Fabric Adoption

From Cindy Dean Mccoy of CD Designs and The Quilt Pattern Magazine.

My mom-in-law moved to a wonderful assisted living community. We were left in charge of the house and its contents. My mom-in-law was a quilter who loved to hoard fabric. I mean, really hoard fabric. We have a house full of fabric, all needing a new caring home.

Estate Sale

Read the story below.

Fabric Adoption Updates


First Update

Finally, after 5 months we have gone through the house and cleared the downstairs area. We continue to go to the house once a week and usually put in 3 or 4 hours of work each time.

While going through the house, we found boxes of fabric everywhere. They are in every room and every closet. I swear the fabric was breeding like Tribbles.

You can hardly get into the garage. There is a big boat on one side. However, on the other side of the garage, what did we find - old washers, dryers and other appliances and more boxes and boxes of fabric!

There are two sheds in the back yard. Each 12 ft x 6 ft x 8 ft tall. The first has yard equipment and tools. Pretty normal for a shed. We approached the second and opened the door. It is full of Rubbermaid totes. They are stacked to the ceiling with a two-foot path left to get inside. Inside all the totes is guess what - FABRIC!

We left the sewing room with its closed door for last. We finally opened the door. OMG! There is an 18" path from the door to the sewing machine in the opposite corner of the room. The 4-foot wall of the path consists of fabric. Along the walls the fabric goes to the ceiling!

We have boxes full of items we are going to sell in an estate sale. They are placed along the wall to mimic tables for the fabric. There is a huge cutting table we will dismantle before we can bring it down stairs. Before we can do that, we must remove all the fabric stuffed to the brim under the table! It will be reassembled into the living room to hold the fabric. We have a large dining table in the dining room. There are small pieces of furniture here and there that we can lay fabric on. All the big furniture has already been taken to MrsK's (my endearing pet name for my mother-in-law) apartment.

It is hard to imagine all this fabric. We will stage the fabric in three locations. All the fabric found in the house will be displayed downstairs. All the fabric in the garage will be displayed on metal shelves in the garage. All the tubs in the shed will be pulled out and set in the yard so visitors can go through them.

There is so much fabric! I do not know if we will be able to find homes for all of it. Please let everyone you know about this adoption event.


Whoosh! Thump!

It has actually started! The time has come to bring the fabric downstairs!

We removed all the fabric on, around, under, and in front of the cutting table that my FIL built for my MIL. It is huge at 6 ft wide, 3 ft deep, and 4 ft tall. After removing all the fabric, we found an end-of-bed storage bench under the table. Of course, it is full of fabric. The cutting table was built by a master craftsman and so was a pain to dismantle. LOL. We got the parts downstairs and "remantled" them in the center of the living room. It is such a nice table. My goodness! Where can I squeeze it into my own tiny house?

We created a long cardboard slide over the stairs. I picked a pile of fabric in the master bedroom and started taking bags to the stairs to slide them down. Whoosh! Most of the fabrics were in the original bags from when my MIL bought the fabric. At the end of the stairs is the front door which stopped the bag of fabric. Thump! Hubby was at the bottom collecting the bags and placing them in the living room. So, for about an hour, you heard: WHOOSH! THUMP! WHOOSH! THUMP! . . .

Removing the pile of fabric uncovered a small letter desk. I knew there was a piece of furniture under the pile, but did not know what it was. Once uncovered, we were able to check the contents. What a treasure we found - old pictures of great relatives! There was a gold locket with a picture of hubby's great grandmother holding a little child that was his grandmother.

Mostly, we are finding cotton fabric for quilting, but there are other non-cotton fabrics as well. I found linen, rayon, oxford, fleece, polyester, wool, synthetics, and blends. Some I cannot identify. We will stack those fabrics together and let the fabric experts decipher them.

Well, that is about 10% of the fabric down the stairs. Let's hope, now that we have a system, the rest will come down faster.

I tried to take pictures, but we do not have mobile phones which made it difficult. I used an RCA pad we found at the house to take pictures. Do you know you cannot transfer pictures from an RCA pad to a computer without purchasing special equipment? That was disappointing. I had an old electronic camera and took several photos. They are poor quality, but at least I obtained some.

This desk was covered with fabric. All we could see was the top shelf. The drawer under the writing area is where we found the gold locket.


This is the beginning of sorting the fabric. These are
small pieces.

This is the table on which we are placing fabrics such as linen, rayon, oxford, fleece, polyester, wool, synthetics, and blends.


Only 18"

We left the sewing room with its closed door for last. We finally opened that door - but not all the way. It would only open about 18".

OMG! There is an 18" path from the door to the sewing machine that is in the opposite corner of the room. The 4-foot wall of the path consists of fabric and patterns. Along the room's walls the fabric goes to the ceiling!

I squeezed in and started removing bags from behind the door, each full of cotton fabrics for quilting. It was much easier to move fabric out once we could open the door all the way. We spent several hours clearing the center of the room. We are back to the WHOOSH! THUMP! WHOOSH! THUMP! . . . (See the last update about "Whoosh! Thump!")

We are using the two big rooms downstairs to display the fabrics. Piles of cottons are in the living room and piles of other types of fabric are in the dining room.

I drastically underestimated the amount of fabric my mother-in-law had collected. I was thinking about 1000 yards or more. Well, at this time we estimate over 4000 yards of fabric downstairs. Over half of it is cottons for quilting.

This is just the fabric in the house. We still have the garage and shed to go through. They are full of fabric too. When are they going to turn on the light at the end of this tunnel!

The "Huge Fabric Adoption" will happen at the end of September or beginning of October. Because there is so much fabric, we are rethinking the adoption fee. Most pieces will be available for just $1 yard.

This is MrsKs sewing room with the 18" path.


No Room For One More

We have moved all the fabric in the house downstairs. There is wall-to-wall fabric in two large rooms and a kitchen. Some piles are 5 feet tall. Some piles are leaning and about to fall over. Some piles are fabric I cannot identify. There are a zillion piles of cotton fabric for quilting. We just do not have enough space to display all the fabric properly. It is going to be a madhouse during the adoption. Check out the pictures of the fabric at the end of this update.

It is time to take a look in the shed. We open the door. There is a 3-foot path in the middle that is stuffed with batting and bags. I guess MrsK just could not find room for them inside the house. Along all the walls are totes. You cannot get into the shed. There is no room for one more tote. I am guessing there are around 60 to 70 of them. Earlier, we asked MrsK what kind of fabric was in the totes. She said they are full of cotton fabric for quilting. My goodness, and I thought we had enough cotton fabric that is now devouring the living room like the "Blob". We peeked into a tote and sure enough, cotton fabric. It is best to keep the totes where they are. They are protected. We will remove them during the adoption. However, we need to get those bags out to check the condition of the contents.

After the shed, we will work on the garage fabric. We hope to have the fabric adoption in mid October.

Cut pieces are 1 to 6 yards.

No matter how big!

  • $3 for most pieces

  • $5 for fleece

  • $10 for fur

Small pieces, fat quarters, and scraps can be stuffed and sealed in a 8" x 12" bag for $3.


Hubby unlocking the shed door.


View of a few totes in the shed.

These are the bags in the center of the shed.

Gallery of Fabric Pictures

Cotton fabric along one wall in the living room.

Cotton fabric in living room as viewed from the front door.

Cotton fabric in living room as viewed from the kitchen.

Cotton fabric in corner of living room about to fall over.

Fur and fleece on the cutting table in the living room.

Two of the four shelves in the kitchen.
We call this the Old and Dusty fabric.
It was stored on shelves in the sewing room for over 30 years.

This is a table of unknown fabric in the dining room.
All the bags on the floor are fabric which need to be placed on shelves in the kitchen.

This is the beginning of the wool pile in the dining room.
Next to it are corduroy, velvet, and velour.


The Date is Set!

We worked on the garage this weekend. I think we are about half done with it. There is a little more fabric than I expected, at least five shelves full. I thought the fabric in the garage was really old fabric like double knits. However, it looks like MrsK stored many totes of cotton fabrics as well. Of the five shelves, at least two are cotton.

I have a big announcement and wanted to send this update ASAP, therefore no new pictures this time. We have set a date! The plan is to start the adoption on Friday, October 18. The times will be 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday (18th), Saturday (19th), and if needed, Sunday (20th).

We have quite a few quilters planning to visit us during the fabric adoption. The paths through the house are very narrow. They are just wide enough to accommodate a walker. We are going to try our best to make things go smoothly for everyone.

It would really help if you could provide the following information.
1. What day would you most likely attend?
2. What time of day would you try to arrive?
3. Will you be bringing others with you? If so, how many?

We need assistance with the stairs from the kitchen to the garage. There are 3 steps with a handrail but they are very steep. We are looking for volunteers to man this post for about an hour to help those using the stairs. You can choose 3 pieces of fabric excluding fleece and fur as a "Thank You". Is this something that would interest you?


The Garage and Shed

We worked on the garage again this weekend and are pretty much done. The garage contains 3 shelves with double knits and other assorted fabrics. There are 2 shelves of cotton. On top of the shelves are a few pieces of polyester batting we found in the shed. The three bottom shelves are reserved for bags of stuffing found in the sewing room. To the left will be a table stacked with sewing notions.

Hubby pulled all the bags from the shed. Some contained polyester batting but most of it was fabric: cotton, fleece, and furs. We put some of the fabric in totes and back into the shed. Several bags we had to leave as they were and put them back in the center of the shed.

There are three pictures of the shed below. The left side has a row of totes against the wall. Looking down the center of the shed, you can see many totes in the back. On the right side the totes are two deep. Hubby found more than 140 totes, 4 large bags, 2 small bags, and several bolts of fabric. We will pull the totes out and place them in the backyard the morning of the first day of the adoption. Tarps will be laid down so quilters can place fabric on them while looking through the totes.

View of Fabric Collected in Garage

Left Side of Shed

Center of Shed

Right Side of Shed


Non-Fabric Items

We found many quilting books in the sewing room and placed them on a shelf in the garage. There are hardbacks and paperbacks covering several topics.

The third shelf is full of lace, trim, and tassels. MrsK did not make a lot of craft items, but she did like collecting their supplies. She just could not resist a sale.

The fourth shelf has an abundance of shoulder pads. I think MrsK thought there was going to be a ban on buying them. We found them all over the sewing room stuffed here and there. There are thin ones, thick ones, little ones, big ones, all kinds.

MrsK collected lots of lace. We have several bolts of it.

The basket on the floor is full of elastic. We stretched each and every one to make sure they still have their zing.

We got all the stuffing downstairs and placed the bags on the bottom shelves in the garage. MrsK did make stuffed items. We have a big bag full of huge vegetables she made. I have no idea what she intened to do with them. It could be she just enjoyed making them. Come on by as they will all be on display.

Anyone need a zipper? Look at all the fancy colors. The tote contains mostly zippers of a single color. She also found these really pretty ones. Sad that she never used them. If you need a zipper, we have them.

As the adoption day gets closer, we are getting excited. There are only two more working days to get ready as we go once a week. They will likely be longer working days as we still have 1000s of patterns to bring down.



Short up-date this week. Sorry there are no pictures.

We moved the rest of the notions out of the sewing room and down into the garage. Next week we will place everything in bins and price them.

The only thing left in the sewing room are 1000s of patterns. They are for clothes and crafty items. I am not sure if anyone wants patterns or not. Just in case, we will have them available. I bet the crafty patterns will get new homes.

Next week I hope to have pictures of all the notions.

Woohoo, only 2 more weeks till the adoption. All the fabric is getting excited about their new homes.


We Are Ready!

We collected the last of the notions and have them ready for you to check out.

Well, this is it. This Friday (October 18) we will open the door.

We are all excited about this huge event. The fabric is having parties Wednesday and Thursday night to celebrate their upcoming adoption.


It is not over

I know it has been a while since sending an update. I have just been so busy.

The adoption went great! We were able to adopt out a ton of fabric. We had baggie stations where quilters were stuffing fabric in the provided ziploc bags. I was amazed how inventive they were. Some could stuff as much as $50 worth of fabric in those bags! Once the bag was sealed, they were able to adopt that fabric for just $3. So, much fabric went to their new homes that weekend!

I have received many emails asking what I am going to do with all the leftover fabric. There is still a ton of it. I have bulk buyers interested in the cotton, flannel, corduroy, and wool fabrics. After all the transactions are completed, I will open the rest of the fabric up for free adoptions. I am sure there are a lot of charity programs that could benefit. When we are ready for the free adoption, I will send you an email.

I hope to be ready by the end of November, or sooner.


Getting Ready for the Pick Up

I am sending this update in answer to some questions I am getting about the fabric left from the fabric adoption. I am being bombarded by them. 8o)

There will not be another adoption. We are just too worn out from setting up and having the one.

There is too much fabric to make deliveries. It will have to be picked up on a designated date to be determined.

The following fabrics will not be available: cotton, flannel, corduroy, wool, fleece, and fur. What I cannot adopt out for a bulk price, I will keep. If you are interested in bulk purchasing of these fabrics, let me know. After all the transactions are completed, I will open the rest of the fabric up for free pick up.

There will only be fabric available.


Doing it Again

We went to the house this weekend for the first time since the fabric adoption. With so much fabric leaving to their new homes that weekend, I was sure that most of the cotton was gone. I was amazed to find over 30 totes of it left.

I am rethinking our plan. As tired as we are, we must consider another fabric adoption.

I think we can get all the fabric in the house and garage this time. Well, at least we will try. Select fabrics will be in the living room. The adoption fee will be $1 per piece for cotton, flannel, corduroy, and wool. The adoption fee for fleece will be $2 and for fur $5.

All the other fabrics such as linen, rayon, oxford, polyester, synthetics, double knits, and blends will be in the dining room, kitchen and garage. There will be no adoption fee. Just take what you want.

I hate to send an update without a picture, so I thought I would share this one. When searching for an assisted living apartment for MrsK, one of the requirements was to allow pets. With her are Sam and Birdy, the boys. I took in Pitty Pat, her girl. Here you can see her basting in the window next to my computer. She is a little upset that I woke her for a picture.


Fabric Be Gone

Free Fabric!

We made another trip to the house, went through all the totes in the shed, and categorized them by fabric type. We have totes of cotton, flannel, wool, corduroy, fleece, fur, and others. There are over 35 totes of cotton alone.

There is still cotton left in the living room from the first adoption. I will restack it to make room for more. There, we hope to have the following: cotton, flannel, wool, corduroy, fleece, fur, and bolts. Cottons and flannels will only be $1 apiece. The others will also have bargain prices.

In the kitchen, dining room, and garage, will be: velvet, velour, linen, oxford, rayon, polyester, synthetics, double knits, and blends. All these fabrics will be Free for the taking.

I took the camera but forgot to take a picture. Sorry!

Let everyone know about the Free fabric. We need it gone.


Totes in the Livingroom

Free Fabric!

After the first adoption, it looked like a tornado went through the house. Fabric was disarrayed everywhere! Everyone had such a fun time going through it. The fabric in the living room is now nicely restacked. We got most of the totes, with cotton, from the shed to the living room. We will need to go to the house one more day to move the rest. We should be ready up coming weekend.

It is going to be tight, so we will all have to act like sardines.

Totes in the living room.

Select fabrics will be in the living room. The adoption fee will be $1 per piece for cotton, flannel, corduroy, and wool. The adoption fee for fleece will be $3 and for fur $5.

All the other fabrics such as linen, rayon, oxford, polyester, synthetics, double knits, and blends will be in the dining room, kitchen and garage. There will be no adoption fee. That means Cost! Just take what you want.

Other items like books and notions, will be priced accordingly.


It is Over

It is finally over!

It was a rough but fun ride. We are definitely worn out. Thank you all that came by to give fabric a new and loving home.

All the prime fabric is gone. All that is left is old polyester and double knits. I am not sure what I am going to do with it. For now I will tote it up and put it in the shed.

All the other sewing items like quilt tops, quilts, notions, and books will be available during the estate sale. We hope to be ready for it February or March.

If you would like more information about the estate sale, just visit www.cddesigns.com/estate/


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