Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Properly appreciative 2

I wrote yesterday about how I'm choosy in whom I give handmade gifts to.  Unless I think somebody will appreciate and take care of my work, I won't give it to them.  However, I've come to that realization over time and I know that some of the things I gave away decades ago weren't taken care of or loved at the level that I expect today.

So it's especially nice to come upon stuff that I madeand gave away a long time ago, still being loved and used.

We briefly visited my sister-in-law on our way to our Christmas beach vacation and I was amazed to find things in her house that I know I made, once upon a time, but had frankly forgotten all about.

Two quilts were hung somewhat unorthodoxly in windows, since she didn't have curtains and needed to block the sun.  Had these been works of art I probably would have been offended, but they were only "goodbye quilts."  And they looked quite nice in backlighting.

Many years ago I realized that my stash was full of fabrics that I had outgrown, or that I never loved in the first place -- how had they ever gotten here, and why was I continuing to feed and clothe them?  So I made a long series of what I called "goodbye quilts" -- their major quality was speed of completion.  My rule was that if anybody said an unsolicited word of praise for one of them, I would finish it instantly and give it to the praiser.

Some of the goodbye quilts were donated to the Holocaust Museum in Houston, where Rachel Brumer had an exhibit in 2001.  She wanted to provide a quilt for every visiting child and solicited contributions from people on the Quiltart list.  I sent two or three.

Others went to friends and family, but not unless they first said they liked one.  Apparently I gave two to my sister-in-law, although I don't remember either one.

It was almost Christmas, so she had also brought out a log cabin quilt that I had made about 30 years ago.  I made similar Christmas quilts for everybody in my family with the same three-color, 16-block design but different fabric combinations.  I hadn't seen this one in many years so it was fun to be reacquainted.

Finally, I was in the closet searching out an extra blanket one night and found this afghan on the shelf.  Back in the days when we had only one TV set and no VCR, and I was a busy working woman, I was in the habit of curling up on the couch in the evening to watch TV and crochet.  This was especially nice in the winter, because the growing afghan would keep me warm as I worked.  I cranked out hundreds of afghans, some nicer than others.

This was one of the nicest ones, quite dense and warm.  It used a fancy stitch where I changed color on each row, and chose to deal with the ends by tying them into luxuriant fringe.  Seems that she's still saving it for good -- doesn't look as though it has been used for picnics, warmed the cats or been through the washing machine ten dozen times.

A worthy recipient, she definitely will get more fiber art gifts in the future.


  1. I love some of the uses your SIL has put your quilts to. I don't do art quilts. The quilts I make are meant to be used, and I tell the recipients so. Nothing makes me happier than to see one of my quilts well worn by use over time. After all, I can always make another one! :) Completely agree with how you determine the recipient. You admire it, it's yours!

  2. I learned not to waste time and materials on the unworthy as well. Sometimes, though I'll do a test on a new person.

    My nieces have been recipients of a number of things now, all because their mom (new-SIL) searched me out (we'd never met in person) at a large family get-together and gushed about the "gorgeous baby quilt" I made for the newest niece, "that must have taken SO long!".

    She passed!