last saturday, my soon-to-be daughter asked me to go with her for her final wedding dress fitting. shortly after carol arrived to help in the shop, i went to get sarah, as she too wanted to see julie in her dress. sarah forgot her water at home, so we stopped back at the shop.
katrina was so excited to show us that a huge box had just been delivered from kate spain. i thought i might know what was in it, so i told katrina she could open it as we had to run or we would be late for the fitting appointment.
an hour or so later, my cell phone beeps to alert me of a text message. i was driving, so i asked julie's mom who was sitting next to me in the front seat, to please look at it for me in case they needed to reach me back at the store. she looked at it and said it was a picture. "of what?" i asked. she told me it looked like a box of scraps...
i did not need to ask for a description. i just knew it was sunnyside, kate's next fabric collection due in stores sometime in september. we have already been most fortunate to have spent some time sewing with it as our quilt for the better homes and garden's quilt sampler was created with sunnyside. the minute we received the phone call that we had been selected as a sampler shop, we contacted kate to see if she had something in the works. that is when we first learned of sunnyside. one day in the near future we will share that story, but for now...the rest of today's story.
the box of scraps sat next to our cutting counter all weekend. truthfully, i wasn't exactly sure what to do with them. they were still there when the store opened on tuesday. i knocked into the box a few times, but we were quite busy so i just let it be.
about four o'clock that afternoon, a sweet gal inquired about pre-quilted fabric. i apologetically told her, we did not have much of a selection, then showed her the two we did have. she liked one of them, and then asked me to help her find a fabric to bind it with. i could not find one single bolt in the store that matched the quilted fabric. so i asked her what she was going to do with it.
she told me she was expecting a great grandchild, not her first or her second. not even her third. (i will withhold a few details, to protect the family) she told me she has made all of her many grandchildren and great grandchildren a quilt, but her eyes and fingers just can't do the kind of work anymore she once did. still she wanted to make the new baby something with her hands and a friend suggested pre-quilted fabric. it was at that moment that i thought of the box of scraps. i opened it up and started pulling them out one bunch at a time until finding this one...
the color was an exact match, although i did mention that it has words on it. as i read "let the sun shine into your heart," her face beamed with a smile. she said that would be just perfect, as she calls her granddaughter who is having the baby, sunshine. i looked through the cuts and found ones large enough for binding. when she inquired how much they were, i replied, "no charge, they are a gift from kate."
the next morning when sarah came into the shop, she went to the table she often works at and looked at all the scraps. then proceeded to say..."mom, you're kidding right? i don't have to count these do i?" i laughed and said no, we were just going to divide them up and make gift bags for later in the summer.
"good idea!" she exclaimed, "but not these." she then pulled out the rest of the yellow strips i had given to the customer the day before. "and not these either mom," as she handed me the teal set that also had the writing on it. we busily stuffed the rest into baskets and put them under the table.
fast forward to late this afternoon. i looked up from the cutting counter and the same sweet woman was back. i wondered to myself if she had a problem sewing the binding on that i had cut for her on tuesday. i quickly walked from behind the counter and asked if i could help her. she asked if i had any more of that fabric.
it turns out it worked so well she wants to make a few more for future great grandbabies, but maybe with a different color binding, she stated. so i walked over to the table where sarah had left the two on wednesday. as i did, i wondered how she knew? how did my sarah know this woman would be coming back for more and in a different color?
i asked the customer if i could cut the binding again for her. she told me she would really like that. as i worked, we got to talking. i was thankful there were no other customers in the store at that moment. the smile on this dear woman's face the first time i met her could not have prepared me for what she shared today. i intently listened, realizing we surely never know the road other's have traveled. the pain they've experienced, the heartbreak. the sorrow.
as she told me more of her family situation, i recalled reading the words that kate had spoken of how she wanted to design a collection "that reflects the transition from stormy, rainy skies to sunshine, silver linings, hope and new growth."
...i can't think of a better way to do that then combine orchids from cuzco with words from sunnyside, by a great grandmother who so warmly embraces the notion that life indeed goes on if you just "let the sun shine into your heart." she asked again after i finished cutting her binding today, how much it would cost. this time i responded, "it's a gift from kate. kate and her sister."