On Giving It Away

*Also there will be a bit of fangirling.

A couple of months ago I was killing time at the library (it’s even better than a quilt shop because everything is free) while one of my kids was at a program. I was catching up on blog reading and found that Mary Fons had a new Quilt Scout column up. Since time was on my side, I read every one, starting at the first. I took notes as I went, thinking I would write to Mary about my reactions to her writing. (What? She likes mail!) I never did write to her and I recently recycled my notes.

A few bits from her columns stuck with me though, like this one: In the Venn diagram of “Nerdy,” “Creative,” and “Friendly,” “Quilter” is smack in the middle. Makes me chuckle. Another one that resonated with me was about giving quilts away.  Go read it, then come back here.

Back so soon?

When I was reading the entire Quilt Scout archives I had just gotten back a bag of my quilts that I had lent out for two displays at shows. It wasn’t a small bag either…it was the large IKEA bag and it was full. Very full.

The idea of unpacking that bag and shoving everything back into closets, under my bed, into a bin in the garage, and hanging things up with the winter coats exhausted me. I simply couldn’t do it. So the bag sat. And sat. And was discovered by my husband who asked “whose quilts are those anyway, and when are they coming to pick them up?”

Ugh. Quilts I made and loved but didn’t want anymore. The joy for me is in the making the quilts. Don’t want to give it away because that’s a lot of money! and time! and effort! Those are worth something. Or should be.

So the bag sat some more. Then I remembered Mary’s article. I realized I would rather give some quilts away than put them back in closet purgatory.

A rainbow batik wall hanging I got from a swap went to a friend who had liked the picture I posted on IG. She couldn’t believe I just gave it to her.

My Black Tea quilt. Giant quilt, 90″x90″. Loads of fabric. Took two years to quilt. #Quiltconreject. Best texture on any quilt I’ve ever made.

Nicole_Hannah_Black_Tea (Full)Nicole_Hannah_Black_Tea (Detail)

This went to Thea from my guild who, after I showed it at a guild meeting last fall, told me how much she liked it and how well it would match her bedroom. I had offered to sell it for the cost of fabric but that was too much for Thea. This week I left it in a bag for her to pick up.

I’m not saying you should hang around me and maybe I’ll give you a quilt, but darn does it feel good to pass these along. Maybe you’ve already discovered this and you’re all ‘duh, Nicole, of COURSE you should give quilts away.’ But try it sometime. You know you can always make another one.

Thanks Mary.

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10 thoughts on “On Giving It Away

  1. I knit, as well as quilt. When asked how much I would charge to make something, I reply “I have to love you, first.” I often start a project, just for fun, and as I work on it, it becomes clear who it is going to receive it.

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  2. O.K Nicole…great post by the way. I give away most of the quilts that I actually manage to finish…usually I’m making them for somebody or for my favourite charity. But here’s the thing. I made a quilt top a few years ago that I loved until a long armed quilter went rogue on it and used a thread colour that I hate. I won’t give the darn quilt away because I hate the quilting on it. it sits in the spare room/myhusband’s office and the cat shed’s on it periodically….I guess I should wash it up and donate it to the charity because no one there will judge me on the quilting and I won’t have to see it again. I feel liberated already so I guess I’ll have to follow through.

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  3. So wonderful to gift to your friend! Its a gorgeous quilt, and as I downsize, I realize the importance of more giving away.

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  4. I give away a lot of quilts as well. Some I do hang on to for professional reasons (trunk shows and all), but I get what Mary is saying and try to keep my quilts that hang around to a minimum. I bet that receiving that quilt made your guild member so grateful.

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  5. Good for you! I give away a lot of quilts, but still have more in the house than we really need. Your thoughts and Mary’s are good for me to ponder. Thanks for sharing!

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  6. I recently spent the night at my sister’s house, & on the guest room bed was the quilt I made for her. It made me so happy to see it being used & to sleep under it! Only recently have I begun keeping quilts for us. My husband said it didn’t look like a quilter lived in our house, so we are keeping a few special ones now. A good balance of giving & keeping ones that have special meaning for me is my plan now!

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  7. Once my goal was to not have ANY blankets in my linen closet. Only quilts. Well now I have quilts hanging on walls, draped on beds, thrown over couches, draped over standing quilt racks……. all because it’s hard to stuff them into the blanket free linen closet(which is pretty large by the way). Several times a guest has mentioned how they really really love this quilt and it suddenly becomes their quilt! My goal is complete…. I can make another quilt to stuff somewhere!

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  8. I’m so happy to have found your blog about giving quilts away. I’ve made several quilts and when I new to quilting all I did was make them for other people and that made me happy. Then my husband suggested that I start making quilts for us. I did that for a while and there they sat in boxes on a shelf. I decided to pull them out this summer and give some away as gifts. They are loved by the people who I gave them too and they can’t believe I chose them for such a thoughtful gift. Quilting, traditional, modern, or any style, is a treat that most people can’t do or don’t take the time to do. So I’m celebrating and giving my quilts away.

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