The other day I was at the shop working on a quilt while waiting to meet a client - I had laid out a quilt I've been working on for one of my five year old daughters. Some gals wandered over to the longarm area where I was and noticed the quilt, which I had thrown onto a chair. I let them know they could open it up and look at it - after a minute I heard some nice compliments on the quilt and my quilting (which always feels good!), so I told them it was a gift for one of my five year olds. This was their response:
"Wow, thats a really nice quilt for a five year old - I don't think I would give this to a child!"
For a minute I was a little taken aback, wondering why they thought that. And then it hit me - maybe they haven't experience the "joy of quilting". I know many of you will know exactly what I mean - the feeling of excitement when you give a quilt that you know the person will love!
Here is the thing - while they may look at the quilt and think it was too nice to give to a child, I knew that my daughters have spent the last few years waiting for me to gift them a quilt (bigger than their baby blankets - which were the last Quilty item I made them). And I knew that they would see their quilts, notice the color of minkee on the back and know that I thought about them when I put the quilts together. I chose thread colors for the quilting I knew they would like and bright fun fabrics they would think were awesome.
Maybe those ladies have been in situations (we all have) where we have gifted a quilt and the reaction was less than enthusiastic. I get how you would feel after a few of those - I've experienced situations like that and remember the disappointment well.
When we make a quilt with a specific person in mind, it is the whole process that makes giving it special. We thought about the person when we picked out the fabrics. We thought about the person when we chose the pattern. We thought about the person during the hours we spent cutting, sewing and pressing the quilt together. When we watch the person open that quilt, we are hoping they see it and realize the love we've poured into it! And if they don't, it can be heart breaking.
There are still people out there (not sure how it's possible) that don't quite understand the value of a quilt, or any handmade item for that matter, but lucky for me my 5 year olds are not those people! One of their favorite gifts at the party was their own loaf of banana bread. Special made for each of them by Grandpa Genius (yes, there is a story behind it - for a later day, but this is what they call my dad) in five year old size tins!
The quilts I made them were their last gifts, but they did not disappoint! Their shrieks of glee and "ohhh it's so soft" made my mommy heart swell! I had some fun asking them about their quilts at bedtime:
They sure are silly girls!
I hope that the quilts you make go to those who will appreciate your time and effort and "never want to get out" of their quilt!
Happy Quilting (and Happy Birthday!),
Enjoli (and Avalyn and Ascher) :)