Today we’re going to talk about the three options you after anytime you finish a quilt. It doesn’t matter if it’s a UFO that you pulled out of the drawer and finally finished, or a brand new quilt that you made straight through from start to finish; you get to make the decision of where that quilt will spend its days.
You can make the decision about what to do with a finished quilt at any point throughout the process. Some projects you may begin with the intention of keeping, but end up giving to a child who admired it. Or you begin a quilt intended as a gift, but decide it’s not quite the right fit for the intended recipient, and so instead is donated to a charitable cause. Let’s walk through three possibilities that exist with any finished quilt: keep, give, or donate.
The question of how many quilts to keep for yourself can be a hard one! Many quilters will want to keep their very first quilt for themselves, as it serves as a powerful reminder of the accomplishment. But after that, it can become more challenging to figure out how many quilts you really need.
If you are prone to starting lots of new projects because a new pattern, fabric or technique caught your eye, keeping all of these quilts could add up quickly. When you keep a quilt you have to figure out how it will be used and how it will be stored when not in use. If you live in a smaller space, there may be a limit to how much real estate can be devoted to storing your finished quilts.
After a quilt to keep, a quilt to give is often the next quilt that a new sewist makes. For some, quilts are a profound expression of friendship, devotion, or love. Making a quilt is not cheap, easy or fast, and the time and resources that a quilter devotes is a tangible demonstration of their love. Quilts can be given for any occasion, but there are some which are more traditional quilt giving events, such as celebrating new babies, weddings, and graduations.
There is an unspoken danger with gifting quilts; that the recipient may not appreciate or value the hard work that was put into creating a beautiful quilt. Unless the recipient is a quilter herself, she may simply have no idea how many hours it took to make a quilt. Additionally, some people simply don’t appreciate handmade gifts, no matter what the intention of the maker. Be mentally prepared for a less than overjoyed reaction if you’re giving a quilt to someone who may not fully appreciate your hard work, and focus instead on the joy that creating the project brought to you regardless.
The third option for a finished quilt is to be donated to a charitable organizations. Many donated quilts go through a third party, such as a quilt guild or a non-profit organization, who then distribute the quilts to their own recipients. Donated quilts are often used to comfort people in times of distress, such as a cancer patient receiving chemotherapy, or a child in the foster care system. Other quilts are donated to bring color and love to their recipients, who may be in a nursing care facility or in a wheelchair.
One other way that donated quilted can be used is as an auction item during a fundraiser. Auctions are a common way for non-profit organizations to raise money for their cause. They will sometimes seek out quilts that focus on a specific theme, perhaps the theme of their organization or even of a specific event. Other times they are looking for any donated items to auction, and would love to auction a quilt of any kind along with their other donations.
When you’re deciding whether to keep, give or donate a finished quilt, keep in mind that if you give or donate it you will lose control over how it is used. This can go in both directions: a recipient keeps a quilt in the closet and never uses it for fear of “hurting it,” or a recipient who uses the quilt daily for picnics in the backyard. Don’t give away or donate a quilt if you’re going to struggle with how it is treated by its new owners.
Take a look through your unfinished quilts and your works in progress. Do you know what you intend do do with each one? Set a timer and run through your list, making a preliminary decision about each one. Even if you change your mind later, you’ll be moving your needle forward now by starting the decision making process.