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Thread: polite moratorium on sewing gifts

  1. #1
    Junior Member Laurajbr's Avatar
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    polite moratorium on sewing gifts

    I need some help word crafting! I just got back into sewing, and just started quilting. My friends, none of whom sew, have taken to going to fabric stores and purchasing fabric for me.

    It is so kind, and so sweet, and none of it is useful to me. My wife is the best (worst?) of them. She just gave me small quilt pattern she purchased for an applique style quilt of scotty dogs. I have never done applique, and it does not interest me.
    I have been graciously accepting these thoughtful gifts, but am now feeling pressured to produce things out of the fabric and pattern. The fabric is huge prints, often flannel.

    I want to say something that can work its way through my social group. Is there a loving way to slow this deluge down? (I am aware that this is a first world complaint, I am so lucky to have loving friends, but my hobby is getting the fun sucked out of it.)
    When I am perfect, I will write a book and everyone can be perfect too. Until then I will just have to be gracious in face of imperfection, and ask the same of everyone else for my imperfections.

  2. #2
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    Maybe you can tactfully make it known that you'd LOVE (prefer) a gift certificate to a specific quilt shop. An alternative would be to provide someone-- your wife or whoever in the group is most likely to quickly spread the word---a wish list for your birthday, and include specific items, their prices, exactly where they can be bought, and include that afore mentioned gift certificate. No matter when your birthday is, get this list out now.

  3. #3
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    Wow, that's a tough one. You don't want to seem ungrateful but at the same time, buying patterns and fabric for someone is very personal. It's like buying someone underwear!

    I would use the excuse that you are very new to this hobby so projects take a long time (in case they ask "where's the quilt?") If your friends don't sew they may have no idea how long a quilt takes to complete.

    In the meantime, use the fabrics to build your stash. You never know when some of those goofy fabrics might come in handy (always be sure to look at the back, sometimes it's too loud or flashy but the back is just right).

    Good luck,

    Karen

  4. #4
    Senior Member Feather3's Avatar
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    Tough one. I'd guess they assume because you are male you prefer flannel fabrics. ALL fabric is usefull in some shape or form. Perhaps you could use some of the fabric to make lap quilts & donate them to your local cancer center, or make dog beds & donate them to your local SPCA. As for the scotty dog applique'....never say never....until you have tried it....ask your wife to work on it with you. Make a list of fabrics/thread/notions/etc you prefer & have your wife spread the word.

    Good luck

  5. #5
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    I feel your pain and have been in your shoes. It can be an overwhelming situation. It is difficult to know what to say. ( flannel makes wonderful, warm quilts)
    One way I managed to slow down the ( gifts) was to make comments while with some of the guilty parties like....'I have so much fabric, patterns stacking up it will take my grandchildrens lives to use it all' this often opened the door to conversation that helped them understand. I also started asking for gift cards, so I could pick up what I needed/ wanted. As for my spouse, I took him to the quilt shop with me, ( he had ventured into a store on his own & spent almost $400 on a whole collection- which is still 7 years later in the bag on a shelf waiting for me to figure out what to do with it)
    When I took him with me I didn't let him ' go crazy' he picked up patterns which I said- ' I will never make that' he pulled fabrics, which I said --',I will never use that'
    Now, at Christmas he is great at stuffing my stocking with new rotory blades, post its, needle threaders, rulers/ gadgets recommended by the ladies at the quilt shop who know me.
    It took time & patience but I did manage to get all day the ( well meaning friends & family members) to stop dropping off bags of fabric I didn't want. I also started showing them my space, my projects, sharing the process a little which helped them see they had no idea what I would want/ need. Its all a patient process of sharing, open conversation. And those patterns you have no interest in.... Put them on the book shelves & forget them for now, years from now you may pull the pattern out & decide you do want to make it. My ( Unusual Lone Star) quilt which I have shared pics of here on the board is such a pattern. My sister bought it years ago ( over 10) because it was paper pieced & she knew I had done something paper pieced. I thought.... That is the ugliest quilt I've ever seen! I will never make that ( and the pattern was way more complex- out of my comfort zone....so it was stuck away. All these years later I happened to come across it while looking for something else and voila... I made it! Great quilt! With quilting you just never know what direction you will go as time goes by. Interest changes, techniques grow, catch your eye, 5 years from now you may find yourself loving applique. All that flannel may turn into great cozy, warm, snuggly raggy quilts ( you could discourage some of those by making them raggy quilts with the flannels they bought) or donate them to a local place ( emergency shelter, senior living facility, hospice, american legion, Knights of Columbus, any organization that puts together packages for people in need. Good luck. It took me a couple years.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  6. #6
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GemQuilts View Post
    Wow, that's a tough one. You don't want to seem ungrateful but at the same time, buying patterns and fabric for someone is very personal. It's like buying someone underwear! Good luck, Karen
    BOY, I sure agree with that.
    A Good Friend, like an old quilt, is both a Treasure and a Comfort

  7. #7
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    I personally think the hardest word to say in the English language is NO....I know it sometimes just won't come out of my mouth!, but screams in my brain! But am working on it.....like my friend says, just say it and watch the expression on their face!

  8. #8
    Super Member Ariannaquilts's Avatar
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    I would be honest with your wife if you can't be honest with her then you really have a problem. Let her go with you and see what you're drawn to, tell her although you appreciate their thoughtfulness that it would be better if they must give you something to make it the gift certificate/card. I am pretty sure she can then spread the word to the others. I had to do this with my sisters they couldn't believe I was having such a hard time just telling them!
    Maria
    Always be true to yourself!

  9. #9
    Super Member willferg's Avatar
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    I think I'd just say in a humorous way, "Whoa, slow down everybody, I have enough fabric and patterns to work with for a decade now! I appreciate the encouragement, but I'll let you know when I need more. Thanks!"
    People who start projects and never finish them are cooler
    than people who never start projects at all.


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  10. #10
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    I know gifting - the giving and receiving of gifts is a hot topic that creates lots of angst.

    My mil decided that since she loves to collect knick knacks, that I should too. Since I love cats, she started to give me 'cat' gifts for my birthday, Christmas etc. I got figurines, pictures, bags, mugs you name it. I asked xdh to talk to his mum, but that never happened. I finally had to sit her down and say I appreciate the thought, but I love live cats, not images of cats. I asked her not to give me gifts, I do not need 'stuff', but that did not work. I asked her to give in my name to the local cat rescue, but donating if foreign to that family. Finally we settled on her taking me out for lunch.

    If I were you, the next time someone tries to give you a bag of fabric, say 'Thanks for thinking of me, but I cannot use it, how about giving it to (give them the name of a group who makes charity quilts, a school that still teaches home ec etc)'

    If it is a pattern, tell them you are only working on one project at a time and need to stay focused.

    If someone offers you their Auntie's stash, think about what you could do with the fabrics from 40 or 50 years ago? I am not yet 50 and have a 30 year old fabric stash. If I have not purged the wild 80's prints would you want to? You can always use space issues to avoid another person's stash.

    Lots of people here will say make charity quilts with the fabric you do not want. Now what I am going to say will not sit well with everyone but here goes.

    Not all of us have the time, even if we have the resources donated to us, to make charity quilts. My sewing hours are limited, I do not have enough time to do the projects I want to do in a timely manner. If I feel obligated to sew for charity because someone gave me a bunch of fabric I did not want or need I am going to feel resentment, not the joy of giving to others.

    Now having said that I do personally participate in charity quilts through my Guild. We do them as a group project and I helped out all day yesterday to prepare 11.75 quilt tops. I brought the unfinished one home to complete. We will have another sew day to complete the quilting next month.

    It is okay to say no thank you.
    Attending University. I will graduate a year after my son and year before my daughter.

  11. #11
    Super Member Pat G's Avatar
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    While this isn't funny to you anymore they are just being "women". I think they feel that since you are a "man" you aren't capable of making good choices. LOL. They always need to be helpful. Ok so I'm one of those women (not one shopping for you) but I can take a hint.

  12. #12
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Start with your wife. Just tell her that you enjoy browsing and deciding on what to buy (that's half the fun of fabric shopping!!!); could she give you a gift certificate instead of specific items? Then ask her to spread the word around your social circle.

    I don't see any other way to successfully get the word out. This is not being ungrateful; this is just being truthful. And it's better to get the truth out early!

  13. #13
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    My sister has taken up buying patterns for me for Christmas - one I am anxious to try but the others are cute/attractive but nothing I care to make, so I hang them on my wall and admire them. Fabric that has been given to me I go through and keep what fits with my stash, the rest goes to the thrift store.

    People giving you fabric, you can either make a quick throw and give it back to them. Maybe they will get the point. Or just give it away. There are a lot of people out there that need a warm blanket. My sister started making wrap arounds. (They are like a shawl with corner pockets for your hands and wrap around the shoulders to keep the person warm.) My mother was constantly cold and they worked so well for her while watching tv. And a bit more attractive than the commercial snugglies.

  14. #14
    Super Member zozee's Avatar
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    As touchy a subject as it is, truth in love works best as a response.
    Truth: I appreciate your generosity, but I don't have that much space to store fabric.
    Truth: If you want me give me something other than a gift card, I like (x brand and size) rotary blades. (The giver will see quickly how expensive they are.)
    Truth: Flannel produces a lot of lint, which can mess up the delicate machine parts. A repair could cost me $100 so that's why I avoid using flannel.
    Truth: Thanks. I will look through this and keep what I can use and donate what I can't use .Is that okay with you? (I use this line because I may find 10% of someone's cast-offs to be something I like. But I won't keep ugly fabric. It burdens my soul! If it's not okay with them, why are they donating to you?)
    Truth: I love gift cards. They're just about my favorite thing besides this new hobby of mine.

    If truth doesn't work on friends, you have bigger problems. LOL

  15. #15
    Super Member LyndaOH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feather3 View Post
    Tough one. I'd guess they assume because you are male you prefer flannel fabrics. ALL fabric is usefull in some shape or form. Perhaps you could use some of the fabric to make lap quilts & donate them to your local cancer center, or make dog beds & donate them to your local SPCA. As for the scotty dog applique'....never say never....until you have tried it....ask your wife to work on it with you. Make a list of fabrics/thread/notions/etc you prefer & have your wife spread the word.

    Good luck
    Laura never said she or he was male, so I don't think you can assume that's the reason for the flannel. I've always found that when someone gives me a gift of fabric it's what they might enjoy receiving. If it's not my taste, I'll make them a gift from it. Then later in conversation I can let them know what I'm enjoying working with.

  16. #16
    Power Poster Onebyone's Avatar
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    I would say thank you and then store in closet until time to clear out and donate. The givers enjoys the giving so let them give.
    I believe giving what I can will never cause me to be in need.
    Being cheap is not a badge of honor.
    My heroes are working people, paying their own way, taking care of their children and being decent human beings.

  17. #17
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    Be thankful it isn't bags of fabric scraps from clothing that people decided to give and not launder. LOL! Yeah that went into the garbage (most of it).
    If you have your stash in order by batiks, upholstery etc. within sight so everyone can see then you can kind of show them a list. You can separate the flannels just like in the stores. You could put like a little shopping list of what you need and mention sales. Go ahead and let them look or your wife so she can make her own list. You could tell them to send you a link of a really great website or pattern.

  18. #18
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    Well, your friends are sure trying to support your new hobby, aren't they? But, I can sure understand your frustration. IMHO, I think you are going to have to be lovingly honest with your wife and explain that although you appreciate her thoughtfulness you would really prefer gift cards at this point. She can then pass this along to friends or not and you can graciously except the gifts as you would any gift, then either put them away until "later" or give them to Goodwill or your preference. A gift is a gift, nice thought, may work for you or not, there is no obligation.

  19. #19
    Junior Member Laurajbr's Avatar
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    Thank you all, especially for the perspective. To my friends and wife these are probably "saw this, thought of you" lighthearted gifts, and I may be investing them with more weight than they need. I promised myself I would NOT build a stash, but I think I was delusional, and underestimated the generousity of the people in my life!

    I have managed to avoid nicknacks. I have quoted my mother's rule of gifts too many times "never give some an item they will have to dust". I love chickens, and I can only imagine the nicknacks I could be flooded with!


    I am female as is my wife. I am sorry that was confusing.

  20. #20
    Super Member Greenheron's Avatar
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    If you have room, do keep those well-intentioned gifts. I am old enough to testify that it is quite possible your quilting interests will evolve. (And if you pre-shrink those flannels well they make a great light batt or foundations for string piecing. ) The five yards of, to me, extremely saccharine pink floral print from a friend never became something I liked but it served perfectly as backing for an embroidered top for a little girl. Beware, though because veteran quilters can tell you that presents of fabric/patterns may also be stealth hints of "make a quilt for me."
    Last edited by Greenheron; 02-22-2015 at 03:47 PM.

  21. #21
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    Perhaps a few well placed comments-either to you wife or a close friend about everyone's generousity and how you don't think you will EVER use up the fabric you have might slow them down.

  22. #22
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    This is why I love amazon, and gift cards. You can always share you list on amazon through email anytime during the year. You can also add things from other site to your amazon wish list and it will direct them there
    Brother (XL-3500i, CV3550, SQ-9050, Dreamweaver XE6200D), Juki MO-2000QVP, Handiquilter Avante

  23. #23
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    It sounds as though the big problem is not the fabric per se, but the feelings it creates for you -- of pressure and obligation. I'd suggest you sit down and have a serious talk with your wife. Tell her exactly how people giving you fabric and patterns makes you feel. Tell her the feelings you have about being given fabric are threatening to ruin quilting for you. Make it about you and your feelings, not about her/your friends' actions. Talk together about hints she might drop to friends that you prefer choosing your own fabric and projects.

    If it were me, I would keep it and not worry about it (if I had the space), or give it away and not worry about it (if I didn't).

  24. #24
    Super Member DOTTYMO's Avatar
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    Why not ask for tokens I in order to make sure the fabric and patterns all co-ordinate to produce a marvellous quilt.
    especially as your stack is small and you are finding their kind offers difficult to match up with anything .
    Finished is better than a UFO

  25. #25
    Super Member jitkaau's Avatar
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    I accept everything given to me. It then belongs to me to do with as I wish - donate or make - end of problem. One of the nicest gifts was from a work colleague. He obviously observed the colours I used in my quilts and bought a similar range. Perhaps you could work on a few projects in the presence of others and they could see your preferences?
    I would not discourage donations as they may stop soon enough as it is.

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