Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Un-Appreciated Quilt

I'm sure we've all been stung from time to time when giving a homemade gift. If you're reading my blog, I'm assuming that you are involved in crafts in some way, shape or form. Here's the scenario that we've all most likely been involved in: You work hard on a homemade gift, you give the gift, the receiver opens it and you get, "The Look." It's a look much different than you'd get when giving a store bought gift that the receiver just doesn't like that they know they can return. I'm sure you know exactly what look I'm talking about. You know, THAT LOOK, the one where you wish you could snatch it from their hands immediately and take off running, never having to see them again. The look, the one look that hurts your feelings much more than if they'd just say, "Wow, I really just don't like this."

Now, we all like or dislike things for our own reasons. Plastic canvas back in its day was really cool. Or at least when I was seven I sure thought so. But, WOW. Now I cringe when I see it at craft fairs. Would I cringe if I was given a piece of it by the maker? No, because although it's not my taste or style, I know the person giving it spent a great deal of time on it. I can appreciate that the person thinks enough of me to want to make me something. For example, when I got married 5+ years ago my husbands Aunt made favors for one of our wedding showers out of plastic canvas. They were cut and sewn into the shape of a cone, filled with Hershey's kisses and I think they were decorated with blue ribbon and a white flower. They weren't my style but the fact that she took the time to make one of these for every single person that was invited to my bridal shower meant quite a bit. I couldn't tell you what she gave us for our shower or wedding, but I'll always remember that she made those favors.

I've had my fair share of quilt gifts gone terribly wrong over the years. Here's a sampling of comments:

-"Well, it's about time you made me a quilt, you've made one for everyone else." (Said quite sarcastically which not only ticked me off, but was mentioned to me by several other people in the room.)

- "I suppose we could hang that thing in the baby's nursery." (Ok, I really didn't spend months cross stitching a baby blanket so it could hang. I made it to be used, abused, sat upon and spit upon, the label even SAID SO. Your kid is now how old, 7? Has she ever even seen it?)

-"What do I want this for? Where I'm moving to I won't need something this warm." (Said by the friend who picked the pattern, dictated the size of the quilt; a queen size no less, colors of the fabric and I believe the type of batting.)

-"OH, What's this for?" (Gee, what do you think? YOU Sherlock, to keep you warm because I like you or at least I did until this very moment.)

Then, there's the people who look at the folded up gift and don't even unfurl it. That's almost worse than the comments. How can you look at the quilt without really LOOKING at it? I mean, even if you just open it up to look at it and think to yourself, "What the heck is this?"

All of this has taught me to be ultra selective in who I make quilts for. To decide up front if they are truly "Quilt Worthy." I make more quilts now for babies. I became more involved in things like Project Linus and Pillow Cases for Soldiers. Soon I hope to become involved in making a quilt for Quilts of Valor and a Breast Cancer auction quilt. These quilts are truly appreciated more for what they are and stand for than what they look like, even though they too are beautiful quilts. I'm not involved in all of these projects to be a "do good-er" but just because I enjoy quilting and think everyone should have the love of a quilt around them. Sure, it feels good to do it, but that is not the main reason.

I resolve to give more handmade gifts and quilts to other crafters and quilters. Sure, they "could" make it themselves, but they understand and appreciate the amount of time and the amount of love that goes into projects. I also quilt more just for myself these days, just for the pure joy of quilting.

Friday, April 20, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by CountryQuilter
You poor thing. I do know how you feel. I've got till I don't give them much as gifts, unless I know deep down that they will appriciate it. The first year after I got married, I wanted to give quilts as gifts for Christmas (stupid me). Most were for his family. My mother-in-law said "boy that is bright" It was sage and beige. Then a couple of months after Christmas we went to my sister-in-laws house, they had their quilt outside in the dog house to keep the dog warm. I wanted to cry. I didn't say anything but my husband sure did. He knows the time and work that I have in them, not counting the money. I made these because I wanted to share with the comfort of a homemade quilt. I said "never again." And now almost 6 years later they ask "when do we get another quilt" I say "I don't know, I really don't have that many to give away." (And I have over 100) :) And a long time ago my mom made one for my brother and his new wife. He was working away from home at the time and we went up to check on her, because it was a bad winter and very cold. She had the quilt wrapped around her water pipes under her house because her water was froze. At that time I was only like 17 and had never made a quilt, but I remember it broke my moms heart. And later, I found out exactly how she felt. I don't know why people do things like that, but they do. Even though I have so many quilts of my own, I could cry when someone gives me a quilt. I think they are very precious. Oh, and another story...My grandmother has quilted her whole life. She does applique only!!! My mom brought her to my house one day to show her all of my quilts, my mom is very proud of them. Sometimes she embarrasses me about them. I had some in a quilt show once and had won several ribbons, and she was going around saying "my daughter made that" to everyone. Back to my grandmother, after a couple of hours of dragging out quilts and tops. Needless, to say I had a mess everywhere. My grandmother, looked at me and said "I guess those are nice enough, but a quilt is not a quilt unless it is appliqued" It hurt my feelings so bad, I just wanted her to be proud of me. Out of 22 grandchildren, I am the only one that quilts....


Friday, April 20, 2007 - You have given me something to think about
Posted by mamanance
Thanks for sharing your stories - Jen and CountryQuilter. Just tonight I gave my mom (age 85) a quilt that I just finished for her and she REALLY appreciates it. She made one quilt back in the early 40's which I have, and also does counted cross stitch and has done lots of sewing, so has an appreciation for all the work that went into it. I have recently told one of my daughters and my daughter-in-law that I want to make quilted wall-hangings or lap quilts for them now that they are both in new houses. I have already made a wall-hanging for another daughter - she and husband picked out the pattern, colors and approved the fabrics and seem to be pleased with it - it is hanging on the wall right inside the front door. How do I decide if the others are "Quilt Worthy" - a great term! I have made a quilt for daughter's baby, and a knitted blanket for her son, and both of them are out where they can be seen - and the blanket is his "must have" right now so that is great. I knitted a blanket for son's son, too, but have never seen it again or heard any mention of it - maybe that should be a hint to me??? I will be visiting each of them this weekend - I'll be on the lookout for clues about quilt-worthiness and report back!

Friday, April 20, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by orchidlover
I know how you feel Jen. I've been there as well. My mother requires a quilt because 'everyone else has got one and it's embarrassing that I haven't'. The everyone in question is my father in law who suffers from the cold and uses it to lie under on the sofa. His quilt is on show 24/7 over the back of the sofa and he practically drags people in off the street to show it off.
I too assess whether people will appreciate a quilt. Sometimes it's people that you wouldn't think of. My 23 year old male friend is desperate for a quilt but says that as he still lives at home he'll wait because he knows that his mother wouldn't have anything homemade in the house. He's currently saving up to move and house share with his friend who's also desperate for one of my quilts. It's so funny seeing two 23 year old men trying to decide what colours and patterns they want.
I made quilts for my twin nephews. You can tell the relationship I have with the parents as they live 3 miles away and I've only seen them twice ( they are 4yrs old this year). These quilts were 'wanted' but family members tell me that they haven't been seen. Mind you when BIL and SIL got married I cross stitched a wedding sampler and the spot on the wall it went on was covered when the door was left open. I should have learned my lesson then.I getting ready for the sight of them in our local charity shop, if they're not already there.
Hubby gets upset when someone doesn't appreciate my quilts as he knows how hard I work on them. He reckons that they're the ones who are missing out on the love that a quilt gives and that they're poorer people in the long run.
Trouble is when someone asks for a quilt I get caught up in the excitement of choosing fabrics and patterns etc, it's hard to say no. I've learned to say that I haven't time at the moment so give me a few months. If they start nagging then i know they really want it. If there's silence then one of my quilts have had a lucky escape.
just remember that for every quilt that is being abused there are far more in good loving homes.

love and hugs gina xxx

Friday, April 20, 2007 - remarks
Posted by Cow-;ico quilter
Two Christmases ago I made lap quilts for my father's parents. My grandmother's quilt was a bright colored pinwheel on one side and crossword fabric on the other (crosswords are one of her favorite things). I got a letter a week after Christmas thanking me for the "afghan" and wondering where the clues for the crossword puzzle were. I have nothing against afghans but afghans and quilts are very different things!

Friday, April 20, 2007 - Boy, it's not just me...
Posted by adamvogelzang
I was laughing as I read everyones comments just because I recognize the feelings and the situations. I made a wedding quilt for my husbands brother and his new wife. She told me the colors she wanted-purple and beige. I tried to talk her out of it....In my defense the quilt turned out very nicely. I HAND-QUILTED the whole thing. It took me forever. About a year ago, I spent about 4 days staying at their house and at one point I had to go through their linen closet for some reason. Well, I didn't see it there. Actually, I didn't see it anywhere. So, I asked her where it was, she said she had given it to her mother, because the colors fit better in her mom's house.....I vowed NEVER to make a quilt for them again. Now they have a new baby and she sent me a swatch of fabric to design the quilt around. I thought, "over my dead body". I will make HIM a quilt when he gets a little older and I know what he really likes (cars, horses, etc.) then she doesn't decide whether or not he will like it!!

Friday, April 20, 2007 - Interesting subject
Posted by ninepatchrose
and you've got a lot of responses to it too so there must be a lot to say. I have a story too. There's a couple at church who are dear, dear friends to us. Her first litttle granddaughter was coming for a visit from the south, so I made up a little quilt and used wonder under to apply the little cats that I fussy cut from a fabric. I took it to church with me the Wed. night before the kids were coming. She opened it and said she just didn't know what to say. Thanked me. and that was the end of that. I explained to her to fill in the silence that I thought the gd. would enjoy finding the different colors, naming the kitties, just all sorts of fun things they could do as they laid on it together, inside or out under one of her big oak trees.
I never heard anything about the quilt again. It may be well used and loved but I just don't know.
And then I was just thinking about this subject as I was working on a friend's quilt yesterday. How do you know if a person will like the quilt or not? Enough to give it as a gift? This friend from church is a shop a holic. She LOVES to shop. And I think I am seeing in my circle of acquaintances at least, that there is a common thread, so to speak :-). People who love to shop will generally not like homemade things. They might rather have a quilt from Sears for $29.99 on sale than one from your sewing machine, which as we saw in a previous post is worth $10,000 when all is figured in.
My own dear mother in law, gave me a "bed in a bag" for Christmas. She gets all the children (3 of them) the same thing every year, something for the house. She knows I quilt, admires my quilt, but anyone who would give a quilter a "bed in a bag" probably is not going to appreciate a real homemade quilt.

I'm sorry for all your feelings that have been hurt. I truly am, because we love our quilts so much. They are an extension of us, and when they are rejected and not appreciated then we feel the same way-unloved, unappreciated, rejected. Like we are being told to go sleepwith the dog-which sometimes come to think about it is better than sleeping with the humans.
Okay, enough rambling on and on here. But this was a good subject.

Friday, April 20, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by scissorhandscps
Made a quilt for my dad once. He always has to tell me how his feet stick out!!! It's a lap throw!! Been there. Don't get me wrong he does love it. Atleast there's that :0)

1 comment:

quiltin cntrygrl said...

I know that this comment is super late but WOW I now know that my mom and I aren't alone. I make alot more for her than anyone because she appreciates it