When I decide to sew a gift for someone, I worry if they will like it. Sometimes this even hinders the decision on what to make. But eventually, I pick something, give myself permission to enjoy the creative process, and go for it. OK, I admit, much of the gift is for me! This makes me selfish in a way, but I’ll accept that, because the receiver gets something, too. I hope they do like (and can use) what I make, but if not, perhaps they’ll pass it on to someone who will. At the very least, and more often than not, they appreciate the thoughts, time, materials and skill put into their gift.
It is no exaggeration that the entire time I work on gifts for others, I spend time thinking about them. This is especially true for those facing serious health challenges. Recently, I made a small wall quilt for someone who has cancer, while several years ago I helped make a lap quilt for someone facing chemo treatments. As I worked, I imagined that every minute spent cutting, sewing, or quilting could translate into energy for them. The cloth in the quilts soaked up and preserved poems, well-wishes, and tributes to be read and re-read when desired.
I can always tell if a recipient of my gift is a textile artist, too, who appreciates the tactile satisfaction of cotton fabric as well as the sentiment of the gift. One spread her quilt across her lap and gently stroked her fingers over the blue and purple cottons. Quilting softens the edges of our worlds. This is why I sew. This is the power of cloth.