Whilst investigating the curiously similar worlds of quilters, I started to think about hoarding, I imagine that nearly all quilters have a huge collection of fabric, ostensibly to use in future projects, but the reality is that most of us have far more than we will ever need, a lot of mine has been donated to me as I mostly use scraps, but I do also buy fabric, that I absolutely must have because its too beautiful to leave behind and consequently also have more than I will ever be able to use.
From reading Quilting by Marybeth C Stalp (2007), a sociologist, who investigated quilters for her doctoral thesis, and also talking about the book to other quilters, I know that I am not alone.
Many quilters hide their “Stash,” from their family in many different places all over the house, which is surprisingly reminiscant of drug use for usually law abiding women. most of them don’t allow their fabric collection to prevent them from using their home as a home, so, properly defined it is only a collection, but I found the stories of hoarders really interesting, as I wonder if hoarding is an extreme version of collecting and why most quilters that I know collect lots of varied objects, and their homes (and mine) are full of clutter. I don’t think I am aware of any quilters that promote minimalism in their living conditions.
Using the arguements expressed in On Longing by Susan Stewart (1993) I think collecting and quilting could possibly be part of the same need to make sense of and cover vulnerability.
For those of us that are concerned about our nascent hoarding tendancies however, I will provide a link to The Collyer brothers so that we can get our concerns in perspective.