Sunday, November 25, 2007

On stashbusting

{I apologise for the length and silliness of this post ..., I got carried away!)

I have discovered that there is an invidious cult like group around called Stashbusters. They seem like normal people. Their blogs are wholesome and show cute babies and snuggly quilts. They have a button that looks like any other button and their doctrines as portrayed on their blogs look mainstream. They have bought a lot of fabric and they want to use it up. They want to support and encourage each other to do that. What nice, responsible people. When I first found them I thought, yeah, I'd like to join them.

But, lets look at their real doctrine. Not the stuff they are peddling door to door. The real theology as written in their Yahoo Newsletter group statement. Even that starts relatively anodine. Just a subtle shift from their blog statement about making quilts out of their stash. It begins:

"The purpose of this group is to support those quilters who wish to cut down on spending for one year, and reduce their stashes....."

but read on.

"You can join and start "not buying" anytime during the year..."

Not Buying? Now that sounds to me like it fits the definition of a cult I found online :

"A group generally considered to be extremist or false, with its followers often living in an unconventional manner.....Obsessive, especially faddish, devotion to or veneration for a person, principle"

I mean how many quilters don't buy? And not buying for a year. If that is not 'especially faddish' I don't know what is. So I thought it my duty to warn you to resist the false teachings of this group.

Their gospel sounds perfectly plausible, laudable even. They are right that you have bought lots of fabric that is sitting in your cupboard. Enough that you could quilt for years without buying more. You are more a fabric collector than a quilter. You are hoarding the stuff. Hear those sibilant arguments seducing you into joining them. Or, if you push it, watch them move to threats of dire consequences if you ignore them. That fabric is going to kill you. It will fall on you and smother you. OK, OK, you cry. I want to live. I repent my hasty purhases of Moda jelly rolls and Loni Rossi Fat Quarter packs. I believe.

But lets take this to the logical conclusion. You sew up all your fabric and then what? You don't have any left. So what are you going to do? Sigh, and turn to trainspotting for a hobby? No, you are going to go shopping and create a new stash. But before you do that you are going to go through the pains of de-programming. You are going to have shaking hands, which long for somthing soft ( or crinkly or silky) to stroke, you are going to have headaches from carrying around half baked ideas for quilts in your heard that you cannot translate to planned projects. You are going to suffer.

And don't let them con you that you will find the succour of companionship in their midst. Because whilst you sit at home trying to find a way to get your neon blue spacemen novelty fabric to fit with the Liberty Lawns, your real friends are out draping cottons at the local quilt shop and razzing it up, bags a-bulging at the international shows.

So what do the leaders of this invidious movement stand to gain from sucking you into their schemes? I believe a careful examination of their practices reveals all. I found a blog testimonay recently in which a senior group member praised a neophyte for managing, for the very first time, to delete emails advertising fabric sales without even reading them. Thats it! The Ring leaders are simply out to beat us to the sales. It is a fabric grab!

But getting rid of a cult is not that easy. I bet, even as you read this, a little voice on your shoulder is saying, "Ha, funny. But you know, I do have quite a big stash. Maybe I should join the ring..." See, that's how cults work. They start with a good point, a legtimate premise and present a flawed solution to it. So the best way to combat them is to find the true solution to the stash issue. To that end, I commend to you the concept of..... Stash Rotation.

Here is a parable from the Book of Stash Rotation

Once there were two farmers. Both of them had one more field than they needed. The foolish farmer decided to use up the field and built a log cabin on it with courthouse steps leading up to it and dormer attic windows. The first year he was warm and snug in his house and he bragged to his neighbour farmer that he had made good use of his field and had no need to replace it because he had an heirloom house with a label on the back for good measure. The wise farmer however, just kept his field empty. Everynow and again he would go and rub his palm over the soft grass growing there. In the second year he did the same whilst the foolish farmer took another of his fields and built a Schoolhouse block on it. The wise farmer went out and bought another field that he didn't really need but, becuase the grass in this field was so soft he preferred to stroke this crop and started to use his previously empty field. In the third year the foolish farmer decided that he could live on even less food and decided to build a railfence around another of his fields and donate it to charity. The wise farmer bought another field and started to use last year's field. In the fourth year the foolish farmer's crops began to fail. He paid an international field teacher to appraise his fields. The teacher looked at them through a reducing glass then took an arial photo in black and white.

"Oh Dear," she said, "you have value blight. You have failed to renew your fields. You should let one or two lie fallow so that when you need the hue or tones found deep in the soil they are available to you. That is why your fields have lots their vitality and become monocromatic and inspid. You should be like the wise farmer who rotated his fields, using some new and some old and always keeping a range of hues and values available in his soil."

The foolish famer wept and rent his clothes but yea, he was still low on fields. The wise farmer however, having to fund all these fields was also working overtime as a Good Samaritan and, seeing the foolish farmer in need of half a meter of hedgerow did donate it to him as, in truth, the foolish farmer was not evil but, as I have been saying all long, only foolish.

And so, my recommendation is that you by all means use your stash but that you replace what you use. Because quilting is about fabric as much as it is about sewing which is why we do not have stashes of plain white cottons to make duvet covers with. If you really do have too much of the stuff then by all means make quilts a little quicker than you replace but do not let your stash dwindle to the uglies and the unmatchable. After all, you may well need a sofa sized stack of fat quarters to hide behind when the pair of clean cut white shirted Stashbusters come to the door to sell you a copy of FabricTower.........

{To all members of Stashbusters. Do not sue me. (a) this is a spoof (b) being a professional I can sue better than you can and (c) I really did want to join you but then I started to hyperventilate at the thought of not being able to shop for a year ....}


Suzanne Earley said...


I especially liked your parable.


Barbara said...

Helen, I am a first-time poster to your blog and just had to let you know how your Stashbuster Spoof made me chuckle! Must admit I was a member of Stashbusters for a while but couldn't hack it - too many rules!

Helen said...

You've done it again! Won my award for the best laugh of the week and please, please, can I publish your parable in our club newsletter. You are a fertile field of inspiration (aha, a bad pun, I'm beginning to sound like the TV news headlines which is full of them and are even making my 17 year old son groan!)

Margeeth said...

Oh wow, this is a great story. I nearly laughed my head off reading it....
By the way, I am one of those 'creepy' stashbusters. Not because I want to use up my stash but because I like scrapquilts and they show a lot of them on their website (and, I admit, I have cut down on buying fabrics because I run out of storage space, but that was since before I joined the group).

Beth said...

This is too darned funny! I keep joining that group and leaving it, the rules are just too strict for me.

sandy said...

Love the Stashbuster piece. But listen you CAN join us ... many of us don't join the NO BUY. LOL

doni said...

Oh no!!! I'm in a cult! LOL! I loved the parable - great job!

kate said...

Wonderful !!!
Wonderful !!!
Wonderful !!!

Laughed so hard my DH came to see why!

A cult!!!!!! Oh My!!! :-)

-- from a stashbuster who buys fabric whenever she wants!!!

Anonymous said...

The parable is good. I enjoyed it.
To those who think Stashbusters is all about rules, I would say you never explored the group. It is about supporting each one has to go "No-buy".
Peggy B

Sandra said...

Ahem! Excuse me!!! (jumping up and down and waving arms!) Yoo hoo!

Does anyone around here have a coordinate for blue spaceman fabric that coordinates with my pink and grey Liberty Lawn?

Listmom Sandra from Stashbuster

Greenmare said...

You are toooooooo cute! I'm part of the stashbuster ring, but I can certainly testify that I am no WAY on no-buy, but then I have never been one to follow anyones rules. I joined to try to finish my UFO's but to be honest I think I have created more UFO's than I have finished. sigh!

Sheila P said...

I know one of the Stashbusters members who is on the NoBuy diet, and I can attest that she is a normal, pleasant quilting lady! You just don't know the SIZE of her STASH!!!

Margarete said...

Hi from a German stashbuster,

I LOVE that post you did on stash busting! Now that you mention it I am in danger!!!

When joining the group I did not recognize that desastrous influential potential,LOL.

I found it rather strange to sign a no buy-proposal, BUT in the meantime the influence is growing and I often think about grabbing fabric from my stash and even cutting it before having made a compensatory shopping tour to avoid the dilemma of being forced to deal with a lack of fabric in my stash.

I felt a faint pride when doing my last scrap quilt completely from stash.

Is there any hope?

My stash has been severely reduced. It now fits into three rooms. Will there be the envisioned threat of a fabric- and fiberless future?

Have I gotten behind the point of no return?

Helen in the UK said...

I found this so funny - and I'm a member of the Stashbusters group!! I don't want to use up all my fabrics, just use at least as much to make quilts as I buy each year. I want to be a quilter, not a fabric collector!! LOVE your sense of humour :)

Nicole and Phil said...

your blog link was posted on the Stashbuster cult, I mean group...
and I loved reading your blog post on the group!
I have been a cult member for about 8 months now, and have found the patterns shared have been great to use those ugly fabrics, and other fabrics that I have in my stash, to make room for more fabric! :)
Thanks for the laugh!!!!

Anna in Illinois said...

I admit to being a member of Stashbusters but I heartily agree with your premise. What I have chosen to take from SB's is my need to sew up more of my goodies than I buy. But I do admit to failing more times than not.
Keep up the good writing,
Anna inIL

Khris said...

Very very funny. I loved this post. I am new to Stashbuster but am not strong enough to take the No Buy Challenge. I do love the group for the inspiration I get from all the amazing quilters.

tirane93 said...

amen, sistah, amen!

Margeeth said...

Hi Helen,

(thanks for your reaction on my blog)
Well, there's one thing you can say for us stashbusters, we definitively like a good spoof!
I was the 'culprit' that linked it to the stashbustergroup with as subject "Funny" and all I saw were positive reactions,one of which was even to put the link to this post in the archives of our group, so please don't erase it.

By the way, I just bought an entire bolt of white cotton to dye, which I can store because I did some major stashbusting this summer otherwise I couldn't have bought it because of lack of storage space.

Sue B said...

LOL! Love it.

I'm off to go buy some fabric...

Debra Spincic said...

What a great spoof! Many of the webrings just take themselves way too seriously to be of any fun or good for the soul! Thanks for a lighthearted good read!

beth in the nutmeg state (USA) said...

Thanks for a great post!

I had just talked myself out of a fabric purchase (half price quilt kit!!), but now I feel free to go out and sin some more.

Sarah said...

AMEN! I love it!!!

Julie aka "Quilt Diva" said...

Absolutely love your post ~ have joined Stashbusters a couple of times and then left within a week or so. I refuse to be sucked in again. Thank you for making me laugh harder than I've laughed in quite a while!

Stephanie said...

Too funny! I saw their group and thought about joining, then saw the No-Buy clause. I had already done two scrap quilts and started a string quilt, but decided I really needed some more purple to give this string quilt a better variety, and you know, I was starting to get short on orange, too, and it was Fat Quarter Friday at my LQS, and......

I couldn't take the guilt if I joined.

Teri said...

I'm laughing so hard I'm crying! I raise my glass of cabernet sauvignon and cry out "Here here!"


Anonymous said...

Cult member here ... LOL'ing while I fondle the stash that hasn't seemed to have been busted to any discernable extent ... ;)

Thanks for the laughs!!!!!!!!!!!!

Signed ... Stasher with a Bag over her Head ;)

night owl said...

Hi, I always wanted to be a cult member!!!!! LOL. Rules????? I just enjoy the e-mails,tho' I must admit to buying less 3 yard+ pieces and only getting FQ'S. But not buying!!!!!! I'd rather stop breathing! (only Jokeing)
Barbara in NY

julie said...

Thanks for the best belly laugh I've had in a long time. "Cult" no less,funny, funny. I am now worried about mass self harm with all the sharp instruments in our sewing room. Just joking!!!

Dennisa in Fort Worth TX said...

hahahaah the cariest thing about this post is that it rang loud and cler in my head. hubby thinks I have too muc.....need to save money.....feeling guilting about spending......NOPE I have reserves so that I can quitl whenever and for however long I want to....its a must a stash that is.....Thanks for your spoof I enjoyed it very much!!