I have heard quilters complain about people they gifted quilts to, whether they didn't seem all that excited about a handmade quilt, or never sent a proper 'thank you' card in-the-mail-with-a-stamp if you please, or they did use the quilt and it got all dirty, or they didn't use the quilt and it sat on a shelf unappreciated, etc etc.
|image from Whip-Stitch|
If I were going to pick a side I would be in the camp of use-the-quilt. I think it completes the life cycle of the quilt, from idea to creation through gifting to use, and nothing would make me happier than hearing one of my quilts was worn to pieces (by the way, all my quilts come with a lifetime patch and repair warranty). Like a car that stays in the garage and never goes for a drive, a quilt on a shelf stays nice and clean but never really lives as it was meant to.
And now we get to the Zen of Quilt giving... I have realized that I cannot control how a quilt is received, I can only control how it is given. I give my quilts freely, in love, without expectation of reciprocation or show of thankfulness. Gifts should not have conditions attached; real gifts are free. I know that some of my quilts have wound up in hallway closets or relegated to back bedrooms, does that mean the recipient wasn't worthy of their quilt or it is unappreciated? No. And what's more, I choose not to live with the pit-of-your-stomach feeling that I did something wrong or they were ungrateful. I can't control their response, and I won't let things that I can't control have control over me.
My quilts are like little love bombs that I'm setting out into the world. Wherever they go they bring handmade comfort, even when I can't be there. Like planting a seed not knowing how the flower will grow. Sometimes they literally are like love-grenades I'm lobbing over a fence to people I cannot see, cannot touch, will never know. The Covered in Love quilts are that way. I'm blindly tossing, hoping they'll land with the right person. Other quilts are more like an origami boat, set adrift gently in a pond. You point it toward its Person, give it a nudge and let it go...
What are you thoughts on quilt giving? I want to hear what you think.