Quilters have been known to create some very inventive places to hide their quilting fabric. Why do they hide fabrics you ask? Well, here's how I imagine this strange habit evolved...long, long ago.
Let’s say her name was Ugga. She and all her neighbors lived in various cave dwellings where they kept all of their meager belongings. Their daily routines consisted of the cave men going out each day to hunt animals for food, while the women gathered berries and did their best to create a flavorful meal.
Ugga knew she was different. She enjoyed using colorful plants to draw creative pictures on the wall. She would search for vines, the stronger the better, and collect them to tie things together. Rather than simply draping fur pelts over her family’s bodies, she would connect pieces by punching small holes and weaving the vines in and out of the skins. This made for a much better fit.
She began to trade berries and seeds for pelts from other places and soon found herself always looking for creative places to hide her collection. Her cave man just didn't understand why she needed so many different furs! Why in the world would one prefer to pile them up rather than using them immediately? Ugga knew there was no way to explain the joy of collecting so many pelts. It was even more difficult to make him understand her plan to cut these furs and then reconnect the pieces together. And so it began...
Quilting Fabric - Back to the Future
I have always loved quilting fabric and came by my love honestly. My mother, although she was not a quilter, was an amazing seamstress. Curtains would become a jacket, netting from the bassinet was turned into a flower girl dress, and a bedspread could easily morf into a pair of pajamas. Her stash was always hidden in a locked cedar closet. It’s possible that I am a descendent of Ugga on my mother’s side!
I was once married. As it turned out, he was an uncooperative cave man (perhaps a descendent of Ugga's husband). My quilting fabric hiding place was one that many women use…the trunk of the car. It was a safe place for years, at least until my husband drove my car and was “rear ended” by a drunk gentleman who fell asleep at the wheel. After towing my car to the auto body shop and prying open the trunk, the multiple bags of quilting fabric were discovered. I will tell you that these bags of quilting fabric were the booty from a wonderful “Shop Hop." Need I say more?
Hiding quilting fabric is a topic of conversation common to many quilters who are married or have concerned family and friends. For those of you who married that man who doesn’t mind how much fabric you buy….I would like to ask, “Does he have a brother that’s single?”
If you’ve been considering new ways to hide fabric, here are ten different ideas from quilters I have met over the years. Their names have been changed to protect the guilty.
1. Helen says she irons her fabric less now that she lays it flat and stores it between the box springs and the mattress of all the beds in the house.
2. Janet found that since she always keeps clean towels and washcloths in each bathroom, she has been able to change her linen closet to her “cotton stash closet." The down side is that the bathrooms are a little more crowded with the towel shelving that had to be added.
3.Teresa keeps all of her shoes under the beds. That way the shoeboxes can be used for storing fabric. Each box has a large colored dot on the visible end to denote the color of the fabrics within.
4. Donna hangs all of her clothes in her closet, separated by color. Under each item of clothing hangs yardage of fabrics in the same color. For example, a royal blue blouse would be unbuttoned to reveal royal blue fabrics hanging inside. Just the hanging of the clothes by color is way too OCD for me but it has worked successfully for her for many years.
5. Sandy told me that her husband drank (at one time) much more than he should have. When she insisted he quit, the liquor cabinet was transformed into her fabric cupboard. “Sometimes I catch myself looking to make sure there isn’t a liquor bottle hiding in there somewhere,” she said.
6. Marnice and her husband have an antique car. There is a back seat that can be pulled up with a storage area underneath. She has been hiding her quilting fabric there for over 10 years!
7. Sarah’s sewing room is above the garage. She was excited to discover an unknown adjacent attic space. While her husband was out of town for two weeks she hired a handyman to cut through and finish a small room behind the wall. She made a quilt that exactly covers the door and she can conveniently store and retrieve quilting fabric whenever she wants. I asked how long they had lived in the house and she answered, “ 36 years.” Then before I had the chance to ask, she said, “The room has been there for 34!” (I met Sarah at a quilting class in the 80’s and have always wondered if she and her husband are still living in that same house.)
8. Denise has a sewing room with hardwood floors and a large area rug. She now has more quilting fabric than she can possibly fit on her shelving. Her overage is stored under the rug.
9. Deb told me there is an old upright piano that has long been out of tune and not played for over 20 years. It belonged to her husband’s grandmother and since no one in the family plays, it has become her secret fabric storage place. “ It’s perfect," she said." When nobody is home and I am sewing, I simply step up on the piano stool, open the top and reach in to get the fabrics I need.”
10. JoAnna has three children. They each had their own toy chest. When they became teenagers she let them choose what toys they wanted to keep, boxed them up and put them in the attic. They have all moved out, gone to college and have their own places. Now she has the three chests stacked on top of each other with her quilting fabric stashed by color inside. The fabrics that are most used are on top and the quilt fabric least used is on the bottom.
For those of you who can’t possibly relate to this story, I am happy for you. For those of you who can relate, I hope you enjoyed the story and have been inspired to be even more creative in your pursuit of finding places to hide your quilting fabric.
I hope you will share your favorite quilting fabric hiding places with me and the other Ugga's of the world.
Mary Lee is the AccuQuilt Social Media Coordinator. She resides in Lexington, Kentucky. An artist in several mediums, she pursues folk art, painting, photography, jewelry making, quilt pattern design, and her favorite: quilting and collecting quilting fabric. She has belonged to the same local quilting group for over 30 years.