Ah, January. The holiday rush is over, and in the Northern Hemisphere we are firmly entrenched in Winter. January just feels like a good time to hunker down and sew. In my online circle of quilty friends, people are polishing off UFO’s right and left. Everyday a new set of photos gets posted showing completed quilts that had been waiting ages for attention. Sometimes the quilter mentions that they had totally forgotten a WIP or UFO in the back of a closet, but pulled it out and finished it.
It seems to me that, as a group, we quilters are true collectors. Not just fabriholics building our coveted stashes. Not merely scrap savers hoping to use every teeny piece. No, we collect (and often use) the tools, patterns, materials, sewing machines, and finished pieces. We have mountains of inspiration in our own libraries, magazine subscriptions, and in our imaginations. No wonder the non-quilters who live with us sometimes roll their eyes at our obsession.
But we do finish projects as well. What becomes of all these completed quilts? There are only so many weddings, house-warmings, and baby showers every year. Extended family members often merely tolerate these quilted offerings. Some quilts may head to charitable concerns. A few may get sold. And how many quilts do we actually need for our own homes?
I suspect that, given our nature, more than a few of these unassigned quilts simply wind up buried back in a closet once again. They are no longer UFO’s silently challenging us to finish them. They are done. I recently visited a local quilter who says she averages 40 bed quilts a year, plus smaller projects. She said she simply has trouble parting with some, so she saves them. Being curious, I asked her where. “Oh dear,” she said. “I was afraid you would ask me that! Look here.” She proceeded to show me a large store-room in her finished basement. One entire wall was filled with over one hundred nice boxes, each holding a carefully stored quilt. Defensively, she also showed me her husband’s tool room.
The thought of all the finished and unfinished quilts that are stored away in the homes of millions of quilters around the world does make me wonder. Most of the bed sized quilts that I make are made for a purpose, but not all. Sometimes a set of fabric or a pattern just speaks to me and I have to make something with it. I do strive to find every quilt a good home, where it will be used and perhaps even enjoyed. Actually, I need a new quilt for my own bed, as my old comforter is falling apart.
What about you? How many quilts do you finish a year? Where do they go? Are you a charity quilter? Do you store yours away for a wintry week without power? How many quilts can you give to your sister before she starts to re-gift them to others? Does news of an upcoming wedding send you running to the fabric store? I know there is no such thing as enough fabric, but is there a limit on the number of quilts that a family needs or can use?
Even if you are a reader who usually never comments, I hope you will share today and let me know where your quilts go!