Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fabric Deserves Better.

I got a phone call from a woman who said, " the Citizens Advice Bureau gave me your  name as being a person to contact about Patchwork and Quilting."
" Yes that's right, " I replied.
 "I have some fabric and some quilts my MIL made. She had dementia for several years but has died now. We are cleaning out her house and I thought you might know what to do with her material and half finished quilts."
 "Yes," I said, " our group sometimes gets given fabric and we use it to make Charity quilts." ( this is where the story get ugly. )
The person arrives 36 hours after she said she would be here with 9 cartons of "stuff" and some half made quilts wrapped in a sheet."
I think it ALL must have been stored in a shed or some very damp cupboard. It all smelt disgusting. Some friendly little mice had been visiting some of the boxes.
 The 5 unfinished quilts were all hand pieced hexagons ( sort of Grandmothers garden style) all very badly done indeed. ( NIGHTMARE STUFF )  There was every kind of fabric under the sun in every loud colour . The corners don't match up in some cases.Whether any one can do anything with them I doubt they are too badly done. Maybe cut them up - certainly NOT unpick. The material was scraps of everything she must have made in the last 50 years - much of it samples and very poor quality. It is truly sad that this lady had dementia but I think the fabric storage thing goes back way before that set in.
 I have sorted and sorted and filled a box for burning ; a box for oil rags at the local garage and several boxes that may go to the charity shop. I have washed 6 loads ( sorted by colour in case they ran ) of fabric. Some had to be done twice as they still smelled musty. I left some on the clothes line overnight and have ironed and ironed and ironed. Much of it is tatty and even more is not cotton patchwork fabric. So far I have salvaged some usable pieces.

This is the pile of usable fabric. I threw away her smelly container and used a new shoe box for the  many hexagons prepared for paper piecing. Some I tossed. That is a whole days work. I am now left with disposing of the other boxes of material. Some small curtain samples may be suitable for cushions. Tomorrow I am going to ask a friend from our group to give a second opinion. She will have to take it all to club as I am away for 6 weeks from next week. ( we may decide to take  lots of it to the Recycle Centre.  )
 There are 2 things to be learnt from this.
 * Store your fabric properly in a clean, dry environment if you care about it.
* Learn to piece properly ( by hand or by machine )- ask for help or join a group and don't use unsuitable fabric.
 For me the lesson is be more cautious. Say I will inspect fabric before I accept if on behalf of the P and Q Group.
 The unsuitable boxes of stuff are still outside in the carport ( under cover ) it smells too bad to have it in the house.
 Was I being made use of?    I  think so.


By Hoki Quilts said...

Hi Ali, geez you are such an angel. Not so long ago the man that owns the 'junk' shop in town came to me with what he thought were fabric treasures - in reality it was rodent bedding. Unlike you I just refused to take the stuff - I obviously don't have the angel wings and patience that you do.
good on you

Andrea said...

Poor you - getting lumbered like that :-(
Hindsight is a wonderful thing isn't it ? You have been a star to do all that and hopefully some use can be made of what you've managed to salvage. By the way I love the new bag xxx

Laurie said...

We had almost the same happen here in Rotorua, but we salvaged more than you did from the look of things ...but you are an angel to have done all that... the local garage will be thanful to you I am sure.
Hugs Laurie

Joyce said...

They would have been better to make a quick trip to the dump! Glad you were able to salvage some of it, but the cost in labour was pretty high.

Jennifer said...

Perhaps the woman didn't want to pay fees at the dump, and thought you would do her dirty (literally) work for her!

Paula, the quilter said...

The woman is now guilt free because she has given the stuff to an organization that can use it. Perhaps she had no idea of the complexity of the project and fabric is just fabric to her? You certainly spent a large amount of time on this project. Kudos.

loulee said...

You did a good thing. Imagine if you had blown away all her loving memories of her mum patchworking..?
But like you, I have learned from the inherited fabric experience.

Thimbleanna said...

Boy, what an interesting story ... and lesson. I hope you manage to get rid of it all -- without too much extra work.

Digitalgran said...

That was the last thing you needed before your 6 week trip Ali. i'm sure you'll have a great time and hopefully some good weather.

Meggie said...

It seems you were the handy disposal person.
How sad. I hope I have tidied my affairs better, before I 'pop my clogs'!!

Unknown said...

I think I would have tossed it all away, too much work for that little pile of fabric you got out of it!!!