Monday, 28 April 2008

Feeling a bit morbid

Today I attended the funeral of a former member of the sewing group I used to run. Bridgette had a stroke about 10 years ago and since then had been partly paralysed and house bound. Formerly a prolific sewer and knitter, she could no longer do her hobbies but continued to maintain a keen interest in them and still talked about what she would do when her health improved. Sadly, she reached her 80th birthday in hospital while I was in Chicago, and passed away the evening that I returned. I had visited her regularly since she left the group, so her relatives asked me to assist with clearing her home by taking the sewing and knitting items.

To my surprise, this was actually two full car loads, and we have an estate car (station wagon). I had sort of assumed that Bridgette would have had a clear out before now, but I was given six or seven huge suitcase sized bags of fabric, and about the same number of large garbage sacks full of acrylic yarn. In addition was a quantity of haberdashery, a dressmaker's dummy, and about five large boxes of various craft magazines and books. The saddest thing was a suitcase and large bag full of projects in progress, presumably items she had underway when the stroke hit her.

I have now managed to pass on the majority of the items, to friends who sew for charity, and to a contact in the local Women's Institute who do knitting for charity and raise funds by selling items at fetes. My mother in law took a lot of the magazines to pass on to her local sewing group and I will take the remainder to my Saturday group this weekend. So lots of people are grateful to Bridgette and are thinking of her now.

The whole thing has made me conscious of my enormous stash and how horrendous it would be for anyone (or any small army) to try to sort through it all. Bridgette's stash was at least semi-organised and in bags due to her ill health. Mine is spread over the house, the attic and the garden shed, and encompasses several hobbies. The relevance of various items and their interconnectivity (e.g. the various bits intended to belong to one project) exists only in my head. And then there are all my finished projects, all the dollshouses and room boxes, and quilts and various other things. But I feel too young to start downsizing yet. It's been a while since I updated my will but I recall that I said there that after my family have taken any momentoes, the remainder of my stash/hobbies should be passed to the relevant club (e.g. knitting, dollshousing, quilting) to dispose of. So hopefully it isn't just going to end up in the trash - which is where the remainder of Bridgette's stuff is going now because her Australian resident son is only in England for four days and has ordered a skip (a big metal waste receptacle) to clear out the rest of her house.


swooze said...

Yes it is quite sobering. I had to do a clean-out of mother-in-laws things. I finished some things and passed other things on. This is the exact reason I am finishing up the UFOs. I will probably have a big cleanout afterwards of other assorted hobby items that I wont get back to.

I did go through a big effort to get everything co-located as well. I have the sewing room and the spillway outside the room in the foyer. I really need to make another push to get it all into the sewing room. All in good time!

Hope you are doing well and enjoying your new job. It is a bit of an adjustment to go to longer hours but I am sure you will get into the groove again very soon.

Sorry for your loss of your friend.

Kathy Wagner said...

I think about this from time to time also. I am trying to get more organized a bit at a time so it wouldn't be so overwhleming for someone else to deal with my stash some day.
How's the new job going??

Quilter In Paradise said...

well, I can never! die cause I have too much fabric to work with!! My family would not have the vaguest idea what to do with any of my stuff. I hope they would call a friend to come retreive items before it went to the dump...
gee, think they have all the stuff we need to quilt in heaven?

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