This project and post was inspired by one of my lovely blog readers, Jennie! We met last summer at Harrogate station (on our way home from the Great Northern Quilt Show) and we have been in touch since then via my blog and social media. One of Jennie’s resolutions this year is not to buy any new fabric, but to use up her stash of fabric for projects that she’s working on. I have already bought a bit of fabric this year, so I can’t do exactly what Jennie is doing – but, having to sort out a lot of stuff (i.e. the whole house) after the kitchen work was finished made me think a lot about my own fabric stash and the amount of room that it takes up… So, I decided that I’d do a little fabric stash inventory. Because, let’s face it, I couldn’t remember everything that I have!
It was actually really good to take stock of everything and sort things out – even though I did make a huge mess before I could get everything organised! I had various thoughts beforehand about how to carry out the inventory. This included having a notebook with everything written down in it, so the name of the fabric and the amount that I have, along with the type of fabric too. However, I don’t know about you, but whilst I can remember what some things are called or which collection they are from, I certainly can’t remember them all. Many bits of fabric I have are from years ago (before I was a dedicated crafter), so there was no real chance of me remembering. But then I had a cunning plan: what would be most helpful would be to have a photo inventory! That way, I can have it with me on my phone and then I can browse through it when I’m trying to match things and make decisions for projects. Bingo!
So I found all my boxes and bags of fabric and laid them out on the spare bed. I sorted into three piles: plains, patterns, and a pile of fabric that is already earmarked for a project. Most of this pile is things that I’ve got to make into clothes – I decided not to take individual photos of these so that I don’t end up accidentally using them for another project by mistake! I laid out a huge piece of white card as a background for the photos. White is best for anything like this, especially as I’ll be using the photos to match up fabric for projects. Starting with my fat quarter selection (which I keep in my vintage suitcase) I took photos of my fabric. Most of these photos have a maximum of 4 fabrics in them, and I tried to group some that went well together, for example the Christmassy ones. There are a few exceptions – like the photo below which shows the selection of fabrics that I used to make the quilted record mats (which you can see here). In my suitcase I also have a few metre pieces that can be used for baby quilt backings or other small projects, so I grouped these together too.
Next, I moved on to the other piles of large pieces of fabric. For the plains I stacked a few together to be able to get more in the photo. I’ll see how this works out when I actually use my inventory – I might have to take individual ones to get a better sense of the colours. Some of these fabrics are categorised by collection, just because they go together really well and it makes sense to know that they are by the same designer.
Once I had taken all of my photos, I decided to organise them in my photo stream. By having them on here, they will be easily accessible and I can also add comments to each of the photos – this includes the length, or any details about the colour or fabric, which will come in handy! I just gave a rough measurement for most of the pieces, but you could be more precise and measure everything if you wish. Our internet decided to play up at this point, so I had a right old faff trying to get them from my computer and into the stream, but eventually they made it! I edited them a little just to get the colours right and brighten them lighting a bit, and I also square cropped them so that they fit nicely on the album overview screen. You can see how I’m using the comments section to add details in this next photo:
In addition to creating my inventory, I also made sure that my fabric stash was a bit more sorted. Not having a dedicated craft space means that this is really important – especially now that we have had to find a new home for lots of things that used to live in the old garage. So I organised my boxes a little better, keeping those fabrics for projects in mind in one box, with prints and plains in another and everything else that didn’t really have a home in my final box. I’m hoping that by being a little more organised, I can stop the spread of the stash…at least for a little while anyway! :-)