What Counts and What Doesn’t?

When we’re doing our stash reports, what counts?

  • Do I have to count fabric that was a gift?
  • Do I have to count fabric that was given to me in exchange for something other that fabric?  Like . . a trade.  Maybe I trade my house for fabric??  Or, maybe I trade longarm quilting for fabric??  Or, maybe . .  well, you know what I’m talking about.
  • What if I find the perfect fabric for one of my patterns that I will be teaching and I need to order a couple of bolts to make kits because the perfect fabric will not be available when I’m actually teaching the classes?

I’ve been counting only fabrics that I bought — not fabrics that someone sent me because they saw it and knew I’d love it (this amounts to just a little fabric) or the fabric Vicky sent me for donation quilts (this amounts to a WHOLE LOT of fabric).

OK . . majority rules. What do you think?


  1. 1


    I think if you don’t buy it, you don’t have to count it and if you buy it for someone else to use, i.e. to make kits, you don’t count it. At least that’s how I see it.

  2. 2


    Here’s what I would do:
    1 – no – gifts are gifts and no guilt is allowed
    2 – yes, I could fabric that I acquire willingly no matter how I paid
    3 – yes, I’d count that too but it will be an “out” as soon as the kits are made.

    But, 4, who cares. Everyone should make their own rules!

  3. 4


    1 – Yes, but I don’t feel guilty about it. I really count just to see how much I’m acquiring and if more really is going out than coming in. No guilt.

    2 – Again, yes, for the same reason as above.

    3 – For kits, I wouldn’t count. It’s not yours, really. I wouldn’t count fabric in for donation quilts either, probably. (I would love to make donation quilts, but there is no extra quilting happening right now!)

  4. 5


    I think gift fabric shouldn’t count. “Beyond your control” is my justification. Everything else should count. Much of your examples will go out almost as soon as it comes in. Bottom line is that keeping track is just for your own satisfaction anyway so make rules that work for you. I know that my inflow has far exceeded my outflow this year but I’m okay with it since the new stuff helps me use up all the old stuff. Win/win.

  5. 6


    I ditto Vicki 😉

    and I thought of you when I was at my Dad’s in KY… there is a very small quilt store trying hard to stay in business… and I saw some Quilter’s Choice Blended Marbles… they had LIME GREEN!!! 🙂 should I send you a FQ sample? If you fell in love with it perhaps you could help keep Granny’s Attic in business! LOL 😉

    Her website doesn’t show everything she has but her prices are a steal of a deal – all the time! 😀
    http://www.grannysatticonline.com/ Karen is hoping that her online traffic picks up… since shop business is extreamly slow for the small town….

    Love from Texas! ~bonnie

  6. 7

    Hazel says

    I think only the fabric you buy should count! If you quilt for charity and somebody is contributing fabric, I don’t think it would be fair to count it in your stash or as busted either one. It is something that is a separate part of your quilting, kind of in a different category.

  7. 8

    Pat says

    Here’s my opinion…..you only count fabric you buy when you will be using it to make something for YOURSELF. All other fabric doesn’t count (at least in MY opinion.) I bet if you use MY “rules”, your stash numbers will be greatly reduced!!! 🙂

  8. 10


    Stash fabric only counts if you
    1. hide it when it arrives
    2. tell your hubby that has been around ‘a while’ really meaning less than a week
    3. leave it at the girlfriend’s house to prevent involving a lawyer
    4. used all of the grocery money to buy it

  9. 11

    Patricia says

    I feel that if it comes into my possession, for my use, it counts. How it was acquired or *paid* for or the purpose for which it might be used doesn’t matter – it counts. Kinda like chocolate calories – even on Saturday, it counts!

  10. 12


    If you don’t buy it for your own stash, to use in your own quilts at some future date, then don’t count it. Those bolts for kits, nope. You wouldn’t have bought those bolts for your own use; they’re for the use of others. Small gifts of fabric, nope. Exchanging service for fabric, nope. See? I’m easy! I guess each of our stash busts/purchases are our own rules since we all have different definitions of stash and goals.

  11. 13


    If the fabric goes into your stash it’s going to have to count…If it didn’t you would have to take out All the fabric gifted to you even 10 years ago…also any scraps left-over from your kits would bee added to the stash…just sayin’

  12. 14


    I would think you do not count gifts as they are not in your control, but you do count trades, because you buy that fabric even if it is with services or goods rather than with money.

    The teaching assignment I would not consider stash unless you have left overs after making the kits.

  13. 15

    pdudgeon says

    personally if someone wants to give me some fabric instead of a compleated quilt i don’t count it in my stash. I don’t have a lot of that (only 2 quilt’s worth) and i won’t be making the quilts this year any way, so they won’t count in my numbers. If i buy something it counts comming in and going out.

    as for when/how to count the fabric for stash busting, i count like Judy does. it counts when it’s cut for the quilt/binding and reserved/pieced for the quilt backing.

    the one exception is the curent BOM which WON’T be counted as busted until the top is a flimsy, because i’m not doing the whole thing this year. Even though i am making all the blocks and have all the fabric, those particular figures are not a part of my total busting efforts.
    I reported the numbers in when i bought the fabric, but it won’t get reported out this year.

  14. 16


    I know that my stash reduction for me was to encourage myself NOT to buy everything I saw and liked! I have plenty in my stash. So..when counting stash in..whatever was GIVEN to me, unsolicited, I don’t count. I did ask my hubby to NOT buy any fabric this year for me to help me out. He loves FatQuarterShop! LOL But like when I got fabric from a quilt store in exchange for sewing samples, I did count that because it doesn’t really matter how I paid for it, I still chose it. I don’t count fabric purchased to make a gift or to make a purse or something right away. I told myself as I was buying fabric for a purse just recently that if I didn’t make it within a month, I had to count that fabric as stash. So..I made the purse right away! Just little games I play with myself to keep myself to my own goal.

    I teach quilt classes and a lot of students know about my Stashbusting goals and somehow I think I’ve led them to believe it’s NOT okay to buy a lot of fabric, ‘just because you like it’. I told them that they are new, you NEED to build your stash. AFter all, if I followed that theory, I wouldn’t have a stash to pull from at all. It’s like food. Remember when you were first married and everything you wanted to make, you had to buy ALL the spices and every little thing? And now, you might have to supplement to replace used items, but you don’t buy everything for every meal you maek. Same thing for stash–I can make a ‘meal’ (quilt) from my pantry. On occasion I might have to supplement.

    I do count stash OUT when I actually go into the closet to pull it for a quilt back, or whatever. That’s the moment it gets counted for me. But I usually don’t do backs until it’s almost time for that quilt to be quilted. And I don’t count it as pulled from stash when it’s been CUT up for a quilt, but I will if it’s still all whole pieces. sometimes I make up my own ‘kits’ and then later decide I don’t want to do it, so put the fabric back into the ‘general population’. LOL In that case, if I do make the quilt, I do count it as stash reduced.

    Whatever works for you in your own little mind game! LOL

  15. 17

    Rebecca says

    Well, I’m coming from a completely different angle (and not doing stash-busting), so you can disregard my opinion, but I think no matter how you got it, it’s in your stash, isn’t it? Therefore, it should count. After all, you’ll count it when you use it.

    The bolts for kits I wouldn’t count, though. That fabric is for other people, and you won’t be using it for your own purposes.