Thursday, December 11, 2014

a question for discussion

So, gift giving season is here. I have gift giving anxiety (add it to the list) and adding the hand made element into the equation multiplies the uncertainty that I feel. When giving hand made, just how much do you tailor the fabric/color choices to the recipient? How much of your own twist do you put on it? What if you dislike the colors/fabric that they love? How do you deal with that? I know that these aren't easy questions to answer, but I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject. I've been mulling this over for the past few months and I haven't come to any solid conclusions. Please weigh in!
I've been busy with my scraps (as usual) and I thought I would give you a little peek at my workspace. It's fairly tidy here, but don't be fooled...the other half of the room that isn't nearly as organized. I really need to clean this place up (completely) and share photos of the whole thing. That's been on the to-do list since this summer. Hopefully mentioning it here gives me motivation to actually do it! :)

edited to add: the scrap baskets tucked under the cutting counter are quilted storage boxes--the pattern is in Sunday Morning Quilts.
Last thing for today.....I'm getting SO close to finishing the last few pineapple blocks. I'm hoping to have a finish to share tomorrow!

94 comments:

Christine Feldstein said...

I am eager to see your pinapple blocks finished!

Corrie H. said...

Amanda,
I know how you feel when it comes to different tastes in fabric. Sometimes I feel no motivation to create when it is not a color or print that excites me. But you are right, there are a lot of times I make things for people who have different tastes! I guess to answer that question, I go ahead and try to stick to their tastes, but I don't have as much fun in making it! Good luck cleaning up your work space! I am patiently waiting for my sewing room!
~Corrie

mrsmcbee said...

I also stress over this, ICK!! I really try to match the recipient, BUT that is really hard too!! I really stress when I feel they don't appreciate all the hard work that goes into making it. I sew a lot for my grandkids, they are young still and hopefully will appreciate when they grow up..Just a few thoughts you are not alone.

Terri said...

I made 5 snowball quilts - 1 for each of my (then) grandkids. I made them in their favorite colors... Dark green (with lime green), Dark green with purple (not remotely my favorite combo), blue (but pink really was her fav so the back was pink - she didn't like her friends to know she liked pink - they teased her.) One loved red (my fav) and purple... Loved working on that one. Another liked pink, and hers I mixed with yellow and lime green corners. Other quilts for grands have been I Spys and a Hugs and Kisses in pink & white. Making a quilt in a favorite color gives you a leg up on that gift giving thing, and so nobody likes brown, I'm okay. I like all the other colors, (and coming around to the more exciting brown fabrics). Just think about your recipient. You are going to work on the quilt for only so long... they have to live with it.
Hugs

Southern Gal said...

I love those baskets of color for your stash! Beautiful way to store them.

I usually just use whatever I think they'll like. If they don't then at least I tried.

Cardygirl said...

A good question. I try to match the gift to the recipient as I want them to use or like it, and sometimes I surprise myself by liking something in colours I wouldn't usually use. I only give handmade gifts to very special people now as so many do not appreciate handmade....why waste my time creating if someone would be happier with a box of chocolates and I have so many other projects I wish to do?

Laura said...

I agree completely with what Cardygirl said.

neweverymorningpatchworkandquilting said...

I do find it easier to work with colours and patterns I like but as Terri says the recipient has to live with the make! I have a real aversion to purple (nothing in my home or wardrobe is purple!)but my daughter likes purple tones and making a multi-coloured quilt for her has mellowed my attitude to purple! But what we make for other people should reflect something about us too - I expect the recipient likes to be reminded of the maker each time they see or use the homemade gift. I know I do!
Allison, UK

Linda @ kokaquilts said...

Oh my, I too have been wondering recently about gifting handmade quilts! It's been my experience that most people really love receiving a quilt, but it's still tricky .. pop on over to my blog & read about my latest gifting dilemmas! Linda

Eagan bird said...

Like Southern Girl, the baskets really caught my eye. Did you actually make them and is there a tutorial for how you did it?????

The Calico Cat said...

So complicated. I let me GF pick out fabric once - it too me so long to finish that quilt (it wasn't for an occasion...) becasue I wasn't "into" it.

With someone else, I asked their favorite color, the reply was a smart alecked "plaid." (So I made a plaid out of yellow & blue fabrics using 9 patch & rail fence blocks)

So now, they get what I decide to give.

Ruthann Grace said...

I recently made a over sized lap quilt as a wedding present. I asked the bride what colors she wanted.....Emerald, champaigne, grey, off white. Those were going to be the colors in her wedding. I tried by best to talk her out of it, those aren't my colors. Well, that didn't work. I added some other colors to the pallette, silver, jade, pepper black. The quilt turned out lovely. I was pleased and felt proud I had stretched my color palette. I just received the link to her wedding photos....the bridesmaids dresses were a stunning shade of blue.....no emerald green to be seen anywhere! Oh well, it is still a pretty quilt!

Cara said...

There was never any question for me. Even in gift buying, there is a thrill in finding just the right thing for someone you love. I still love that feeling, knowing they will love it, whether it's even remotely to my tastes or preferences. So, the project is always tailored to the recipient, and because I'm excited about giving it to them I rarely find it a chore to work in a style or color I wouldn't have chosen. (And on more than one occasion it has helped me branch out.). However, I limit holiday gift giving to people with whom I'm close. I imagine that makes a difference.

Pieces of Cotton said...

I say go with their colors. I had a commissioned quilt one time and I just hated the color combination, as well as most of the prints. In my mind, I called it the ugly quilt the whole time I was working on it. The next thing I knew, I had somehow decided it was a pretty nice quilt. The name went from the ugly quilt to the ugly duckling to the swan, because it looked great upon completion. Here's proof: http://piecesofcotton.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-swan.html So you may decide you like something more than you thought you would.

Skootchover said...

I struggle with this. Working with colors or a pattern I don't really like makes working on a quilt a drudge for me. However, I try to keep in mind that I am making a gift and try to make sure I have a project that I do like to work on after I'm done. I recently made a baby quilt in mint, grey, and white with a pop of red in the middle. Hated those colors. The recipient's mother gushes about how beautiful it is every time I see her. It was all worth it.

Georgia Girl Quilts said...

I usually stick with what the gift recipient would like. Like one of the others who commented said, "they have to live with it"....also, I look at this as a great opportunity to add colors I wouldn't normally buy to my stash!

Diane said...

Making a quilt takes so much time, but I love every aspect of it, from selecting the fabrics to hand sewing the binding. I have found that it instead becomes a huge chore if it's not something I like, and I have decided life is too short for my hobby to become work. If the quilt is for someone I don't see often, I do my best to guess what they would like, but it must be something I will enjoy making. If they stick it in a closet unused, well, maybe some day a grandchild will pull it out and fall in love with it:) For those close to me, I show them lots of pics of quilts I love, and ask them to pick out their favorites. And then we go through my stash and they select fabrics they like. I have quite a variety, so there's bound to be something they like as well. I generally supplement as needed with similar fabrics. I don't mind taking away the surprise factor to end up with something I know they will enjoy.

Katie Skiff said...

You had me at color coded scrap baskets on the floor!! WOOP!

When giving to someone I do tend to tailor it a bit. Esp if I know them well, my aunt quiet was some 1930's materials with cats. For my nephew, I used farm patterns, etc. However, sometimes you might make something for fun and then realize that someone loves it and give it to them.

Anne said...

Great topic! I personally only make things that I like. If I don't like them they won't get done! The only problem with that is that sometimes it's hard to give things away when you really love how they turned out. If the recipient really loves them, then that makes it better, however. Love your blog!

Rebekah said...

I have a hard time with this, too, but I start with the recipients favorite colors/style and then I pull fabrics from my stash that most closely match that. I love everything in my stash, so it's my style of fabric in their colors. I have to like what I'm making or else it won't get finished. Sometimes it's easier than others. I'm working on a quilt for my mother-in-law who likes brown and cream and country, which is not me at all. I think I've found a nice mix of browns and peaches that work together, so I'm hoping she'll really appreciate it (she automatically loves it because she loves me and anything I make, but I want her to really like it too!).

Other times I just make something random and then the perfect recipient comes to mind when I'm near the end of the process. A flip switches in my brain and I get super excited to finish and pass it along.

Sara Curtis said...

I love when people say, "this is so me!" I try to get cues for fabric choices from their homes and clothes.

Josie McRazie said...

I procrastinate! Ok true story. I have a quilt (quillow) that I starter for my Brothers step daughter. He picked the fabric and the pattern. It is all solids!! I have all 9 squares done and pinned together! I just hate them and it makes them VERY difficult to work on!! I pull them out here and there and give them 10 min...but I have learned never again!

stitchinpenny said...

I can't make something I truly hate. I tried to make something for a family friend. The baby's mother, father and grandmother all wanted different things. I ended up sewing a quilt in subtle baby colors - which is not my style. I also ended up in exasperation embroidering butterflies, ladybugs, dragonflies and teddy bears. I kept telling them they were making horrible decisions for me. Now I tell people to tell me their colors and themes and if I can work with them I do, otherwise I try to find something that will accent without matching. If someone loves orange, brown green and gold which is my least favorite color combo, I try to find a way to use low volumes for everything but the orange and pop that. I still have some quilts I hate including a quilt for an autistic child. They insisted on puzzle pieces and I made it but I have trouble looking at the pictures. Most people are thrilled to get something handmade, those that want something I don't like now get a compromise since I want to love my handiwork.

DianeY said...

I do try to stick to the recipients more favored colors. So far I have been very lucky with that. As long as I don't meet a friend who likes brown, I have no problem with any colors

Kim said...

I'm happy to make quilts that suit the recipient but I will say that if I'm not liking what I'm working on, be it color or design, the creative juices simply will not flow. It's no fun, at least not until the happy quilt recipient genuinely falls in love with their quilt. I've stopped trying to guess in order to surprise as it's just not worth the time, energy and expense involved should I miss the mark. And I say NO to projects that I don't want to do. My least favorite request is to finish a quilt top that another person started. I figured this out after doing one. It's one of my big N.O.'s.

Ellomee said...

Sometimes it's good to step outside the box and try something different. I am not a batiks person but I made a batiks quilt for my SIL and was surprised at how much I enjoyed the final product. And like others have said, the pattern/color/fabric that you didn't think you'd like may end up being something that you really like in the end. Another quilter was talking about charm packs at a retreat I attended: not pulling out the squares that you didn't like - sometimes those are the ones you end up REALLY liking or the ones that the recipient really likes. But I agree - it's hard to be motivated when the fabrics/pattern/color is not your favorite.

AnnieQuilts said...

Making gifts, and the stress that goes with it, is something I've struggled with for years.

The thing I like best about a gift quilt it is that I keep thinking about the person it's for the whole time I'm working on it. The fabrics don't really matter because the recipient doesn't pick everything, and whatever their favorites are, I have the freedom to work them into a great color/print combination. I don't really have a favorite color.

Workmanship is what causes the stress for me because I just can't settle for "good enough" the way most of my quilting friends do. If you can adjust to a comfortable level of workmanship, the rest might not be a problem.

lmno said...

My sister is a skilled hand quilter, piecer, and machine quilter (a Gammil and an A1). Years ago I remember she gave a quilt that included white fabric with red and black lobsters on it. She explained that they "get what they get". I think she is right. Love her many projects though I struggle as you do. I love the quilts I make. At the end of a project I think it is not good enough because the recipient "may not like brown" or the blocks don't consist of enough pieces" or maybe they would prefer "blue to red" or "red to blue". Now I stick to spending time making something I really like mostly because then I know it will get done. I made a pastel set of 8 inch sawtooth stars once and still cringe thinking why on earth did I go in that direction? So I immediately turn to a wonderful memory of the occasion where I made a big star quilt of blues and brown for a 4 year old. His sweet face and the words "I love my pirate quilt" will stay in my heart forever. So I guess the lession here is learn with each experience to go with your heart and enjoy each part of the process from choosing, sewing, finishing, and giving.

Sarah Fredette said...

I'm going to be the odd one out, but I just don't give handmade gifts much anymore. They never really got more of a reaction or appreciation than a gift card taped to a bag of candy. But that might just be my audience. If I happen to make a quilt that I think someone else will love more than I do, I'll give it to them, but the way my husband keeps telling me to look at it: it's my art. Yes, they have to live with it, but my name is on it.

Lorna McMahon said...

I would just make what I love to make, and if I decide to gift it... I just hope for the best! People will appreciate what you make because you made it with love.

imquilternity said...

I'm going to come at this from the opposite angle. Since I'm making and giving the gift, I want it to be something I love working on and I want it to be a piece of "me" when I give it to them. What they choose to do with it after that is their choice. After all, anything handmade is a work of art and should (imho) reflect the maker.

bloominworkshop said...

I only make gifts when I'm inspired to make something in particular for a specific person. I think I've finally gotten over the whole make-something-for-everyone phase. It puts too much stress in my life. Which I don't need. And if it's in colors I don't care for, I'd still make it. I just want them to love it and use it.

Nana said...

I try very hard to match fabric to recipient. If I pick the fabric of their color, I am more likely to do a better job. Sometimes what they pick is very hard for me to work with.

I noticed the color matched baskets under your table. I imagine that those are for your scraps. What size are the baskets and do you have a tutorial for those.

Deanna said...

I want whomever gets the handmade gift to like it, however I also don't like working with weird fabrics. I made a gift for a sister in law I don't know well. I chose colors I was told she likes. It was a bit dark for my taste, but hopefully she'll like it.

Laney said...

I echo what Lorna said. I make what I like - and sometimes make multiples and then if I decide to give it to someone I choose one I think they would like.

Julie Thompson said...

I once made a very muted quilt for my husband's Grandma...they weren't my color or style at all and I struggled with it but in the end I knew the quilt was for her and not me...same thing with an all purple quilt I made. Not a huge fan of purple at all so I pulled Me and My Sister (love their fabrics!) purples and it made the quilt tolerable.

Cynwood said...

Your taste in everything you create is impeccable and your recipients are more than fortunate to receive whatever you make! I say please yourself and don't worry about matching gift to color preference.

Erica said...

My mom always said something along the lines of "you should give something as nice as you would want to receive" so this is a no-brainer for me. A gift is about the person I'm giving it too, not about me. I want the recipient to smile and the recipient to like it so I would try to choose fabrics and a design aesthetic I think they would like. If I couldn't stand to work on the project I'd have to question my motivation for making the gift in the first place and maybe come up with something different to give.

magistra said...

I definitely try to make for the person who is going to receive the gift. If it's something I truly abhor, I would only make them something smaller, not a big huge quilt. If they want a quilt, and they're close enough to me that I would want to make them one, then we might have to sit and talk it over and do some compromising. Like my mother loves bird fabric that isn't my favorite, so I've made her pillows, etc, but I couldn't handle working with it for long enough to do a quilt. I would need to sit with her and find some fabrics that might have some bird motifs but not the old granny colors, etc She might just have to buy herself a quilt... A shame, but I think she would understand. Small, quick things, I don't mind, but an artistic quilt which takes a lot of my time, then I'm afraid it would need to be something at least pleasing to me. This really shouldn't be too hard of a problem because I like a lot of fabrics :) It's a good question! Magistra13 at yahoo dot com
Beth

Amira@littlemushroomcap said...

I would normally go with what the recipient like. That is if she/he has a very clear thing what she/he loves and she/he doesn't like. If not, I'd make something I would love myself with a bit of instinct feeling that the recipient would love it too.
In terms of what item - normally the general thing that can be used daily...Have FUN making cause that is what is most imporatnt and it will show.. made with love right? HAve a lovely holiday!

la tulipe said...

I love your colorfoul baskets! When I make a gift fot my mother, it's easy, she likes purple :-) For other people, I try to make what they love but sometimes it's nice to surprise them. If they are desappointed, it's not a problem for me. It arrives one time with my sons but it was small gifts and they let it home :-) Sorry,my english is bad...But I hope you'll understand what I mean :-)

Hildy said...

I always try to fit the gift to the colors and styles the recipient like. But then it's my stash I'm working from so there's always a gbit 'me' in there.

junacreationsuk.blogspot.co.uk said...

I tend to make gifts with their colours in mind,I used to dislike certain colours but when they're in a fabric being made into it, I generally don't mind.
Loving your organised workspace - I may just have to do my own over Christmas.

Bren Holmes said...

I think it's part of the giving process to make a gift that is not to your taste, but to that of the recipient. It's not easy to do, but their delight makes up for it.

Concha de Aromadetela said...

Perdona, pero podrías poner en tu blog el traductor?, te lo agradecería un montón y podría enterarme de lo que nos cuentas. Gracias.

Swedish Scrapper said...

I do a lot of swaps, so I always have to work with other people's palettes. I try to go with their likes, but there is usually an interpretation element that factors in. I can't tell you how many times I have appreciated someone else's choices as far as schemes go-- someitmes I end up making stuff for me with the same combo! As far as novelties go, if I am not comfortable with the way I combine, I'll use it on the back of the project.

Johanna Lovering said...

Your quilts just sing when you use the colors you like!
I am surprised that your friend doesn't like the colors you use. Everything you do is just gorgeous!

Patti said...

My oldest daughter and I never agree on any color or any fabric. If I hate it then it's almost guaranteed that she will love it! This is why I haven't made her a quilt! lol When I sew for her I try to make smaller gifts- bags, pouches, etc so that I can finish them quickly!

Julie Beard said...

Dear AmandaJean,

Colour is so individual to each of us. My best girl friend has her likes and I obviously have mine but just sometimes we work together to find a common ground. You see I'm planning at some stage in my quilting life to make her a wedding quilt but not the usual traditional blocks but a Irish Chain with a Sawtoothed Star in very pretty blues and greens and cream. I am a big fan of the blues and cream/white but she also loves green as well so it is our common ground. It's a big quilt 100 inches square. I'm almost technically ready to tackle it but have need to purchase the loc block set that will definately help me with the flying geese!

Before I go Amanada I love your four little boxes on the floor in front of your sewing area do you have the pattern? If so I would like to buy it in the new year. I wish you and your family a very special blessed event this year. To care if travelling and look forward to seeing your work more in the coming year. Julie Beard Adelaide Australia. julie714@adam.com.au

Julie Beard said...

Opps Amanda good luck with your christmas anxiety I've got mine too! After I had to rip 8cms of crochetering using no 1 crochet hook out today. It's actually a week worth of work! Can't cry over spilt milk, moving forward like crazy!!!!!
Haha...

Nevertheless love the rush of frantic craft work those projects are often the best gifts to give and I certainly love your pineapple blocks too.

I purchased only two days ago "fresh pineapple possibilities" by Jane Hall and Dixie Haywood I think I've got pineapples in my heart too! Go girl, you can do it!!!

Judi said...

I always take into consideration my friends decor and colors they like. I get joy from piecing together the various colors/fabrics....even if they are not my favorite. I just keep in mind how happy they will be with the creation I made for them. After all, it is for them and does not matter at all to me if I really like it. I still enjoy the journey. :0)

Kathy Brooks said...

I understand completely. I just completed two different exchange "mug rugs" events and ponder this same issue. My conclusion: they are my creation to give and I hope you like them as they are. Both where complimented on by many. If I knew the individual's personal taste then I try to accommodate, since I know it will be loved even more.

Teresa Palmer said...

I've made 12 journal covers for my coworkers (teachers) and my own kiddos teachers and their bus drivers. I just asked them their favorite color and then went with what I had in that color. With such a small project they're not tied to it if they don't love the shade I chose.

margot said...

I totally get how hard it is to work on something that you don't care for (I sew, quilt, knit, craft) but are you making the gift for the recipient? Or for yourself? If you were purchasing a gift you would try to select something they liked. My late MIL made an afghan for us - out of a color she loved - which doesn't match anything in my home (not even close). It's sat in an upstairs bedroom for 20 years. It would have been in the Goodwill bag if she hadn't made it. Sorry.

Susan Forbes said...

I think it depends on whether or not the recipient adoring something handmade. If not, purchase the gift and save your favorite colors for someone who will appreciate it.

Eastern Market Sewer said...

My primary criteria in giving gifts that I make is deciding whether they would like and value a gift made by me. I view it like an art object. If an artist relative who paints abstract images gave me a painting, I wouldn't request a seaside landscape. I would value the abstract painting because it came from my cousin, not because it fits the decor of my home or is "my style."

While I might consider favorite colors or style preferences in making a gift for someone, these are secondary concerns for me.

Sarah Craig said...

If I'm taking the time to make a hand-made gift for someone, I want it to be something they will love and use - so I generally take their tastes into account when choosing fabric and pattern.

Also, could you share with us sometime your techniques for managing your scraps? I'm losing control of mine and you always seem to have yours reined in…. Love those baskets!

Dominique said...

I only give handmade items to people who will appreciate all the work that goes in it (other than birthday pillows), and I generally know that person's tastes, or whether I should stick to certain colours or if I can do something that is closer to my taste. I make personalized pillows for my kids' friends (I realize kids don't necessarily appreciate the hand work) and most of the time, I work with their favourite colours, or I ask my kids to help me pick the fabrics. It is a quick project, so I don't mind if these are not my usual choices

JanineMarie said...

I do try to make gifts in colors/patterns that I think the recipient will like. And sometimes I have "given" color palettes to work with, which can be a real challenge for me because I don't know how far I can deviate from the colors/design and still have things work out to their liking. But I think something of my own tastes always shines through. Sometimes those quilts aren't my favorites, but I truly enjoy making gifts for others, and I guess I don't mind the challenge because of that. It all balances out; when I make gifts for donation, I am free to try out whatever pleases me. Your workspace is so cheerful--I love your fabric baskets!

charlotte said...

I usually do what I like, with a nod to their tastes. If someone gives me the fabric and I hate it, it takes forever to get it done. That is going on here now, as a matter of fact.

Sigi G said...

Those are questions I would love to hear the answers to. I will often give my absolute favorite baby quilt or mug rug and then wonder which one they would have chosen if given a choice and my confidence wavers. I often ask my children for input, and watch their expressions which tell me more than their words as they try to give me a diplomatic answer. In the end I often think - oh well, they'll have a gift to 'pass' on to if they don't like it themselves ;)!

Always In Stitches said...

I guess I will not weigh in on the gift making decision. In the past I made quilts for gifts to match their tastes. Every time they changed their color schemes and the quilt disappeared. I'm done trying to match color tastes.
Love those color matched baskets. Tut available?

Sharon said...

I don't usually give away the stuff I make. For one thing, I only make quilts I truly love and I feel very attached. If someone expresses particular interest in something I have made, I would give it or make something for them. On the other hand, I know quilters who give away virtually everything they make!

Susanhusan said...

I try to use the colors that the recipient will like, but I also try to add some colors that I like. It doesn't always work, so then I just hunker down and finish the project, knowing the recipient will enjoy it and the colors.

Andrea Stoeckel said...

Color is always a priority fir me....also the age of the recipient. If it's my grandaughter and its here new binky, washability become paramont. If its a remake of my own work, it will have gentle use and can be more flexible. But, I have been doting on a UFO for over a year so I can't talk too much

Carrie Wikander said...

Well, you already got a lot of answers, but I would say, try to please the recipient. Sometimes it is good to go outside one's comfort zone, too. We discover new things we find we are quite inspired by!

Lisa C said...

My answer totally depends on what I am making. If it's a quilt or pillow that will be out for the world to see, then I try to make it in pleasing colors to the recipient. Maybe not their home colors (for a quilt) but colors that they enjoy. However, I turn 99% of my orphan quilt blocks into potholders. These make great gifts for all kinds of occasions. Since potholders generally live in a drawer, I don't mind that they don't match someone's decor. I work full-time and quilt for fun. I will not work with colors I don't enjoy - I'll just pick another gift. Quilting for me is supposed to be relaxing and working with brown is NOT relaxing!

elizabethdee said...

My two cents: I have learned, the hard way, to keep the recipient's taste uppermost in my planning. Once I embroidered a sampler for someone, who promptly put it in a closet. Ouch! Later, someone sent me a quilt she'd commissioned for my baby -- and it clashed completely and utterly with my color scheme, style and taste. I promptly put it in a closet, putting it out only when the giver came over. I loved the thought, but not the item.

If the gap in taste or style is significant, then I make a small or quick project, like pajama pants (in a fabric I myself might hate but know the recipient will love) or a coin purse or pouch or tote. I want the recipient to be happy with the item as well as the thought behind it, but I don't want to shudder at any part of it!

Meg said...

For me, creating for a gift is a combination of things. In a lot of cases, I like the challenge of working with colors that are outside of my comfort zone. It can also be eye-opening and refreshing, like a palate cleanser before starting another project, or giving me new inspiration for future projects. I like to keep my recipient in mind when crafting a gift, and I like to be flexible, so that if something isn't going quite how I'd planned, I can change it up (block placement, sashing and setting, color additions or subtractions, etc.) as I go along. But ultimately, I know that if it's something that I wish I could keep, it's going to make a great gift!

Thanks for starting the discussion--the comments for this post are fascinating!

Greta Anderson said...

Fascinating discussion. I give away almost everything I make. I make for others to the extent that it is hard to say of any of my quilts, "this is my style," unless I am doing a crazy quilt. I enjoy meditating on the recipient as I quilt. The materials I start with do dictate a lot of the choices. I have "inherited" a lot of my stash so I don't have choice from the beginning. However, I am wondering whether I need to break free and start quilting for myself so that I can find out what my style really is. I prefer to send my quilt by mail than to watch them receive it.

Just started a project with my 8 year old niece. "Her" Christmas present to me is an order of Kona cotton in colors that she likes and think go well together. One of my Xmas presents to her is the promise to make a quilt with those colors/fabrics. As she seems to have some of the artist genes (artist-nana's job is to help with the selection), I hope it will be a memorable learning experience.

Quilt Lady said...

I think when working on a gift it is about the person the gift is for not yourself. You should enjoy making what they like. If it is not your style just know you do not have to see it everyday they do. I have people I know tell me they still have a baby quilt I made 17yrs ago and I do not remember making it, but they love and enjoy it.

Quilt Lady said...

I think when working on a gift it is about the person the gift is for not yourself. You should enjoy making what they like. If it is not your style just know you do not have to see it everyday they do. I have people I know tell me they still have a baby quilt I made 17yrs ago and I do not remember making it, but they love and enjoy it.

Marianne said...

I think you tailor the handmade gift exactly like you would a store-bought gift. I am known far and wide as a great gift giver (LOL) and I am amazed that people cannot figure this out. It's all a matter of going what the person likes. It's just a matter of becoming attuned to what they say, wear, read, etc. Don't give gifts that YOU like, give what the RECIPIENT likes. I've received many a crappy gift and it was always a gift the giver liked, but not me. I remember the year I got opera CDs. I hate opera, the giver loved it. So to answer your question, you make the gift out of colors the recipient likes, and I think your twist will always come through. If you dislike the colors I think you need to remind yourself that this is a "gift", an object given willingly with affection and/or admiration behind it.

Ramona said...

I have a difficult time working with fabrics or designs I don't like. It will stop me in my tracks. I've been excited about a project for my daughter before and we start talking designs and fabrics and I can't get my creative mind around what she wants. So the project never gets done. I would love to break past that.

good luck on your projects and Merry Christmas.

Laurie Broderick-Burr said...

I am with you on the anxiety about gift giving and choice of fabric, color, and the thing I've made (is it good enough, will they notice that the top stitching wavers just a tiny bit!). I am sending my cousin a couple small zipper pouches/bags I made and I can't believe how hard it is to just choose which ones to send!

The other thing I want to say/ask is: how do you keep your scraps so unwrinkled?! Even my neatly folded fabric comes out of the closet wrinkled and pressing it doesn't always work. I really am interested in any clues/hints you have.
Thanks!

Lauren said...

Oh how I struggle with this!!! I do try to make what I think the person will enjoy. I have learned though if someone has completely different taste than me this can get expensive. Buying new fabrics rather than using my stash for an entire quilt is costly. I know if I give something not to taste they will not appreciate it no matter how much time and thought I put in to it. I have basically decided I will now make scarfs, small pillows and small bags etc. for adults. Now my favorite people to make for are kids!! I enjoy making those quilts and the kids seem to really appreciate and love the homemade gift!!!!

Tracybug Creative said...

As a shop owner that specializes in custom fabric choices, I often have to put my own likes/tastes aside to make what they want. It's not been rough, however I have a rather serious dislike for most things batik, I've yet to have someone request that. My perspective is answering the question "what do I really want?" When gift giving, the answer at the top is "a gift they will love and use" behind that is my own desire for a creative outlet. I can make myself goodies all day exactly how I want, and plenty of people aren't so picky, they are truly delighted with handmade whatever. So, I figure putting their happiness above my own for a project or two...it won't hurt me to stretch beyond my creative comfort zone...often I'm surprised that I do end up liking their choice...might not be favorite, but pleasing none the less!

Jennifer said...

I think any crafter of handmade items has a bit of anxiety about their gifts being "good enough". I simply do my best to put myself in their shoes and make something that I think they'll like. Unfortunately, there isn't a formula to use to guarantee that you'll be spot on with your choices. The best advice that I have is do your best and simply let be what it will be. Chances are, we're worrying over being "perfect" with our gift/color choices far more then the recipient even thinks about it.

The good news is: if their tastes are really different from yours and you don't like the color combos you've pulled for them, then you're right on target! *wink*

Deb Henricks said...

I made a basket quilt for my sister - she selected the fabrics - very muted colors (pink, green, blue, gold) in Lecien's Antique Rose collection. When I finally got around to finishing I did not have enough of the green to do one of the borders (her preference).. ugh. Fabric line out of stock - I could not find a suitable green replacement, but did find a blue. Muted colors very difficult to find. I think the blue I found gave the quilt more depth.. it was driving me crazy because the quilt was so "flat looking" before that. I think a quilt needs a variety of print - scale and depth of colors to make it sing.

I would have picked even more variations if I had been able to guide her more. I think most people who do not quilt are hesitant to do this. I tell my sisters get a variety of colors you like/use in your home in the quilt -- and then we can add to it (complimentary colors) and it will all work.. I guarantee it !! You don't like a certain print -- don't worry - you'll probably never notice it - it's such a tiny piece of fabric. It will all blend.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/hereslucy/sets/72157639178186865.

Blogful said...

My mom loves to quilt and got me into it. I've had four kids and she's made a beautiful baby quilt for each of them. However. Almost every time I have gone with her I have helped her choose fabrics "now, show me what you like. Help me pick out some fabrics for the baby quilt I am going to make for you." Once we even looked at photos in a book and I told her what I like. Every time I choose muted similar colors. Every time I get a quilt it has some bright red area or a fabric with hello kitty on it or something else that I think is kind of tacky and not at all what we had discussed.
I love that she wants to quilt for her grandkids and every time I see those corny pieces I just think of her and how much she loves us. It doesn't match our home decor or my ideal for the kids rooms, but I still display it with pride. Maybe some day I will have things all matchy and cute but in the meantime, we have a home filled with love--which is way better.

LethargicLass said...

Unless I have been asked by a fellow crafter, or have a request made specifically, I have stopped giving hand made gifts. This is for a few reasons. I once watched two people I had made gifts for, in their favourite colours and everything, look at eachother and basically roll their eyes. Also, I never get photos of babies with their quilts or anything, but I see the same people make sure to show people photos with the onesie that they bought the child. As well, I find the appreciation for the time and thought and love put into the item just isn't there. I hate to be negative about it but I do find it to be so. Whereas if I give a gift to someone else who makes things, they are more than appreciative and it is just a joy to do!

tink's mom said...

Generally I make what I like if it's a surprise gift. If it's for a special occasion I'll ask but I am carefull in my phrasing of the question. The first time I asked someone for their opionion it was my oldest niece who was getting married. I asked if she wanted a quilt and if she had any ideas about it. Big mistake she wanted a King size Double Wedding Ring in scrappy pastels. It did turn out wonderfully and I can say that I made one but the rest of the nieces were only asked about color range.

greeneggs said...

I really share your uncertainty. I try to tailor gifts, but also to stay within my own aesthetic. That's not always easy, but the final results are better.
Generally, if it's a quilt I'm making I ask the recipient to choose ten fabrics from my stash that they really like. That at least gives me some common ground.

greeneggs said...

I really share your uncertainty. I try to tailor gifts, but also to stay within my own aesthetic. That's not always easy, but the final results are better.
Generally, if it's a quilt I'm making I ask the recipient to choose ten fabrics from my stash that they really like. That at least gives me some common ground.

✾Jamie Lee Cooley✾ said...

I always try to make something tailored to a specific person. But that doesn't mean I share photos of everything on my blog. I've been known to make quite a few table runners with photorealistic vegetables and coffee themed fabric. Those fabrics nearly give me hives and don't fit my aesthetic, so I leave them out of social media. I like modernish things, so that's all I share.

KathyinMN said...

I to suffer gift giving anxiety. I've tried to remember that I did my best work on the gifts so there's that. For this year, I made jelly roll race quilts for each of my sisters. One is getting her blues (her and my fav so easy to work with), the other wouldn't commit to a color scheme, so I used Moda's Through the Winter Woods for a Christmas theme. The third likes greys/blacks. Black is really not in my palate, but I used the Road 15 line by Sweetwater for Moda. Enough black for her, enough other colors for me. Still it's hard to gauge, and I won't really know unless I see it worn to pieces in a few years. :)

WP in VA said...

I love your cabinet, would you mind sharing where you purchased?

Thanks

Mary Pat Callihan said...

Hi AmandaJean! I love to make Christmas gifts and I want to make something for everyone I know...such an unrealistic wish. Sometimes I just make things I enjoy making and hope later on that I will have someone to give it to. Sometimes,I make things just for one certain person. For those gifts, when the person is so different than me and I have to go out and find fabric to make the gift, it is so hard to get it underway. I have to keep reminding myself how that friend will feel when she opens it up and it is just the perfect thing. I didn't make any quilts for Christmas this year because I did it last year and I wanted to be a little different. I have lots of things I have made that I love, but I am not sure if those I love will love them too. I guess I must hope they will understand it is given with a loving heart. I have two quotes I have kept up all year.
"We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love." Mother Theresa.
"Ring the bells that still can ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything,
That's how the light gets in." Leonard Cohen
Merry Christmas friend...

Ellsie320 said...

I am impressed. Fabric stored in colored baskets that match. I would just need larger baskets! lol

IdleHandsinAlabama said...

I try my best to make what they would like, usually colors but the style is generally how I see them. Simple, complex, modern, traditional, etc. I live far from my family so making something for them, to me, is like getting to spend that time with them.

Sarah said...

These are very interesting comments! For me, I LOVE going with what the person I'm making the gift for would like, because I get to play with things I wouldn't normally make, and then give them away, and I'm ok with it, because it's not "me" even though I love how it turned out. It is so satisfying to me being stretched by colors someone else would choose, or a style they would like that I wouldn't. That said, I need to be the one to decide what to do and how to do it, the initiator, not the contracted worker. That's why gift giving works where as I'm not sure commissions would for me. Very interesting to think about! sarah@forrussia.org

ada said...

I don't have colors in my stash that I don't like. Blue's for one.

deborah wolff said...

I don't worry too much about deeply personalizing hand made gifts too much. If it is something smallish, I wouldn't worry at all. If its nice, and I like it, I'm happy. If it's a quilt, I may consider the recipients taste a little more. Just a little, though.

Katelyn Dion said...

I just stumbled onto your blog, but this question spoke to me so much I had to chime in! I have serious gift giving anxiety. I do love giving gifts, but I ALWAYS feel like I've bought/made the complete wrong thing!

I think handmade gifts are actually easier for me. I think when we are making the gift we forget just how impressive handmade is. Anyone who deserves the gift will appreciate its value even if it doesn't quite match their tastes. (And I tend to not make friends with people who undervalue work, time and care).

Despite this I still try to get as close as possible to what the receiver likes. I love seeing how crazy happy people will get about receiving something that absolutely no one else in the world could love (like a blanket with star wars, cat, and puke green fabrics).

My real fear for homemade gifts revolves around quality. I'm young and fickle so I find new hobbies every few years. And once I find a hobby I realize just how perfect of a gift could be made with it, but I don't know that I have enough skill to make gift-worthy items. I've been quilting for less than a year so I almost just trashed the first quilts I made. Fortunately I showed them to my mom and explained that I was considering giving them to my grandmothers. She assured me that from a non-quilters perspective, they were amazing. She also reminded me that their vision isn't good enough to pick up on the mistakes anyways!