Quilting- The Joy of Gifting

It is better to give than to receive. This is a quote that most of us know. For me, it is also very true. I love Christmas, birthdays and other gift giving occasions like new babies, weddings, anniversaries, housewarmings, and more. I adore giving hostess gifts whenever we are invited to someone’s home as well. I just love giving gifts. I’ve never been able to afford extravagant gifts, but I think that my joy in giving shows in the choices of the gifts.

With my love of quilting, machine embroidery, crochet, cross-stitch and decorative painting, along with soap-making and cooking, I’ve given my share of homemade gifts over the years. With rare exception, my gifts have always been much appreciated. I’m very glad I took up soap-making and made time for embroidery as these are the quickest of crafts!

During a recent online discussion at a machine embroidery group, it came up that those of us who make homemade gifts rarely receive homemade gifts. Instead, we receive purchased items. While any gift is appreciated, it is the consensus that we would all love to receive something that was crafted just for us.

While I do create homemade items for my friends who are also crafters, they never reciprocate. They show me their projects for praise and pointers, overjoyed when I compliment their work (I always pronounce ever project as perfect). But, I am never the recipient of their artistry. Maybe they feel that it’s not good enough, or maybe they feel that I could just make it myself if it was something I wanted in the first place.

I had been quilting and doing my other fiber arts for 10-15 years before I finally allowed myself to purchase that first embroidery machine. I had convinced myself that I just didn’t have time for it with everything else that I was doing. I was both right and wrong in that assumption. While learning the intricacies of machine embroidery and discovering all the free embroidery designs I could find online, my other fiber arts suffered from neglect. But, once I stopped discovering and started stitching, my new embroidery passion enhanced all of my others crafts! I’d call that a win!

Not long after this, and after a huge bout of stocking up on new-to-me embroidery supplies, I realized that I would like to digitize my own designs. While I could find just about anything I wanted to stitch, I like to think that my style is just a bit different, and I wanted to be able to reflect that in embroidery. So, new software and thick manuals once again took time away from my quilting. I forgot how to crochet and cross-stitch entirely. Cooking became a dirty word!

Like many before me, I had the thought that I no longer need purchase beautiful linens or someone else’s embroidery designs. I could do it all myself. And, like all those before me, I was woefully wrong! While I gained the knowledge and skill to be able to make just about anything my heart desired, I still lacked all the time in the world to do it all.

Ten years later, I have a system. I will happily buy pretty linens and clothing if they fit in my budget. If not, I will think about the time needed to digitize similar designs. If I can find something close at my favorite embroidery design gallery, I will humbly succumb to another digitizer’s artistry. It’s all about time, now.

It works great for me. Now, if I could only convey to my crafty friends that I really can’t just make whatever I want and would love one of their homemade hand-painted silk shopping bags or crocheted cashmere scarf, my world would be complete!