Wednesday, January 2, 2013

… a sentimental gift

modern maples front

for the past few years i've promised that i would make quilts for my brothers-in-law for christmas. good thing i only promised myself, since i never made good on that vow. until now! i finally got it together enough to make two quilts for my husband's brothers this year. (scratch that: i didn't manage to finish the second quilt by christmas, but it should be done in a few days. or at least by next christmas, right?)

so, this one is for mike, who is a moderately outdoorsy type. and when i saw a few versions of this modern maples quilt from pretty in patchwork: holidays (pattern by amanda woodward-jennings) i figured this was the quilt for him.

and the original reason i wanted to make quilts for my husband's brothers is that after their mother passed away several years ago, c brought back boxes and boxes of her fabric stash for me to use (in fact, that's what got me started with quilting in the first place). so i used a bunch of her old fabrics in the quilts for them, mixed with some newer prints and solids from my stash. due to restrictions in the color palette of her stash, i initially limited the colors of the maple leaves to greens and browns, but in the end couldn't help but throw in a couple of yellow/golds to brighten things up.

the background fabric is a robert kaufman essex linen (in some natural color i can't recall), and the binding is mostly the same essex linen with a small bit of a brown dear stella linework print along one corner and side.

modern maples back

the back is some simple strips of the same brown dear stella print alternating with some green summersville. i quilted around each of the blocks and then ran diagonal lines across the quilt in one direction following the tilt of the maple leaves. though i admit to this choosing this simple quilting mostly due to time constraints, i actually do quite like the effect in the end. the blocks finished at 12 inches square, so the quilt measures 60 x 72", which makes a pretty decent lap quilt.

modern maples

i finished binding this late on december 23rd, and only had time to take a few photos on christmas eve before i had to wrap it up to give, so i'm wishing now for better pictures. but this one in front of the christmas tree makes me very happy. unfortunately, and i hate to say this, i was disappointed in the reaction the gift got. i think it must be that i'm used to growing up with women (it was just me, my mom and my sister growing up, and then i went to a women's college, for pete's sake!) but trying to figure out men's reactions sometimes really confounds me. there was no unfurling of the quilt or holding it up to inspect the fabrics or asking about it (never mind any oohing and aahing over it). maybe just a simple thank you? i'm trying not to be disappointed. and c assures me that they liked the gifts. i know that sewing for others should be more about your own process and the joy you get from simply creating with no expectations for how that gift will be received. i'll work on managing those expectations in the new year.

and i'll keep telling myself that as i work on finishing up that second quilt!

14 comments:

  1. Boys we bad at reacting to presents generally, but homemade and fabric-y they'll never understand. But when you visit and see this stretched across the bed, or folded up on the couch, obviously in use, you'll know it's loved, even though they'll never say.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree with Erin. They might not know how much they will love it until they get it home and start using it. My OH didn't think much of my huge blanket that I knit last year, until he put it on the bed in Winter instead of using the Winter duvet. Then he LOVED it because it meant on warmer nights we could just take off the blanket and not overhead the way we did the Winter before. Men don't "get it" until they use it, THEN they love it!

    ReplyDelete
  3. In my experience,I find this is not really a gender thing but a temperament thing. I've had the dad's of babies I've made quilts for do more petting, oohing and aahing etc. than some of their mom's. I can never figure out what reaction I'm going to get from who.

    I'm sometimes amazed by some of the male attention my studio and quilts get and some of the women who I thought would show interest show none whatsoever.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think the quilt is beautiful!!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. The sentiment is so meaningful. I'm sure he appreciates it or will grow to as he thinks it through. Maybe he was thinking all that softness would be a sleeping bag? LOL. I also like the way you quilted it!

    ReplyDelete
  6. It's beautiful. My husband is one of 5 boys, and I know if I presented him or any of his brother's with a quilt that they would have the same reaction. Not because they wouldn't appreciate it, but because they're just not ones to parade anything around. There's not a lot of emotion from any of them. I'm sorry that it bummed you out :(

    ReplyDelete
  7. I agree with the previous commenters. I made a beautiful flannel quilt for my dads 60th and he reacted with "thank you, that's very nice". I would have liked squeals of joy! But I see it in his chair every time I visit and know he uses it over his legs in winter. So it is used and loved in a man way! I can't imagine only being around women! How did you ever meet a boy! I grew up with two younger brothers, no sisters, and insisted on going to a coed boarding school. I would have been completely overwhelmed with all female company. I'm pretty laid back and casual and into sports so get along easily with men, and intense girly types kinda still overwhelm me. I do notice that I miss the closeness friends have with their sisters. That would be lovely to share. And now my husband and I have 1 daughter and two sons, so she won't have that sisterly closeness either. She keeps asking for one but there would be at least 10 years age gap between them! I say she'd annoy you till your about 30 anyway!

    ReplyDelete
  8. love the quilt, it's amazing and really thoughtful, especially using their mother's fabric. I'm sorry that you didn't get a reaction like you thought, that's a bummer, but I'm sure he'll love it and use it. :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Ah, I feel your pain! I made a quilt for my husband's grandparents a couple of years ago and when his grandma opened the gift she looked at the quilt and then thanked me - but she never even took it out of the box to look at it! I remember feeling so disappointed at her reaction. The good news though is that last year his grandparents moved out of a house that they had lived in for 50 years into a much smaller apartment and needless to say they got rid of a TON of stuff - but according to my husband, my quilt made the cut. So perhaps some people may not ooo and ahhh on the outside, but they are appreciative on a much deeper level. Here's to hoping that's what going on with your brother-in-law :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. I understand your feelings. The group of persons who receive a handmade gift gets smaller and smaller. And the reactions are different, that's true. Well, we don't always jump for joy when we receive some presents, do we? That's the same with telling someone that you craft / sew. The reactions are different. That's a subject for an evening talk... :) Keep on crafting. Perhaps for your little one? I decided a while back that this year I'll craft for my little ones and for me and for no one else. Also because of lack of time. :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Oh my goodness Ara Jane! Your quilting talent is so impressive. I understand your feelings too. Handmade gifts are special and thoughtful. That said, I think the male brain is one that can be hard to wrap one's head around. There are a lot of women in my family. Besides my dad and a couple of male cousins, it's all women (my mom and aunts and sister and female cousins). I joke that if I ever have a son I wonder if I'd know how to raise a boy and the learning curve would be so steep! LMAO. I can tell you that a quilt is an extremely special gift. My sister just got engaged recently. My aunt (my uncle's wife) is an amazing and competitive quilter. Upon hearing my sister's news, she wrote her a letter congratulating her and telling her she wanted to make her and her fiancee a quilt, and asking what colors she liked and what size she wanted. The colors and size don't matter. It's the sentiment and thought and love that go into it that matters. Over time, I hope your brother-in-law comes to appreciate it. If he's married or has a girlfriend, then his wife or gf may talk some sense into him and develop the estrogen side of his thinking :-)

    ReplyDelete
  12. oops, misspelling: fiance. i have fat fingers. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  13. It is a beautiful finish! Boys are pretty hard to read sometimes. I probably would have reacted the same way as you, but I bet he and his family will cherish this gift.

    ReplyDelete
  14. men have no idea... especially men who dont have wives that sew... ;) i will ooh and ahh over it any day for you, promise!!!

    ReplyDelete