I got a letter last week from a man whose wife, a great stitcher, had recently died. She left hundreds of skeins of thread and he was at a loss as to what to do with them. This isn’t the first time I’ve gotten calls like this. I have sorted out stashes for people to get them ready for sale, and I have bought more than a few canvases at needlepoint “estate” sales.
It’s not something we like thinking about, but does your family know what to do with your stash? It’s all well and good to think that they do, but have you thought about it and told them? If you haven’t think about it, otherwise your needlework might end up in the local thrift shop.
Consider what you have in your stash. Is it threads, books, or canvases? You’ll need to consider plans for each type of item.
Think about your family, do any of them stitch? Do you want them to have your stitched and/or finished pieces? In our family mementoes are important. We have quilts and artwork going back three generations on my husband’s side. My daughter is undertaking getting my mom’s unframed watercolors framed and giving them to members of our family (in spite of us all having numerous paintings already). If a family member stitches getting your stash might be a great gift. One of my friends is still happily stitching canvases her mother bought 40 years ago.
Where Can your Stash Go?
Most companies that handle estate sales and auctions don’t know what to do with needlework, so using them isn’t an option. Art books you have could be sold this way but needlework books probably not.
Since you have already thought about your family, what about your friends? Might they like a remembrance? Think about asking them and allowing them to choose items.
The best places to go are places where other needleworkers are. If your local guild chapter has auctions, consider donating your stash for it. You may even be able to donate some pieces to a national guild auction. I have gotten many lovely pieces at guild auctions and this is a great place for donations.
Consider consignments. There are several shops and sites that do consignment sales of needlework. In these the seller takes a cut a gives you either credit or a check for the remaining percentage. You pack up the stash and send it to them. They organize, photograph, list, and sell it. It is a good solution for family who doesn’t really understand needlework.
Consignors often give items that don’t sell to charity, but there are also several places that accept direct donations of needlework items.
How do you find these places? Happily, Cyber:Pointers has been compiling a list of many of these to help us out. Contact their Outreach Chair for more information.