Thursday, November 01, 2012

Maximum stash anxiety

I have a problem. It's what could be called a  princess, 1st world, or champagne problem, but it's a problem for me none the less. You know from reading my blog that I haven't been sewing much over the last few years. Except for my annual Christmas party dresses and some home dec, the sewing machine has been pretty idle. Well, now I have time while I'm taking a break from work to live in Germany for a few years. At least I'll have time for sewing during the week - our weekends will be spent traveling as much as possible. But that week will have to split among my many interests as well as my desire to learn German and explore the local surroundings. That's princess problem #1: too many hobbies, not enough time.

Princess problem #2 is that I have too much fabric. Selecting what to bring is giving me anxiety. I had a crazy idea to create a huge SWAP (Sewing With A Plan) to cover the next few years, but there's just not time or energy to do that. I am only home for a few weeks to gather what I want to have packed and shipped to Germany. It's totally out of the question to bring all the fabric - there's far too much, but at least I don't have to get rid of what I don't bring. Most of my fabric is stored in plastic bins and swatched on cards so I know what I have, but confronting it sort of feels like you do after you eat an entire box of cookies. I'm sick to my stomach that I acquired more than I can really use, but I want them all. There's some really great fabric stored away that I'd like to bring, but I think the best strategy right now is to bring the fabrics that aren't stored. Some of the fabrics are ones I pulled out because I had intentions of actually make something with it (ha!), and some are purchases from over the last few years that never got stored or swatched. It's all good stuff, and while I don't have exact plans for all of the fabric, I have some ideas of what it can be used for. I think this way I'll have fabric to sew and hopefully I won't have to buy fabric locally, where it's expensive and probably redundant to what I have at home. I will be making some trips home so I can bring some fabric back with me if I really need to. Hmmm, should I bring all my swatch cards to Germany or will that just make me nuts because I didn't bring the perfect fabric with me?

Princess problem #3 is too many patterns. Darn those sales at Joanns! I also have a sizable collection of Kwik Sew, Jalie, and independent patterns. Burda? I have 13 years of Burda magazine patterns. Thirteen years. And lets not forget the other foreign magazines - Patrones, Diana, Ottobre, a few La Mia Boutiques. I've done a bit of traveling and buying them is one of my weaknesses. So my plan for patterns is to bring a selection of envelope ones that I think would work with the fabric I'm bringing and to bring the last two years of Burda magazines. I still get Burda delivered to my address in Germany and of course I can go to any newstand and buy Burda and other sewing magazines (Ottobre, Patrones, Diana), so I don't think I will have a shortage of patterns to use. And if I really want a Big-4 pattern for some reason, I can probably have someone (mom?) mail it to me.

Princess problem #4. I also knit. So problems #2 and #3 apply to yarn and knitting patterns/magazines as well.

Princess problem #5. I also spin. At least fiber is squishable.

Princess problem #6. I also weave. My 4-shaft loom is somewhat portable and the rigid heddle folds up, so that's good for space issues. And I can weave with the yarn I spin, so there's a bonus! Well, at least the weft - I still need the right warp yarn.

Ok, my head hurts now, and I need to get back to deciding what to bring. I haven't even touched my notions. Scissors, thread, elastic, zippers, buttons...this is going to be harder than I thought.


  1. I'm on the fence if I'm going to sew on a machine while I'm in the UK. The idea of sewing away from my regular set-up is daunting. If you are set on sewing, I would consider bringing 1 or 2 wardrobe patterns (so you have a selection of different garments. Or you could skip the wardrobe patterns and rely on Burda magazine). And then I would look for knit/jersey patterns for tops (Vogue has some interestingly seamed tops), wrap dresses (or colorblock jersey shifts) and skirts, and possibly yoga pants/leggings or slacks. I would bring no more than 1 slack/trouser pattern/legging for knits, 2 skirt patterns and concentrate on tops and dresses (2-3 top and dress patterns). I think that garments made from knits, jerseys, etc probably need fewer notions. Garments made from knits rarely need zippers, buttons, hooks, as well as lining fabric. You would need needles, pins, thread, shears, seam ripper, and probably elastic for waistbands (for skirts and slacks), and maybe interfacing for some neck bands or cuffs (depending on the style). At home, I have a rotary cutter and mat at home (and a large (overly large) stash of fabrics, patterns, notions, so I feel your pain. Regarding the other crafts, I don't know how much equipment you would need. I would start knitting and crocheting a storm (once I found a yarn shop) because I'm under the illusion that it requires less or more easily findable equipment. I think that it depends on how much you want/are able to bring with you so you can get what you want done. I look forward to learning how you approach this.

    1. Great advice, Rose! You've got me realizing that I need to edit the stack of fabric and patterns I was going to bring. I think it's too much. Definitely too much. Thank you.

  2. Blogger ate my comment.
    So again:
    You can check out burdas in the libraries here and yarn is a lot cheaper here in Germany, than it is in the states! So I would say, bring your vogues, KS, Simplicity etc. because you can't get those here for a decent price.Zippers are expensive but Gütermannthread is decent priced. Bring good interfacing. The only stuff you get here is Vilene.
    As for fabrics: there's bound to be a Dutch fabric market around your area with good fabric, that is not too expensive. So bring your good things and leave the "lala" things at home.
    Have you ever woven with your handspun? And how much weaving are you actually doing? I would leave the loom at home and just bring my spinningwheel. Bring fibre. If you run out of fibre, I can tell you were go get more (handdyed or undyded).
    For knitting: Ravelry is full of free patterns. You could also get the Interweave Knit magazines on CD and get rid of your magazines....

    As for your sewing machine: We do have a different power system here, so make sure, that your machine will not be damaged from the higher power outlet!

    1. Danke Tini. I didn't know you could check out Burda in the library, that's cool! I was surprised (and pleased) to see yarn sold in the department stores and yes, the price is very good. It's going to be hard to keep from buying too much.

      If I'd had more time and energy I would have gone through all my fabric and been more selective, but I think what I've pulled together, both for fabrics and patterns, will keep me busy. And I plan to go home a couple times a year so I can bring more if I need it. A friend is housesitting so we don't have to pack everything up and rent it out or sell it.

      The loom is definitely coming with me. Actually, both of them. My larger loom is still not that large and I only just got it last year so haven't had a lot of time to play with it. My husband's company is paying for the move, and the apartment we're renting has a second bedroom, so fortunately I don't have to deny myself any fiber-fun.

      I thought about buying a sewing machine there instead of bringing mine, but I like mine plus I really want my serger. So I'll be using a power converter, which means we can bring our Kitchenaid stand mixer too! But we're leaving most other appliances at home.