Quiltmaker 100 Blocks

Quiltmaker 100 Blocks
My block is in the November 2015 issue!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

She Who Dies With the Most Fabric Wins?

One day, my cousin 'C' posted a comment on my Facebook page that she didn't know that I was a quilter, but since I was, she wanted me to contact her right away.  That really piqued my curiosity.  Since she lives on the other side of the city, we don't get to see each other very often. She is actually my mom's first cousin, so I guess that makes her my second cousin.  Or first cousin once removed?  We've had numerous conversations about how to describe our relationship, and have decided that 'cousin' is probably not the most accurate description, but it is certainly the simplest way to describe it.  

Anyway, I called her and we did some catching up on family issues, then got to the reason for her post.  It turns out that she had a quilter friend who had passed away recently.  The daughters and sons did not want any of the mountains of fabric that the woman had accumulated over the years, so they gave it to my cousin.  


If this lady liked something, like a kit, or a block of the month series, she would not only buy ONE, but she would buy a half dozen.  There were charm packs, there were kits, there was yardage, there were half yard cuts, fat quarters, 6 inch strips, etc. etc. etc.  Solids, prints, novelties, 'good' quilt shop fabric, fabric from a chain store, templates, stencils... you name it, she had it.  

My cousin took on the herculean task of sorting it all out and trying to decide what to do with it all.   She kept some of the fabric and a few kits, but since she is also a quilter, she already has a stash, and has no more room to store the bounty. She gave a bunch of it away to other quilting friends, and STILL had too much to store. So she asked me if I would want any of it.  Duh!!! What quilter turns down the chance to get free fabric?

We made arrangements to meet, and I took a trip over to her house.  What was left of the deceased quilter's stash was in cardboard boxes and plastic bins and grocery bags all over C's living room.  I took more than I knew I could use, but she really wanted it out of her house, so figured that I could find someone to use it. We squeezed it all in to the back of my Prius. Here is a picture of the haul.  Remember that this is MUCH LESS than HALF of what was given to C.

After I unloaded it, I spent a couple of days going through it and deciding what to do with it all.  The plastic boxes on the left and the bin in the foreground are full of 5 inch squares. Those I decided to keep, since I make a lot of scrap quilts. The white box on the right was full of solids fabrics in 6 inch strips with a few 1-yard cuts thrown in.  Solids seem to be the latest trend, so I decided to try some projects to see how I like using them.  It isn't often that you get to try something for free, right?  The photo box in the center contains a kit which looks interesting, so I decided to keep it.  

The templates and most of the partially sewn projects didn't interest me, so I put those aside for the "free to a good home" table at the next quilt guild meeting.

After all that, there was still way too much for me to use or even to store.  My husband was starting to complain about all the clutter.  Then, it hit me!  What about donating the rest of the fabric to a worthy organization who could use it?

A few years ago, I found out about an organization called Quilts For Kids.  This wonderful organization was founded by a woman who used to work in the garment district in New York.  She discovered "a wealth of discontinued fabric samples being thrown away" and convinced the garment houses to give them to her instead. With those discarded samples, and donations of other unused fabrics, she founded Quilts for Kids. Their mission statement is "Transforming fabrics into patchwork quilts that comfort children with life-threatening illnesses and children of abuse." 

You can read all about it on their website: http://www.quiltsforkids.org/  They are located outside of Philadelphia, PA, but supply quilts to children's hospitals all over the country.  I encourage you to check it out and get involved!  You can request a kit, which they will send to you for free.  The kit includes the fabric for the quilt top; you supply the batting, the backing, the labor and the shipping back to their offices. 

Anyway, we were taking a trip to Philadelphia at the beginning of the month, and were driving!  So all the boxes and bags went into the back of the car, and I made arrangements to drop it all off at their office.  They assured me that all of it would be put to good use, which made me feel really good.   

Even though I felt good about the donation to Quilts for Kids, I have a lingering melancholy about the whole experience. This woman had spent so much money on all these projects and never got to use it all. Sure, she probably enjoyed buying it, but at what cost?  What other good cause could the money have been used for?  It also makes me think very hard about any future fabric purchases for myself!  No more impulse purchases.  Before buying anything, I am going to make sure that it is for a project that will actually get made, and not that I want it just because it strikes my fancy at the moment. Between the scraps from previous projects and yardage stored in totes in the basement, I probably have enough fabric to make 100 quilts. My will is going to stipulate that any left over fabric gets donated to Quilts for Kids or another worthy organization.  In short, I've I decided that I don't want to 'win'.


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