Saturday, August 29, 2015

Tales of a Fabric Collector

This post isn't about me. Not really, but sort of. It's mostly about an experience. I do like  love fabric and I do have a "stash" and I am running out of room in my closet, but I don't consider myself over the top with my collecting. Not yet anyway.
Get a cuppa. This is a long read.
Have you ever wondered about what would happen to your sewing "supplies" if/when you die and can no longer hover over your precious collections? I have thought of this more than I'd like to admit. Anyone else? I'm thinking my family would just bundle it all up and give it to Good Will. I have no personal sewing friends, so my family would think to bag it up and give it away would be the simplest thing to do.
Well, last weekend, I went to a friend's house for a fabric sale to beat all fabric sales! Her sister-in-law passed away this past March after a brief battle with cancer. (Rest in peace, dear Sharon.) As time went on, her husband came across a pile or two of fabric hidden in various drawers or cabinets in the house. They'd be stacked behind books or dishes or cereal boxes. Sharon had a dedicated sewing room that was well stocked already, so her husband had no reason to believe that there was any more.
Well, he was wrong. Big time wrong. He ventured into her car and the trunk was jam packed with fabric. An extra bedroom was another place to stash her wares under the bed, in the closet, in the dresser, even between the mattress and box spring!
Now most of this fabric wasn't your run-of-the-mill JoAnn Fabrics or Hancock lines (not to demean their stuff...that's where I buy 95% of the time).  She and her husband liked to travel and when he'd go to a sporting event or off fishing, guess where she went? Yep, to quilt shops. And she'd buy lovely yardage of designer fabrics. Then she'd hide them in suitcases, bring them home and hide them again. Never washed, never organized by color or theme, but just stashed.
Sad, huh?
It took a group of 5 ladies 3 weeks to go through everything they found (and some may yet be hidden) to measure, tag and organize this beautiful haven. Once ready, it filled 4 large rooms of my friend's house. All set out like a shop with signage and baskets of supplies like thread (hundreds) , scissors (all shapes and sizes), rotary cutters (must've been 2 dozen of them), sewing patterns (from garments to totes to quilts), buttons(galore!), even a large basket of unfinished projects to be lovingly completed by someone else.
All was priced to sell. A 3 day sale starting at noon on Friday. I got there at noon. On Friday! I was at the back of the line amongst 20 other women all wanting the same things. We were met with hugs at the door, given a tote bag to shop with, and some verbal directions as to where was what, plus a bit of history on the situation. Sharon was a hoarder. Her husband needed to get his house back.
Fabric was measured and labeled by the inch. It was selling for 10 cents an inch. A fat quarter was $1.00. Quilt kits were marked Small-Medium-Large and was $12-$15-$18 respectively. Signs were posted on walls with categories and prices. Sharon's spirit was present and all was calm as ladies giggled and shopped and filled their totes (some more than one!).
This is what I came home with:
I spent a total of $103 on this treasure and didn't regret a penny of it. I barely made a dent in the piles within those 4 rooms.
My friend said there'd be a huge slashing of prices on Sunday of anything that was left. So, of course, I had to go back. (Quit rolling your eyes.) I filled another tote and brought this home for $32. Fat Quarters were now 4 for $1, all quilt kits were 1/2 price, and bolts of fabric were just $10. A hoarder's delight.
In the end, I hope Sharon was looking down on us and was happy that her family and friends were sharing her passion. Spreading her love of all things sewing amongst local ladies, while allowing her husband to see smiles of the recipients and gain back some cash... a very small fraction of the worth of this treasure.
Rest in peace, Sharon, and I do hope there are sewing machines in Heaven!


  1. Sounds like she would be smiling. Now you have a LOT of great projects ahead of you!

  2. Kathy, I actually do think about this type of thing, all the more as my hoarding - ahem - collecting starts to outgrow the closet.
    Sharon's situation is the most astonishing I've heard. If I still have a stash when I die, I'd like to think of a group of ladies having that much fun finding bargains like you did! I think this was really great how her stash was taken care of.

  3. Sharon would have been right there alongside buying her share at someone's passing sale! I would have been right there with you at hers too. We love supplies and all the possibilities to make. We should enjoy them. I love your spirit and feel we are sew sisters. LeeAnna at not afraid of color

  4. oh what the heck, I'm now following you by email! See you around the 'hood!