I was up early that Saturday and arrived well before 9:00. Doors were already open and the place had a happy feeding frenzy of quilters busily browsing the large piles of fabric and UFOs on the tables. It felt like old home week because I saw quilting friends I hadn't seen in a couple of years. We all acted relaxed and casual as we chatted and browsed and put selections in our bags, but there was an unspoken excitement, a silent hyperventilating going on in that room.
This was a lifetime of collected fabric, tools, totes, notions, books, patterns and more. I focused on background prints and greens for the Star Struck Again quilt. More than once you could hear quilters laugh and say, "This looks remarkably like my stash at home." And it was true for me too. The fabrics were those wonderful calicoes and small prints popular in the late 1980s and 90, the same era most of my fabric is from.
Of course I sorted by color and prewashed everything. The wash water for the green load was so dark I could've used it as a dye bath.
I was browsing the piles and piles of projects half started; full-sized quilts, dolls, teddy bears, patchwork clothing, wall hangings, embroidered pillowcases, tea towels, bibs, and more quilts, when the woman who had put the sale together came over and said to a few of us at the table, "I'm glad you-all can use this stuff. I figured you'd know what to do with it. It was my mother's and I don't have a clue."
Underneath a table full of navy blues and crisp greens I spied a storage box full of solids. It probably didn't look like much to a someone who doesn't quilt, but it was full of quality white and natural muslin as well as solid butter yellow, pale green and soft pink. I got 20 yards of quality natural muslin, the kind that's hard to find these days.
I overheard several conversations about our stashes at home. One woman said, "Yeah, my kids've made me promise to get rid of mine before I die. They don't want to deal with it." When I checked out, the cashier was the granddaughter. She said, "That was Gran, she was real good at starting stuff..."
When I got home I estimated how much I had by weighing one yard of fabric, then weighing all the fabric and dividing by the weight of the one yard. Sixty-four yards. Even if I bought it for 8.00/yd at a store today that equals over 500 dollars.