Quilting Tastes

by Nicole

Just like people have different tastes in clothing, music, and food, people have different tastes in the types of quilts they like.

When I am making a quilt for myself or one of my kids who is too young to comment, I quilt to suit my own tastes. But, when I’m making a quilt for someone else, I want to make one that he or she will like.

This weekend I started working on a quilt for one of my coworkers who is expecting a baby in the fall. I have no idea what her tastes are in quilts.

I hesitated to make her a modern quilt. I didn’t want her wondering why the points don’t match, why the squares are crooked, or the triangles askew.

So, I’m going traditional. She’s from Ohio and is moving back there this summer so I thought an Ohio Star quilt would be fitting.

Ohio star block

What about you? How do you figure out someone else’s quilting tastes when making a gift?

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Liz July 2, 2013 - 2:29 am

I guess! But my standard pick would be a more traditional style with gorgeous fabric. You can never know though – and they never realise the hard work. But I guess you make it anyway, knowing that! Cute block btw 🙂

Adrianne July 2, 2013 - 3:43 am

Ooh, this is a tough one. I find it really tricky, especially if they are not a quilter themselves! I think I do tend to err on the slightly more traditional side when I don't know someone's taste, just because I'm not sure they'll "get it" otherwise. Sometimes I just ask for colour or design suggestions – that can be helpful. No one is really going to turn their nose up at a baby quilt though, surely?

Megan July 2, 2013 - 7:20 am

Hey, I'm commenting straight after two other kiwi quilters – I think you've got a little NZ fan club 🙂
I pretty much just make what I like but try and get some clues about colour or how conservative the recipients tastes are. Recently I made a quilt to celebrate the civil union of some dear friends who love Victoriana. So I gritted my teeth and made a pretty pretty floral quilt (yikes) but they loved it so it didn't matter that it wasn't my cup of tea.

Ada Kopitopoulou July 2, 2013 - 8:23 am

I ask for the colour they would like, so it will fit in with the decoration of the room, the quilt is supposed to be in.
I can't really make quilts I don't like. Considering the amount of work it takes I prefer to work joyfully!

Kathy @ Kwilty Pleasures July 2, 2013 - 12:28 pm

If making a quilt for someone I try to get their input on color and design and if possible I let them choose fabrics from my stash vs purchasing more. I usually keep the design to myself unless they are VERY specific. Always fun!

Julie July 2, 2013 - 2:07 pm

If I don't know their tastes or decor, especially if it is a surprise, I look at what they wear. Are they into bright colors? Do they wear more traditional clothes or something a bit more artsy. Usually people's clothing style reflects their decor tastes. I love making quilts for other people because it gets me to do styles and colors that I wouldn't normally choose for myself and it stretches me.

Kelly July 2, 2013 - 2:54 pm

Umm they get my taste, otherwise I just moan about having to make something I don't like 😉

Paige July 2, 2013 - 4:07 pm

I think about color most when quilting for others. I have two boys and was okay with some flowers or pink but some people definitely are NOT! 😉

Sandy July 2, 2013 - 4:17 pm

Your points are perfect. Someone who doesn't quilt will take that for granted; the rest of us know better. Having said that, most people–even if they don't realize the skill that goes into making a quilt–appreciate that you've done something uniquely personal for them. You have gone the extra mile in picking out something meaningful to the mother-to-be, but I think she would have liked a modern quilt just as much as a traditional one.
I go out of my way to pick a color I know my recipients like, but I pick the pattern myself. I, like Ada, want to "work joyfully."

ann July 2, 2013 - 6:53 pm

I too worry about points not matching if I am gifting a modern quilt. Buuuut I expect in reality most people would have no idea what "points" even are let alone if they match. That being said I go ahead and make my modern quilts and the young moms loooove them. I have their moms asking me to make quilts for other grand babies on the way. Maybe the ones who don't ask for quilts are the ones who think I must need stronger lenses in my glasses. Great topic Nicole, thanks for getting us thinking.

wish2stitch July 2, 2013 - 10:44 pm

Ohio Star sounds perfect and it looks great. Love the striking blue against the grey. If making for someone else, I try and use (or find out) their favourite colour. Making quilts for my brother and sister-in-law's 40th birthday was tricky because they lived in London and apart from Skype, I had only met her face-to-face once when they travelled to Australia for their wedding. When she asked what I was doing one day, I explained that I was looking for a new quilting project and sent links to quilts and asked her opinion. She had no idea of my motive. Otherwise, I just pick what I like and hope they like it too.

Robin Haupt July 3, 2013 - 12:50 am

I ask them for input. I usually ask their favorite color or the color that is most prevalent in their home. Otherwise I make what I like. I love quilts and hope that anyone who gets one from me will appreciate all the work and love that goes into them.

Tessa Marie July 3, 2013 - 1:24 am

I agree with the last comment. Ask their color preferences, but then make it in my style. That way the gift is for them but still a piece of me and I would hope they would appreciate that.

pandchintz July 3, 2013 - 7:07 am

Like the last two comments, I only ever ask for colour preference then make the quilt in my style. For non-quilters, it's too overwhelming asking them about pattern as well. Haven't had a reject yet!!

Carla July 4, 2013 - 12:15 am

I love this – that block is perfect and has meaning. I've been struggling with figuring out a design to make for my sister. We've never seen eye to eye on much, but since I'm making my two little cousins quilts I thought I should make one for her too so she doesn't feel left out / like I made quilts for the cousins before her. I have no idea about her style though. Maybe I'll take a cue from you and look for a Michigan named block.

Katy Cameron July 7, 2013 - 9:08 am

To be honest, in the UK so few people actually quilt, no-one I would make for would know to have a preference! I just judge their general aesthetic tastes and go with that.

Erica July 8, 2013 - 2:10 am

I try to choose colours I know they will like. For younger people, I tend to use more modern designs. For guys, I stay away from overly feminine prints and for a baby when I have no idea if it is a boy or a girl, I find a focus fabric I think goes either way and then pull colours from that for the rest of the quilt. And these days, all my baby quilts are modern – yay for quickly-pieced strip quilts!

Alli July 11, 2013 - 1:14 am

Hee, I think the same thing when I'm making a quilt as a gift — I don't want to make a modern one even though I love modern quilts, because I worry that the recipient will wonder about the wonky points (messy!) and negative space (lazy!). 😀

Lori Reckler July 19, 2013 - 4:09 pm

So glad I found your blog. Love the great tips and links, and…we're neighbors. I'm in Fayetteville. Anyway, to answer the question, I mostly agree with the others. I go for the more traditional, four-patch or maybe a jelly roll strip quilt. I try to use colors I know they like.

Kelli July 23, 2013 - 5:50 pm

I struggle with this question sometimes too. It's hard to match your style with someone else's sometimes. My sister is much more traditional/symmetrical than me when it comes to design, but she also loves more modern deep colors. I am making her a baby quilt and I let her design it completely on the front and asked questions about the back, but am still nervous she won't like it when it's done.

Mary Marcotte July 26, 2013 - 9:06 pm

Always a tough question, but much easier to answer when you can ask the person receiving. I sometimes go about a little at a time. I ask about color preferences first, then try to determine fabric style: solid, geometric, floral, etc. Very often once I have a fabric, I can go from there but I keep thinking of the receiver. I find that keeping it simple is a good idea, too. I've never had someone return or refuse a quilt!

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