Monday, April 8, 2013

Here A Piece, There A Piece

I have loved fabric since I was young.  I remember nagging my mother to help me make Barbie clothes until she couldn't take it anymore and gave in. I think I was all of 7.  I remember huddling with her in the basement of the cricket house (aptly named for the black cricket invasion one summer when we were living in Kansas. Ugh) while we worked on a little project.  As if the fact that she HATED sewing wasn't enough, she was still recovering from a horrendous car accident, leaving her with scars and burns and a dislocated shoulder.  Bless her!  I don't remember exactly how it worked out, but I do remember that I continued to beg her over the coming years to take me to buy fabric and teach me to sew.  Bless her again, she did NOT teach me to sew, but paid a ridiculous amount of money for sewing lessons each summer for years.

Each new project gave me the chance to BUY FABRIC.  Oh my, I still remember a tiny little fabric store in Paradise, California that I would ride my bike to.  I would wander up and down the 2 whole aisles of fabric and had to touch every single bolt.  Frantically I tried to figure out how to get as much fabric as possible on my limited allowance.  Then I would take my fresh, crisp bits and put them carefully in my box that I roped to the back of my bike and fly home as fast as my chubby little legs could peddle.  I would lie in bed at night and wish I could figure out how to get all the scraps to join together so I could have one really big piece of fabric!

And now at the ripe old age of 53 I still thrill over every piece of fabric...

and carefully save them in stacks, and stacks...and stacks.   Best of all, I have figured out how to sew them into really big pieces of fabric...called QUILTS. And along with my ever growing stash of fabrics, I have also collected fellow fabric addicts, just like me!  We love the way the pieces of fabric interact, bringing out patterns and color and shape and movement.

I found this yummy piece of warm thought from one of my quilting buddies, a darling and generous friend I met while living in Tokyo, Japan.  She organized a huge group to meet at a local church with donated fabrics and make as many quilts as possible in a day to be sent to help in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.  She wrote,

"To all my dear quilting friends:

" I was told a very touching story this week through a translator. More than a year ago as the tsunami devastated Japan the person telling me this story was making a presentation for her job to a group in Sendai. There was one woman in the group that lost everything (her home, her belongings, etc). Her job was essential wiped out also. Shortly after the tsunami she was sitting in a temporary housing site and feeling completely hopeless, alone, and forgotten. A car drove up with an employee from Monavie carrying all our quilts for Japan. As this woman was given one of these quilts she said she knew she wasn't alone. That there were others so far away that loved her and cared what was happening to her. It gave her great hope and much needed comfort. Even one year later she was still so touched by the gift of the quilt. I thought it would be appropriate to share this with you all. Thanks for your contributions! I think our efforts were worth it."

Truth be told, somewhere along the way the imaginations of a little girl and her pieces of fabric moved on to a big girl who likes to imagine that those pieces of fabric, sewn piece by piece into a quilt, bring a little comfort here and there.  I am no longer driven just by the thrill of a bit more fabric. I am driven to piece quilts because I cherish winter nights when everyone in the family wraps in a quilt as we gather.  I am driven to piece quilts by an image of a woman in a third world country dashing into a rain storm with an infant wrapped only in newspaper.  I am comforted by a small card in which a friend told me that when she needed comfort, she wrapped up in the quilt I made her and felt loved.

I believe by little pieces great pieces can be brought to pass.


  1. Love this!!! So sweet! Your fabric stash is full of happiness and memories!!

  2. So it is for me, the harvesting of fabric - a garden full, all stashed away, waiting to become something. The silly thing about it is that, when I find a project, I can't use what I have, because I am saving that. I have to find new fabric for the project. The old stuff waits for the perfect project, and I rarely find that. I am not as driven by compassion and kindness as you are - far from it. I find myself almost unable to give things I have made away - even when I've made multiples for the purpose. Because each one has its charm, its character. So when I DO give something away, it's amazing - and if I give away something I love - it's a personal sacrifice. Because I am a selfish twit. Or such a mother hen at heart, I can't stand to send away any chick at all. Your heart is sounder.