monitor becomes a place to organize quilt parts.  LOL.

Along with the two garden party runners (Which are going home with Irene – she is going to quilt them up quick for me.  THANK YOU!!) I have been working from the same 1 1/2’’ strip bin on some sashings for another quilt that has reached setting-status. 

Oh how I love my Scrap User’s System for providing me endless hours of entertainment in all of the right sizes!  No fat-quarters or yardage was harmed in the making of these 60+ sashings, in all of their rainbow and black beauty.

And no worry about the Garden Party runners or the strip sashings even making a dent and depleting my supply – there is more where that came from and I am unabashedly grateful.

There is a lot of buzz going around along with Marie Kondo’s “Tidying Up” and minimalizing the amount of stuff we have as consumers.

More than just a consumer – I am a scrap quilt ARTIST.  What I have in my burgeoning stash is not clutter.  It’s POSSIBILITIES. It’s INSPIRATION.


Yes, I have a lot of fabric.  I use a lot of fabric.  I am just not going to get the same result if I minimized my stash and just bought what I needed when I needed it. I would not get the same depth and interest in my quilts if I stitched from one fabric line bought in layer-cake form as I needed it.

I do not intend to keep my stash limited to 2 bins or 3 shelves. There is no award given for "She who has the smallest stash" or "She who has the largest stash."

It is nobody's business how much fabric you have, or what you decide to do with it, or not do with it.

I have gotten to the point where I am mostly buying neutrals to go with the colors that I already have and love.  And let’s face it – It’s FUN to laugh at ugly fabric from time to time and still find a way to make good use of it.

I’m glad I started my stash early when fabric around the $6.99 a yard mark was considered HIGH.  Should I have to begin my quilting journey now with fabric prices climbing up to $14.00 a yard? I don’t think I’d jump on this freight train.  It’s no wonder that newer and younger quilters are forced into the “buy the jelly roll and make this with no scraps left over” party.

Sewing from a limited fabric stash would have me reaching BOREDOM on the warning scale in no time flat.  Quilts with limited variety do not hold my interest.  I know myself well enough to know this hands down.  I am always and forever thinking of how I can scrappy something up to make me happier. 

I think the key is not how much fabric you have in your stash – but how you use it, and how you organize it to keep it usable.  If you know what you have, and you can see it, you will more likely find a way to use it.  It’s an instant reality-check to know that you “Already have sufficient blue in that shade, I don’t need to add to it just because I like it.”

And the fun for me is to always be on the look out for ways to make good use of what I already have.  Win/Win.  Happy dance. Instant fun. Creativity set free.

I will quilt until I can’t quilt any longer over the next few decades, Lord willing – sewing up what I can of what I have collected along the way.

Anything left over?  Well if no one wants it, they can cremate it and the ugliest UFO’s with me – we won’t mind.

How about we focus on minimizing the over-use of plastic in our lives, and quit worrying about those of us with large fabric stashes. 

Folks, there are no stash police.  They are self appointed!

I will not judge you by your stash, so please don't judge me by mine.  My stash and I get along just fine.


This was sent to me by Lisa Bongean of Primitive Gatherings!


“Thought you might want to see this….it’s an alphabetical list. They gave it out to the kickoff at market to the shop owners.”

You’ll see Lisa there at number 7 – B for Bongean!


I’m number 43!

Just MAY be the Scrap Quilt Queen!

If it weren’t for my deep stash, this never would have happened.  Thanks, Lisa!


I’m leaving this girl here with The Hubster while I run home for the day.

I’ll be back up tomorrow ready to paint ourselves silly over the Memorial Day weekend.  What?  You thought I’d be quilting??


May beauty blooming.

Mountain Laurel from the woods around the cabin.




Quiltville Quote of the Day -

Believe in yourself.
Own your truth.
Hold your head high.
Keep smiling.
Move forward.
Have a great Friday!




67 comments:

  1. No stash police here. I agree with prices of fabric. I began my stash as a teen in the late '70s. I was mostly seeing clothing at the time. Speaking of stash fabric; i think I think I have that turquoise backing fabric in mine. Have a happy holiday! Violet in Illinois

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  2. Right on! I think I will print out this post and staple it to my will! LOL
    I love my scraps and could play with them until the end of my time on planet earth.
    And it's messy and it looks like garbage to those who are not from my scrappy tribe!
    Love that photo of the pretty flowers in your woods!

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    1. Kathy love being part of your tribe!!! Happy scrap quilting friend!

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  3. Mountain Laurel is beautiful. I haven't seen them here in the St. Louis area. No mountains here. I am totally with you on the stash business and have also found myself mostly buying neutrals for the same reason. Right now my messy string bin is calling for the treadle to come out and play. I have started Cactus Patch and am eager to get back to it. I am afraid the smallish 4" blocks aren't going to make much of a dent though.

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  4. Thank you, Bonnie, I am sick to death of people saying I have too much fabric, etc. It may be true but it is none of their business....lol. I love my fabrics from the 80s....and put it on the back of quilts:)

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  5. YES!! Your comments on stash building and individual preferences/ uses are right on the mark.
    I also think that you should have been recognized for your excellent blogging and photography skills. The mountain laurel picture is beautiful.
    Connie

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  6. Absolutely agree with the value of a well-seasoned stash! I've been known to save the extra 6 inch trimmings from my quilt sandwiches after they were quilted, and sewing those strips together to make a binding for another quilt down the line. They also make a great addition to the 2 1/2 inch stash pile.

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  7. The mountain laurel is beautiful! I love the garden party with aqua; it is my favorite color right now so my stash is aqua heavy! Time to use it.

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  8. "How about we focus on minimizing the over-use of plastic in our lives, and quit worrying about those of us with large fabric stashes. "

    Spot on Bonnie!!!!!

    I have a generous stash-I estimate 3000y or so. This decade I've sewn up nearly 1200 y and bought or been gifted nearly 1200 y. I'm a tad younger than you and intend to sew for decades to come. I don't listen to Stash Naysayers either.

    Quilt on girl, quilt on!!!! :-)

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  9. When I was first began quilting I liked so many fabrics that I continually bought fat quarters. But everyone (local teachers) stressed matchy-matchy. So mainly I played in my fat quarters and dreamed. I was always drawn to scrap quilts. Bought a lot of vintage quilt tops. Then I was introduced to your blog. And boy have my horizons exploded! I too have a big stash but shop in my sewing room now!

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  10. Way to go Bonnie. I have been telling the girls in my guild that your stash is your tool, a very good tool and you don't get rid of it just because someone else thinks you have too much stash ! Thank you Bonnie. Janice Park

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  11. My stash is my happy place! I still love to pet them reminisce about when I bought them! What I’ve made with them! Conversations with my friends about my stash results! The quilt Police( phantoms) can police themselves!😳🤣

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  12. I am one happy camper with my stash....Darling Daughter and Great Granddaughter check my stash before going to the quilt shop and usually find most of what they need (I am not a fan of blue ... so ) they still have the joy of going to the quilt shop for just the awsomeness of it. Lately (due to 'On Ringo Lake') Aqua seems to call to me...sigh..... would be so easy to just never leave the sewing room.

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  13. Don't have to convince me. I am on board with you. My husband never told me no or you have too much. I miss his supportive love. My son is ok with it also. My outer circle of family or friends don't get it. Oh well. Lucky me - I have learned so much from you. I truly enjoy my quilting times. My comfort in a crazy world.

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  14. Oof--sounds as though you've been fielding some hurtful comments/opinions lately! I too started early to establish a stash, so that when I retired I could still sew and quilt without it being too expensive on a limited income. I'm enjoying that luxury now! If the offspring even dare to lift an eyebrow, I'll laugh and tell them it's their inheritance.

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  15. I have been decluttering, but I DO NOT consider my stash to be clutter. It is the resource for my craft, and I need an abundant well from which to draw when I create.
    Also, congrats on making the "100 People You Should Know" list. I'm glad I know you. :) (And remember--number 43 only because it is alphabetical. Who knows, you could be #1!)

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    1. My stash may BE cluttered, but it is NOT clutter!!

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  16. I have discovered the charity run fabric and yarn shops to which people cleaning out their elderly relatives houses, donate their stash. Examples are those run by the Mennonite Central Committee in eastern PA and Scraps and Skeins in State College PA. New quilters don't have to pay top dollar even from shops and on line. Most of my stash was deeply on sale and price has always been a big factor in making my selections. Don't overlook the "flat folds " in stores run by the Mennonite community. This spring I bought a lot of Victoria Findley Wolfe and other big name fabric for $3.39 a yard at Good's store near Lancaster.

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  17. I don't need to be an "unknown" . I just didn't know how to add my name to the last comment.

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  18. I'm signed up for classes in Louisville in July and can't wait to meet both you and Irene! I have never seen Mountain Laurel before. It is absolutely gorgeous!!!

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  19. I would love to see that entire list of the 100 people we should know in the quilting word. There was no doubt in my mind that you would be included in that list!

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  20. Oooh, the Garden Party runners are so pretty w the aqua/turquoise alternate blocks. That's my favorite color, and I love seeing how different that pattern looks w aqua than with the original red. The black/rainbow sashes are COOL. Really interested to see what you do with those.

    Thanks for your insights about stash - agree 100%. It's all about being mindful about what you buy, knowing your own preferences and needs and working style, and buying what will work for you.

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  21. I went through a complete purge 7 years ago, and I hope to never go through that again. The only area that I regret is my fabrics - most were given and/or donated to fellow quilters & groups. So the regret is eased by knowing the fabric was well used by others. That being said I have been rebuilding my stash, yet keeping it contained to one room (lol). One of my goals for this year is to better organized my scraps (via your Scrap User System) because scrappy quilts are my absolute favorite quilts to make, gift, or have for my very own. Irene's quilt looks gorgeous hanging over the rail. Have fun painting this weekend - major progress on the Post Office - YAY!!!

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  22. We are not ones to go out a lot, we don't spend excessively, drive new cars every couple of years... I don't collect figurines or wall plates. I collect fabric! Not so much now as in the beginning; now I've learned your scrappy style and not much else calls to me! These days, I'm most likely to look for fun neutrals, and half yard cuts are my norm. Big chunks from my past are fine in backings, and what gets used gets used. I'll not worry over having and enjoying what I love.

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  23. Love today's blog! I was gifted 8 large boxes of fabric from a friend who no longer is able to use it. One of the boxes is sport team fabrics....what to do, what to do? Scrap quilts! Thank you for your inspiration. I will never reduce my fabric...unless it is by making more quilts and donating them!

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  24. Love it too! Irene's Ta Da is Great! My Stash was enhanced again just yesterday. $10.99 for solids, oy! Our Church had a fabric table at our Monthly meeting to peruse also. A few came home, one was a fun Neutral. you will see it later in one of my Bonnie Quilts. Thanks for the NO Guilt in Scrap Quilting example.

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  25. I agree...you are the scrap queen. I love my stash and all the scrapiness you help me create. Thanks for all your inspiration!!

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  26. Phooey to the anti-stashers. It's none of their business. I love my stash. Someone recently told me (being sarky) that my sewing room looks like a craft shop. I just smiled and said thank you! I'm having a blast cutting up my scraps. Organizing them using your scrap users system and making minature quilts.

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  27. 43? We know you're #1, More followers than all of those ladies...don't get me wrong I love their work too, but you are the QUEEN of scraps! No doubt about it!

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  28. Well said, Bonnie!

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  29. I was lucky early on in my quilting madness to belong to a quild that had a lot of scrap quilters. One of them was Pepper Cory. She advised to build a collection and to add to because the color palette changes from year to year and this would give you a wider range of colors.

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  30. I found Marie Kondo's principles to be more about how to work out what you really want to keep and how to manage it in a way that you control. I recently had a really nice time 'Kondoing' my crumbs drawer! I really want to do things with crumbs but I don't have time at the moment but I do have a friend who is working on a crumb project, so I got stuck into my crumb drawer. I pulled out each piece and thought about where I used it and if I wanted to keep it. If I didn't, I appreciated it it's journey and passed it on. It turned out to be an extremely positive exercise. I gave away a couple of shopping bags of crumbs and kept a small pile that I really wanted. My friend was very happy with the contribution. I then went on to do the rest of my sewing room. I got rid of things that I had held on to since I first started quilting, not because I liked them but because I felt I should. If it didn't bring me 'joy' out it went. I boxed up projects and sorted fabric and now I sometimes go into my room and enjoy the fact that I can just lay my hands on whatever project I want. I have also started sorting my scraps and cutting for projects and in the process my crumb drawer is growing again! I do have a friend that buys fabric and then is reluctant to use it and I feel this is not the purpose of a stash. I love using your scrap users system and I feel that it has liberated me in how I can use my stash, thereby making what I already have much more useful. Sometimes critical comments serve to help us define what is really important to us but in the end we are responible to ourselves for how we manage our lives, not to others. Quilt on Bonnie!

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  31. at least fabric is biodegradable...and plastic isn't...no FQs or strips clogging up the oceans!

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  32. Bonnie, thank you for your comments about a large stash. Do I have such?? You bet! It really grew when I went to a quilters estate sale and purchased plastic totes of quilt shop fabric at $15/tote sorted in color way. I filled, sincerely to the top, my Suburban! Most I kept, the rest I donated. When my husband was alive, he never complained about me purchasing too much fabric. I was blessed. Now I have a large stash as I move into retirement next week. Like you, I purchase bits and pieces here and there to spice things up. Otherwise, I use the abundance for which I have been blessed. Again, thank you for a your words~

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    1. Amen, Sistah!! I would have hauled it all home too!

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  33. Meanwhile over here in Aotearoa, New Zealand quiltng fabrics cost aprrox $24.00NZ a metre easily. A metre is .9 something of a yard. Your dollar is worth .66 of ours at the moment so by my rough calculations we end up paying about 14.40 US per metre. I would LOVE a stash but am careful what I buy.

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    1. ctually I miscalculated, it's over $15 US for .9 of a yard

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    2. A meter is longer than a yard... a yard is 36 inches and a meter is about 40 inches or 100 cm. I travel to Canada from the US every year, and usually end up buying a piece or two of fabric while up there. Expensive, but I consider it a better souvenir than refrigerator magnets or t-shirts.

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  34. Whoops I miscalculated it's even worse. Ends up about 15.84 Us for .9 of a yard.
    I always say to people that as long as it's legal and I am not hurting anyone I will do what I like.

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  35. Actually a meter is slightly longer than a yard. A yard is 36 inches. A meter is approximately 39 inches.

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  36. Glad I started my stash 17+ years ago. There are bargains to be had on line at places like Quilted Twins and Thousands of Bolts Only One Nut. We live very rural so most of my purchases are from these virtual shops. I do still enjoy fabric rolls and squares for a quick to be gifted lap quilt with not too many parts in each block. Oh, and I never share how huge my stash is with others.... none of their biz and to each their own, eh ?

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  37. When we were downsizing to move across the country to move to our apartment I applied the Spark Joy principles to everything I touched and my fabric collection sparked joy. My husband and I both quilt and we filled 22 boxes of fabric donated 4 garbage bags of fabric to a group that quilts for cancer patients. And once we settled into our new home joined two quilt guilds Jim discovered Singer Featherweights and now we have two! Our stash is a place of joy and I love pulling from it when we plan our next projects.

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  38. I listen for that "gasp" when a non quilter enters my sewing space...then again for that "Ahhh" when I find the exact match for that old fabric someone needs to finish their quilt because they mis-cut. Pulling fabric from my stash is my favorite thing to do, except for putting that last stitch in the binding. We use our stashes to relax, create and make the world a more beautiful place.

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  39. Thank you for your comments on having a large stash of fabric. I have been wrestling with whether or not to destash a lot of it and now I have my answer. I enjoy your blog and look forward to reading about what you are up to each day.

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  40. It sounds as if someone has been shaming you for your stash, which is ridiculous. They should be praising you for using up what is left over from each quilt you've made. I have my own feelings about the whole simplification movement. The idea that we should toss something out if we haven't used it in a year strikes me as absolutely wasteful, if we have room to store something in case we might need it again, rather than go back out and purchase that same object over again--an item that needed to be manufactured, and transported to the store, and you had to drive to buy, not to mention what happened to the item you got rid of, thinking it was obsolete because you hadn't happened to need it in twelve months. We used to buy things because they were made to last and then we kept them. Now we praise people for discarding things, and judge people for sentimental attachment to items that have emotional significance.
    Thanks for sharing the photo of Mountain Laurel. I had never seen it and it is so sweet!

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  41. Love your philosophy on fabric stashes and feel no need to get rid of mine I enjoy sewing and find it helps me to relax, my hubby never complains about me sewing. I bake twice a week for 2 community markets and use any money I make to buy sewing supplies I might need. Thank you so much for your wonderful blog I love to see your next project and the fun of your classes and also the progress on Quiltville Inn and post office.thank you for been the Queen of quilting for all of us.
    Love and quilty hugs
    Anne xxx

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  42. I wonder why anyone would whinge at your stash size? It's all individual anyway, some people choose not to, some people like to mix and match without trawling shops for hours on end. Here I have to control myself - purely because of space. Just organising into a scrap users system which is quite relaxing - playing with fabric I'd bought many years ago to use up. Add an Accuquilt and I'm sailing along! Can't wait to get sewing though. Chin up, nose in the air and sniff haughtily at the critics! LOL!

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  43. Fabulous post! Very well said.

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  44. A stash is an artist's pallet. Manufacturers change the colors and fabric styles they make every year, so you need to have a variety of vintages to get a full range. When I was outgrowing my previous storage containers, I asked my friends - cull the stash or more storage? Hands down, more storage! I have found that having a scrap users system and cutting down to usable sizes saves an enormous amount of time of otherwise measuring scraps to see if they are big enough. I take a big chunk of scraps that need trimming down to every guild meeting. I've been known to take boxes of scraps on road trips and I happily sort scraps into their sizes, trim them and sort into color families while my husband drives. Everyone is happy.

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  45. Excellent post Bonnie. I am in the process of organizing my scrap stash into your organization system. It's going well and I'm getting a ton of satisfaction each time I sort and cut one box of scraps into their new box, by size. I've only been quilting for three years but wish I had started out knowing about organizing your scraps! Thank you for teaching this system to so many of us.

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  46. My stash has made so many gifts for others! I love that my daughters and daughter in law can stop by and know they can find something they need! They have all learned to make gifts for others from shopping my stash. I teach classes in my home studio and my students shop by stash when they need to. My stash brings joy to me but is shared with many others! I live in Hershey and can't wait to meet you at the class I am taking at Quilt Odyssey!

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  47. Hi Bonnie.
    I'm tempted to copy the last bit of your post and drop it in to a word document and file it in a folder that I named 'quilt documents', of course quoting you as the source.

    It is that well written!

    I also have read each and every comment above that you have received on this post which I rarely do. Thank you again Bonnie. You are a continual inspiration to so many of us.

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  48. Thank you Bonnie, I'm pulling out one of your books and digging in the scraps just as soon as I finish the project I'm working on!!!! You keep us feeling good about our fabric stashes!!! Now I don't feel bad at all, this girl loves to quilt!

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  49. Gracias Bonnie. He leido los comentarios y no logro entender como a alguien le puede molestar que tengas un gran alijo, no lo entiendo El mío es creo que normal, jajaja cuando veo lo vuestro pienso que puedo acumular un poco más, pero si no lo necesito intento no comprar. Pero, si veo una tela que me gusta, la compro, porque voy a estar feliz mirandola y tocandola durante unos días, hasta que me venga la inspiración donde la pongo. Si alguién ha comentado algo, le digo que yo no pregunto donde gasta su dinero, yo con el mío hago lo que quiero, si tu vas de viaje y yo no puedo ir, lo gasto en lo que me gusta que son las telas. Y ahora me voy un rato con la serpentina, jajaja mi próxima colcha. Un abrazo a todas

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  50. No sé se entendereis lo que he escrito, jajajaja porque el traductor no refleja mis sentimientos, ni tampoco lo que he querido expresar, repite frases que yo no he puesto. Disculpad si no lo podeis leer.

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  51. Sometimes having a vast stash is a good thing..well it is always a good thing! I was looking for a couple fabrics to match a project I am working on and found two perfect matches and just enough to do the job. In a small to non existent stash that wouldn't have been possible!!

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  52. Who would tell an artist "you have too much paint." Who would tell a mechanic "you have too many tools." Who would tell a chef "you have too many pans in this kitchen."
    We have what we need, to do what we do.
    Bravo, Bonnie.

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  53. First of all...those flowers are so pretty! Do they have a scent?
    I'm printing this post out and giving it to my daughter. She used to give me a (loving) hard time about my stash. Every time she would say something, I would get more fabric and show it to her. I always tell her what I intend to use it for. She stopped giving me that hard time when she told me a benefit was coming up for a friend with cancer and I reached into my stash and came up with some fun goodies to be auctioned in a silent auction. Now she sees the worth of all my stash!
    Thank you for your fun posts. I am always interested in what you are up to and you have such a great way of telling us about your adventures!

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  54. What a great post! Thank you for so eloquently stating how I feel about my stash and scraps. Thanks to your scrap user system, I can easily go to my scraps with pure joy! I think your comment about 'My stash may be cluttered, but is not clutter' should go on a Bonniac T-shirt! Enjoy your paint party.

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  55. Yes, Bonnie, you ARE the scrap quilt queen. We, your loyal subjects, would have it no other way. As for the size of one's stash: does it spark joy? Then it's the right amount for YOU.

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  56. You absolutely deserve to be in the top 100! Congrats!!! I've been reading all those negatives about stashes - I love mine, even if it's not as well organized as it could be. Notice I didn't say should be? My comfort zone, my stash. Thank you for all your inspiration and sharing your life with us!

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  57. A friend came and made a comment about my stash, though when she first arrived I warned her "No judging"! She was after all coming to help herself to some of mine. I love, love, love this whole post and think I will print it and save it! It's such a great reminder of how we should live. When this person left my house, she commented to my husband that she hadn't made a dent in what I had. I don't think she realized how that sounded, but I certainly felt judged. And I thought my generous offer to let her choose some scraps for her project wasn't intended to "reduce" my stash but give variety to her project.

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  58. What a wonderful post! Thank you for making the rest of us feel better about the fabric we have and have plans for.

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  59. I love having a hearty stash! If I suddenly want to make a quilt for an event that's two weeks away, I don't have to run to multiple fabric stores; I just take out the containers with the appropriate colors and pull fabrics from those. I recently went through a lot of my sewing room to get rid of things I really didn't care for and didn't foresee using, so now I'm left with things I love.

    I ended up with fabric from both my grandmas and my mom and sister-in-law have handed me down fabric, too. My mom comes to me when she wants to make something and we find what we need in my stash. Mom also has a friend who wants to get rid of her fabric -- I volunteered to take it and find homes for it all. Some of it will be here! As long as I have (or can make) space for it, any fabric I think I'll use should stay right here. :)

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  60. As I have spent the past month going through my sewing, even pins and buttons collections, it has been adventure of looking at my past 60 years of sewing. My husband was putting a floor on the subflooring in my cutting/pressing room. Scrapes I have hard time saying good bye to the tiny pieces. Too much tiny makes one heavy quilt besides the time. I do try to make your quilt each year. When I had quilters come to see my longarm for sale they would say Bonnie Hunter!!! I do learn from you. Thanks for all you do. You do need to have all your writing put into books of the quilting adventures. I enjoy reading your blog.

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  61. I began my stash over 40 years ago and I show no signs of slowing down the ongoing replenishment! Happy that you had such a great time with a soulmate!

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