Making a List and Checking It Twice…

No, I’m not Santa, and I’m not making Christmas lists yet. But I am planning to give some quilts away.

Until about three years ago, I gave away almost every quilt I made. But for a variety of reasons, my pace of giving slowed substantially. Most of those reasons are still in place, so my gifts will be carefully considered. But there are several my heart is ready to release. A few of them have new owners chosen, while others will be more challenging to decide.

Jim asked for one quilt to give away. I’m not sure if he has a plan for that or not, but I look forward to watching the process unfold. One will be a baby present for neighbors, who also happen to be friends of our son. Isn’t it sweet?

Bunnies for Baby

At least one will go to my guild as a service (donation) quilt. I never did like the combination of fabrics.

And I have chosen family and friends for five of them. A few others are candidates for giving, too, but I’ll have to think a bit more about receivers.

One thing I have learned while stockpiling my work is that giving all of them away isn’t okay. Nor is keeping them all. I need a balance between the two, allowing me to celebrate the gifts of love and friendship and family, as well as those of my art and my own need for comfort.

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16 thoughts on “Making a List and Checking It Twice…

  1. farmquilter

    I have learned to consider who I am giving my quilts to…I need to know that they will be appreciated and used! If nothing has sentimental value, I’ll just buy something instead of giving a quilt I have invested so much of myself in.

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Agreed. But then there are harder cases — one daughter has used some quilts to the point they are worn. (Too frequent washing adds to that, of course.) But her son (our grandson) is almost 5 and has seen his baby quilt once, when I showed it to him. Will a quilt given to her home get used, or not used? Hard to tell.

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  2. katechiconi

    I find that quilts I make for myself are a ‘child of my heart’ and it’s difficult to give them away, although it has happened in times of the receiver’s need, as a tangible expression of love, care, and a wish to be there for them myself if I could. Quilts I make for others I have learned not to attach to, although I take away great value in terms of ideas, technical learnings and a better understanding of the recipient.

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      There are quilts I make “for me,” and yes, those are hard to give away. Quilts I make for others are easy. So are the ones I make more as an exercise. I don’t get very attached to most of them.

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  3. snarkyquilter

    I’ve found that I’m ready to let go of some of my quilts after I’ve enjoyed them for a few years. And recipients tend to favor my more traditional output, so it’s a win-win for me. Recently I gave wall hangings to my brother and a friend, and donated a “fancy” quilt for a fund raising auction. Good luck with your gifting.

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  4. jimfetig

    My grandmother needlepointed for decades crafting mementos for future generations. Today her work has been spread across the generations as a legacy from a lovely woman most of the recipients are too young to have known. Similarly, my mother-in-law braided rugs and quilted toward the same end. They live on through their craft and so will you. (Sadly, displaying needlepoint is out of style and we store the quilts so the pets can’t damage then.)

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  5. Thread crazy

    So far most of my quilts have been given or donated for a worthy cause. Those donated have gone to other countries where I’m sure they are used day for a means of warmth. Then there’s my family, both immediate and extetended, whom have been the main recipients. I’ve often found that appreciation for the time and labor spent making the quilt, is lacking, partly as they have no idea of what’s involved in the process. Needless to say, I’m hopeful that somewhere later in life those individuals will realize the love and caring that went into their quilt. I too will continue to share my talents, but soon, real soon, the next one will be for me!

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      It’s time to make your own! I think it’s nearly impossible for someone to understand the effort involved unless they do it themselves. For example, I am not a knitter. I know making something involved like a sweater takes untold hours. But aside from that, I am fully ignorant, too ignorant to really appreciate it.

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  6. kathyfaust

    I, too, give my quilts away. I just finished the first one for myself and hung it last week. Making for others usually involves a deadline and I seem to need that. I want to take more photos of my quilts so I can keep track of my progress. I also need to be sure to add a label. Do you have any info, thoughts, suggestions for labels?

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      🙂 Making labels is literally my least favorite part of the process. I’ve tried various ways including printing with an inkjet printer, using alphabet stitching with my machine, writing by hand with a Pigma pen on a small piece to be appliqued on. Occasionally I’ve written directly on the quilt, though not for any I’ve given. My guild donation quilts get a guild label, so I don’t do anything with those.

      The way I’ve settled on doing them, for better or worse, is to write a label using a Pigma pen. My handwriting is legible though not lovely. Some people type the label information and print it on paper, then trace with a pen on fabric. You can use a lightbox or light table, or just tape the paper to a window with light coming through it. Certainly you could get a more attractive label than I usually manage this way.

      I blind-stitch the label to the back using needle-turn applique. If turning the edge is difficult, you can press the edges under first. Use an index card or something stiff to turn the edge against to make it easier to iron.

      That might be clear as mud. Let me know if you have questions.

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  7. TextileRanger

    I was thinking about this as I finished up my reversible table runner yesterday. I don’t make a lot for myself, but I am so much more relaxed when I do! I don’t worry about if my color choices are too over the top. I know that if something comes loose later, I can fix it. I find it very freeing.

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  8. KerryCan

    I’m trying to remember if I’ve given any quilts away! One, I guess–a baby quilt for my niece. But I’ve made so few, because of my pesky attachment to handwork, that I haven’t been able to part with them. I’m sure you’ll make many people happy with yours, though!

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