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A New Attitude on Quilt-Giving

A New Attitude on Quilt-Giving

By Janelle Cahoon, Quiltcentric

As gift-giving season approaches, many of us are beginning to consider what quilt to give to whom on our lists.

If you’re like me, you have a small stock of completed quilts, a larger one of completed tops, and a vast number pausing somewhere along the path between an idea and a completed quilt.
My natural inclination is to give quilts.  They’re gifts of my effort and creativity and love (and yes, maybe talent, too).  They say a lot about who I am.  But sometimes, in the frenzy of last-minute finish-it-up, I don’t like the person they make me into – I don’t like the late nights, aching hands, scratchy eyes, delivered pizzas, housework set aside and family moved to second place, the things that happen all too often when I’m rushing to finish “one more” quilt.

So this year, I’m changing the way I think about quilt-giving.

First, I’m going to consider whether a quilt or any other handmade gift is really the best gift for each person.  We all have a story about a gift quilt that was badly received, never used, or immediately used as a dog bed.  And it hurts.  We need to work harder to identify these unquiltworthy people in advance, and give them something from a store instead.  We’ll all be happier.

But even if a person receives handmade gifts politely, or even enthusiastically, and uses them appropriately, and I haven’t made that person anything is several years, I’m still going to consider whether a quilt is the best possible gift I can give them – and the best possible gift for them to receive.

I think that decision alone will greatly reduce the need for last-minute quilt-making.

Secondly, I’m going to take a hard, realistic look at the number of quilts I’ve finished, and how much work is really needed to complete the ones that are partially-done.  Just need a border quilted and binding put on?  That may be possible, although not for more than one or two quilts this year.  If half the blocks still need to be completed, let alone set, border, basting and quilting?  No.  A firm no.  Not this year.

This year I’m going over my pared-down list of quilt recipients, matching each with a completed or almost-completed quilt.  If I have extra people on the recipients list, they’ll just have to wait until next year for their quilt.  I will not fall in love with a beautiful Kansas Troubles pattern for Auntie Em 2 weeks before Christmas and deceive myself that I have time to make it for her.

This year, I’ll enjoy my quilting more because I won’t be pushing desperately to finish too many gifts.  I’ll also enjoy other things like decorating the house, baking, and spending some time with each of my children.  And that will be better for all of us.


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