A Quilt Story

Do You Actually Use the Quilts You Make?

You bet we do!

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When I finished my first quilt, I was rather hesitant to use it. I mean, it was a lot of work and it would get dirty and need to go through washer and dryer cycles. My kids would definitely abuse it (I mean, you should see the things they’ve done to the couches, rugs, clothing, toys and shoes!!)

I knew I wanted my quilts to be useful but looking at all that work (and hello – quilting isn’t exactly cheap!) made it hard to let go. For awhile, my quilts made a lovely stack in the den. I remember my husband asking, “Is it okay if I use one of those quilts?” and I cringed a bit inside at the thought.

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Fortunately, I have gotten over that fear. My family now uses quilts like crazy. They have been on road trips (my dad laughed when I packed seven quilts this summer for vacation but while we were driving in the middle of the night and everyone had a quilt for a blanket or pillow everyone could see what a smart move it had been!) They have been to the beach and the creek. They have been on picnics. They make great forts.

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As much as I love them, they are not irreplaceable. We have plenty in our house. We have plenty in various stages of being finished. I have an unholy amount of fabric still in my stash. The fabric shops I frequent show no signs of going out of business anytime soon. I have more plans for future quilts than is reasonably possible.

When I think of all that, why would we not use them?

Besides, it doesn’t do my family any good for me to be a quilter if they are just for pretty stacks. I want them to have memories centered around the quilts in our house – even if they take quilt making for granted. I want them to have stories to pass on to their children that are centered around quilts – even if that means my grand kids may not see some of the quits I made because they were tatters years before they were born.

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I’m making quilts to be used. That may mean I lose some. They may suffer some abuse. Heaven forbid, a firecracker from the trip to the beach on the fourth could have caused serious damage to one of my quilts. However, the memories my family have with them will be worth it all.

What is your take on using your quilts?

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22 thoughts on “Do You Actually Use the Quilts You Make?”

  1. I was the same when I first started making my quilts, I didn’t want them used because I know how much they would go thru. Now, my quilts are used for everything! My son has claimed some of them and they’ve been used for everything and have been washed several times. The reason why I started letting my quilts be used is when I just saw them sitting there, and I thought they can’t just sit there forever unused, so what if it cost a lot to make and a lot of hours put into making it, they are beautiful and hold up way better than store bought and my son loves curling up in a handmade quilt no matter the weather/situation.

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  2. They are beautiful, both your quilts and your kids.

    We use our quilts, generally. I love a quilt over me while watching tv, or taking a nap. Every quilt I’ve given has been with the hope and intention it will be used. Our son’s best friend got a quilt for high school graduation. He is 27 now and still uses it every night. (Emails with him a few days ago confirmed he still needs to wash it. ick…) But that boy will get another quilt when he finishes his PhD. 🙂

    Your post made me smile. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I am reblogging. Please let me know if you want me to remove. Thanks again.

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  3. I’m lying under my biggest, most intricate quilt ever as I read this. It took 11 months, a giant Grandmother’s Flower Garden in English paper pieced hexagons, every stitch set by hand and totally hand quilted. It lives on our bed and is slept under every single day. There are two in our living room for casual snoozing under. I have one that goes with me every time I go into hospital as my little island of home and sanity. There are others all round the house, and on the beds of my friends and family, getting used, loved, used, washed, used, treasured and used ragged. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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      1. I’m still intimidated by them. I have a half hexie ruler that I’m planning to use soonish but that is quite different from paper piecing!! 🙂 Headed to check out your quilts right now!

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      2. The rulers just don’t do it for me… Hexie quilts have a completely different place and purpose in my sewing life. To me, the hexies just look wrong if they’re made in two parts.

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      3. Thank you! Thing is, hexies are just totally mindless handwork. I sit there with a basket of 2.5″ squares, a basket of 1″ papers, a needle and thread and crank them out. Perfect travel project! I find them very hardwearing too, probably because they’re sewn with much smaller, closer stitching than machine made quilts. Having said that, I *love* the speed of machine made quilts! To look at the rest of them, look at my Chiconian Quilts page: https://talltalesfromchiconia.wordpress.com/chiconian-quilts

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  4. Oh, jeez. I guess I’ll be the one to admit that I don’t use my quilts much. I sew and quilt only by hand so I’ve made just a few quilts over many years and I get a little overwrought when I think of cats barfing on them, etc. I have to admit, though, I’m not sure what I’m saving them for!

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  5. This post has given me food for thought – thanks to you for writing and Melanie for featuring it on Catbird Studios. The quilt I made for my daughter is in daily use as a sofa throw 😊 and the quilts I’ve sold were bought to use 😊 but I do have a small stack of quilts doing nothing 😮 I think it’s time to give them where they will be used… And enjoy the process of making more!

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  6. I have yet to make a quilt. My first patchwork was my (now grown up) children’s shirts from when they were very young into a cover/ mat for my sewing machine. My second was their old corduroy trousers into “brick” blocks to make a bed for my dog. Right now sewing is on hold as my health has taken a downturn that leaves me with very little energy so after four days at work and one or two looking after my grandson I find it tough to walk the dog’s let alone do anything else.

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    1. I’m so sorry to hear about your health! I do not have poor health, so I do not understand but I am a busy working mom of five kids with one on the way. I totally understand exhaustion!

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  7. Love your post so much! When I first started quilting, I only used quilts for company, our bed etc. Now there are quilts stacked all over the house and yes, some have been pretty well worn from excessive use. I love that my kids feel free to grab any quilt they see and curl up in it. That just makes my heart melt.:) I have good memories of going to my grandmothers when I was a young child and fighting with my siblings over which quilt we got to sleep with. Hopefully there will be stories like that with my quilts too!

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