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Make That Quilt Gift Extra Special

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We’ve all experienced the joy—and maybe the anxiety—of creating a quilt for a special someone. We’ve happily volunteered to create it only to, perhaps, feel a little ‘remorse’ once the actual project deadline looms.
Fear not! We’re here to help energize your task, give you some project ideas, and encourage you for doing what you do!
Here are some tips for personalizing your project.

Fact Finding

The best way to make a unique project is to receive information directly from the giftee or a trusted friend of theirs, if you can. What do they like: do they have favorite colors, block patterns, quilt size, or other considerations?
I participated in the Modern Mini Swap, part of QuiltCon this year. QuiltCon attendees were invited to participate in this swap, and people were paired up randomly. Each person participating also completed a questionnaire about their likes, dislikes, and other noteworthy points—these were shared between the partners.
For example, my swap partner Donna told me she liked bold patterned fabric and that blue and purple were favorite colors. She also noted a chemical sensitivity and asked that I not use fragranced products in my project. I don’t routinely do so but this last point was very helpful information—had I needed to wash the project, for example, I would have known to use fragrance-free products.

In this example, I received the information directly and didn’t have to guess about it. That’s not always the case for every quilt you make as a gift but you can glean hints from the color motif on a wedding or baby shower invitation or style tips from how the giftee decorates their home.

Get Personal

When a dear friend was moving across the country, two other friends and I decided to make a good-bye gift for her. We chose a treasured photo of the four of us and made a group portrait quilt.
I distributed copies of the photo—enlarged to the actual size of the quilt—and each of us rendered our own face plus I created one of our friend. I put the quilt together and we presented it to her at our last meeting before she moved. A few tears were shed but we wanted to remind her that our friendship would not end due to distance—all she’d have to do was look at the quilt to remind her of our bond.
P.S. We still all Zoom regularly and get together, too, when we can.

Recycle a WIP

I took a delightful “Put a Ring On It” class with Latifah Saafir via video. The class was fun and instructive plus I love her designs and products, including her special rulers called The Clammy™ in many different sizes.
Latifah’s quilt design is a modern Double Wedding Ring variation and I had a lot of fun making the blocks. But … I must admit, I lost my mojo after having made just four blocks, way short of what I needed for a bed quilt. What to do with them?
Eureka! I decided to put the blocks together in a Four-Patch arrangement as a play mat for my grandson, who was two at the time. As I looked at the ‘rings’ in the quilt, I imagined them as roads for toy cars. I hand-quilted yellow lines in big stitch down the middle of the roads so his cars could keep right as he was ‘driving’ them around. It was a big hit!

Honor a Milestone

Last year, my dear friend and colleague Vivika celebrated a milestone birthday plus retired from her job. Of course, I needed to organize a group quilt to honor these accomplishments!!
This was a big project but a joyful one, too. I decided on a signature quilt so Vivika could see the names of all the treasured colleagues and quilt friends who wanted to give her a hug, so to speak, in the form of a quilt block.
I mailed white squares for signatures plus block instructions to dozens of people—and they all came through with beautiful blocks by my requested deadline. Some folks even made more than one block! Amazing and so appreciated. And it remained a secret—no one let Vivika in on the surprise project!
I set all of the blocks in wedge-shaped ‘sashing’ to separate them and make them dance across the quilt top. She was delighted, as you can see from this photo.

Photo by Art Illman
Kristine presents a quilt to Vivika to commemorate her birthday and retirement.

What will your next quilt gift look like? Comment below!
There are many free quilt patterns and tutorials here.

Happy quilting!

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