Saturday, June 16, 2012

{Post #990} Gifting Quilts

I want some input from those of you who make quilts to give as gifts.  Recently I decided to make some gift quilts.  Some have been small wall hangings or table runners.  Others are baby-sized (40" square) or larger.  Some are large twin-bed-sized or larger for throws.  

Here is my dilemma.  In think only twice in my quilt gift-giving has the recipient told me thank you or that they like the quilt.  I have made many baby quilts and quilts for Christmas gifts over the years.

Having made some quilts for my very particular daughter this past year in preparation for her wedding, I know that some people are very picky about colors, styles, patterns, sizes, etc.  My daughter proved that by "hating" some quilts I suggested and "loving" others.  She loved this one.  Go figure.

The problem is this.  I told a friend I wanted to make him a quilt.  He responded, "I love your quilts."  He was here for lunch (his birthday) this past Sunday.  So I took the opportunity to show him some of the recycled shirt plaid quilts I'm working on downstairs in my sewing room.  I thought he could let me know if he liked one of those.  I had one in mind, and oddly enough, that's the one he liked most.  I could tell he wasn't really thrilled with it though.  It would be a larger version of this baby quilt I just finished:

We got upstairs, and he gravitated to the quilt rack in the living room and started looking through the quilts on it.  There were probably 12 full-sized quilts.  He couldn't find the one he was looking for, which does not surprise me.  The kids take quilts off there to their rooms, etc.  He said he was looking for one that he remembered liking that had "warm colors".  Then he picked the most difficult and time-consuming one I had on there and said that is the one he liked the most.  Well, I'm not willing to put THAT much time into a quilt for a friend.  Seriously.  When I made it, I was thinking that I'd never make one again.  Here it is:

It's like, "Yes, I love you, but not that much!"  

My niece was here for Susie's graduation this past week.  I told my sister (her mom) that I'd like to make her a quilt.  I thought she'd like my recent Florabunda and was going to give her that one w/o asking for her input, as a surprise.  This picture shows half of it.  

Turns out she didn't like it at all.  So I'm glad I did not surprise her with it.  She started looking through some of my books and patterns.  She found one she liked.  It is hard for non-sewers to imagine a quilt pattern in colors different from the ones shown in the sample pattern.  I understand that.  

The challenge (and what I want your input on) is that the quilt (even if it's a small one) take up time.  Some times LOTS of time.  I don't want to make something if the recipient is not going to like it.  But, honestly?  Most people can't even tell me what kind of quilt they like.  They might give a color scheme, but when confronted with it in person, realize they don't like it after all.  Same with a pattern.  They like it, but when they see it in "their" colors, they don't like it.

I am frustrated because I want to make people quilts.  The truth is that I have gotten very little feedback from those I have given quilts to as gifts.  I am assuming they 

1.  don't like them  
2.  don't care about them  
3.  forgot to mention it
4.  whatever!!

Since making quilts is a hobby I love, and I have so much fabric here to use, I want to bless others with quilts they will like.  What do YOU do??



Me and My Stitches said...

I totally understand your dilemma - I also want to give quilts, but honestly, only to people who appreciate the time and money (and love!) that are put into them. Seems that many non-quilters don't get it. I gave quilts to brothers who each were married within a year or so of each other. They are good, farm kids and their mother quilts, so I really thought they would appreciate them. of the wives-to-be is also a quilter. And guess what? Not a thank-you for either one of them! So, again - I really know where you are coming from on this. I'm anxious to see what others have to say.


I am going to say how I feel about making quilts for others. First off I have not made anyone a quilt besides my baby. I had the quilt appraised and decided to just hang on to it till she is grown and able to understand the value. Each quilter has there own taste, just like gardeners and your home. So there is always different tastes too deal with. My quilts are an expression of myself and one day I plan on leaving them to maybe certain indaviduals...........I do not want to take the love of my quilting and make something that someone likes versus the patterns and colors that I have interest in. I hope no one ia upset at my true feelings this is just how I feel. Enjoy your quilting and let your heart quide you. I am a happy Applique Quilter. Hugs Mary

julieQ said...

Well, I have stopped giving quilts to non quilters. They just have no idea of the time and love that go into each only quilters get my quilts now, LOL!

Michelle said...

I have the exact feelings as you. I have a hard time giving quilts to people...worrying that it's not their taste or "colors," etc. I also do not get much feedback after gifting them and when I do, I get "Thank you for the blanket." LOL I think getting formal thank yous in this day and age is a dying art form, unfortunately. You are right, people don't know the time, effort, and expense that goes into make quilts. I'll be interested to hear what others have to say too!

Anonymous said...

I think there are people out there that you KNOW would just flip to get a homemade quilt. These are the people who recieve them. There are many people that I would not make a quilt for. I just know they wouldnt appreciate the effort/time/money/time that goes
into them. I know some people aren't good with thank yous. You can see in their eyes if they are appreciative or not. Other than that, I don't think I would go out of my way to make one for someone who wouldnt care too much.

Like one of the other posters said, I think I tend to make things for other crafters because they know what work is involved!!!

I LOVE the complicated quilt you posted. GORGEOUS! I have made some complicated ones, so I appreciate what work you did and totally understand the "I-am-not-going-to-do-THAT-again" thought!! You are an awesome quilter! If the gift of quilting is what you enjoy, then perhaps that can help you through when you give one to someone who just doesn't get it.

Leeanne said...

A very thought provoking post Joan. Interesting to read others thoughts.
When you get no thanks or a 'hohum' one it is a bit of a kick in the guts. Last year I had the thought to make all the members of my family a quilt (we aren't the closest of families ). But it was a strong feeling for me, so far apart from one nephew (21yrs)the response has been positive.
From reading your thoughts & others readers thoughts got me thinking maybe we have the wrong end of the stick? Although the quilt is a gift for a friend/ loved one, maybe the real gift is to ourselves. The fact we are making/ doing something we love & thinking of the person the quilt is going to......THAT is the gift?
I guess we can't please everyone with the right pattern/ colours but it IS the thought & I think we are giving ourselves a gift at the same time......just my thoughts.

Leeanne said...

P.S I just recently gave a baby quilt to the neighbours & they were very happy with the 'blanket' !!!! I just had a private laugh to myself!

momtofatdogs said...

The number of quilts that i make compared tot he number of quilts that i GIFT is samll. Very small. Only because this is MY hobby. MY relaxation & MY passion. I rarely START quilts with the intention of giving them. But I do GIFT them. My children & my family know the importance I give to what I make. And I absolutely hate being taken for granted. Just becasue "I make quilts" does not automatically guarantee anyone a quilt just becaue they gave birth. You could correctly assume (or whatever...)that I am selfish about my quilts. but you know what? It's my passion, my livelyhood & I am more likely to give dishtowels or dishes at weddings and diapers or onesies at baby showers as I am to give a quilt. They are so much a part of ME that people (including family) just don't get it. So they don't. Get them I mean. If I painted would anyone assume they'd get a watercolor to hang up? Probably not. If I built furniture would anyone get a dining set? Not likely. But since making quilts seems to be so functional as well as beautiful, I am automatically assumed to make a quilt for just anyone that wants one. My time (and talent) is valuable. and that time/talent is undestood by very few people that don't do/make/create. So in closing? Joan, I think you go far above the expectation of ANYONE as a quilter & you can't please everyone all the time & rarely some of the people some of the time. So don't. You are so selfless & feel privledged to know you ~ but you go way beyond just "giving a quilt" when you make a quilt for someone. and you make so many as gifts...........I think maybe you are feeling unapprciated when you give a quilt. Our society is so over stimulated with commercialism that "just a quilt" is all 4 of your assumtions and many more. Do what you want when you want. Either they'll love it becasue it was from you or they won't. Quilt lover or not.


MARCIE said...

Joan, your quilts are all gorgeous. Maybe those people are not really quilt people. A lot of people just don't get it. Maybe they would rather have a tote bag or table runner or whatever. I have given quilts also that I haven't received any thanks for and I am sick for all the work involved and lost on someone who doesn't love it. Stop being so generous! Seriously, your quilts are stunning!

christine said...

Hi Joan

My Guild makes PIN (people in need) quilts

they are VERY simple, made quickly and finished to go out to those groups we support

Perhaps the answer is a bunch of simple quilts on hand for need rather gifting to loved ones

Sounds weird, but may fulfill your need to create and gift....

suz said...

Several years ago I made all the guys in the family football quilts with fabric with their favorite team logo...they all got a kick out of them; the pattern was extremely simple and I truly didn't care what happened to them. I made my niece a wedding quilt, which went on her bed for about a now she's probably sold it on ebay. I made her daughter a quilt when she was born and told my niece I wanted it to be used. Last time I saw it (my great-niece was 10) it was being used as part of a "clubhouse" - I was happy. I took a large pre-printed panel with lighthouses on it, beaded it and quilted the heck out of it as a gift for my sister (she loves lighthouses) - she wasn't impressed until a friend of hers commented on the hours of work in the handquilting - now it hangs in her living room. After that, I realized that few people really understood the work involved. So now, if I make a quilt just to learn a technique or try a pattern and don't want to keep it, I offer it for sale. I know when it leaves my hands it could end up anywhere. When people ask if I will take commissions, I say no. I quilt for me - this is my sanity - otherwise it becomes stressful and work. The only person I will make complicated quilts for is my son - he's an artist himself and he's watched the quilt process since he was little, so he appreciates the work.
This is a tough call for any quilter and since you make quilts with so much love, it's going to be hard for you. At best, maybe you could make some quilts that you know you'd like to gift and say: "I'd like to give you a quilt I made - would you like one of these." and make sure they know it's just specific quilts. If it's nothing they like, then you've tried - if they like the colors in one and the pattern in another - you have a direction. As others have said - you can't please everyone.
BTW, if you ever want to give that beautiful, complicated quilt away, I'll be glad to take it off your hands! ;0) At least that fellow has great taste!