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Tracking the ‘stash’

Sarah Ritchie fibre swatch albums

‘Stash’ is a word creators know very well. It’s what a creator has to deal with after they give in to the compulsion to buy every colour of every medium that they use. For me, that’s fibre.

When I started down the fibre art path, I (of course) wanted to buy as many different colours of wool fibre as I could. Then I added in silk, then bamboo, then cotton.

My first challenge was to find a storage solution that would protect the fibre from moisture and bugs (especially moths). However, I quickly realised that unless I was tracking each item in the ‘stash’, I would inevitably end up buying the same colour twice.

Until recently I used a tickler box as my fibre swatch system (like what you would store business cards in). It worked, but it was cumbersome and I couldn't take it easily with me shopping. Then I saw an Instagram post from @feltedpath for their inspirational idea to use a coin album to catalogue their fibre stash. I saw the light and did the same.

Warning: this took me HOURS to do, but the satisfaction at the end is totally worth it!

Above are photos of the albums that I purchased off Temu for NZ$17.49 (around US$10.30) each. They are 155mm x 190mm closed, so small enough to put into a bag to do your stash-shopping. 24 pockets per page and 20 pages (480 pockets). The pockets are small and a bit fiddly, but worth it if you have the patience.

I needle felted a small swatch then glued that onto white paper so you could see the colour as pure as possible. I decided to put the colours down the right side pockets only, so that it is a quick flick through the book to see if I have the colour or not. The pages would sit flat if I put a swatch in each pocket (or alternating columns), but I like the quick-flick approach, so let's see how that goes over time.

Information on the cards: the fibre supplier; the fibre reseller; price; quantity; type of fibre and date of purchase.

I have also separated out my wool from bamboo and cotton. I didn't bother putting my silk in there as I can dye that successfully myself, so I don't need to track it this way.

I have built up a LOT of stash, but I don't use much of it with the type of needle-felted art that I do (unlike wet felting). Therefore, I think three of these albums should be enough for a good long time. Also, I dye my own fibre too, and none of those fibres are in these albums. I'm using the albums to track purchased colours in case I wish to buy them again.

Thanks again to @feltedpath. Their idea has removed one stress I didn't know I had from my life.

I'd love to hear how you ‘track your stash’! 🐑


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