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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Heirloom, or pretty quilt?

Three things to be happy about:
(1) shredded mulch
(2) shredded wheat
(3) other shredded stuff, I can't come up with anything!  Jeans??

When is an heirloom just a quilt?  Or, when does just-a-quilt leap to heirloom status?

At a quilt show a few weeks ago with my friend and fellow guild member Deb, I saw a lovely quilt that was beautifully appliqued with the letters of the alphabet along with pieced blocks.  A truly beautiful quilt!  In my opinion, obviously for a child.

I said something like, "Oh look at that pretty baby quilt!" To which Deb replied "Oh, I don't think so!"  So that started me thinking...

Now the BIG question:

How much work are you willing to put into a child's quilt?  Okay, okay you put a certain amount of LOVE into it, but how much work are you willing to put into a quilt that will be used and loved by a tot?

If someone handed you this quilt for your baby, would you let him or her use it?  Or would you put it away til the child has "grown up" enough?  (Keep in mind, gentle reader, a 15-year-old would look really goofy hauling this quilt around!)  Or would you place it on their bed only on special occasions, and hand it over to them for keeps when they become an adult?

Or maybe, you'd just chicken out and hang it on the nursery wall???

I'd really like your opinions on this - heirloom or beautiful quilt?  If the alphabets were a different font, would that change the category??

Is this one an heirloom??

I'd guess the applique probably took about the same amount of time, but I don't think you'd hesitate to hand it over to your toddler!

Why not??

What about this one?

I machine appliqued the crap outta this one and paid to have it long-arm quilted, but I'd be PO'd if the child wasn't allowed to used it every day til it fell apart!

I put a lot of work into it, and I want to see it used and enjoyed!

So ... when is an heirloom just a quilt, or when does just-a-quilt leap to heirloom status?

Looking to hear your opinion, sew forth and sew on til later!


  1. Linda, I guess it's in the definition of heirloom. To me an heirloom quilt is one that is passed on from generations so to me the quilts displayed are not heirloom. The alphabet quilt is beautiful as a wall display that could become an heirloom decades from now.

  2. Well, the definition of an heirloom is "a valuable object that has belonged to a family for several generations". So a quilt is a quilt (no matter what technique, amount of work, size, etc.) and turns into an heirloom after it has been handed down thru the generations. Great food for thought!

  3. I think if the recipient (parent) respects the amount of work put into the quilt and feels it needs to be preserved to hand down, then it is their choice it will become an heirloom. If you really emphasize to them you want it used and used up, they should respect that too. I think it all depends on how well you know the person you are giving it to.

  4. I have that ABC Quilt in my To-Do quilt pile. I made half of the blocks as the Block of the Month last year with The Quilt Show. I wouldn't give it to a child. Heirloom to me is using a Vintage, traditional pattern and/or methods. The quilts that are Heirloom are generally over 50 years old. My 30's repros quilts are Vintage to me because the fabrics are of that era. JMHO

  5. If I give a quilt that's meant to be used, then I want it USED! But I would make the quilt designed to be USED and USED UP. I wouldn't make an heirloom. An "ordinary" quilt has enough time and effort and money in it that seeing it used, and used up is tough enough as it is.

  6. I think an heirloom is something that has been treasured and handed down for years. For me personally, I make quilts to be used and abused and dragged around and turned into forts and cuddled and drooled on and loved. It doesn't matter to me how much work/time/money I've put into a quilt. If it's gifted (and 98% of mine are) then I want it used, not saved until it gains heirloom status.

  7. I agree with what Marei said. That said, even though my grandma and mother (and I) made quilts for children to be used and "loved up," if it happened survived until now mostly intact, I might consider it an heirloom.

  8. Linda---I guess we are alike, and as such, I do not make heirlooms ---at least not yet. I make quilts to use---especially for children. My house is full of quilts and are on every bed. I don't want people putting their muddy feet on them, but then I wouldn't want that with anything. I also think it is important to tell the person receiving the quilt if you want it hung and not hugged.


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