Is your stashery™—the place you keep your fabric stash—full of “I don’t know what I’ll do with it, but I love it!” prints or “It’s what I needed for that project I didn’t make” colors? Or, are you the quilter who shops with her eyes, buying every haunting print as soon as you see it, because it might sell out, you know?

color wheel2How have you built your stash so far? The best complete stash has plenty of color, at least a little bit of every color. The best stash for you has, most of all, the colors you love. Add contrasting colors for pop, neutrals for backgrounds, and some multicolor prints for pizazz. Turn your stash into a rainbow!

beforeWhat fabrics do you need to fill the critical gaps in your stash? First, you’ll need to organize a little bit to see just what you have and recognize what’s missing.
Here are some creative ways to organize your stash and find the right fabrics to fill those empty spots.

Step 1: Fold ‘em! Try folding or otherwise making your fabric pieces neat, in sizes that will suit your stashery. The main idea: when you see the colors, you’ll be inspired! Make sure that all the pieces are visible.

Your space is a determining factor, of course. You get extra points for creativity! Take a look around your home for unique creative storage possibilities.

fabric_wall_480Of course, open storage, with fabrics settled side by side on shelves, is familiar and easy to accomplish. If you’re fortunate enough to have shelf space divided into cubbies, you’ll gain sectional storage that’s more protected and divided. Where is that old CD shelf?

Is a chest of drawers available? It can be a perfect option but only if you don’t mind having to open the drawers. Be sure to fold and tuck with all the colors showing across the width of the drawer. Otherwise, all that digging around could put you right back where you started.

Many quilters use clear plastic bins, preferably not too deep, so that you can tuck the rows upright and see them all before you open the bin.

Have you seen little bolts for storage? You can buy them or make them to fit your space, and use them just like bolts of fabric at your local quilt shop, but smaller.

No shelves, but a closet is nearby? Use clip or foldover pant hangers—or hook up hanging shoe or sweater dividers. Take a look around your home with an open mind. The possibilities for creative storage are endless!

Whatever your chosen storage location may be, be sure it’s out of direct sunlight.

1Step 2: Your awesome new space is dusted and your fabrics are folded neatly. Now—let’s put them in order! Of course, the ROY G BIV rainbow method is familiar. When fabrics are sorted according to the color wheel, it’s easy to pinpoint the secondary colors.

Prints can be confusing, but take a look at the selvage. See those little colored dots? Most fabrics have them, and they can be very helpful! They represent the different colors used in the fabric. Or simply squint: what do you see? Also, you might step back and take a look at the fabric from a distance – when you sneak up on it, what do you see first?

Divide the fabrics according to the plan which by now includes your space and the quantity of fabrics. Do you notice an abundance of any color? Would that be your favorite color? Thought so! That’s not a bad thing. Leave plenty of space for your favorites. Quilters know what they like!

10054Step 3: Most of your fabrics are in order, but what about those pesky multicolor prints with a dozen selvage dots, the ones that go beyond the squint test? Why not put them in a stack together, to look through lovingly the next time you are looking for inspiration? And pull out the backing fabrics that you don’t really want to mix in with the rest, and the reproduction fabrics, novelty or holiday prints, and batiks, if you usually use them all together…just like Spring cleaning, everything can have its place. That place is wherever it makes sense for you in your own stashery! Don’t feel that you have to put every fabric into your rainbow without exclusion. Pull those out-of-the-ordinary pieces into their own sections, and sort them separately. What’s practical for you is the most important thing!

WHEW! It’s time to step back and take a look. How can you make it more practical for your needs? A stash should be a usable, practical thing. Think it through:

What colors do I like the best? Do I use mostly prints or do I lean toward solids? Do I lack border prints? If I get into a project and want to finish, do I have enough fabric f10224or backing? Do I have plenty of blacks, whites, or cream tones to create backgrounds that read solid?

You get to make the call! You can always move the fabrics if they don’t feel right in their new stashery location.

This is Spring cleaning time, so don’t feel bad about culling out the fabrics that might as well be labeled Never. Your local senior citizen center or church quilting group would love to have the donation!

Find a world of colorful fabrics at every day, where AQS members always save 20%!

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