I know a little something about charity quilts. Well, that is to say that I’ve made a few. My last count on quilts for wounded soldiers was somewhere around 50. (I stopped counting because I like round numbers! Ha!) I’ve also made baby quilts for the NICU, and Veterans quilts for the VA hospital. All that said, I have a little knowledge about how charity quilts work, and how they are given. Hopefully that means I’m qualified to say what I’m about to say!
When you make and give a charity quilt, it’s not about you. For a brief few minutes it will be about how you put colors together or piece well. But in the long run, the quilt is a comfort to someone in need. You’re making something, I presume a quilt but it could be other things, to bless someone’s life. Let’s make some practical points about charity quilts, shall we?
1. First and foremost, it is a gift. If the recipient snuggles in it every night and wears it to shreds, it’s theirs to do that. If they hang it up and never snuggle with it, it is also theirs to do that. NEVER dictate how someone is supposed to use your gift!
2. Do good work. A charity quilt doesn’t need to be complicated or fussy. It doesn’t need to have taken hours per block. But it should be very sturdy and pretty. One of these days, I’ll get around to writing the epic blog post on good patterns, aka the good idea fairy. But the truth is, any simple pattern will work.
3. Don’t overcomplicate the matter. Please do not make a Baltimore Album quilt, a Hawaiian hand appliqued quilt, or something equally as challenging, and then expect the recipient to go overboard with praise. As stated, a charity quilt should be attractive. But it isn’t a show quilt; it’s meant to be sturdy and warm. A simpler pattern will allow you to move from planning to finishing in time to give the quilt away. Besides, many people prefer a simple quilt!
4. Get over it. Post your pictures, share your patterns, even state plainly what you’ve done for someone or an organization. But then, move on. Make a new one for someone else, the same charity, or someone you know. Please don’t fall into the trap of tooting your own horn! Arrange your life so that others will do that for you!
I hope this helps someone who is considering making charity quilts! I speak on this subject because I’m addressing someone in a recent group who wants something (praise I think) in return for a quilt she is making for an organization. I hope she realizes, as you probably do, that giving is its own reward! =}