Fiber Fever

I went to Goodwill two evenings ago to return a coat I bought last week. I've been clearing out rooms in earnest this week and solidifying my commitment to get organized and de-clutter.

Somehow this doesn't stop me from visiting the craft and fabric aisle. I'm always on the lookout for fabric, yarn and knitting needles.

As soon as I rounded the corner I saw this:I walked away.

I already have a large pile of scraps on my sewing room floor.

Then I saw this:The corner of a quilt block.
I put the bag in my cart for further inspection. The zipper was taped shut to prevent people like me from pulling the whole thing apart, so my inspection was limited. I could see a few corners of quilt like material, though, and the chance that there might be more within was just too tempting. I told myself I'd buy the bag, take it to my car and go through it to get the things I wanted. Then I would donate the rest of the bag immediately.

Amelia started screaming.

I took the whole bag home and plunked in down in the middle of the sea of white trash bags ready to be added to the yard sale pile. The bags I'd spent two days filling with abandoned toys and clothes.

The Mail Man rolled his eyes.

I tore into the bag. As I began sorting I kept unearthing block after block. 24 in all.

That wasn't all. Also in the bag was this piece. 52" long and 10" wide. I don't know what it was meant to be, but I'll be turning it into a table runner.

Then I found 6 Duck applique blocks. I'm wondering if these were intended to pair up with the basket blocks? Anyone know?
As if that wasn't enough to make a fabric lovin' girl's heart flutter, I then found this stack of green heaven. 32 round blocks in all.
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When I was finished squeeling I sat there dazed. Totally unable to move or think straight. It took me several hours to sleep that night as I thought about these treasures and what they mean to me.

I wondered why they were abandoned. I wondered where they had come from. I couldn't stop thinking about the hands that had made them and the plans that had been imagined.

I know it sounds crazy, but finding these blocks has changed me yet again. This kind of art endures.
This week I'm preparing a handmade birthday celebration for Amelia. She may only wear the smock I'm stitching for 1 year. The felt food will likely be abandoned sooner than I'd like to think, and the sweater I'm knitting may never be worn.

With every stitch I sew, and every cut I make, I'm giving her a part of me. There's something about this that will endure. And when we no longer have a use for these lovingly created items, I hope the memories last for many years to come, and I hope someone stumbles upon them in a thrift store and thinks they are a treasure.

Life is beautiful


  1. Heather, this is such a great post. Your joy exudes through it and the real you REALLY shows. I'm thrilled for you for your fortunate find, and what a treasure it was!

    Have fun preparing for Amelia's birthday. I'll be thinking of all of you on Sunday.


  2. What a great find! I always feel a little sad when I find things like that in the thrift store. Someone put so much time and effort into it that you would think their family would want it. How nice of you to pick it up where she left off!

  3. You really scored here---what treasures you found!!!

  4. I know exactly how you feel. I have been teaching myself to sew this last year by making my 2 yr old simple little skirts. She loves them, totally, and it makes me so happy to see her happy wearing them, knowing I made them, not some sweat shop on the other side of the world.

    You have really captured the feelings a lot of us share for old textiles and the women who created them. I am privileged to have several vintage family pieces and I always think about those women when I see their work.

  5. Very cool stuff...yes the memories are priceless and the process is so much fun.

  6. Mom comes over on the 9th... I told her about it and she is thrilled to see the loot. lucky lucky!!

  7. What a beautiful post.

    I can't wait to see what you turn all that lovely fabric into...I know you will do incredible things!

    And what a lovely sentiment regarding Amelia's birthday gifts. Your girls are so lucky to have a mommy like you.

  8. Oh oh OH!!!! Wow. Talk about the mother load. I ~love~ those green quilt patches. It's so fun when you get a 'find'. I do the same thing at night sometimes ... my mind races with the possibilities of what out be made with this that or the other ... unfortunately all too often it stays there stuck in my head.

    I'm with you on the 'giving a piece' of yourself - I love it when my boys ask for me to make them something (especially if it's something I can do!).

  9. My little comment grew big, so I opted instead to make you the star of my post on Friday:

  10. hey
    excited to do the art card swap with you!


  11. I love these photographs. I collected quilts for several years; textiles like these are so charming! ~Arleen

  12. Oh Heather, what a wonderful find!! You really said it all in this post. I can't tell ya how many times I've felt and thought these same things when I've come home with some great finds that mean a lot to me.
    I just finished knitting a pair of socks for my son, and although they probably won't fit him for long, the joy on his face when he put them on is worth it.

  13. What at TREASURE trove of fabric. I love you much you appreciate what you have found. Happy weekend

  14. What a find! You amaze me!!! -S

  15. Such a profound post and food for thought. I think those pieces were meant for you to find them.


  16. wow, what a fantastic find! i too often find myself thinking these thoughts when i discover something handmade at thrift stores. i know they must have been very important to someone, as the things i create are so important to me. i think it is wonderful that you treasure these things so :)


  17. h,

    I'm pretty sure you even out did the mailman with that amazing find...and that is hard to do!! I'm so happy for you!

  18. What. A. Find. Wow.

    I'm continually amazed when I find stuff like that abandoned. Who could get rid of such treasures? When I see stuff like that at garage sales I almost want to yell, "Hey, someone you know made this with their own hands!" But then I quietly hand over the quarter that they priced it at and run home to give it the respect it deserves.

  19. oh my gosh what a great find. So glad it fell into the right hands - what a wonderful gift!

  20. What a great find! I'm sure the original crafter will be happy to know what she started is now in super loving and crafty hands! Can't wait to see what you turn up!


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