Secret Dealings

“Meet me in the parking lot behind the strip mall on 114th street in one hour. Watch for a white station wagon. Bring cash.”

“How will I know you?”

“Hey, I’m the one with the goods. How will I know YOU?”

“Green car, brown hair, glasses, and a red sweater. Will it be DISCRETE?”

“Yeah, in a garbage bag.”

I was there first. The guy mowing the lot behind the store looked at me oddly as I parked by the dumpsters. Someone brought some items out to the trash and asked me if I needed help. She eyed me warily, commented that the dumpsters were for store use only (did she see the garbage bag in back?) Two people peeked out a back window of the store. A red pickup drove by. Finally a small green car pulled up, a woman stepped out, peered around, then walked over. The deal was done quickly. She could hardly wait to break the bag open, but managed to only peek.

And then she proceeded to tell me how her husband would object if he knew she was buying this. She will have to sneak it in while he is at work and hide it in the basement. I knew she was a true addict. She had layers of her life concealed from her family; avoidance and denial were helping her ‘hide’ her addiction. I was her enabler, her dealer, bringing her a fix.

Driving home, I felt like it. My dining room table was covered with bits measured and ready to package. I had plastic bags of every size ready to be filled. There was a higher demand for it than I had expected. Most my buyers came to me, but sometimes, like today, we split the distance and met in between.

Stash Bags in Every Size.

Stash bags in every size are stacked around my home.


I deal in stash. If you follow my blog, you know I have been on a quest to reduce my fabric stash, and have been purging, donating, selling, and occassionally even throwing bits of fabric away. After living in one home for a three decades, and inheriting stashes from relatives, well, I am buried in it. Time to move some on to others.

Mostly these are small deals. Sets of fabric squares, gallon bags of tiny scraps. But occassionally, like today, I pack up an entire garbage bag full of fabric pieces large and small. These I pop on Craigslist. I figure that other addicts, pardon me, quilters, will pay a few dollars to get take home a veritable “fabric exploring adventure” and help out a grossly underemployed peer at the same time.

I meet some very interesting sewers this way, and hear some fascinating reasons for wanting the instant fabric stash. One is making charity quilts, another is just starting and has no stash of her own. Someone is trying to make various bags and pockets for use on wheelchairs, another person sews clothes for dogs. Most just want more fabric to play with. Some become repeat customers.

But I am struck by the fact that all but two of my ‘junkies’ are sincerely plotting ways to hide their ‘score’ from loved ones. The will sneak it in, bury it away, only pulling out bits and pieces when needed while acting as though it had been there forever. Even this great bargain, certainly not a huge extravagance, is to remain a secret.

And the two who are not clandestine buyers? I am happy to say one has become a good friend. I know her husband might roll his eyes at the whole thing occassionally, but he knows it is a real outlet for her. The other one was a real surprise, after all these secretive women. The husband of a quilter, buying for his wife. She was laid off from work, money was tight, but he wanted to give her spirit a lift with something she would enjoy.

Is this sense of secrecy a reality for many of you? Do you too ‘sneak’ in purchases? Do family members roll their eyes when you come home delighted with your new fabrics or notions? Or do they support you in your passion for quilting, sewing, fabric collection, whatever part of the craft that you love? Please comment and share your experience with us!

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About thecuriousquilter

Quilter, sewer, writer, gardener, mother, sister, friend, always learning, always curious.
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21 Responses to Secret Dealings

  1. Dana says:

    I’m working so hard on using my stash, then I read your blog and get a tingle. I want in on the deals, I want a garbage bag of fabric. This fabric thing is like drugs. I don’t exactly hide anything new, but I don’t announce it either.
    I love the husband who is buying fabric for his wife, that is wonderful. Thanks for the smile.

  2. Tim says:

    Very funny, I searched for stash comments in blogs, and come to a quilt site! Had to read more, entertaining!

  3. Jennie says:

    Oh my, you are a nut! That’s a riot. I live in northern MN, will you meet ME halfway? Keep it up, I look forward to your posts.

  4. Shelley C says:

    Acht! Hubby doesn’t come right out and say ‘no more’, but he wants to I know. The ” do you NEED that?’ question rings forever in my ear whenever I am near the fabric dept. I feel guilt and try to go around and have been good for over a year now; but I find myself spending too much time on the net getting my fabric fix just looking at fabric…I don’t buy…..if it was in hand, and I could stroke it…I’d give in, I know I would and the guilt would begin again, and the accusing eyes would question….no, he doesn’t really support my hobby; even tried making him his own quilt to show how good they feel and it was his and his alone, but no, he doesn’t appreciate it….sigh….you wouldn’t by any chance be a door to door salesman….we could set up an appointment????….I gotta feel it….:)

    • Oh Shelley, how awful! I hope you check things like Craigslist for freebies near you.

      One day, at a fabric store, I saw a gentleman patiently waiting for his wife. He stood with her at the cutting table without uttering a complaint, just chatting nicely. Another customer commented and his winked, saying, “Well she waits for me when I buy drill bits and such. This is just a hardware store for women.” I love it! Wish we could all have that perspective.

  5. Marge says:

    You cracked me up! This is a HOOT… thanks for a good gut wrenching giggle! You are a true Fabricaholic and are generous to share, even if the dealings are shady, LOL!

  6. Bird says:

    This was a good one. Continue the secret meetings. Don’t forget to bring garbage bags to hide the stash. LOL!

  7. I laughed and laughed as I was reading this ~ so true! Yes, I do hide things…I try to make sure I’m the one who gets the mail before he gets home, so I can dispose of the evidence {giggles}.

  8. J. Johnson says:

    Do you do stand-up comedy too? Thanks for the hearty chuckle!

  9. Lynda says:

    Very cute story. Did you really meet someone in a parking lot to sell fabric? Perhaps you are the Curious Quilter because YOU are a curious person, not just curious ABOUT things!

  10. Pingback: How secretive are YOU about your fabric stash? | The Curious Quilter

  11. Melinda says:

    “I pack up an entire garbage bag full of fabric pieces large and small. These I pop on Craigslist. I figure that other addicts, pardon me, quilters, will pay a few dollars to get take home a veritable “fabric exploring adventure””

    Oh my. I think my heart just skipped a beat! Where do you live and when can I buy?!?! LOL I’ve been known to leave a bag from Hobby Lobby in my trunk until my hubby leaves the house, then I’ll “sneak” it into the sewing room, sort the new goodies, and he’s none the wiser. It’s all “sewing stuff” to him, he doesn’t notice new stuff ~thank God!~.

  12. Sue says:

    My partner and I support each others addictions. She collects Wonder Woman comics and everything that goes along with it and I’m a craft addict. It works out beautifully.

    • I like the phrase “Support each other’s addictions” a LOT better than enabling. Family support is the best kind, isn’t it!! I feel for people who have to hide their new found treasures.

  13. Jeff says:

    you have me in stitches…

  14. Beth says:

    That is funny. Maybe because I know it is true. I have a stash that I hide.

  15. Pingback: Hello World, Again! My Blog Turns One. | The Curious Quilter

  16. Martin says:

    OK had to come back and read it again, after all your other funny posts. This might still be my favorite, but then some of the CQ Glee Club pieces are mighty funny….”Shall We Sort” still makes me picture Yul Brunner sorting fabric!

    Thanks for keeping us entertained and enlightened!

  17. Pingback: A milestone: 200,000 hits, and counting | The Curious Quilter

  18. I have a small apartment in Boston. My husband controls my stash by telling me I can have as much fabric as I am willing to have spilling out of all the nooks and crannies of the apartment. Considering I’m claustrophobic, it works pretty well.

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