Where do your quilts go?

Where do all the quilts go 5Ah, January. The holiday rush is over, and in the Northern Hemisphere we are firmly entrenched in Winter. January just feels like a good time to hunker down and sew. In my online circle of quilty friends, people are polishing off UFO’s right and left. Everyday a new set of photos gets posted showing completed quilts that had been waiting ages for attention. Sometimes the quilter mentions that they had totally forgotten a WIP or UFO in the back of a closet, but pulled it out and finished it.

It seems to me that, as a group, we quilters are true collectors. Not just fabriholics building our coveted stashes. Not merely scrap savers hoping to use every teeny piece. No, we collect (and often use) the tools, patterns, materials, sewing machines, and finished pieces. We have mountains of inspiration in our own libraries, magazine subscriptions, and in our imaginations. No wonder the non-quilters who live with us sometimes roll their eyes at our obsession.

Where do all the quilts go 4But we do finish projects as well. What becomes of all these completed quilts? There are only so many weddings, house-warmings, and baby showers every year. Extended family members often merely tolerate these quilted offerings. Some quilts may head to charitable concerns. A few may get sold. And how many quilts do we actually need for our own homes?

I suspect that, given our nature, more than a few of these unassigned quilts simply wind up buried back in a closet once again. They are no longer UFO’s silently challenging us to finish them. They are done. I recently visited a local quilter who says she averages 40 bed quilts a year, plus smaller projects. She said she simply has trouble parting with some, so she saves them. Being curious, I asked her where. “Oh dear,” she said. “I was afraid you would ask me that! Look here.” She proceeded to show me a large store-room in her finished basement. One entire wall was filled with over one hundred nice boxes, each holding a carefully stored quilt. Defensively, she also showed me her husband’s tool room.

Where do all the quilts go 1The thought of all the finished and unfinished quilts that are stored away in the homes of millions of quilters around the world does make me wonder. Most of the bed sized quilts that I make are made for a purpose, but not all. Sometimes a set of fabric or a pattern just speaks to me and I have to make something with it. I do strive to find every quilt a good home, where it will be used and perhaps even enjoyed. Actually, I need a new quilt for my own bed, as my old comforter is falling apart.

What about you? How many quilts do you finish a year? Where do they go? Are you a charity quilter? Do you store yours away for a wintry week without power? How many quilts can you give to your sister before she starts to re-gift them to others? Does news of an upcoming wedding send you running to the fabric store? I know there is no such thing as enough fabric, but is there a limit on the number of quilts that a family needs or can use?

Even if you are a reader who usually never comments, I hope you will share today and let me know where your quilts go!

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About thecuriousquilter

Quilter, sewer, writer, gardener, mother, sister, friend, always learning, always curious.
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22 Responses to Where do your quilts go?

  1. Linda Bott says:

    Well, I make quilts for a number of reasons. for family, raffle or silent auction for family reunion and church, “hugs” for the police cars in the area, and decor for my home and for gifts.

  2. Dana says:

    I rarely gift quilts because I’m afraid they won’t be loved, but if someone is interested and has an event coming they get a quilt. I donate quite a few to charities, I love the thought of someone in need wrapping the warmth of a quilt around them. I also sell some of them. I don’t charge much, but they get a home and it helps pay for the fabric and a little bit of a charity quilt. I have some customers who request certain quilts, but I don’t count those because they already have a home. Any quilts I have kept are hanging on walls in my house, none on the sofa or chairs. My daughter knits and laid claim to any snuggly things needed.

  3. katieQ says:

    This is a hard question because my house is full of UFO’s. On the rate occasion that I actually finish a quilt it is usually given to a charity. I did make a quilt for a silent auction that raised $2,500 (it wasn’t the quilt that brought in the money, it was the cause that inspired the price). When I was a nursery school teacher, I made “Eye Spy”quilts to use in our Quiet Reading Area and small doll quilts for our Dramatic Play area. We do use a few of the quilts I’ve made as throws to snuggle under when watching TV.

  4. Sequana says:

    Now that my kids and grandkids have quilts, and my dad and my sisters and my friends….:) I make them for charity…..some for auctions, some just to give.

    I have a few on my walls and one on my own bed, and I keep some around just to look at on my quilt ladder, but those all get changed out occasionally. Then off they go to charity.

  5. Some are made for someone in particular, some to be used in a particular place. I have enough quilts to cover about ten people in winter for the occasional heavy influx of visitors. The seven we had recently (it’s our summer) was easy, even in a cool summer!

    Others are made just because I can …. these sometimes find a home to go to before they are finished, some hang around home like some grown up kids. The latter are usually kept in a pile until the next disaster, someone in need, or I need a gift for someone. There are usually about a dozen or so around just waiting for the right time to leave home! Thank goodness I didn’t have a large family …. a dozen grown up kids waiting around for the right moment to leave home would cause more of a space problem than a dozen quilts.

    Judy B

  6. Cheryl says:

    I have quite a few quilts in my house, and have wondered the same thing – how many quilts can I give to one person/family before they get tired of getting quilts. I only make 2 or 3 a year, I can’t imagine making 40 or more!

  7. Marge Gordon says:

    I make quilts these days mostly as samples of my Mysteries For Relay patterns and most of them will be donated to various charities. I donate to Children’s Hospital in Phila through a friend, to Linus through friends who own a quilt shop in NY, to the local cancer center through another friend and to Margaret’s Hope Chest when ever possible.

    I’ve now made over 400 quilts and I have over 250 in stock or storage. Why so many? Until recently I did road trips and teaching trips, and needed them. But honestly… I’m not going to teach or travel any more and I don’t need them all… so I am slowing going through them and trying to decide what to do with them. I HOPE… big word… hope to have a quilt sale sometime this summer to benefit Relay For Life. I hope.
    Marge

  8. Shari says:

    I don’t make a lot of quilts (or should I say finish). Every lap or bed-size quilt that I’ve finished has gone out the door to a new home. I only have a few small quilts that I’ve kept (learning pieces). Most of my UFO’s have new homes (for when they are finished this year!) My husband actually asked when he will get a quilt for his bed… maybe this year if I finish enough UFO’s – lol.

    Having dozens of finished quilts sitting in a cupboard seems a shame. I can’t see myself amassing a collection. I already have a few antique family quilts stored and it does annoy me a little that I’m told I shouldn’t use them (and I don’t). To me a quilt is a lovely blanket that should be used – wrapped in the love with which it was made.

  9. Sarah C. says:

    I made 43 quilts last year – and every one of them had a recipient when it was made. Most of my quilts went to our quilt ministry, but I made eight that were personal gifts. I am so fortunate to be working with a growing and thriving quilt ministry, so I have a home for my quilts! We stay busy making quilts – we’ve finished four so far this year and are currently working on six more!

    If any of your readers have finished quilts or UFOs they want to donate to charity, we would gladly take them. All of our quilts are donated to people in distress, usually going through serious medical issues. We are hoping to branch out this year to minister to families who have been displaced from their homes because of the economy – may are living in campgrounds in the area in terrible conditions and could certainly use quilts for comfort and warmth! If interested, I can be contacted at salliesue (at) clearwire (dot) net.

  10. Diane says:

    I make quilts for the love of it all…the fabric, the art,
    the process. I just love it. I make one a month for the Guild
    outreach. I make quilts to put on my shelf and then an occasion
    comes and I go to the shelf and voila..the quilt is ready to gift.
    I have some that I really love on the upstairs bed one on top of
    the other to fold back and enjoy. I just give them sometimes for
    the joy of it. My mother lives in assisted living. She has my
    quilts on her bed and on her wall. I have three grandchildren who
    have quilts at their house and at mine…and on and on I
    go.

    • Barbara (Sam) Koschmann says:

      This is the best, most loving, most joyful statement of “why I make quilts” that I have ever read. Thank you for helping me to find words 💗!

  11. Janet says:

    I’m just not that prolific. I finished three quilts last year. Two of them were gifts for specific people and the third was raffled. I suspect (or hope) I’ll finish another 3 or 4 this year. One for myself, and the others will be gifts.

  12. most of my quilts are donated… sent to Tiny Angels in WV for at risk newborns and preemies or to Heart Babies at Children’s Heart Clinic in MPLS…course not all the heart babies are actually babies…they’re babies up to young adult. My daughter Natalia was born with a heart defect and was cared for at the clinic; sadly she did not survive. I think of her with every quilt I make.

  13. Allison says:

    I haven’t finished many quilts yet, but most of the ones I have are on my sons’ beds. And they still want more 🙂 I’m very blessed to have children who love receiving handmade gifts. I’ve also gifted a couple baby quilts. With the exception of my first ever quilt (a tiny wallhanging) I haven’t finished anything for myself yet, so when my boys ask for more quilts, I joke that it is Mommy’s turn.

    In theory, I suppose it is possible to have too many quilts, but it is hard to imagine. Many of the finished quilts in our home were made by family and friends, and we cherish the memories they envoke. I don’t think you could receive too many quilts made by loved ones, that would be like saying you have too many friends. You can never have too many. 🙂

  14. cindy says:

    Several of the quilts that I’ve made have been gifted, some donated to different charities, some sent off to displaced people due to floods, disasters. I have one on my bed. The other quilts that are done – I haven’t decided yet. Some I won’t mind giving away, but there are others that I’m not ready to part with.

  15. suzanne says:

    All of the ones I have made have been gifts. Now I am wanting to keep them all!! I know that sounds selfish, but so far, the one’s I am working on, I am going to keep!

  16. I can certainly relate to your statement that quilters are collectors by nature 🙂 But collecting has its limits, that is also true.
    I have not made a count as to how many quilts go where, but off my head, they go in three “directions”: 1: gifts or charity, 2: commissioned or sold, or 3: stay at home, – lately it has been mostly number 2.

  17. Michelle says:

    In 2009, I finished about twenty quilts, all but one or two of them intended for my own household. I looked at that list in December and realized how many quilts we’d be drowning in if I multiplied it by a few years.

    So in 2010, I made forty-seven baby quilts to donate and four quilts for me and mine. This works! I love the four quilts I’m keeping, and the baby quilts got a whole lot of “that could be fun” ideas out of my system, the quilts I wanted to try making but didn’t really need to own forever.

    If a quilter makes quilts she loves, I think she should get to keep them all without guilt.

  18. Shasta says:

    My family members (siblings, parents, child) really enjoy getting quilts from me. I made one for each of them, one at a time. I started out choosing my own designs, but later I did let them guide me as to what they wanted. I only have a couple members left. I give a lot of quilts to charity and more distant relatives and close friends. Now, I am working on making smaller quilts, for me. A fun quilt wall. I have two places where I rotate wall hanging quilts for each season / holiday. This keeps them rotated and not stuck in a closet. Also I am moving on making more time consuming quilts with applique and free motion quilting. This will slow me down and get me quilts I am proud to show as my own creations.

  19. joyce says:

    I’ve actually been thinking about giving up this hobby, too much stuff. I also sew garments and crafts and keep asking myself why…I did make a bunch of quilts out of fleece – yes they are quilts- that I’m giving for xmas this year. I may take them early just to get them out of the house…so far I’ve made 9…there is one quilt I can’t seem to finish and I just decided it is going to good will for someone else to finish.. it just needs quilting finished an the edges and it’s done.

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