Friday, December 23, 2011

Those Dreams Weren't So Faded After All

Wow, time flies when you're having fun. I meant to talk about what happened to the quilt much sooner than this. As the old saying goes, "Better late than never." However, that didn't hold true when I was teenager and coming in after curfew.

My friend who took the quilt to the cleaners called after just a few days with good news/bad news; his team of experts was able to work wonders with the quilt in most of the squares/not all of the fade was possible to be removed. I want to thank them for their hard work and success as well as their willingness to face a challenge! They will be sufficiently rewarded in a few days.

I decided to remove the red squares altogether and replace with black squares. I had enough fabric to be able to replace the unfixable white squares, too.  Attached you can see the finished result. I was very pleased with the way it turned out and a very satisfied South Side High School band member took the quilt home with him. Next year will be another effort and it will be without red and hopefully, without so much drama!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Faded Dreams

 The Quilt. Planning - weeks of it. Selecting just the right fabrics - weeks for that, too. Studying in my mind about what it will look like - more weeks. It was going to be beautiful, specialized, customized, and just right. And it was! It turned out just like I had envisioned. The last step - throw it in the washing machine so the clipped seams would "rag." Raise the lid on the washing machine and pull it out - - - OH NO!!! The red had faded to the white!! Big ugly uneven splotches of pink all over the white squares. It was ruined. Tears rolled down my face. Sobs came from my chest. I had worked so hard. My mind had been consumed for weeks on this quilt. It was destined for a silent auction to raise money for my grandson's high school band program. Everyone would think it was just gorgeous and would bid on it and raise lots of money! Uncharacteristically, for me, I had finished it a week early! (The picture on the left are a couple of the squares I embroidered on my machine to go into the quilt. Taken before the invasion of the red dye.)

I couldn't even think about what to do to fix it. I didn't think I had time to make another. Should I tear it apart and try to salvage the usable squares? I didn't know. I put the problem on my Facebook page and got over 40 comments. One comment was from a friend who works at a dry cleaners. He told me not to do anything to it and bring it to him. It is now in his hands and I'll know in a couple of days if it can be cleaned up.

Ok, so this is a quilt. It's a bunch of cotton fabric I bought in large pieces, cut into smaller pieces, and sewed back together to make it a different large piece. Sounds counter productive, doesn't it? But that's what quilters do. Sometimes we are able to sell the quilts for large sums of money. Sometimes we just give them away. Sometimes we hang onto them and refuse to let them go. But when you get right down to the bottom line - it's just a bunch of fabric. Fabric that probably costs too much. It's just a "thing." And this "thing" had taken over my mind, time, and emotions.

Why am I stressing over a "thing" that has a little monetary value, when there are children in the hospital that would love to have a special quilt to call their own? Why am I stressing over a "thing" when there are children in my own town that might not have enough supper to eat tonight before they go to bed? Why am I stressing over a "thing" when some children don't know where their parents are due to effects of drugs or alcohol? And why am I stressing over a "thing" when some parents aren't able to provide a nice Christmas for their children because they don't have a job, a job that was lost due to the economic times we are in?

Last year at this time, I was recovering from all the effects of cancer treatments. I have a warm house, plenty of food, a job, my health (again), a loving family who are all also healthy, and several quilts to bring me pleasure. So - if the ruined quilt can be repaired, that's good. If it can't - that's ok. I shall stop crying and whining and complaining and concentrate more on helping someone this Christmas that is less fortunate than I.

I keep thinking of that parable Jesus told about the man who had so much "stuff" he was going to tear down all his barns and storage bins and build bigger ones. As he was planning on socking all that wealth away to live a long easy life, God stepped in. "You fool! You come here to me! Now we'll see who gets all your "stuff"!" (My translation.) To read the actual parable go to Luke 12:13-21.

Many times we can feel we are being generous. But are we ever generous enough? Are we too consumed with accumulating "stuff" and stressing over it if it doesn't measure up to our human standards? I think I need to ponder some more scripture.