Scraps and Crumps all part of the fun


I was opening some packages today and saw one labeled via Air Postal. It was my Liberty of London fabric which took a while to arrive. When I opened it, the shop had wrapped the fabric in the cutest tissue paper and included a little bag with tiny scraps (referred to as crumbles in the quilt world). After obsessing with the softness of the cotton I ordered, I moved on to the included bag.

When I opened the bag, I saw a nice variety of crumbles (in the world of quilting anything bigger than 4 inches is called a scrap anything less is a crumb). I was so excited to examine them because I was immediately challenged. What am I going to make?

You are probably wondering why anyone would bother to keep anything that small. Every country and culture has its story and the United States WWII story is the one that cemented it for us. We started keeping scraps and crumbles during WWII when the government was asking everyone to work together and save all they can. While women are remembered for how they took up the work of conscripted men in factories, think “Rosie the Riveter.” There were thousands more that served in other ways. Many women cared for the children of women who had to work on airplanes, others worked the victory gardens so that people could have canned goods, and others began by planning for the winter ahead sewing or quilting and bringing in crops.

There was nothing that a woman couldn’t put her mind to that would not get done. If they were not doing a “man’s work,” they supported those that did and still used their creativity to make the things that were necessary to keep people motivated through celebrations and holidays without husbands, fathers, brothers, and other family members. Everything was used.

Suits were converted into women’s jackets and skirts; shoes were extended for growing children by separating the top leather and using the industrial machinery to make bigger shoes from leather scraps. The wealthy hosted slumber parties by burning coal in fireplaces that could warm an entire house.

Each woman found her place and gave it her all, because she didn’t have to worry about the home. She knew she could count on her family, friends, and neighbors to pick up where they could not. Victory was ours from the beginning. Ask any historian and they will tell you that Germany underestimated the United States. They didn’t count on the power of sisterhood. There is nothing more powerful than a good friend or neighbor willing to help when you just can’t do it for yourself.

Another reason the United was so successful is because of how big our family becomes. You have your DNA family, your created family, which includes classmates, church friends, co-workers, and even a neighbor or two. As we see the chaos in our country beginning to grow beyond anything we could have imagined, I hope we’ll take a moment to look back and take note.

It doesn’t matter which side you vote, what matters is how you step up for those in need and your neighbors struggling with deployment, illness, education, safety, etc. Rather than give advice, ask if you can relieve them from childcare, or make dinner for them after a long Monday. It isn’t the big overtures but the scraps and crumbles in our efforts that make our offerings that much more meaningful.


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