Saturday, April 5, 2008

Gimme stuff

A new book called, Parenting, Inc is subtitled: How We Are Sold on $800 strollers, fetal education, baby sign language, sleeping coaches, toddler couture, and diaper wipe warmers-and what it means to our children.

Yikes. To think I wiped my baby's butt with a washcloth. And dressed him in homemade shirts and vests.

This led me to fantasize about a book called Quilting, Inc, subtitled: Why sewing machines cost $8000, how many quilting magazines can one girl read and why fat quarter packs have taken over my sewing room.

Quilting is wonderful. I've seen women heal their lives by finding a passion in making quilts. I've witnessed bonds formed between generations and deep friendships come out of this little hobby. I'm sure there are health benefits. Blood pressure goes down and seratonin goes up while quilting.

But there is a dirty little secret. The stuff.

It's all about the stuff. I like the stuff. I happily bought a new sewing machine this year and love playing with all of its modern features. Necessary? Maybe not, but what's the harm?

I don't want to go backwards. I remember when the only cottons available were pin dots and solids. Ugggly. I'm grateful for the industry that has grown up to serve us fabulous fabrics, rotary cutters, rulers of all sizes and uses.

But how can we keep up? New lines of fabric every season. Another block-of-the-month at the quilt shop. Another huge quilt show. Dozens of patterns and how-to books every time we visit the book rack.

The fact that one of the best-selling items is storage bins should tell us something.

Fatigue sets in and it feels like the stuff is running, not enhancing, our lives. Quilters go on fabric diets, making stash buster quilts. The stash goes down a little. A visit to the quilt shop and all our good deeds are undone.

Is this just the American way? Are we always in danger of too much of a good thing? How do you handle the too much stuff that George Carlin warned us about?


Camille Minichino said...

Crafts and hobbies and stuff. They go together, it seems.
I came across a blog this week that declared "April is Use What You Have" month, challenging people to use only what's on hand this month! I'm trying to do it. As a result, I'm going through my STUFF and finding all kinds of gems I forgot I had.

BUT I can hardly wait for May when I can get more stuff.

as for the $800 strollers, that's another subject entirely!

Linda O. Johnston said...

As a person who definitely has too much stuff, I identify with your comments, Terri. On the other hand, a lot of my stuff includes books and research materials and things relating to my Cavaliers, so I guess I'm stuck with it all!

Becky Levine said...

Stuff? You mean books, right? The ones I keep buying and don't have shelves for? Is there a used fabric store where you can take the stuff you didn't use and swap it for stuff soemone else bought but didn't use..and on and on?

Ellen said...

I was born orderly, and honed it as a museum curator. I have lots of Stuff, but it behaves itself. And recently, we just had a custom wall-long, ceiling-high bookcase made to keep more Stuff (of the book sort) behaving itself.

As Humpty-Dumpty said, "The question is, who is the master?"

Terri Thayer said...

Mastering the stuff is a life long job, I guess. Luckily, there are always new quilters so my guild will take any fabric or notions or books I don't want and sell them to the newbies.

One quilt book that I bought for $21.95 is now selling for close to $200 on Amazon. So maybe having all this stuff is not such a bad idea after all!

Kathryn Lilley said...

I couldn't quilt if my life depended on it, but I descend from a long line of quilters, and many of them were made from old clothes. To this day, my mother "scavenges" her grand-childrens' clothes (and before them, her childrens', and works them up into beautiful quilts and wall hangings. I always thought it was the most beautiful, economical art of recycling. But she grew up in the Depression era, where nothing went to waste.