It’s Not All About the Gift Wrap


So often we encounter quilts that are just stunning, I mean…AMAZING.  The bling incorporated into the design, the ribbons we see hanging from them; it makes us want to run and hide.  But believe it or not often it’s those quilts that don’t “sparkle” or haven’t won awards that are priceless.

It’s not always about the “gift wrap”.  Some of my most precious quilts are the ones that are utility quilts, or ones that I have created for those I love; not designs I made in order improve my quilting professionally.   For example the quilt shown below was a project for a dear friend who, at the time, was battling cancer.  There was no bling, or specialty fabric used, on the contrary, the emotional aspect of this quilt outweighed any materialistic part of this design by leaps and bounds.

Let’s also consider quilts that we receive as gifts.  My sister-in-law, Judy, who is kind enough to travel with me to shows (I’m sure many of you will recognize her in the picture below) made me that awesome quilt.  Now, I’m not insinuating Judy isn’t talented, my point is that this quilt wasn’t produced with all the bells and whistles seen at quilts shows, on blogs, etc.  Judy wasn’t “gift wrapping” her design so those in quilting community would rave about her talent.  No, this priceless piece was made just for me, and trust me this quilt and I bond every night on the couch (or taken on the road with me to shows).

The quilt displayed below was a gift my dear friend Mandy sent to me.  I was completely shocked to receive this beautiful quilt, as it was sent with the intentions of giving me a little “pick me up”.  Her mission was accomplished and she won the award for kindness and friendship!

So let’s face it, we can admire those talented quilters surrounding us. Fellow quilters that encourage us to better our techniques and push our creativity to another level are individuals we should respect.  BUT it isn’t always about the “gift wrapped” quilts.  Quite often it is those “silent” designs that in our hearts have ribbons pinned to them, and are wrapped with love; those are the quilts that truly matter.

Do you have a quilt that didn’t amazing “gift wrap” but mean a lot, or did you give a quilt that wasn’t all about the gift wrap? I’d love to hear your story!

10 thoughts on “It’s Not All About the Gift Wrap

  1. I have a quilt that my grandmother made. It’s not a pretty quilt. It’s granny squares made up of all sorts of colors and fabric types. More often than not, she utilized used clothing as her fabric for quilts! Also, the binding is where you wrap the fabric from the back around to the front and sew it down, not the neat separate binding that is favored today. I have repaired holes in this quilt from where the fabric has worn or tore. It’s one that I snuggle with on the couch, and if dog hair gets on it, it’s alright. My grandmother made quilts to be used, not put in a museum, and I think of her every time I touch it. What better gift?

  2. I have a quilt made by my great-great grandmother that reminds me how quilting has changed over the years. My mother has the treadle sewing machine she pieced it with. I see all the tiny hand quilted stitches done in the evenings to relax as it turned dark and by lantern light as my mother played by her feet. The batting is other fabric scraps and feed sacks sewn together to create a layer of warmth on cold Indiana nights. Often, I wonder about the actual pieces….were they her blouses like the ones I see in her old black and white pictures? Or repurposed bedding and linens? No amount of money or prestige could replace my family heirloom!

  3. Yes, when I first started quilting my dad was diagnosed with parkinsons. His mom quilted and my dad has talked fondly of her quilts for years. I decided to make a huge dresden and make it look like an award ribbon (which his dad won tons of those in pony pulling contests). On each of the ‘ribbons’ had streaming from the award ribbon/dresden I put all the nicknames we have used for him over the years. The center ribbon had #1 Dad on it. When I look at the quilting I put on it, I cringe (it is so bad!). But it is a treasure to him and you would think it was the most beautiful quilt he has ever seen!! With all of the fatigue he battles he will not let the quilt stay downstairs during the day (so the grandchildren won’t be able to get anything on it!)! He has thanked me many times over for what looks like a pitiful effort on my part!

  4. You are all so lucky to have quilters in the family, especially from older generations. Most Australians do not. I’m on the other side of the coin where I have made a memory quilt for a teacher whose mother died and I used the mother’s clothing to make a quilt, including the last pair of trousers she wore which were white polkadots on black. It was nerve-racking knowing that I couldn’t buy more fabric (or stuff it up). I created a lap quilt with diamond shaped patches. The fabrics weren’t colour co-ordinated of course. They were all solid fabrics except for the trousers. It wasn’t quilt show worthy but judging by the look on the teacher’s face, it was going to be priceless life long gift for her.

  5. When the receptionist at our law firm was diagnosed with what turned out to be terminal cancer, I made a simple floral quilt for her and EACH and EVERY ONE of the people at the firm, including attorneys who had never held a needle in their lives, help stitch the binding on B’s quilt. The #1 attorney who presented it to her was in tears when he explained to her how all of us had stitched our prayers into her quilt. Reminded me once again to NEVER underestimate the power of our quilt making process.

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