Quilt Worthy?

We’ve all been there… you have worked your a** off on a beautiful quilt that you are gifting and it falls short when given. Whether the recipient doesn’t know how much goes into it or they aren’t into handmade gifts… it really doesn’t matter.

You are devastated because it took you forever to make it. I rarely gift quilts! and I mean almost never! I have found that the majority of people do not understand 1. how expensive they are to make, 2. how much time and effort it takes to make them. So how do you know if someone is quilt worthy?

That is different for everyone. I know quilters that give quilts away to all of their family members regardless. I love that but find it hard to part with my quilts. So for me…. my closest friends and family know how much goes into quilts and would care for and appreciate them. But other than that… I’m not so sure anyone else is quilt worthy.

Babyhood Pattern by Barbara Persing

For those people that may or may not be quilt worthy (you just don’t know) Barbara Persing has designed the cutest baby quilts. You can get the pattern which is only $20 for 4 patterns and do your own fusing or she has some laser cut kits as well. (if they aren’t there, they should soon)

Short story…. I was gonna make someone a quilt and stupidly mentioned to them. Next thing I knew… they were figuring out what pattern I was gonna use…. what colors and fabrics… I was like… wait… wait.. you fail to realize how this quilt giving goes. I make a pattern and choose the fabric that I think you will like and then I gift it to you. They were like… ah no… well, you don’t get a quilt then.

Am I the only one that needs to work with fabric that I like as well as a pattern that I’d like to make?

What about you? I am super interested in hearing your gifting stories. Leave them in the comments!

65 thoughts on “Quilt Worthy?

  1. That exact thing happened to me. I now select a quilt out of my “Princess and the Pea” pile on my guest room bed. I don’t make quilts with a person in mind, I make the quilts I want to make and if they want a quilt, they can select from the pile. That’s also where I get my charity donation quilts.

  2. You are right. People really do not understand the cost that goes into a quilt. Sometimes they offer to pay…lol They only offer to pay because they do not realize how much a quilt costs. Also, I dislike when they pick the theme…for instance flamingos. Geez, really? I usually ignore requests if I do not want to make a quilt or just come out and say no.

  3. I have gifted at least 100 baby quilts over the years. They started as shower gifts for nieces and now to their grandchildren as well as to friends and charity. I tried to go with the nursery theme a few times and decided no, I do what I want to do. It’s a great way to try new things. Because they are given before the birth and most don’t want to know the gender, I have to go gender neutral. Now I have discovered that when they receive the quilt, they know the gender because I seem to predict fairly well with the quilt. I told them I don’t need that pressure!!

  4. I’m relative new to quilting so I have only gifted quilts to family members. However, I do plan to make many more now that I’ve retired. My thoughts are to donate to charity auctions where people are willing to pay well for what they like which helps raise funds for worthy causes.

  5. OMG, yes! I can totally relate to this. People just have no clue how much it costs and the hours I’ve put into it, etc. I have not gifted any quilts except for close family members for my granddaughter and for my Son’s birthday, etc. Other than that….I just have them here to look at and enjoy. I plan to gift some to my niece because I know she’d appreciate them.

  6. I’m with you on this! I once was asked by a friend of a friend to make a king-sized quilt — and he’d even pay me $100! When I finished laughing, I explained that I don’t make quilts for anyone outside of the family. Just once I asked for preferred colors, and I’ve never been as miserable while making that quilt. Now I make a quilt and either keep it (most of them) or give them to family. They can like/hate them, use/stash them — I don’t ask. 😉

  7. Exactly!!! I’ve made many baby quilts and there are only two that ever truly appreciated them. One friend commented that her baby loved the quilt so much she was wearing it out (flannels and satin). She asked her mom to make a second one just so she could interchange it with the first in order to wash it. The other one told me a story two years AFTER I gifted the quilt how she had “stored” it in a drawer to “save” it. The now-two year old found it one day and wouldn’t put it down. I don’t “gift” anything anymore except to family!

  8. Oh my gosh, Lisa — I absolutely agree and I love how you handled the situation. I have regretted inadvertently setting some precedents by gifting a baby quilt to a new mom in my husband’s family who is a knitter and crafter, because I knew she would appreciate the work that goes into something handmade, and now my husband says I have to make a baby quilt for my niece (who is the total opposite and I know she would rather get an Hermes baby blanket or something). But my SIL knows about the quilts I made for the 3rd cousin, and she’s going to expect her grandkids to get quilts from me now. Ugh. So I’m totally with you in that I take the recipient in mind when I’m designing a quilt for gifting, but I have total control of all design decisions. It’s way too much of my time and my self to put into a project and honestly, if I didn’t like the colors and pattern, it would never get finished and it would just hang over my head forever like an axe waiting to fall! This doesn’t only apply to gifted quilts, though. I got an inquiry yesterday about doing a commission quilt and that always makes me wary for all of the same reasons as a gift request. I’ll talk to them about it and hear their ideas but unless it’s super basic and/or exciting/challenging to me in some way, it’s not happening. We can always get more thread, more fabric, more money, but our days on this earth are the only thing we can’t get more of if we squander them. Hundreds of hours spent working on a project that doesn’t speak to your creative soul means you are giving up one quilt of your own that you won’t live long enough to create.

    • When I receive a request to make a quilt it is either starts at $1,000 or is free. The more I don’t want to do it the more expensive it is and if I want to make it for them I would rather give it than receive far less that it is really worth.

  9. I gift quilts all the time. I can honestly say that every quilt I have given has been loved/ used by the recipient. It has made my heart soar when I hear the comments “Fonda makes the best quilts” or when I see a picture of a 12 year old who still uses her baby blanket. I know it’s expensive but there is a huge stash to sew up and I can’t keep them all.

  10. Ha, I had to laugh at this one, I asked my sister one day if she wanted me to make her a quilt, the look on her face said it all, she said well the dog needs a new blanket! Well, you can guess who I won’t ever be making a quilt for!

    The people I have gifted ones to have truly loved them but mostly I make them for me or gift them to my church for an annual raffle where they are appreciated.

  11. I learned the hard way that when I want to make a quilt for someone, I need to learn whether or not they would appreciate it, and also what their aesthetic or taste run to. I do not have the recipient pick colors or patterns, but I do share with them colors that I’m considering and ask them to let me know if they have a strong negative reaction to one of the colors. I have found that this method allows me to make gifts that are truly appreciated and fit in well with their intended surroundings. Naturally, I am only considering colors that I would enjoy working with, I avoid colors that are truly off-putting to me.

  12. This post really struck a cord with me because I have “gifted” several quilts in the past where I didn’t even receive a thank you note! In another case, the recipients said, “next time, would you please make it larger and with such-and-such colors and make it to fit our California King bed?” My thought was (incredulously) “Next time?”
    The point is, I’m now VERY choosy about who will receive quilts I make. You’re absolutely, 100% correct. There are some folks who really don’t understand and/or appreciate what a gift it truly is to receive a handmade quilt and therefore, probably not quilt worthy.

  13. I am so with you on using the fabrics I like and making the pattern that I feel like making at the time. I am currently working on two bug jar quilts for some babies due in July. I love bug jars.

  14. I agree with you. If I’m excited about the quilt it will be done by the special day, but if you dictate what I have to do it will be years or never to get done. I have to love the colors, fabric & pattern to spend so many hours and money on it.

    I’ve found that if I have to make a quilt I don’t want to do I find a very simple pattern & stipple the whole thing. They love it. I’m just happy it’s done. These are quilts that you have to do because you gave one to someone at work because of a wedding or baby shower. These quilts are rarely done on time but do eventually get done.

    I quilt cause I love it & want to do it. Don’t make it a have to. It doesn’t work for me.

  15. I hear that last thought loud and clear. I don’t mention I’m making them a quilt because I won’t play those games. No way I’m going to work a pattern I don’t want to make or use fabrics that don’t speak to me. I gift all my quilts, and so far, everyone has been quilt worthy!

  16. I had a childhood friend whose mother was a seamstress, so none of her girls learned to sew. We were having dinner with my friend and her mother so I took along a baby quilt I had made for my granddaughter – just a small log cabin quilt in blues and yellows…with over-the-top custom quilting (because THAT’S why I like to do). My friend asked me what I would charge for a quilt like it and I told her $500…she never asked me to make a quilt for her to buy (she never had children). I make quilts and gift them to some family members, but some of them have no appreciation for the time and money put into them, so they don’t get quilts. I do love to see quilts I’ve given being used and using them myself when I visit. I’ve come up with a tummy-time quilt made with charm squares using many kinds of fabrics and pieces of ribbon, backed with Minky, SID and fold-over Minky for binding. They don’t cost much to make, both in money and time, and are the perfect size to put a baby on for tummy time as well as when they are in a car seat. They are now my go-to for baby gifts.

  17. I made a wedding quilt for my son and daughter-in-law. I made the mistake of giving them a few patterns to choose from and asks for the cook or choices. The colors worked well together but were my most disliked colors—rusts, oranges, greens, and brown/tan. Working with those colors was the hardest part of the quilt—however I did get rid of some of my mothers e stash with that quilt. They picked a pattern I liked, but was more worth that I wanted to do—back the blocks were applique and I didn’t like machine applique, so did all needle turned applique. My applique improved greatly and I learned that the “slow” sewing was a stress buster. This daughter-in-law still has specific requests. They always end up being a learning experience that as to my skills—but I do set some boundaries. BTW: she has put on a request for my favorite quilt when I’m done with it—one that I did totally by hand, including the binding. I plan to will it to her. She is the only one of my DILs that appreciates my quilts.

  18. When I make quilts to give, they are usually either baby quilts or comfort quilts. For the most part, I make them because I WANT to do it. I love designing quilts. Generally, the patterns are simple, and are often made from scraps. Mostly the quilts have been well-received, and well, if a quilt wasn’t, I satisfied myself by making it. I look at all quilts as learning experiences.

  19. I gave my sister a queen sized quilt I had made for her when I first started quilting. Never heard if she liked it, but she called to see if I would make one for her friend. When I told her the price it would be just for the fabric alone, she said “Never mind, no quilt is worth that much!” Needless to say. No more quilts for her.

  20. Oh my gosh! You’re singing my song! I asked my son & his wife if they would like me to make a quilt for them. They said they would like one for their guest room where we have comfortably stayed for brief visits. I was thrilled but after discussing a few detailed “options” I said something to the effect of… “I just need to have some input regarding the pattern and colors because it would be hard for me to work on something unless I’m inspired by those choices…” At that point they both became mute & looked at me as if I had two heads and then abruptly changed the subject! LOL!

    There must be a more effective way to communicate the difference between artistic expression of a gift vs “being commissioned to do a job” according to someone else’s specifications.

    • Oh Judy! I have since decided that I don’t even tell the person I am making them something. If i gift it to them… then I do and hope they like it. But to go through the whole…. what colors they want etc. I do try and work within what I know for color and pattern but ultimately …. we have to work with the colors and pattern that bring us joy or the process is arduous.

  21. Since I specialize in Quilts if Valor I don’t have a problem…veterans are always worthy. My parents on the other hand were a different story and used a quilt I made and hand quilted to cover their dog’s crate. Choose wisely where your quilts go but ultimately the recipient may never understand the value of your work.

  22. For significant quilts like wedding or THE baby quilt that will match room decorations, I ALWAYS ask if they want a quilt. Then I have them make a pinterest page with quilts they like and have them tell me why — the pattern or the color, etc. After that I design a quilt that takes into consideration the color palette of their room, the size they prefer, and the general style they like (modern, traditional, other).

  23. I to feel very few people are quilt worthy. After I spend so much time and money on a quilt it is hard for me to part with them. I have given some away to special family. Gave one to a niece, crazy quilt, embroidery and beads on every seam, Didn’t even get a thank you note.

  24. I agree. THEY don’t get to pick anything. Otherwise it is a commissioned piece, not a gift…one of my choosing. Newborns within the family receive a quilt…eventually.

  25. I was asked to make a satin quilt once. I first responded that I was too expensive. Then I mentioned that I don’t make that kind of quilt. It was a good direction to establish early on that I only make what I like and when I want to make it. One grateful thrill came when I sent off a very simple plum colored squares on point to a teenager. She had the grace and imagination to send an image of her opening the package with plum colored socks on. Score. The most simple pattern can be very successful.
    Oh how this topic made ma laugh at myself. For a while there my generous sister quilted many of my tops. Her work is creative and top notch. Over the past few years I made a few tops with the idea in the back of my mind that they could be gifted. Wouldn’t you know that these particular tops were returned promptly with custom quilting that still takes my breath away? I could not gift them because I really admired her work, the design, the size. Recently I made a quick irish chain to gift. It was mostly blue. I decided the gift needed to be red. I made another. Luckily it was well received. Another time I had an idea, it morphed and changed about seven times before I felt like “yes” that is the design/color I want to give. I am plugging away at four tops right now. A low contrast nine patch, a toddler size (45″x65″), a four patch, and flying geese. Truly enjoying the process.

  26. I sometimes find people think you can whip one up in a few days.I like the spend a bit of time choosing fabric, design etc. I also agree they don’t understand the cost or how much money and time it can take. I have gifted a couple but also had disappointing reactions.it’s a bit disheartening as I love quilting. At least I know I am not the only one.

  27. I gift baby quilts all the time. They are great practice! Because of that it does not matter what becomes of my work. I have a significant other who demands a quilt. So I proceeded to start, and they were like, no I just want squares and no pattern quilted with simple lines. Uh, nope was my answer. This does not come from my artistic (no rules) heart. He will probably never get one unless he releases that freedom upon me!

  28. Family can make interesting requests of quilters. After making a”tee shirt” memory quilt for our grandson using his old soccer jerseys, we were asked to make a “memory quilt” for our Granddaughter using her dance costumes. What kind of patchwork can you do using sequins, tulle, lame’ and Lycra? Her finished quilt has stylized ballerinas appliquéd with pieces of fabric from the dance costumes! The reaction comes at the end of the month.

  29. A club we had joined asked for donations for a raffle. I made a set of themed pillowcases. The fabric was over $9.00/yard. Pillowcases usually take more than a yard each. They turned out beautiful! I was insulted when they told me someone offered $2.00 for them and the person in charge accepted the bid. NEVER DONATE AGAIN

  30. Most of the quilts I have made have been gifts, but I am very happy to say, the are appreciated and well loved. I usually ask for some input as far as color choice, but ultimately make most of the decisions. I don’t think they know how much it costs. I don’t even like to think about that! I have even made quilts for my grandchildren’s dogs. Recently one of the beloved dogs died, they buried the dog wrapped in the quilt and told me that doing so helped them feel a bit better about losing the pet.

  31. I made a simple quilt for a friend’s granddaughter. Then her other child had a baby, so I had to make another one. I made the mistake of asking what they would like. They wanted a dragon quilt, so I looked for some dragon fabric, but they started sending me pictures of dragons they liked. (They met on an online dragon game site.) Yikes! I am now making a hand-appliqued giant red dragon swirling above golden towers. It is pushing my design and applique skills to the limit, but, honestly, it will probably be one of the best quilts I ever make, and I am positive that they will treasure it. So…a lesson learned but also a challenge worth doing.

  32. Lisa, I agree with your ability to “say no”!! I donate my quilts often.

    1. My friend had broken her ankle and was in rehab. When I visited her I gave her a very nice lap size quilt. This friend has hundreds of quilts (no kidding) she uses for lectures and that type thing. When I gave her my quilt I told her it was a quilt she could USE. Haha. And she does.

    2. For Louise: I donated quilts for a yearly auction for a non-profit veteran organization that my brother belongs to. When I gave them the quilt(s) I was asked by them what I thought they should start the bidding at.

    (When I donate a quilt in these circumstances (for fundraising) I include a written appraisal for the replacement value). I replied that the quilt was theirs now and the only thing I hoped they would do is not start the bidding at $50.00 and respect my appraisal.

    They did respect my appraisal. Each quilt I had donated had met or exceeded my written appraisal.

    My feeling on this is — it is for a fundraising and the people bidding are there to support the organization. It is a shame that your pillowcases were “given away” instead of raising money for your club.

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