As a quilter, I am both proud of my fabric stash and also a little embarrassed by it. A fabric stash, by definition, is a pile of cloth for which you have no planned use. You may have bought it with a use in mind but, for some reason it remains unused. Maybe you bought too much for a project and had some left-over. Maybe you never got around to making the planned project. Maybe someone gave you some fabric and you haven’t figured out what to do with it yet. Or maybe you just liked the fabric and bought it on a whim without a plan. Whatever the reason, you have a cache of fabric from which to draw inspiration. Above is a picture of my stash. I keep it in what was once a deep television cabinet, now converted to my stash cabinet. Aren’t those fabrics gorgeous?
Whenever I am planning a new quilt I start with my stash. I pull out those textiles and run my hand across them and imagine how they will look when combined with others. Before long I have piles of my “favorites” all over the floor and I have to start eliminating! About once a year I sort them, iron them, and refold them so they look neat and tidy. I do like to play with fabric!
And then there are my scraps. Scraps are different from stash. Stash fabrics, according to my rule, must be at least a quarter of a yard in size. Anything smaller is a scrap. I used to have scrap bins labeled Light, Medium, and Dark. At the end of a quilt project I would simply toss the small leavings into the appropriate bin. But those bins began to overflow because it was too hard to find anything usable in them. I added to them with each finished project but never used them. I either needed to throw them away or get them into some kind of usable order. So, earlier this year, I cut all my scraps into usable squares and strips. It took a couple of weeks but here is a picture of my scrap collection. Long strips are hung from the closet rod and squares are sorted by size into the boxes on the shelf. I have an abundance of fabric! Isn’t it beautiful?
I have resolved this year not to buy fabric but to use my stash and scraps instead. So far, I have done pretty well. I’ve had to buy some fabric for backing, but I have even learned to piece my backings, making the quilt reversible. Cool!
The strange thing is, the more I use up my cache of fabric, the more fabric-wealthy I feel. The more the pile of fabric shrinks, the richer I perceive myself to be. I am not afraid I will run out of fabric! I am enjoying the use of such an abundance.
Jesus said that He came to give us an abundance of LIFE (John 10:10). He said He was able to do “exceeding abundantly beyond all we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20). Yet, sometimes we act as though the blessing of God was in short supply, as though His goodness would run out.
I saw a young woman approach the prayer line at church and then hold back. I asked her why she didn’t go on forward to get prayer. She said she wanted to give others a chance. Did she think God didn’t have enough to go around?
Another woman I counseled with struggled with feelings of unworthiness and condemnation. She knew in her head that God forgives and cleanses sin but she could not feel forgiven. She had read the promise of God to “abundantly pardon” but did not feel worthy to experience the forgiveness God had already provided for her on the cross. Finally I asked her, “Do you really think your sins surpass the power of God? Are you truly the one person who is too dirty for God to cleanse?”
Perhaps you are living in fear and dread of the future, as if God’s promised grace will not be sufficient when you get there. The enemy throws all kinds of fears at us but behind each one is the accusation that God is not sufficient for our need. He is such a liar!
Everything in God is abundant — forgiveness, redemption, grace, mercy, love, even life itself. Abundance means “a great supply; more than sufficient quantity” (Webster’s New World College Dictionary). We have more than we need of God! God is not chintzy with Himself. He gives of Himself freely and without measure, “exceeding abundantly more than we ask or think.” We have more than enough, more of Him and His grace than we can ever use. Perhaps we should quit putting it in storage and use it. Receive forgiveness. Ask boldly. Trust God. He is supernatural, you know!