I consider myself a Professional Fabric Enabler. But I want to share another side. This is one of the saddest stories from my days working in a quilting store.
A woman came in and asked if we accepted charitable donations.
“Yes, we can always find a place.”
“Well, I have a LOT, two big tubs. Is that still ok?”
“Sure, bring them in.”
She went to her car and returned with two huge tubs, bulging with fabric. Feeling the need to explain the bounty, she said, “My mom passed away and we are cleaning out her stuff. I don’t sew and my brothers have no interest so we just want to pass them along.”
Wow, how sad, I thought.
“Oh, and I need to tubs back, so can you empty then now?” she asked.
“Of course. We will be right back.”
Another staffer and I hefted the tubs to the back, found boxes which looked large enough to hold everything and began transferring the fabric.
As we shifted layer by layer, we found yards, fat quarters and scraps. Perfectly normal, I thought. Soon we found bags from quilt shops with all the fabric and receipts still in them. Yep, I have a few of those myself… Then we began to find pieces and patches, pinned and ready to sew. And patterns started but not finished. Abandoned blocks and units, sorted into baggies and labeled 1, 2 and 3.
I was surprised at the grief I felt, unpacking this woman’s legacy of un-quilted dreams. It was sad she had no quilting friends who would welcome this treasure. It was sad her children had no love for what their mother loved.
Who knows what happened in this woman’s life. Maybe she finished 100’s of quilts. Maybe she became ill or other life events kept her from finishing everything she started or wanted to start. Maybe that is the sadness, we want to start but it is harder to finish. We want to collect, not execute. We want to dream and not push the reality.
Do I have UFO’s? Enough to make me a little nauseous! When I finish them, I cross them off the list. But now I have a new focus – leave quilts, not fabric. I want to leave completed projects for others to love, even if it is not relatives.
That is my encouragement to you, whatever stage you are in, if you need to purge, sort, plan or sew – leave quilts, not fabric.
Leave gifts for future family and for those in need.
Leave completed treasures for your quilting friends.
Leave proof of your creativity, passion, ingenuity and persistence.
Leave quilts, not fabric.
Thanks for reading this. I hope it is a blessing.