Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Mrs. Parker's Lesson


Happy Tuesday!

I've been feeling pretty smug lately at all the quilt projects I finished this year.  Thirty-five in total, most were lap or couch quilts for family members or friends.  Almost all of them were UFOs or scrap quilts which made me even prouder.

Yesterday I wrote about Mrs. Parker's quilt business.  A farmer's wife, she had hung out a spiderweb quilt on her clothesline with a sign that said $5 and sold her first quilt.  

Photo from Pinterest.

According to the newspaper article I read, she put all $5 back in the business and purchased scrap fabric from Sears-Roebuck.  She sold hundreds of pieces.

All of them were scrap quilts.

Mrs. Parker's clothesline became her storefront and she hung out each quilt she completed to sell.  

And then I read this:

"You won't see them now, because Mrs. Parker has run out of quilt scraps and it looks like she can't get a hold of any to save her life," the newspaper reported.

Unlike other quilter requests of the time, Mrs. Parker did not ask for a hand-out of fabric.

"If anybody will get up a bunch of scraps, and send them to her, and let her know what pattern they would like, she will make them a pretty quilt."

We will never know why Mrs. Parker couldn't afford to purchase anymore scrap fabric.  My guess is that it had to do with a the fact that she was a farmer's wife.  

If you have friends or family who are farmers, you know that a single bad year of weather or other problems can wipe the family's income out.  My hope is that people did mail her fabric scraps and that she could continue creating and adding income to her family.

Mrs. Parker's quilting provided me with a lesson in humility and gratitude.  I'm not sure I will ever complain about the size of my stash again without thinking of Mrs. Parker.

I never was able to learn anything else about her except that she was born in 1894 and passed in 1983.  

Thanks Mrs. Parker, for reminding us to be grateful for all the goodness we have in our lives.

Have a safe and happy day!


  1. Oh that does make one pause, right? Sometimes I look at my Granny's quilts and marvel over the fact she probably used dull scissors or even tore the strips she used, then pieced them together by hand. It really humbles me too. Mrs. Parker sounds like a gem. She certainly had a long life!

  2. Both of my grandmothers would be shocked to see how much fabric I own. Both women struggled to put food on the table for their respective family during the great depression, there was absolute no money to buy fabric to make quilts. They made do with scraps and leftovers.

  3. It may be that she didn't have money to buy scraps but the way it sounds to me --that she couldn't "get a hold of any to save her life"--is more like scraps weren't available. It makes me wonder if Sears-Roebuck quit selling scraps and therefore Mrs. Parker wasn't able to purchase them. But we'll never know....