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!)



My quilt will not be completed in time for Christmas. I was so hoping it would be. I began sewing the blocks last February for a quilting class, and am really amazed that I have gotten this far. Some months I spent hours meticulously sewing my quilt blocks; other months passed by without sewing one stitch. I wanted to have a warm, cozy quilt on my lap at Christmas time.

I have spent some time in December working on the final step: quilting the backing, batting and quilt top together. My quilt blocks are coming to life. As a novice quilter, I didn’t realize how the actual quilting task would bring such rich dimensions to my quilt.

Pieced block on the left, quilted block on the right
Pieced block on the left, quilted block on the right

It occurs to me that these stitches I am making are much like the stitches that give dimension to my life.

Some seams I have chosen to rip out; the stitches went the wrong way and did not add the right kind of dimension to my quilt block. They remind me of old boyfriends and broken relationships. These stitches were difficult to rip out, painful even, and yet my life is better without them.

When I pressed my foot too heavily on the presser foot of my sewing machine, the seam got away from me. It was sewn too quickly and became crooked and uneven. I decided to leave these stitches in my quilt. I hope that washing and using this quilt will soften the crooked line and make it less noticeable.

Over the years, the crooked line on my chest has become softer, whiter and less noticeable than that raw, red scar that was placed there after my cancer diagnosis. This is a dimension I didn’t want in my life; a dimension of surgery, chemotherapy treatments and medication. I can’t rip out these stitches; they are permanent. Over the years, however, memory of cancer fades. It all seems like a dream; did I really lose my hair? Did I really take Tamoxifen for five years? Sometimes I even forget that I am a “survivior.”

Then there are the deliberate hand stitches; the invisible seams that were slowly and carefully made. They are unseen and yet add so much to the quilt. They are the love that permeates my life; the unconditional love I have for my children, the love for my family and friends, the love of my husband. The unseen Love from my Lord Jesus Christ, whose birth we are about to celebrate. Love will cover us this Christmas with its cozy warmth, bringing rich dimension to our lives.

Hex Stripe, sewn by hand
Hex Stripe, sewn by hand

What brings dimension to your life?

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