Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Day of Reflection

This post has nuthin' to do with sewing so if you don't want to read about something other than sewing, I would click out now.

Today I went to my Uncle's funeral.  It was an Uncle (actually the brother of an aunt so he wasn't really my uncle) that I hadn't seen since I was a little girl but my mother really wanted her children to attend with her and who am I to refuse my mother.  It was an interesting funeral because even though he had five children and 25 grandchildren, very few of them attended...only three of his children and a handful of grandchildren...and it gave me pause.

The funeral was a nice one considering that my Uncle did not go to church and the Pastor really didn't know him.  Have you ever been to one of those - where the Pastor is basically vamping because he doesn't know the deceased?  This one wasn't like that because the Pastor spoke to the living, the ones who cared about the actual proceedings since my Uncle had long since passed from this world.

It also gave me an opportunity to spend time with my brother, sister and a few of my favorite cousins at the repast following the funeral.  To tell stories about each other and laugh at memories from when we were younger since we all grew up together.  Inevitably the question came up about whether I still sew...yes, I've been sewing for so long that ALL of my family realizes that it's an integral part of my life.

...and that's what caused the reflection...since sewing is such an integral part of my life...what will the stories be that my family shares when I've passed on?  Will they laugh about all the boxes of fabric that arrived?  Or the times I dragged my daughters to the fabric store?  Will they tell tales of garments I made for them and their children?  Will I get to share my gift with my grandchildren (at least one) before I pass on?

...and will my daughters remember to put one or two pieces in the casket with me before I'm cremated?  I know morbid right...but if someone can get buried in their car why can't a couple of pieces of fabric burn with me?

It's just reflections...things I'm thinking about as I sit in the sewing cave...realizing that we have a finite number of days and checking to make sure that I'm spending my time doing the things that I really want with my life.  The concern about what would happen to my enormous fabric collection never once entered my mind.  That is for my daughters to handle and dispose of as they see fit.  My collection is here now to inspire me to create, to encourage me to think of new ways to use it and garments to make, and to be a touchstone of my craft. always, more later!


  1. I think that is exactly the sort of story they will tell. And of the times you had photo shoots together, because you guys have clearly had a lot of fun doing that. And the time you sewed a baptism outfit for a cherished relative/friend, and other special projects.

    You can always stick a label on a couple pieces of prized fabric. If this is still in my stash at my time of passing, make sure it comes with me. :)

    I'm sorry about your uncle.

  2. Carolyn, my condolences. I absolutely love the idea of putting a cherished piece of fabric with you when you are sent 'on your way.'

    My only hope for my memorial is that it is filled with laughter and song. Even if I die tomorrow (I'm not planning on it!) I've had a good, full, joyous life--and music is as important to me as breathing.

  3. A lady in our ASG chapter tells all of us "Ladies if you don't use up your gorgeous stash, your kids will sell it in a garage sale." So unless you have things labelled or already sewn, your "to-die-for" fabrics (excuse the pun)will be sold for peanuts.
    Sorry for such a sad way to spend the day but connecting with your siblings can lift your spirits.

  4. My aunt loved to party and when she died her sisters put a bottle of her favorite drink and a deck of cards in her casket. You could hear the bottle clanking as they carried the casket. Everybody that knew what her sisters had done had a terrible time keeping a straight face. At least fabric will not make any noise.

  5. I'm sure they will tell stories about your imagination, tenacity and ingenuity that were reflected in your sewing and your other endeavors.

    My quilt guilds' community services chairwoman says that, monthly, someone drives up to her house to donate their late mother's stash. I think that funeral directors have learned about us and send people from all over the LA region to our guild.

    There's really nice stuff in there, and we use it to make quilts for children in shelters and/or foster care. You can see some of my charity quilting here:

    We are having our annual show Feb 18-19, 2012 in Torrance Civic Center. Come by and see what we do with all that fabric!

  6. This reminded me of a newsletter I received many years ago and I found the information still on the internet. The woman was a quilter, her 16 year old son wrote a beautiful Eulogy about his Mom and her love of fabric. What her quilting meant to him and the family. It stated that fabric was handed out at her funeral. It always stuck with me. Here is a link to what he wrote.

  7. That is a lovely, thought provoking post.

    I am sure your children will talk about your sewing much as you did. Fabric stores feel oddly comforting after being taken to so many by my mom. My Nana was an incredible cook and that set of grandparents loved a good party. We talked about those things at both of their funerals. Nana's stitch & bitch friends told me how they loved it when it was her turn to host because the food was always best. I imagine there will be similar stories told by friends and family about your passion for sewing.

    Fabric stashes are inspiring. So long as you aren't protecting the individual fabrics too much, I see nothing wrong with it. Your children know you well enough to expect to deal with your stash when the time comes. My mom is starting to de-stash so they can live somewhere smaller, but I know there will always be a lot of broadcloth and cotton prints wherever she goes next.

  8. I'm so sorry about your uncle. Funerals do give one an opportunity to connect with other family members. I'm sure everyone will always be discussing the way you express yourself with your art of sewing. I'm sure your loved ones will reflect on the things you created for them and for yourself.

  9. Wow, what a beautiful and affecting post. I can assure you that your daughters and granddaughters and grandsons and everyone else will talk about your crazy sewing passion and how many beautiful things you have made. But that won't happen for a LONG time yet.

  10. Family is family because we say we are....

    All that you desire will happen if you make Knowledge Born. And all your children and grandchildren will be there, not wearing black, but wearing garments that you lovingly made them. and you can have the funeral home lay all the fabric out in the casket and lay you on top holding your favorite notions in your hands.

    I have been to several funerals where folks have so many of the things they love in the casket, I have wondered how are they going to close it and won't the deceased be uncomfortable in there with all that stuff. LOL!

  11. So sorry for loss...
    We all think about these things at one point or another, and your experience of telling stories definitely reminds me of all of the stories told around the deaths of my grandfathers. We put pictures in both caskets and the first graveside service I did as a minister involved toasting Mrs. M- the woman being buried- with mimosas. Her godson poured one over the grave for her. When we grieve we remember, and those memories and how we express ourselves are important!
    I doubt your fabric and the beautiful garments you have created over the years will allow you to be easily forgotten- And as long as the stories are told, the memories are alive.

  12. Great post much to think about. Reminded me of one of the most moving wakes I have ever been to. I walked in and nearly lost it. The family had filled up three tables of their mother's latest projects and had her sewing machine and serger turned on with the lights on right in the middle. My husband thought it was shocking, I thought it was perfect.

  13. When a member of our local ASG chapter passed away, her family invited us over to go through her stash. I don't know if that was her wish, but it was very nice of them. What was left was then cataloged, priced and sold at our annual (all local ASG groups) gathering. She had some great pieces.

    Sorry to hear about your uncle.

  14. Hi! I peer through your blog often, threatening to write my own, but I just don't think I'll have that much to say, but I can really relate to today's posting! First of all, I'm sorry to hear about your uncle, may he rest in peace. Now to the fabric stash....

    My children - Son and daughter - grown people - have told me..."Mom, when you leave, we're just gonna throw away all of your fabric and patterns anyway. Don't nobody want that stuff!" LOL So I asked them to please just let my sewing sisters get what they want, then I don't care what they do with the rest because I will be gone!! (and there is a LOT of stuff! LOL) Thanks for your enjoyable writings!!

    Jo Ann


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