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The gift of a quilt

 

Most seasoned quilters have given quilts as gifts and most probably also had no regrets after giving a quilt away. Unfortunately, however, occasionally, kindhearted quilters come to regret their generosity.

I smile when I think of the quilt I gave as a wedding gift to my colleague, Michelle. The gift box was barely open and she began to cry. Between her tears she said that for the longest time she had wanted one of my quilts but had assumed that the only way she would ever get one was if she gave birth!

I smile some more when I think of the quilt I gave to my cousin, Marcel. It hangs on the banister dividing the kitchen and the living room in his home so that he can look at it every day.

 

My cousin Marcel and I with his photo memory quilt.
My cousin Marcel and I with his photo memory quilt.

 

These are the types of reactions that we quilters love to experience, especially when we give a quilt that in most cases  took us more hours (and money) to create than we’d care to admit.

Then again, there are times when, after all that hard work and generosity, we receive not a thank you or even a simple acknowledgment. Here, I’m thinking of stories about precious, handmade quilts that have found their way into the dog’s bed.

How do these stories affect us quilters when we contemplate giving away our works of art that cost countless hours using often expensive materials to create?

Personally, when I want to make a quilt as a gift, I think long and hard about the recipient and what type of quilt they would like. What colors, what size, what theme? I ask myself, honestly, “…will the recipient like and want the quilt?” Then, convinced they will, I hope like mad that the quilt will be much loved and go for it!

No matter the individual reaction, the acknowledgment or lack thereof once a quilt is given, I always choose to remember the happy, appreciative reactions rather than dwell on the bad ones. Whenever a quilt I have given gets a less-than-appreciative response…or even no response at all, I move on…but I don’t forget.

I would like to add that we quilters shouldn’t let a few negative tales stop us from giving a quilt as a gift. Do it! There are far more happy stories than negative ones! If you’re like me, you probably have a stash of quilts lurking at home. Maybe it’s time to start giving them away. So, go ahead, give a quilt to a special someone! Do it and watch their eyes light up…then fill with tears of joy!

A small part of the stash of completed quilts I have ready to leave the house, possibly as gifts.
A small part of the stash of completed quilts I have ready to leave the house, possibly as gifts.

 

Before ending this blog post I want to circle back to a detail I overlooked about Michelle’s wedding quilt. When I fold a quilt I always fold it with the backing showing. When Michelle opened the gift box, pulled out the quilt, hugged it and started to cry, she had only seen the back of the quilt. She was so overwhelmed by joy that when I mentioned this to her she replied: “I don’t care, I have a quilt”!

I had to pull the quilt out of her arms so I could open it out and show it to her. From my viewpoint as a quilter, the whole event seemed a bit funny; here she was, crying over the back of a quilt!

 

Michelle and I with her wedding quilt. The pattern for this quilt, Transparency, is from the book “Quilt Made Modern” by Weeks Ringle & Bill Kerr.
Michelle and I with her wedding quilt. The pattern for this quilt, Transparency, is from the book “Quilt Made Modern” by Weeks Ringle & Bill Kerr.

 

Come back tomorrow for my next post on teaching a new quilter basic skills.

 

This is part 4 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 3: Quilting crisis or opportunity?

I took my first quilting course in September 1994 in Barrie, Ontario, near the armed forces base where I was stationed. After moving to Ottawa in 1996, I joined my first guild. I took more courses and began to buy quilting books and lots of fabrics. Quilting has become my passion. I have made over 150 more quilts since then, and have never looked back. I now share my knowledge of quilting by teaching and doing presentations, and blogging!

2 Comments

  1. Marianne Brown

    Giving away a quilt is an exercise in being open to life. I have stopped trying to surprise people with them. It is a bad idea. I let them know what I am planning and my thoughts and color selections. If they do not want it or care for the colors, I change my plans. I still will make them a quilt but they have input into the process. It is too much work and too heart wrenching to have them not like it. This process has worked so well with me, that I do not hesitate anymore to do it.

    • Paul Leger

      Hi Marianne

      thanks for your comment. I must say the way you do it would make thinks easier.

      Paul

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