Stashbusting FAQ

Have you noticed that stashbusting in 2010 is going to be a huge commitment for me.  I’m excited about it.  I’m not feeling like it’s something I have to do .. can’t buy fabric . . poor Judy!  NO!  I’m feeling empowered and energized . . knowing that I’ve committed to doing something and I’m going to do it!  Stashbusting has been a goal or resolution for years but this is the first year I feel like I’m going to do it and do it right.  I’m not advocating that everyone else do exactly what I’m doing.  But, you each know what YOU need to do and what will work for YOU!

Keeping track of what’s added and what’s used may sound like a lot of trouble but it has helped me tremendously.  Knowing that what comes in is going to have to be reported has helped me tremendously . . helped me to think twice before making those purchases.

My Plan:

  1. I have a goal for the net amount of yardage I want to use in 2010.  It’s a goal I probably cannot reach but it will keep me pushing my limits and trying.  I know how I operate and if i set a goal I know I can reach, I won’t be 100% committed to using the stash, pushing to get more quilts made and will have a whole different attitude about buying fabric.
  2. I have a plan as to how many quilts I need to make to reach my yardage goals. This can include quilts, pillowcases, aprons — anything quilt related.  Again, it’s probably a number I cannot reach but I’ll never know if I don’t try.
  3. If I need fabric, I will buy it! I’m not saying I won’t buy anything!  If I need background fabric, or red or yellow . . I’ll buy it.  My quilting efforts are not going to be thwarted because I don’t have what I need to work.  I will shop the stash first and see if I can make any changes in my quilt plans in order to use what I have.

Questions Often Asked about the stash reporting:

  1. How do you count all your yardage? I don’t!  How much I have on hand at this point doesn’t matter.  How much is here and how it got here is history.  What matters to me is how much I use.
  2. How do you know how much you’ve used? All my quilts are drawn out in Electric Quilt before I start sewing.  I take the yardage requirements given by EQ as the amount used for that project.    It’s pretty accurate.  Yesterday I was working on a quilt and when I checked the EQ yardage, it indicated the quilt took 14 yards.  I knew that wasn’t correct.  It was a scrappy quilt and for every 4″ square I used, EQ calculated 1/8 yard.  I went back and colored a bunch of squares the same and it brought it down to 7  yards.  That was more accurate.  There are no stashbusting police out there (I hope), so do your best.  If you don’t use EQ and you’re using a quilt with a bunch of 4″ squares, you know you can get 10 – 4″ squares across the width of the fabric.  If you need 100 – 4″ squares, then you’re going to need 10 – 4″ strips . . or 40″ of fabric.  If that’s too much math for you . . figure out a way to do it that works for you.   Get close!  You may decide that it takes 7 yards to make a 60″ x 80″ quilt, or 10 yards to make a 100″ x 100″ quilt and just use those figures without any calculations each time.  Do what works for you.
  3. What if I don’t want to commit to weekly reporting? Fine.  Report once a month, once a year; whatever works for you.  Some will start off every week for a couple of months, then go to once a month and then disappear completely.  I’m not taking names.  This is for fun!
  4. When do you count it as used? Some count the yardage when the whole quilt is finished.  I count it when I pull it from the stash and start the project.  At that point, it’s no longer in the stash and available for other projects.  I keep a spreadsheet and describe which fabrics have been counted for which projects so if I forget if I’ve already counted something, I can go back and check.
  5. What about gifts or donated fabric you receive? It’s totally up to you.  I count what comes in because I want to count what goes out.  If fabric goes onto my shelves, it is added to the stash numbers.  Last week I ordered a good bit of fabric to donate to a group that makes donation quilts.  The fabric will arrive, and be sent right out to its new owner so I will not count that as coming in or going out.  I don’t have a problem with adding it and then subtracting it but I prefer for my “out” numbers to represent what I’ve actually used.  Do what works for you!
  6. Can you count fabric you give away? It’s up to you.  I don’t give away much of my fabric.  If I want to make a donation or a gift, I usually buy something new and send it out and don’t count it as in or out.  If someone is looking for a specific fabric to finish a project and I have it, then I send it to them and I do count that in my used figures.
  7. This all seems like too much trouble!  I just want to quilt and not keep track of anything! Then do just that.  It’s ok.  There are 20 or 30 or sometimes 40 of us doing stash reports.  There are definitely more quilters not doing them than are doing them.  Do whatever works for you!
  8. I started out great but have done horrible.  What now? It’s up to you.  Keep tracking what you’re using and adding and hope to stay on track the rest of the year or throw in the towel and pretend you never planned to stashbust in 2010.

If there are other questions, please let me know.



  1. 1



    I’ve already set my 2010 goals…. 300 yds from the stash, 10 old UFOs finished (these aren’t all quilts) + 4 Christmas quilts that aren’t begun yet.

    My usage numbers aren’t quite as high as my goals this year, but I don’t think I’ve failed in my mission. I’ve only added 33.75 yds to my stash…but used 231.5…and I still have a week to go and a mystery quilt to cut out! I may get a little closer to my 09 goal of 300 yds from the stash 🙂

    I’m definitely onboard for next year’s Stashbustin’ efforts!
    Thanks for the encouragement to keep on going.

  2. 2


    Thanks for the encouragement and the explanation. It helped answer some questions for me and solidify my plans for 2010.

    Can’t WAIT to get started!

  3. 3


    I’ve set my goals – they are modest for stashbusting, a mere 5 yards per month (60). But I have also set additional goals to work on the tops to be quilted as well as finish up UFOs.

    Maybe someday, I’ll get a longarm which would speed up the quilting process.

    • 3.1


      I also meant to add as encouragement for those who just quilt – join Judy on Design Wall Monday. That’s fun too!

  4. 4

    pdudgeon says

    i have a different sort of goal in the number of project boxes i want to empty! some of the projects are wall quilts and others are twin sized, but all that fabric is taking up space.
    and yes, i’ll count the yardage, too.

    20 projects for 52 weeks of the year. if i get those done then i’ll sart on the next batch of 14 projects. after that will come the UFO’s.
    Like Judy says, i won’t get all of it done in a year, but i’ll have more finished than i do right now!

  5. 6


    This is a wonderful year’s project and you have explained it well. I’m inspired and think I’ll try this. Take care and good luck for the new year!

  6. 7

    peggy says

    One thing not quite on topic here is that my fabric choices are definitely changing. And I think I see it in others as well. The wild and flashy prints seem to be giving way to more tonal fabrics, such as you, Judy, have been using all along. I may have to purge some prints along the way. I still think I will have plenty of fabric to use for purposes of stash busting though

  7. 8


    Great ideas. I don’t know if I am going to do anything formal or not but I am going to try and use up fabric I have. I have a lot of smallish pieces I would love to incorporate into something and get rid of them.

  8. 9


    Hi Judy:

    Life & a little too many swap committments helped me fall off the wagon in 2009; I did make a little bit of a dent by giving away a lot of fabric that I would never have used. . . but then I added in alot of fabric that I want to use.

    I’m in the process of re-organizing the basement yet again, but once that is done I plan on burning through quite a bit of stash.

    My main goals will be to complete kits and UFO’s that I have. . .plus I would like to make at least 1 quilt top a month for my guilds charity closet.

    Thank you for the continuing inspiration. . . .and I hope all of our 2010 goals are met!

    In peace & pieces,

    Sherry V.

  9. 10


    Thank you for further explanations – and I am in! Now I don’t know if I can do it every week, but I will give it an honest try. Not quite sure about the spread sheet yet ( I deal with too many of these at my workplace). Thanks for spreading the stash reduction excitement- I needed it.

  10. 11


    I can’t wait to start it all over again. It’s been a real eye-opener about my fabric use. I have to start thinking about my goal for 2010. Hmm… I wonder what the magic number will be.

  11. 12


    You all have inspired me to start this in 2010.. By the time I got it together last year (after a move), I was too far gone to think about it. But I’ve been planning it, and I’m ready to roll!

  12. 13


    Hi Judy,

    I would like to join. How do I proceed, do I have to enlist somewhere?
    By the way, I have another way of measuring, I weigh my fabrics and then convert this to metres (which I can convert to yards).

    Happy quilting, Margeeth

  13. 14

    Tricia says

    I’d be interested to know how many quilts you have finished this year. What does using 460 yards of fabric look like to a quilter…meaning, how many more quilts would I have by the end of next year if I were as industrious as you?!
    Thanks for the stash-busting advice!

  14. 15


    I am in again Judy! I have loved doing the stash report this past year.

    It has made me think before buying fabric. I can love a line of fabric and not buy it. I have shopped my stash A LOT more than I ever have. I have learned that I don’t need to buy 4 yards of a white tone on tone print, I can use the two 2 yard pieces I have in my stash. I have found the “weak” colors in my stash and have added to them. I have made stuff out of my comfort zone and loved them.

    By doing the stash report this past year it has helped me grow as a quilter. I am going to fall short of my goal this year, I am okay with that. I achieved more than I ever thought I would. THANK YOU!!!

    My goals for next year are:
    1. Bust 78 yards
    2. Complete 1 UFO a month, not 12 in the year
    3. Finish 2 WISH projects, I have several projects I wish to start and haven’t.

  15. 16

    Cindy in California says

    OK!! I am IN also. Nothing like being held accountable!! If I just finish some of my UFOs, that will help my stash a lot! I will try to set a goal before New Years. Since I am not sure how much I have ( and DON’T WANT TO KNOW!!!!), I will probably have to set my goal based on yards per finished project.

    I like Dinah’s goal of finishing one UFO a month! That would be a great help!

  16. 17

    Becky says

    Last year for Christmas I got a 100$ gift certificate to my favorite fabric store. Bought all the stuff plus more and came home and was disgusted by all the fabric I had. I made a pledge to not buy at all this year. I have not bought fabric since January 2nd of 09 and I have dug deep in my stash and found some great stuff. I have felt great. I plan to go as long a possible. The drawers close now and I have have enjoyed the challenge. I have had to be clever and ended up finding terrific choices. Still have alot left, so I should be able to go alot longer. Try it, it is cool.