Friday, June 29, 2007

Giving My Heart Away

For the first several years I quilted, I didn't have my own quilt. My kids had quilts, I made them for weddings and baby showers and birthdays and anything else I needed gift for, but I hadn't yet made one for me. I've been gifted quite a few little quilts (and a couple of big ones) over the years, so I thought I'd share some of those and a few thoughts on giving quilts away.

This first one was given to me by a secret pal for Valentine's Day. I love this little quilt,
we have a vaulted ceiling in the dining/sewing area and this is above the window in my sewing area. She also gave me the quilt on the right, she said I needed a quilt to coverup since everyone else in my house had one. She was still my secret pal, then, it was my end of the year gift. It's hand quilted and sits on my quilting chair in my bedroom, I think of her every time I see it and how difficult she said this one was to part with!

The same friend made me this Mariner's Compass and the cute little miniature on the right. We had met by then and I was able to see her regularly as she lived only an hour away. She's since moved to the Twin Cities, but I still get to see her on occasion.

The little cutie on the right was also made by an internet friend. We had a small group that kept in touch for quite some time and one of the really fun things we did was make a special Christmas for each other. We were all moms and so often the moms make everyone else's Christmas. It was decided that we would send each person a small gift. Christmas morning, we each had 11 gifts to open when the family hoopla was over and we had a few minutes to sit and relax.

In my last post, I talked about collecting snowmen because I had received so many as gifts. This beauty on the wall was also a gift, from a quilting bee friend, and I love it so much it has been on the wall in my sewing room year round since I've received it (though it may be moved to make way for Sunbonnet Sue) as my snowmen stay out, too. The same friend made the little wall quilt on the right for my birthday one year.

This next little quilt was a really fun project. Each person in our little internet group was given this top to quilt as part of our Christmas gift. The angel in the middle was marked, we were to each mark the border as we wanted it. We met in Kansas City for the weekend and each had to show what we did with our little top. I love this little quilt, it's always out somewhere in my house as the top came from a very special friend.

On the same trip, I got an unbelievable gift from my secret pal. Part of the fun of the trip was each of us bringing a small gift for everyone else who attended. There was a large gift table set up and it filled up quickly as each of the 26 participants arrived and placed their gifts on the table. There were also some larger gifts as we could bring our secret pal a gift if she was going to be there. This was especially fun because normally we had to mail our gifts and didn't get to see our pal open them.

On the table was the beautiful bag shown on the left. Imagine my excitement when I realized MY name was on this bag. I'm a bag them...have them in all shapes and sizes and colors and styles. I couldn't believe that I was the recipient of this gorgeous bag.

Once everyone had arrived, we all went to the table to find the gifts with our names on them. Everyone had quite a pile in front of them and we excitedly opened our gifts. One friend designed a pattern for us all to use, many gave little quilting gadgets, thread, needles, etc. It was such fun! As I picked up that beautiful bag, I realized there was also something inside. I pulled out this wonderful queen sized quilt top. In it was a note, explaining that she had found the blocks in an antique shop. On some of the blocks, the muslin was stained so she took them apart, replaced the muslin, and then made enough new blocks to make this top. I was speechless. It remains one of my favorite quilts, not only because I think it's quite lovely, but every time I look at it I think of the work that this unknown friend went to in order to present me with this incredible gift.

For many years, most of the quilts that I made were given away. People would come to my house and ask to see some quilts I made, I could show them the few I made for my kids, but other than that, there weren't really any here that I had made and kept, aside from a couple of wallhangings.

Over the years, I've gotten much faster. There is now time to make quilts for gifts AND to make quilts to keep! I now have quite a few quilts and am beginning to have issues on how to store so many.

At first, quilting for me was just another craft I learned. I enjoyed it. I could make gifts often with less cash layout than buying one (once I'd gotten a stash going) which was often helpful.

But somehow, as time has gone by, this has become more to me. It brings me peace. It makes my heart sing and my emotions run wild as I'm planning something new, choosing patterns and colors oh so carefully in hopes of an end result that will be all I've planned and more. I've learned how to play with colors and patterns and I really feel something for each quilt that I've made. Each one holds a little place in my heart. I've found that when I make a quilt specifically for someone that I can guard my heart a bit and let that one go without regret. It belongs to them, it was planned for them, it always belonged to them. But the others? Someday I will likely let them go, one by one, to a son or daughter going through a rough time, to a grandchild that has grown to love it snuggling on my couch.

For now, though, they live here, these pieces of my heart. Soaking up love and laughter and memories to be handed down someday to those I love.


Linda said...

Wow you certainly have been blessed. I just adore the snowman quilt you have on the wall. Is it appliqued? If your looking for ways to store your quilts pop on over to Darlene's blog and have a look at her lovely cabinet. I'm currently hunting the thrift stores to see if I can find one to restore.

Belvie said...

All of the quilts are beautiful, but I especially like the little Santa quilt.

Pieces From Me said...

You reap what you sow (and sew!)
You sowed a lot of quilts in the last 15 years! And then you reap.

Sunny said...

Wow! Such wonderful gifted quilts! I have to say we have alot in common. I have yet to make me a quilt and have not been fortunate enough to receive one yet. I wanted to tell you that I have been collecting snowmen also. I do not know how it started, but I do love them.