What Will Happen To This Stuff?

One of the blogs I follow, Love Those “Hands At Home,” often features vintage linens. I thought of that blog as I sifted through items I’ve inherited that have been stuffed in the back of my linen closet and the bottom of a blanket chest.

All of the items were made by now deceased family members who did cutwork, crocheted, and embroidered. None of it is museum quality, but I’ve kept it because of the family links.

I believe my mother and her sisters stitched the cutwork, which came as kits with thread and stamped linen.

cut workI use this on my night stand.

Continuing in the embroidery vein, here’s a crib cover done on heavy muslin stamped with the pattern. I think an aunt did this one.

cross stitch crib coverMaybe this could be quilted with the addition of batting and backing.

Then there’s a trio of wool crocheted throws made by a great aunt using yarn from a local carpet factory. I think she took whatever she could get, which helps explain the colors. They are durable (I took them to college) but scratchy.

Striped wool crocheted throwWool crocheted throwStriped squares wool crocheted throwI guess they’re the crochet version of scrap quilts.

So, what am I going to do with all this stuff? I don’t think my brother or son will want them and there are no other close relations to offer them to. While I’ve managed to repurpose old damask tablecloths by dyeing them, I don’t see how I can repurpose most of the above items.

dyed damask tablecloth detailThen I thought about the pile of quilts I’ve made. What will happen to them after I’m gone? I think I’d better start giving even more of them away now.

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7 responses to “What Will Happen To This Stuff?

  1. This is something I’ve been going through as well. I gave the trunk of old linens to my sister-in-law but as she has no kids I imagine it will come back to mine. As I dig into old tubs and boxes of UFOs I’m also giving away more finished quilts. I just hope I can live long enough to finish up a few (dozen) more!

    • A friend of mine has reached the point where she evaluates each old UFO and decides if it’s worth it to her to finish it. If her decision is no, then she donates the piece to whoever would like to take it on. I think she’s given away 5 or 6 UFOs that way. For the ones she wants to keep, she’s piled them on her guest bed and is quilting away on them. I think she’s now gotten 4 done.

  2. This is exactly how I got into selling vintage linens. I had tons of stuff handed down and had also collected a lot more linens over the years. I don’t have kids and my one niece is not into this kind of thing. I’ve been to too many estate sales, where people are pawing through the lives of people who have died or moved to nursing homes, and all I could think about is what an estate sale would look like when I die! I would definitely rather have my pretty linens go to strangers who love them than to garage salers who are paying pennies or family members who don’t care! But what about the quilts I’ve made? Yikes–I don’t even like to think about what will happen to those! Dear me, kind of downbeat thoughts to start a Monday! You have some very interesting pieces you’ve featured here, though–and, I have to say, there seems to be renewed interest in those crocheted afghans!

    • Sorry for the Monday morning intimations of mortality thoughts. My point was that I need to plan for the disposition of my material items beyond who gets named as beneficiary on my IRA. And I’d like to make the arrangements while I’m still living so that items go to folks who might actually want them. That’s one reason I’ve been trying to reuse textiles in quilts. However, those wool afghans need to stand alone. I have gotten a lot of use out of them over the years, including a stint in an office that seemed to lack heating vents.

  3. Yes, what will happen to them? The quilts are one thing — most people would perceive them as having some value. The fabrics and gadgets and notions and machines and dyes and threads and laces and ribbons and buttons… Those are items that are easily perceived as having little value, if any. We all need to consider what happens next, and who will make those decisions later if we do not now. Thanks for the reminder.

    • I’m friends with a lady who had to move to assisted living unexpectedly. She’s trying to distribute her hoard of fabric and related items accumulated over decades. She’s planning to donate much of the fabric to our guild for a members sale. Our past guild quilt shows have had Grandma’s Attic, which sold any and all vaguely sewing related items that were donated. My point here is that organized groups may be happy to get such collections, though vintage linens are often not so desired.

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