Sharing my life and love of cross stitch. Thoughts about this and that.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Sobering experience

This morning I stopped at a nearby estate sale. I never do that sort of thing, but since some stitchers seem to find gold mines on occasion I thought I'd take a chance. Found a 12 x 12 frame for $1. Then I walked into this elderly woman's craft room, and stopped cold. There were quilts in various stages of completion, crocheted and knit afghans with the needles stuck through them as if she'd just laid it down. A pink, grey & white star shaped- afghan made in the pattern I've seen displayed on the 123MB. Do I need that? No. A crumpled mass in the corner turned out to be a beautiful hand-crocheted double bedcover that was flawless - and must have weighed a ton. I don't know how anyone would ever get it out of a washing machine into a dryer. A variety of 2 or 3 dozen skeins of yarns, boxes full of notions, more than a dozen dozen needle craft and crochet books. envelopes full of plastic canvas and patterns. And I just stood there looking at all that and knew in my soul that what I saw was that woman's life, laying displayed in thick piles that were being idly fingered or totally ignored by most people walking through the room, and for which the family would never receive payment anywhere near the value of time, labor and love expended in creating them. That the family hadn't even taken the bedspread made me so sad. It was more sad than peeking in the closet to see a few boxes of shoes left behind, still waiting their turn to be worn and never to understand their usefullness and lives were over as well. I was thinking that when those lovely things inevitably didn't sell, most of all that beautiful craftsmanship would likely end up in the trash with the rest of the leftover, unwanted household items and junk. That woman's life set in bags on the street waiting for an enternity in the landfill. I felt the need to rescue all of it and let it feel wanted and appreciated and loved all over again. The double bedspread was a treasure, but I have no place for something that fine. I am well aware that when I pass my daughter will go through my stuff in her "kamikaze" take-no-prisoners housecleaning mode (I had to retrieve stitching from a bag on the street when she decided to clean my admittedly messy room one day) and that all my stitching, as well as pretty much everything else around here will end up on the street. To save my family the wasted effort, I've given them instructions to not bother coming in and to just light a match. I wasn't kidding. Better a funeral pyre than stench and mold and who knows what else.

Question: Am I, are we all, just wasting what few days we are granted in this life stitching and making things which will end up in the landfill probably a lot sooner than later?

I still haven't shaken that "what's the point" feeling.


Bronny said...

A sobering experience indeed. I have left instructions that my craft things be distributed between specific stitchy friends - and the names increase as time goes by. Some of my stitching will pass down the generations, but on the most part my stitching is selfish and is for ME - it is my therapy -regardless of how much I churn out, I get pleasure from creating. Perhaps that lady did too. I agree it is a shame that her family did not appreciate her work and art.
Hugs - there IS a reason we stitch. It is different for each of us - perhaps that quilt may end up being donated to a charity and a family who NEEDS it's warmth and love will benefit.

LindaMc said...

The e xperience, and your welcome comment, that I need to go back to all those WIP's and objects finished but still unframed after several years, complete, finish or frame and either give to their originally intended friends and relatives, or get them on the wall to enjoy them for myself while I can. Yes, most of what I stitch is for my stitching enjoyment, and perhaps it is the simple enjoyment in the creation that should supercede any concern about what happens to them afterwards. I hope that family donates the items to an adult care center or nursing home where they will find use and probably much appreciation.

PaulineD said...

That's an interesting question, Linda. I look at my stitching the same way I look at the various pieces of china I have collected. I bought them for MY enjoyment, not so that I can tell someone how expensive they are and how treasured they are.I don't even expect people to appreciate my ornaments. My stitching is the same. I do it for my enjoyment and appreciation. Could I spend my time doing something 'better'? Perhaps, but the rhythm of the needle soothes my mind when I'm upset, sad or angry, and to me, that is a great gift to have -to be soothed by the needle.

Now, when I'm gone, I want my stash to go to my friend who stitches, because I KNOW she'll enjoy fondling the floss, the fabric and looking through my charts. Good thing she's 10 years younger, she'll be still here to enjoy it!

Thanks for the thought-provoking post!

Carolyn said...

Linda, I just loved your post. We will be having an estate for my Mom's things after we all go through them, but if I know us three girls, there won't be anything left to sell. I am THE most sentimental person on earth, and everything I pick up of hers brings back so many memories.

I only have a son, and I can only hope that his wife and my grandchildren will want some of my years worth of stitching. If not....I don't know. The journey of stitching it all has made me happy, so I suppose that will have to suffice if it all gets thrown out.

What a wonderful post! HUGS

XSLaura said...


It is a sad thing when one's "passion" goes unrecognnized by those around them. I stitch and craft for the pleasure it brings me and I highly suspect when my time on earth is done neither my son or my daughter will have any emotional attachments to my handiwork. So I try to focus on the joy that it brings me in this life.....It's cheaper than therapy! And helps me relax.

Jeanne said...

What a thought-provoking post! I've been doing all kinds of needlework/textile arts all my life, starting with doll clothes when I was little. It's just one of the things that makes me who I am, whether anyone else 'gets' it or not. I only have sons, so my stuff will probably get dispersed at the end, too, but in the meantime my hours are occupied with being true to my own heart.

LindaMc said...

Appreciate the thoughts and comments. Still mulling here. Jeanne, I thought the Ralph Waldo Emerson poem on your Serendipity blog appropo to this subject. That needs to be charted! :)