As I was reading blogs the other day, I came across this saying on I Got Nothing by Janice that made me laugh.

fabric stash

I already have a large box full of fabric, which is threatening to overflow. I will need another box soon. I know, however, that my small stash of fabric is nothing compared to other sewists. I received most of my stash from my mom when she died. One of my sisters and I divided it between us.

Mom loved to browse in fabrics stores and buy all sorts of fabric for her quilting. My sisters and I knew exactly what type of fabric she was drawn to, having been to fabric stores with her on numerous occasions. She loved beautiful, colorful fabrics with traditional designs and intricate patterns. She didn’t like yellow or brown, although she used yellow in her latest quilts. She tried to buy some “ugly” fabrics to bring variety to her quilting, but could just never bring herself to do it.

During our visit with our Dad over Christmas, we were looking at a quilt on the guest bed, trying to decide if Mom had made it or bought it. We all pretty much decided that Mom had bought the quilt. My sister Meredith pointed out that several of the fabrics weren’t designs that Mom would have bought, and the stitching was sloppier than Mom’s sewing style of neat stitches.

Mom saved the smallest scraps of fabric. She saved scraps with holes in them from where she had ripped out seams. Worthless scraps. Right? What can you do with a bunch of scraps?

I have those scraps now. My sister has some scraps. We are incorporating those fabric scraps in quilts of our own. Those worthless scraps are turning out to be quite beautiful.

My quilts are more modest than my sister’s. I’m still in the process of making a throw quilt, with a backing and batting, which I hope to be able to throw on my lap this winter as I sit in front of the TV watching Big Bang Theory.Scrappy Dresden Plate

Heather’s quilts are of the artist variety. Her quilts stretch long and tall with intricate designs sewn on the front. Scraps of Mom’s fabric are incorporated into her quilts as well.

Heather's quilt displayed at the Peoria Art Guild in August, 2012
Heather’s quilt displayed at the Peoria Art Guild in August, 2012

Not all scraps are tangible. My sister Meredith’s quilting consists of beautiful phrases of music.

Circle of Geese block (click the picture to hear Meredith's composition "Flock of Geese")
Circle of Geese block (click the picture to hear Meredith’s composition “Flock of Geese”)

We leave intangible scraps of ourselves all over the place. How often has someone told you, “I was thinking about you the other day!” because of something they saw or did that reminded them of you? Or perhaps you smell a certain scent in the air that reminds you of someone you love. (Cinnamon rolls equals Grandma!) Whenever I hear a Def Leppard song, I instantly think of my husband, who has every single album they ever recorded.

Little scraps of us. Not worthless, but meaningful.

(Leave a scrap of yourself below…write a comment!)


Music Matters {Spin Cycle}

victorian girls with piano

You don’t even know what it’s like to live with an competitive pianist. Oh, the hours and hours of practice! Scales running up and down the piano keys over and over, and just when you think she’s done playing scales, she starts another variation. Listening to someone practice the piano is not relaxing; it is listening to the same few measures of music being repeated over and over again until it is absolutely perfect. And what’s worse, she actually LIKED to practice! I mean, who likes to practice the piano? It was all I could do to sit at that piano for half an hour, and she tried to get in THREE HOURS of practice a day!

I supposed that’s why my sister is a music professor and composer and I am not. While I like to pretend that her constant practicing drove me crazy, in reality I was very proud of her piano playing. (My other little sister was also quite an accomplished piano player. They both played the piano far better than I ever did, probably due to that practice thing they both liked to do.) I was more interested in reading books than practicing the piano, and so I would hole up in my bedroom and read while my sister practiced. Perhaps that’s the reason I can shut out the world when my nose is in a book; I trained myself to ignore the piano.

On our vacation, Ed and I were walking through the hotel lobby and a young tattooed man sat at the baby grand, playing quite well. “Clair de lune,” I knowingly told Ed. He told me it didn’t sound like Clair de lune to him, at least not the part he with which he was familiar.

Soon enough, however, he said, “You’re right.” Of course I was right. I only heard it being practiced a gazillion times, along with Chopin, Beethoven and Bach, to name just a few composers.

Now my sister is a composer of her own. She lives in California, though, miles away from Illinois. I’ve never been able to hear one of her pieces being performed live. This piece is one of my favorites. It’s based on a quilt square called “Flock of Geese”, which happens to be one of my favorite patterns. Meredith wrote three pieces based on quilt squares in honor of my mom, who was an avid quilter. She was able to play a simple version on her laptop for Mom when she was in hospice. Click the link below to listen:

Flock of Geese

Circle of Geese block (click the picture to hear Meredith's composition "Flock of Geese")
Circle of Geese block (click the picture to hear Meredith’s composition “Flock of Geese”)

I used to have a Flock of Geese pillow my mom made for me a long time ago. The block was blue and white and I have no idea where it is now; I wish I still had it. What I do have, however, is the memory of Mom’s face as she listened to this beautiful piece of music. I could tell that she could envision those geese, flying away into the distance.

Spin Cycle at Second Blooming

Written as part of Gretchen’s Spin Cycle prompt, “Music”. Also read about my other little sister here: Art Matters.

Fabric of Space by Heather Brammeier

If you have time, pretty please pop on over to 5 Minutes for Mom and read my guest post!


%d bloggers like this: