De-Bloating for Good.

I’m the primary tweeter for the Atlanta Modern Quilt Guild twitter account, so I see a mix of tweets from fabric manufacturers, designers, quilters, and local Atlanta groups and businesses that I don’t track in my own personal twitter feet.  Today, I saw a re-tweet of a message from ConKerr Cancer of Georgia, an organization that delivers hand-sewn pillowcases to kids with cancer and other life threatening illnesses. ConKerr, which was founded by a woman who lives down the road from one of our members, put the call out for 600 pillowcases by the end of the year.

Up until this year, I worked with a local church group to make prayer quilts for their members in need, and also to deliver to the children’s hospital during the holiday season.  Once I became more involved in the AMQG, I stopped working with the church group mostly because of the time and distance to get to their location, but promised myself that I would continue to craft for charity.  In the first half of this year, I donated about 10 quilts to Project Linus, many of which were previous creations that just hadn’t found a home yet.

On a personal level, I find it discouraging to make a quilt with no intended purpose. It’s one thing to make a quilt and think, “I surely will enjoy watching Daryl Dixon embed some arrows in a zombie’s head while under this quilt” (Walking Dead reference), and quite another to think, “I am making this quilt to learn a skill, but I don’t see a place for it in my home, or in the home of anyone I know”. I got into a place where I wasn’t quilting for charity because I felt these quilts were purposeless, when I know that’s not the case to the recipients. I booked up my quilting time with projects for myself or my family, and that’s perfectly legitimate, but I’ve felt the loss of charitable crafting.

So when I saw the tweet from ConKerr, I thought, “Perfect! I can use some fabric from my stash and donate to charity.” And, if I’m honest, not having to use part of my batting stash, as well as come up with thread for quilting and backing material (as well as time), is tantalizing. So I thought I’d take a little bit of time and pick out some fabrics to use to make some pillowcases.  I thought I could make 10 easily out of the fabric in my stash, especially since I have a decent selection of juvenile or novelty prints I don’t have another purpose for since my kids are getting older.

So I started cutting. And cutting. And pressing and cutting some more.  At current count, I have cut fabric for 50 pillowcases. Five. Zero.  It is staggering to me, that 54 yards of fabric (and that is how the math works out, as I’ve triple checked it), some of which I have stored for over 8 years, is not even a quarter of my stash. I am floored. I am horrified at the sheer bloat of it all. I was trying to express this sense of waste to my husband, who immediately defended me (to myself, which is sort of silly, but one of the reasons I love him) as saying that the time clearly was not right yet for that fabric to be used, so I should not berate myself for holding onto it for so long.

So I am feeling lighter as I make plans to stitch these up. Removing this bulk from my stash, and bringing my stash of fabrics closer to a place that reflects who I am as a quilter right now, just feels… right. And good. And knowing these are going for a good purpose is icing on the cupcake.

I plan on using this as the maiden voyage for Marcia, and look forward to photographing a giant stack of pillowcases before I take them to the AMQG meeting on December 3rd. Since our meeting is conveniently at a drop-off site for ConKerr (Intown Quilters in Decatur, GA), that’s a nice stretch goal to have them all done by then.

4 Replies to “De-Bloating for Good.”

  1. Our quilt guild usually makes pillowcase kits of donated fabrics and those people who want to work on them sew them up and bring them back to be donated to various hospital and charity groups.

    MAYBE, you guild members can help you get some of the pillowcases made before Christmas or any deadline you may have….

  2. Thanks for the wonderful idea. After the holidays I might make some cases. The more I try to de-stash, the more aware I become of the ridiculous amount of fabric I have. I never really spent much money at a time on fabric, just patiently and consistantly piled it up over the last twenty-five years, waiting for a time when I really had time to sew. Now I do, and I only like part of what I have, especially compared to new fabric that keeps coming out. I do like having a selection of “filler” fabrics on hand to choose from, and some of those unavailable fabrics are perfect with the new ones, but too much is too much. Five years ago I gave away two large boxes of fabric to our senior center to use in charity quilts. I’ll either have to do that again, or get started sewing for charity myself.

  3. Very cool! I also have some fabrics from previous eras of my personal taste–or large yardages I inherited from Mom that I just didn’t have the heart to toss in the estate sale because I knew how expensive it really was…that I’d love to use up. But how many tablecloths does one person really need, anyway? In any case, I’ve often thought about doing pillowcases and just haven’t gotten to it. Plan to. Can you post what pattern you’re using?

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