“Stash” means different things to different people. 

To my mother, a stash was her collection of quilting fabric, neatly sorted and stored in colored plastic boxes. 

To certain burned-out people in college, a stash was their collection of buds and leaves, carefully divided out on an open double-album.

To a squirrel, a stash is a collection of acorns, assiduously collected and hidden in hundreds of different spots. 

To all of the above, a stash is a cherished collection, not to be squandered.  It is to be put to use only when the time is right. 

A friend of my friend Bridget – Jenny Nash – has written a book about a woman’s treasured collection of fabrics, intended for a quilting project.  Things do not go as planned in her tale, called The Story of My Stash.

I haven’t read the book yet, but I’ve read some of the comments on this site, posted in answer to the question, “What is your earliest memory of fabric?”  It’s amazing what evocative recollections are called up as a result of this very specific query.

Some have to do with early love objects, or security blankets. 

Defying the odds, not one of our three children even had a “blankie” fixation.  They disdained all stuffed animals that were given during baby showers and early birthdays, choosing to like only those stuffed creatures that they received as gifts when they were slightly older, or that they picked out themselves.  This left us with dozens upon dozens of unwanted, unloved plush animals.

I do know children who had their favorite objects of desire.  When I was an au paire in Washington DC, the toddler in the house was obsessed with a blue gingham gingerbread-man-shaped doll.  The doll was named Checkers (hey, it was a political town), and there were three of him - clean, grubby, and filthy – in constant rotation.  My employers had brilliantly purchased multiples, in the event – God forbid – Checkers ever went missing.  He actually did disappear with alarming frequency, and I well remember turning the house upside down.  It was harder to fool the child with a replacement Checkers if he was watching the search party avidly, while awake.

And we have seen what happens when a beloved blanket, with no back-up, suddenly disappears.  Our friends Lindsay and Bruce were visiting us from San Francisco when the blankie was found to be missing, or never packed.  In this case, the parents knew the source of the blanket, which had been a gift - so Bruce went zooming off to Sears to try to buy the exact match.  Seeking:  one pastel plaid cellular blanket.  Satin edging especially key.  He found the right item and disaster was averted.

We know another child, now a beautiful and sophisticated teenager, who keeps a pitiful scrap of her original blankie under her pillow.  When she goes to a sleepover, the shred rides along in the pillowcase.   

Proof of the comfort of cloth.  And of the fact that a stash, in many ways, is an adult security blanket.

I would love to hear your memories of fabric or blankies as well .
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