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Thread: She who dies with the most wins! But what about after?

  1. #1
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    She who dies with the most wins! But what about after?

    Hi
    I would like to bring up a topic that I am sure we would all like to avoid. One of my coworkers and friends and an avid quilter recently died quite suddenly. She had acquired a huge stash of fabric over the years and now that stash, with her WIPs, UFOs and unquilted tops was headed for the dumpster. Her family had a very few days after her funeral to empty her home and disperse her belongings. Fortunately, several of her friends spoke to the family and the many many totes of fabric were saved for the present. Many of her projects became separated from the patterns, many of her intended receipients will never know that she was making them a quilt. Aside from a few of us who recognized what things went with what other things most of the stash would have been considered just scraps of fabric.

    It would have been wonderful to have found in each project, a list of what went with what, who it was intended for, what patterns were used. It would have been nice if there was a note saying she would have liked her stash to go to making hospice quilts, or donated to a local guild or who should benefit from her years of stash building!

    So I would like to propose to you all, that you take the time to make a list or include some sort of note with your projects that might just help the survivors when your time comes. Believe me, there has been plenty of angst on the part of her friends going through her stash. One person took many completed applique blocks and is making quilts for her sons and other members of her family, some of the fabric is going to a church group to make hospice quilts, some went to coworkers who quilt but there was a huge amount of fabric.

    My friend died too early, only 56, from ovarian cancer. She thought she had more time as we all do, she did put off doing some of the final arrangements as we all would in her shoes. I miss her. I would much rather be laughing with her than sorting through her stash trying to figure out what to do. So for the people you will leave behind, make some arrangements about your stash and your projects AND please label your quilts.

  2. #2
    Super Member lauriejo's Avatar
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    My condolences on the loss of your friend, sending you hugs. You are right that this is a topic that is difficult to talk about, but it is one we all should at least consider. Even if just to say, "when I die give _____ my stuff to disperse as she sees fit". I am currently trying to organize all my crafting and quilting supplies, and I think I will incorporate some of these ideas into my final setup.
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  3. #3
    Junior Member mimmy96's Avatar
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    I am going through some of what you have your in post. An elderly lady in my church passes away.. she was a major quilter. After her house sitting for agood while I asked about her quilt room and all her supplies...... long story short... I was told to go get everything I wanted, which was the whole room..... After getting it all home and going through it, there was probally at least 50 quilts that have been cut out but no patterns, notes, nothing. So I bought gallon size zip lock bags and started putting things I thought were the pieces to each on into a bag. but I understand what you mean. The people that "inheret" these items,we have no idea what the person cuting them out was thinking. and it is very hard to put things together. I feel your pain on that point...

    on the other.... I am so very sorry for the loss of your friend, she was still so very young!

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the condolences. It is hard to look at all this beautiful fabric while thinking if only, or what if, - some of the WIPs were from classes we had both gone to! Makes me want to get rid of the peripherals and concentrate on what brings joy!

  5. #5
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    Thank you for sharing both your grief and your observations. We had a man come into one of our guild meetings with a quilt his wife made and started hand quilting. She died suddenly. He was going to toss it into the trash when a friend of his wife intervened and brought him and it to our guild meeting. It's a beautiful quilt and several of the guild members are completing the hand quilting.

    So ladies and gentlemen, we really need to plan for the inheritance of our beloved fabrics. tools, and quilts. Otherwise, only God knows what will happen to them.

  6. #6
    Super Member Gannyrosie's Avatar
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    Yes it's a subject everyone wants to advoid. Deep in her heart I bet she knew you would handle her crafts and complete them for her. To me that would bring me joy, knowing I can complete the things ya'll started together. The friendship will never end knowing you have her "love" with you. Keep your smile going, she would want nothing better than for you to enjoy it.

  7. #7
    Super Member sew_Tracy's Avatar
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    Awwwwwwwwwww. I am sorry to hear about your friend. I agree with everything you said about labeling and arrangements for who gets what. I have only told my family the value of my tools, notions, etc. so they don't toss it.
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  8. #8
    Super Member NikkiLu's Avatar
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    So sorry for the your loss. I have gone through this very thing with my BFF - she had an entire room full of fabric, in bookcases on bolts, etc. She had a major stroke and then passed away. After several months of us visiting her DH (my husbands best friend) we went to see him one day and he said that he had spent the past two days burning all of her fabric, etc. I almost fainted - no kidding. I raced into her "room" and sure enough it was empty. But, he hadn't gotten around to emptying the big closet - it had her plactic totes full of fabric - maybe a dozen or so totes. I was able to "rescue" them - DH and I carrying them out to our car in a hurry - before he changed his mind and burned them too. I asked where her paper patterns and thread was and he said "gone". I did find her quilt books in a bookcase in another bedroom so took them home too. But the worst thing is that she had a sister who had three daughters and then she had a daughter in-law who had a young daughter. I am sure that one of them might have wanted some of the things in her sewing room. I offerred to have her sister to come to my house to go through what I brought home and he told me that he did not want the sister to have anything. I am still in shock about all of this. Besides that, the floor in my sewing room collapsed - due partly to the weight of all of my fabric - old floor though. So, I had to put all of her fabric in a storage room in my garage.
    Nikki in MO

  9. #9
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    We had a beloved quilter in our community pass on suddenly from a fall - she was a fabulous friend of the quilting community here, and generous to quilters making charity items. We will always miss her assistance and helpfulness. At her funeral each attendee received a yard of her stash -- rolled with a ribbon. Mine was incorporated into a set of placements donated to a charity for a fund raising event. It was her love and passion -- and a joy to pass that along in her memory.

  10. #10
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    We had a beloved quilter in our community pass on suddenly from a fall - she was a fabulous friend of the quilting community here, and generous to quilters making charity items. We will always miss her assistance and helpfulness. At her funeral each attendee received a yard of her stash -- rolled with a ribbon. Mine was incorporated into a set of placements donated to a charity for a fund raising event. It was her love and passion -- and a joy to pass that along in her memory.

  11. #11
    Super Member Kathy T.'s Avatar
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    You have posted a topic dear to my heart. I have gone thru my mother's belongs recently - she sewed garments not quilts, but the thoughts you have expressed hit home.

    I, personally, have 8.5 x 11 sheets of paper with notes on them that I keep in a stack and reuse. I have written on them what goes where and I get those pages out and put them in my sewing room every time my husband and I travel in a car on long vacations. You just never know.

    My messages say things like (1) give this quilt to my sister-in-law, (2) offer these fabrics to my on-line quilting guild (includes the website and my password to post), (3) send these scraps in a flat rate box to xxx (my friend that makes scrappy quilts and crumb blocks - has her name and address included), and (4) these tops were made by our great-grandmother xxx - send to my cousin xxx in Town, USA, etc. It doesn't take long to distribute these notes (and some are inside the boxes and stay there permanently) but I'm sure they will be very useful.

  12. #12
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    he said that he had spent the past two days burning all of her fabric.



    What a creep to have had for a husband.
    Got fabric?

  13. #13
    Super Member mom-6's Avatar
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    So sorry for the loss of your friend. And thanks for the reminder that we all need to make sure someone knows our intentions.
    When my in laws went into assisted living we all went through the things they were not taking to the small apartment and decided that rather than trying to do an estate sale we would distribute it among ourselves and anything none of us could use would go to Goodwill. Each of us got a sewing machine and various items she had made or been working on. I was able to figure out the mystery quilt she had started and take it to her but there were other blocks and bits and pieces that I have no idea what was going on with. At some point I will figure out something to do with them as they are not done in colors that I use most of the time. But somebody will come along wanting just those colors and there they will be, waiting for that person.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hulalulu View Post
    We had a beloved quilter in our community pass on suddenly from a fall - she was a fabulous friend of the quilting community here, and generous to quilters making charity items. We will always miss her assistance and helpfulness. At her funeral each attendee received a yard of her stash -- rolled with a ribbon. Mine was incorporated into a set of placements donated to a charity for a fund raising event. It was her love and passion -- and a joy to pass that along in her memory.
    What a nice thing to do.

    I have already told my husband to let my sister and best friend do what they want with my stash and equipment, but my children and grandchildren (first) and any family members will get any and all quilts that are completed. My sister will get my Berninas (4) and my best friend will get my Singers (9 - 6 of which are FWs) and my Janome serger.

  15. #15
    Junior Member germanquilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NikkiLu View Post
    So sorry for the your loss. I have gone through this very thing with my BFF - she had an entire room full of fabric, in bookcases on bolts, etc. She had a major stroke and then passed away. After several months of us visiting her DH (my husbands best friend) we went to see him one day and he said that he had spent the past two days burning all of her fabric, etc. I almost fainted - no kidding. I raced into her "room" and sure enough it was empty. But, he hadn't gotten around to emptying the big closet - it had her plactic totes full of fabric - maybe a dozen or so totes. I was able to "rescue" them - DH and I carrying them out to our car in a hurry - before he changed his mind and burned them too. I asked where her paper patterns and thread was and he said "gone". I did find her quilt books in a bookcase in another bedroom so took them home too. But the worst thing is that she had a sister who had three daughters and then she had a daughter in-law who had a young daughter. I am sure that one of them might have wanted some of the things in her sewing room. I offerred to have her sister to come to my house to go through what I brought home and he told me that he did not want the sister to have anything. I am still in shock about all of this. Besides that, the floor in my sewing room collapsed - due partly to the weight of all of my fabric - old floor though. So, I had to put all of her fabric in a storage room in my garage.
    I sounded like your BFF's husband was very bitter and angry about her death and acted very irrationally in his grief. So sad that none of the nieces, sister and daughter-in-law were able to have something from her collection to remember her by Kudos to you for getting some things to safety. I would still have the sister and daughter-in-law come over to pick through the totes you saved if you think they would appreciate it. Nothing your friend's husband can do about that now!

  16. #16
    Super Member charsuewilson's Avatar
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    Different people deal with death in different ways. DMIL didn't sew much, so DFIL kept the sewing machine and supplies, but threw out all her clothes shortly after her death. I would never have done that. If he didn't want to see relatives wearing them, they could all have been donated to charity, and at least someone would benefit. And later for some collectibles, we were ordered over to the house to get this "crap" now if we wanted it or it was going in the trash.

  17. #17
    Super Member ube quilting's Avatar
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    May you find some solice having part of her stash with you. My heart is with you. This is a very important topic and one we should all act on, now.
    peace
    no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. Aesop

  18. #18
    Super Member dakotamaid's Avatar
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    My sewing room is actually in my will "wish list". I have so much stuff that my hubby wanted to know what to do with it when I was gone. I asked him the same about his motorcycles and tools. It is all listed somewhere in our papers. We were trying to make things simple for each other and our kids.
    Have a great day sewing and remember to "not sweat the small stuff"!!



  19. #19
    Power Poster joyce888's Avatar
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    A very sad sad story. So sorry for the loss of your friend and fellow quilter. Thanks for the reminder that we all need to pre-plan and save our loved ones the heartache of trying to figure out what we would have wanted done with our personal possessions.
    Joyce

    Four things you can't recover: The stone.....after the throw. The word......after its said. The occasion.....after its missed. The time......after its gone

  20. #20
    Super Member Boston1954's Avatar
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    Way ahead of you. I have kept a running list for years. It states the name of the quilt, how far the project is in its completion, the size, and who it is for. I also have taken photographs of every quilt, I have made, whether finished or not. When I am gone, my family will get them in a lottery style drawing. There are enough for each to get at least two.
    Life is not a movie. No one is going to yell "CUT" when you make a mistake. - Anne L. Fulton

    I am from the South....39 miles south of Boston.

  21. #21
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    My MIL passed 3 years ago and she put all of her quilting related stuff into a very large tote/tub with my name on it. Inside was a note with all the details of the UFO's, projects in the works and so on. It took me the 3 years since she passed to finish all her projects but they are done. My FIL had asked me to finish them for her and sadly he passed just a few weeks ago but he did get to see them done. I gave the designated quilts to all of her children as requested and they were so happy. A few tears were shed but the loving memory of their mother will always be with them.

  22. #22
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    Went to preview an estate sale and there was an enormous amount of fabric. I knew the lady who had passed away. She used to come into the salon where I worked. It was a massive stroke that took her life also. Her children never used a sewing machine. They didn't have an interest in passing the art down through the family or so they thought. While previewing one of the youngest granddaughters was playing with some fabric on an old child's sewing machine. She was having a ball. I looked at one of the daughters and said "you may want to keep that one at least." They decided to go through and let the little girl decide what she wanted. Turns out when the granddaughter would spend the night she and Grandma played on the sewing machine. That day the girl didn't go to school because she just didn't feel well but she was better at Grandma's. That little girl is 17 now and she still has all of Grandma's patterns. That 17 yr old has her own studio in the walk up attic of their home. She has helped some of the other grands and she still has the sewing machines (5) that belonged to her grandmother. I was able to get some of the material but a lot of it wasn't sold. She has many of the needles that her grand used, on display. I feel so blessed to have met that lady and her family, especially Emmalee. That Christmas many received small quilts from Grandma's stash. Emmalee has everything organized. She was able to also help inform everyone what was what. She has completed many of the WIPs. She only gave quilts to those who had an interest, mainly the grands. Grandma's art skipped a generation but still was passed to another.

  23. #23
    Super Member HillCountryGal's Avatar
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    Everyone deals with grief in their own way. Not always to our liking.

    This is a topic most families don't want to venture into. It is an uncomfortable situation.
    HOWEVER, those that can and will, sure need to bring it up. And not just about our sewing/quilting supplies & projects.

    Thank you for this post.

  24. #24
    Super Member KalamaQuilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BellaBoo View Post
    What a creep to have had for a husband. [/COLOR]
    Grief takes many forms.

  25. #25
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    I've got that covered. My daughter-out-of-law (someday will DIL) gets first dibs on my sewing room. Everyone in my family knows that to throw out my stuff would cause me to come back and haunt them! They are all aware that there are many places to donate unwanted stuff from a quilter. In fact, my youngest son has promised that he will line my casket with some fabric so I can go happily! LOL

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