Amie has come into just a little bit of fabric lately. Almost to the point of overwhelming, it seems. From the sounds of things, this is just a sampling of what has arrived via US mail in recent weeks.
Before beginning the story, you need just a few background details. My long-time friend Amie has been working for about five years on a postage stamp quilt. I first shared Amie's story here. Updates on her endeavor have been infrequent, but you can read additional background on her story here and here.
Are you suitably comfortable? Then let us begin. This is in Amie's words - all from her emails - one at the end of March, and another earlier this week.
I've been meaning to share my crazy story with you, but just haven't taken the time to sit at the computer for any length of time to do it. But today is the day. I hope you can sit for a few minutes and enjoy. Better grab a cup of coffee or wine because here we go!
Did your dad ever subscribe to GRIT when you were younger? My dad did and back then it was a newspaper format. These days it's a magazine and Mike, my wannabe farmer subscribes to it. It's a pretty neat magazine with all sorts of stuff including recipes which is why I thumb through it when it comes. Quarterly, I think. Anyway, they feature a "requests" column where people write in asking for long lost recipes like grandma made or relatives, college roommates, any sort of thing. So I get the bright idea to write in and request little fabric scraps for my Postage Stamp quilt. I had stopped working on it for over a year at least because my fabric supply was low and what I had were either mediums or darks. Now I know any fabric can be any value based on what you put with it, but I like my blocks better when there is high contrast.
So back to the story. A good while later, Mike gets home and he always gets the mail. He walks in with a few mailing envelopes saying he thinks my letter must have made it into the new issue which we had also received that day. Well sure enough, there was my request in print!
And how fun it was to open those couple of envelopes of fabric. I cannot remember exactly what was in them, but I was really tickled. And then things got crazy. Every day brought more and more packages. One day I received 9! Staci [daughter] asked what I expected when I sent in the request. Well certainly not big boxes of fabric. I envisioned someone putting two or three squares in an envelope and sending it. Honestly, I never thought I would get in the magazine. But I did and I am getting big boxes, sent express (I'm not freezing with no blankets, folks) full of tons of fabric.
One lady sent a box containing six perfect little stacks of blocks all cut so perfectly and in her letter she told me some of those fabric came from Great Britain and Italy.
I'm getting fat quarter packs and those little pre-cuts that are 2" I think. Amazing boxes full of really nice fabrics. And believe it or not I have received very few duplicates. I realize people could be sending things they have had for years but I would still think there would be more duplicates. And there are some pretty ugly fabrics in the world! And not to sound ungrateful because I'm not, but it strikes me funny that one or two people feel that a piece of solid black is just what I need! One envelope had a few squares cut from a cotton feed sack bag. Cool!
At first, I was trying to cut all the pieces in the package and then send a thank you to the sender. Well forget that! When you're getting so many and so much there was no way to keep up with it. So I wrote a thank you on the computer and at the end included a picture of some of my finished blocks. I bought a storage bin and would put the fabric in the bin then send my note, always including a brief handwritten note. I have now filled 2 storage bins-big ones. And there is still a pile of boxes and mailers waiting to be gone through.
Here are some fun facts for you about my adventure thus far. I have mailed out 68 thank you letters to 28 states. Pennsylvania and Missouri lead the pack. Washington state is the furthest a package has come from. As I open each package I photograph it so I can make a scrapbook of all this when I am done. Most of the packages include a note which are really the highlight of this experience. I am saving those as well. Many of them are from very old little ladies who can no longer quilt but still have lots of fabric sitting there. My youngest person to respond was a 9 year old girl and the oldest is 92.
One letter has made me cry-a young girl who lost her "nana" has been trying to finish the quilts left behind. She has completed five so far and feels her nana smiles down at her as she does this. Not only did she send fabric she included a stack of letters sent to her nana for a signature quilt she had planned. I haven't even looked at those yet. Two people have sent me two packages. Only one person has wanted to sell me some fabric. One quilting group sent a joint package including all their names. People are spending an insane amount of money on postage to mail me fabric. I'm talking 10 to 15 dollars a box. Yikes! Only one box contained things I couldn't use-parts of clothes that weren't cotton, that sort of thing. Two or three packages didn't have any information who they were from, no return address, name or anything. I hate that I can't thank them. One of them had a huge stack of 10" squares in it.
I don't know how long I'm going to receive packages. Just when I think it's slowing down it picks back up again. Yesterday I only received a card with a few pieces. I am curious if GRIT is mailed anywhere besides the United States. Maybe I'll get something from another country.
I have been working my way through cutting and saving the big pieces. There are plenty of scrappy patterns I can make with the leftovers. I want to get it all cut and then when school is out I will start making blocks again. Most everyone has requested a picture of my finished quilt. Hopefully, I will get it done before too long. Especially since I have no shortage of fabric now. Last time I checked I think I have 38 blocks. I might make only 56 blocks instead of my original plan of 63. I'll see how it goes.
So that's my story. I thought you would get a kick out of it. I admit to feeling a bit overwhelmed at times when I would see all the boxes and mailers piled up in my sewing room. All the while I'm trying to finish a t-shirt quilt someone asked me to make for them.
Earlier this week, Amie sent this update:
Just to keep my facts current, I have now received 113 packages or envelopes from 35 states. Missouri and Pennsylvania have sent the most, 13 and 12 twelve respectively. It has slowed down a bit, but I did receive 4 yesterday. I had had a pretty long day, so I sort of groaned when I got the mail. Today I got one big envelope and it was STUFFED with hundreds of beautiful little squares.
UH-MAY-ZING! I told you it was a great story. Does this not say a lot about the good-heartedness of quilters? I have read and re-read Amie's story a number of times, and find it utterly amazing all the kindness and thoughtfulness Amie is experiencing. And it's going both ways; Amie is considerate enough to know how sweet each gesture of giving was, and her efforts at recording, photographing, thanking, and remembering each giver illustrates yet again how caring quilters can be.
There is goodness in the world, dear quilters. And we perpetuate that goodness with each quilt we lovingly make and give, with each sharing gesture, with each helpful tip between friends.
Makes me mighty glad to be a quilter; how about you?
Thanks, Amie, for sharing your wonderful story. I am so glad you allowed me to share it here!
Happy Quilting, Friends!