Sunday, March 09, 2014

Would you ever throw out a quilt?

Beth's post about a sad quilt sighting, and the comments she got, especially the one about rescuing the quilt and driving away with it, started me thinking -- why do we always assume that the quilter, or knitter, or whoever made the object that we think is being abused would be upset? What's with the need to rescue those handmade items we find at Goodwill and yard sales, even if we don't love them ourselves?

I don't think I've gotten rid of a quilt yet, but I've sure tossed enough sweaters into the trash. Including all three from my accidentally ugly sweaters post. And yes, I do mean the trash. Those were so awful I felt the need to remove them from the world. Other, less icky sweaters have made their way to the thrift shop because they were outgrown and no one else in the  family was ever going to wear them. And they weren't special enough to keep forever and ever.

When I donated them, I assumed that they might get worn by someone else who liked them. It never crossed my mind that another knitter might feel obligated to rescue them from the racks just because they were handmade and she was imagining some poor grandmother who slaved away and had her hard work rejected.

I made them. My family used them. I made the decision to get rid of them. And I can't believe that I'm the only one who's done this.

When my father's parents died, everything my mother had ever made them found its way back to her. It makes sense that my aunts wouldn't be the ones to get rid of it, but Mom certainly didn't keep it all. A lot of the things were duplicates of ones she'd made for herself and her own mother. I adopted a few things and the rest got tossed out into the world. Honestly, after twenty years, tastes had changed and no one wanted them! A lot, but not all, of Grandma's ceramics were absorbed into our households.

We can't keep everything that every woman in the family ever made -- although sometimes it seems like I'm trying! And we definitely don't have to keep everything we've made ourselves.

Weekly Stash Report

Nothing in and nothing out -- but I'm working on things that will change that soon!

Fabric Used this Week: 0 yards
Fabric Used year to Date: 2 1/4 yards
Added this Week: 0 yards
Added Year to Date: 7 yards
Net Added for 2013: 4 3/4 yards

Yarn Used this Week: 0 yards
Yarn Used year to Date: 0 yards
Yarn Added this Week: 0 yards
Yarn Added Year to Date: 200 yards
Net Added for 2013: 200 yards

This post is linked to Patchwork Times.


Missie of Traditional Primitives said...

Great post! I will keep that in mind in the future! My mom has kept everything I ever made her also...and everything she could of her moms as well...of we ad that onto my own pile of everything I have ever made my 3 girls and for my own home...a mountain of fabric "stuff"! LOL

DeeDee said...

I have used some of my quilts to bury our beloved animals in. I have even thought of making quilts to line our coffins with.

I donate a lot of quilts and I am never sure what their fate will be. I did steal a quilt (that I made) from my DIL, she never used it and it was just sitting in the closet for over 12 years so one day while everyone was busy I took the quilt and put it in my car. I am not sure if they know it is gone or not.

When we buy furniture I have a couple of well used quilts that we use to wrap the furniture in.

For me when I make a quilt the ultimate goal is for it to be loved, used and worn out.

I have enough quilts of my own, I never think about rescuing one.

Great post and thanks for sharing.

Heather said...

I love this post. Not every quilt we make is beautiful or an heirloom. Sometimes our visions just didn't work out or perhaps they have just been loved enough and are ready to retire. Or more often for me my decorating style and taste has changed and they no longer work for me. I have given my children permission to let them go once I am gone, with no guilt, and to keep only those that bring them joy. I might rescue another's work but only if I love it too!

Linda M @ Pieceful Kingdom said...

This is a great post. I have to admit that several old quilts in our house have been and are now pet beds. I ended up having to throw out a hexie baby quilt that was my dad's after it was a pet bed for over 5 years. It was actually used longer as a pet bed than as a baby quilt! I still deal with a bit of quilt guilt, but I can't keep everything! I would rather someone else use it up than it sit in my house just because it was hand made by a family member.

Kate said...

Great post and really thought provoking comments. I recently asked Drama Teen (my only child) what she would do with my quilts when I was gone. She said she'd keep a few of them, but there were a few that were going straight to goodwill. Fair enough, the ones that were going to Goodwill weren't favorites of anyone in the family

WyoPat said...

Interesting conversation! I am a "saver" of old things, which is probably why I have so much "stuff." I know that people's ideas differ, and that when I leave the "stuff" behind, it may or may not be treasured. That said, I continue to preserve and treasure the things that have come my way--needlework/crochet from my grandmothers & great aunts (as well as my husband's), many items from my mother and mother-in-law, and even items I made and gifted to my mother. My project this summer is to write notes regarding origin of the items--then my son and daughter-in-law can decide what to do with them. In the meantime, they are a visual reminder of important people in my life. Just my take on the subject.

Donna said...

I have to agree. My dad made a lot of their furniture, and there is no way I can keep it all. We just closed mom's home, dad passed 15 years ago, and I have a garage crammed with the stuff. No one wants it, and after 55 years some of it is ready for Goodwill.
You just can't keep everything.

Libby in TN said...

It's STUFF. I don't know about you, but I don't have room to keep it all -- my stuff, Mother's stuff, MIL's stuff -- much less collect someone else's stuff. I have saved some weird things of The Mama's simply because I remember seeing them over the edge of her top drawer or I can still smell her scent on them. On the other hand, I have gotten rid of things I wish I now had. Daddy Bill's fishing lures, for one thing. Before I get rid of something significant I offer it to the boys. They don't want it; they have their own "stuff." I do plan to make notes on things I leave behind. Whether it makes a difference or not, who knows. By bequest, the REAL heirlooms will be donated to a museum if they don't want them.

Thanks for a thought-provoking post.

Heather said...

if none of my quilts ever expired, then I would have no reason to make more. I have one that has officially reached old age and it will be retired to less active duty and a new one will be needed. its one that is on the sofa and used every day for the last 14 years.

quilterchick said...

Great topic. I once told my mother that I wished we had saved some of Grandma's quilts. Her response was, "What would we have done when we needed them?" She was so right... I make quilts to be used.

beth said...

This is a good topic. I've loved reading everyone perspective on this. Thanks for this post. ;)

Amy, a redeemed sheep said...

Excellent post and very thought provoking. I have no problem getting rid (donate to Goodwill or something) some of my earlier quilts.


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