I recently attended a stash sale organized by friends of a stitcher who had passed away from ovarian cancer. I didn’t know the stitcher, but I quickly learned things about her, such as who her favorite designers were and that she was much better organized than I am (she had almost no duplicate charts!). In talking with her friends, plans were to donate the funds collected from the sale to the hospice which cared for her at the end of her life.
The friends had organized everything, from going through her stash right down to what they were doing the day of the sale, because her family really had no idea of the value of her stash or what to do with it.
It was a rather somber experience; I even felt tears in my eyes a few times thinking of the woman who had once bought these charts in her LNS with plans to stitch them someday, gone home and lovingly filed them away, and then been unable to complete everything she wished to do. I felt guilty I was benefiting from her death and her losses. I felt honored to be offered the opportunity to take care of some of the things she had once loved. I felt like I knew things about her from the kinds of things she liked to stitch.
I realized if something happened to me, most of my stash would languish in my home because it wouldn’t cross my husband’s mind that he should do anything with it, and he’d have no idea *what* to do with it, either.
This experience made me think of lots of questions which would probably be great for an SBQ …
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What would your stash tell others about you?
Most of us stitchers joke about having reached SABLE (stash acquired beyond life expectancy), but have you thought about what you’d like done with your stash after your death? Do you want it to reach other stitchers who will love it, too? Would your family know what to do with it or recognize its value?
How well organized is your stash –would someone be able to come in and put together a sale easily, or would it require lots of organizing work ahead of time? What would you like to see done with the funds collected from such a sale, i.e., should funds go to your family, to a charity or charities of your choice, to a charity or charities of your family’s choice, etc.?
Are there certain items in your stash which are rare and highly desired by stitchers that might make a much larger amount of money if sold on eBay? Have you done anything to designate which items these more valuable ones are to guide your family in how to handle them? Who would you tell your family should handle such a sale so that they don’t have to do it themselves? Have you done anything to make these thoughts known to others, either through discussions or through a codicil to your will?
Have you ever attended a similar sale of a passed stitcher’s stash? How did it make you feel? Did it encourage you to make any changes in your stitching lifestyle?
This is a really hard SBQ to answer, for a lot of reasons.
I have bought lots from people who have passed away. I think the one that affected me the most was the one I bought where she had filed everything neatly away. She even had copies. I could tell that they were old copies, because most of the charts were very old, so I couldn't automatically say, "Well, gosh, I have to throw these away." because you could tell that she loved them enough to put them in a folder. I have a thing about getting rid of things people loved, because doing so seems like it takes something from their memory. So I have her copies, tucked away for now.
What would my stash say about me? As an overall person, it would say I don't do anything half way, LOL. You hear me complain about what a job it is for me to stash dive, right? But I think it also shows that I do try to acquire things with the idea that I am building an archive. I decided a few years ago that, if something happened to me, I wanted my stash--well the patterns and things, the fabric and floss can just be given away--to be donated to my university to start a needlework collection. I think the College of Fine Arts would be happy with that. But I've collected a bunch of stuff, all different kinds of things, and it needs a repository, and there isn't one that I know of. But it would also say I have so many interests, and I do. I love animals, I love the beach, I love cars, I am even chatting with a designer about charting tattoos--we think that would be a cool design. I am not a simple person and my stash reflects that.