This year I have been trying to de-clutter my stitching center by giving away gently used charts that I know I will never stitch again. It has been an interesting exercise: going through my binders and deciding what I want to keep and what I have no problems parting with. I have been accumulating charts over a period of thirty years and I have discovered that my taste has been amazingly consistent, for the most part. Of course, when my children were quite young, I did a lot of "kiddie" stuff that no longer interests me ... but other than that, I still like much the same sort of thing. Fantasy [dragons and mermaids and Celtic gods/goddesses], primitives, country/Americana, samplers, Halloween & Christmas, the whimsical and the witty. I have slowed down on the Christmas themed charts as the years have gone by and I have added Quaker designs to my repertoire. But all in all, the list of favorite designers that appears in the sidebar today differs very little from what it would have been ten or even twenty years ago. A few new faces from among the gifted next generation of designers have been added ... and most of the people I liked 20 years ago are still among my favorites.
Between January and December of 2010, I have given away 56 charts, 1 piece of aida, 1 piece of Silkweaver 36ct linen, 1 biscornu, 6 stitching magazines, a set of 4 silicone cupcake molds and 3 cards of Rainbow Gallery Mandarin floss [bamboo fiber]. I have been very happy with the responses to my giveaways: an average of 16 participants each month. It is a pleasure to pass on something I have enjoyed. I have always been a great one for passing on books, sharing recipes, gifting people with some of my favorite finds [scented candles, gourmet jams and salsas, gadgets I have known and loved], etc. But this is the first time I have systematically passed on stitching stuff. I have mailed packages to Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA. I am happy to say that every single recipient of my giveaways has e-mailed me a very nice thank you message or sent a handwritten card or note ... some have even given me a shout out on their own blogs ... it just goes to show that the stitching community is populated by some very nice people. So thanks to stitchinfiend, Myra, Paula C, Alex, Vicky, Karen, qsnaplover, luvmyqsnaps, Dani, kittycat, Mary and Blu for sharing my love of stitching and agreeing to PIF the charts that I trust are now happily circulating through the international stitching community.
And then there was the massive inventory and giveaway of my mother's crafting stash that consumed the first two months of this year ... a project that will live on in infamous memory ... and, the project that inspired my own de-cluttering of my craft stash ... I will NOT do this to my own daughter, at least not on the same scale.
Looking to 2011, I expect things will slow down a bit ... I have a few extra special giveaways planned for the beginning of the year ... but then it will be back to de-cluttering the stash center: gently used charts, as well as some odds and ends of floss or fabric, with the occasional stitched piece thrown in to add the personal touch. It has been suggested by a few of my stitching friends that I set up a sale album instead of giving away my gently used charts but I know myself better than to do that. The tedium of maintaining and updating such an album, the possibility of dealing with an unhappy customer, the compulsion to get to the post office immediately rather than when I happen to be in the area, the minimal monetary return for all that effort ... well, it just isn't for lazy old me. All I really want to do is de-clutter my stash so my daughter never has to contend with what I did when I inventoried and gave away my Mother's sewing and crafting stash and if I can make a few other stitcher's happy in the process, all well and good.