Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Who do you stitch for?

I've stitched and framed a number of pieces for other people, and I'm always happy to see them hanging on their walls. I'm very careful about who stitch for and what I stitch for them, as so many hours go into each piece, and the cost of the materials adds up. I want to make sure that the gift fits the recipient, that I pick something meaningful to them, and that it ends up being something they WANT hanging in their home. As you all well know, it ain't easy.

So you'd think I'd have more pieces of my own hanging on our walls. Surprisingly, we don't. The Rocky Point lighthouse my husband stitched and had framed is still floating around, waiting for the perfect spot to hang it. The wedding record my husband and I both stitched? In a drawer, along with a Peas in a Pod piece I stitched and framed for his Valentine's gift one year, also waiting for a home.

Part of the problem is renting for so many years. We never hung a lot of stuff up on the walls, and even though we've been in our house for over two years, we've yet to hang up any of our stitching. Mind you, I have grand plans for several pieces, including some fruits and roosters in the kitchen (it's not as country as it sounds), more birds in the stairwell, some Celtic pieces in the front entry, and some other pieces upstairs. Some of it's stitched, some of it's just ideas in my head. With the exception of the pieces I mentioned aboved, none of it's really come to fruition. Yet. I'm getting there.

So, my point. I have a whole lot of questions.

  • Who do you stitch for? Do you stitch more for yourself, or for gifts?
  • Do you stitch with a finishing idea in mind, and do you favor one technique more than any other? (For instance, do you mostly stitch ornaments, or are you more of a framed piece person?)
  • Do you display your finished pieces in your environment (home, office, etc.)?
  • Do you automatically think "stitch" when it comes to a gift, or are you particular about who you will stitch for?
  • How do you choose what to stitch for someone else?
  • Have you ever had a gift rejected, or received in a way that hurt your feelings or surprised you?
  • Is there someone you enjoy stitching for, or someone you will never stitch for again?


Deborah said...

Those are some great questions. I am very picky about who I stitch for. Many years ago I stitched a piece for someone who I cared about and had it framed for them. I never saw the piece hanging and when I was hanging my coat up I found it the back of the closet. So now i really have to know it the piece will be appreciated before i put the time and the money into it. I do have many of my pieces hanging in my home. I like all forms of finishing.

valerie said...

I am super selective about who I stitch for. It takes a lot of time! Usually very close family and friends as I know they'd appreciate it. I'll make smalls for my stitching friends since i know they def. would appreciate it and I try to consider the taste of the recipient in what I choose but I also have to like it too so I am driven to stitch and finish it.

I've stitched more for gifts but am trying really hard to stitch for myself. I have certain designs planned and places to put them in my apartment. I wonder if I'll still be living here when I finish them all!lol

Lesleyanne said...

I have stitched mainly gifts in the past but am trying to stitch more for myself. I have a couple of pieces hanging on walls but have plans for many more lol. I have stitched a couple of pieces for people that I have never seen hung up but think in the main my gifts have been well received but I am quite picky about who I stitch for as the framing can be expensive and I am no good at sewing so don't tend to finish ornaments and the like.

Erin said...

Hmmm, so much to think about!
I stitch for myself initially, but will often find that something I stitched years ago might make a perfect gift. And since I don't frame/finish many of my stitched pieces right away, I can then choose a finishing technique that suits both the piece and the intended recipient!
I tend to "finish-finish" more smalls, simply for the cost factor. I can whip together ornaments, flat-folds, and other such things myself, versus paying for framing.
I have only 2 pieces framed and on display in our house - Butternut Road's "Once Upon A Time" in our bedroom and my daughter's birth sampler in her room. Like you, though, I have other displays planned! At work I have 2 flat-folds on my desk. Oh, and I have a basket of small pillows in the spare bedroom.
I don't automatically think "stitch" for gifts. If I do decide to stitch for someone, I either make sure it is something they will like (as in, I ASK them!), or I go with something small first. (If you love the ornament I made last year, maybe you'll get a pillow or framed thing down the road.)
Once I've decided to stitch for someone, I love finding/putting together the "perfect" thing. I often create my own design out of elements from others, especially for baby gifts and wedding samplers.
I had one gift "rejected" -- a piece I wanted to give to a friend of DH's as a wedding gift. Looking back, that was partly DH's fault, though. He tried to explain the item to his friend, did a poor job, and his friend was luke-warm on it. I was hurt, but went ahead and made the design into a "momento bag" for their beach wedding instead of my original idea of framing it, and found out they loved it. So the rejection was temporary!
Beyond that I try not to worry about what happens once something I've stitched leaves my hands. I put love and thought into it, and I can only hope that is understood, even if the finished product isn't something that fits their style forever....

mainely stitching said...

That's a lot of questions!!

I stitch more for other people, I think, but that is gradually changing - by force of will, really!

I don't stitch with a finish in mind, with the possible exception of exchanges. I like to just stitch and then see what it becomes later. ;)

I do hang or display pieces at home. Love seeing them!

I do think 'stitch' when I think of a gift, but then I stop and reconsider. There are actually not very many people for whom I will now make the effort of creating a stitched gift for. When I do stitch for someone else, I try to pick a project where his/her tastes overlap with mine so I can enjoy making it and he/she can enjoy receiving it. But yes, I have had gifts received in ways that really hurt my feelings - like a birthay gift that got thrown under the table, literally, or a birth sampler that was pulled out of the frame and the frame used for something "better"!!

Negatives aside, I've also stitched gifts for people who've really honored me with their obvious delight in the gift, such as my friend Sara who displays even my early (faulty) needlework gifts. :D And another friend for whom I made "mirror image" birth samplers for her twin sons - her boys learned the letters of their names from the samplers hung in their bedroom! :D For someone I'll never stitch for again, I'd have to say it would be my mom. :(

Blu said...

Good questions.

I stitch for myself. If someone admires something I've stitched I'll offer to stitch a small for them and if they're enthusiastic then I'll go ahead and stitch a gift with pleasure.

I tend to stitch larger designs so I mostly plan to frame. And anything that is finish-finished is on display somewhere in the house.

I actually never think "stitch" when it comes to gifts. I'm more likely to give a giftcard to their favourite store. Makes us both happy.

If one of my gifts was not appreciated as much as I'd hoped, then I've never known it. When I give it I get lots of thanks and admiration. I don't follow up and prefer to believe that my gift is cherished.

Anonymous said...

I'm a very stingy stitcher! It's a very rare occasion for me to stitch something for anyone (except DH) since I don't feel non-stitchers appreciate the amount of time it takes. I will stitch for another stitcher -- just a select few I consider really good friends. No matter whether it's for myself or for antoher stitcher I always have in the back of my mind how I want it finished out when I'm putting in the first stitch.

I don't have a whole lot of stuff on my walls either -- for the same reason, except we live in military housing. I'm looking foward to buying a house in a year or so that I can cover the walls in my stitching. I have just now started framing them out for that occasion.

I love so many of the ornaments out there but lack confidence in my finishing abilities so don't stitch many of them.

I stitched a L&L for my mom and while he ooo'd and aaaa'd over it, it still sitting rolled up in her dresser drawer. I tried to have it framed but she was re-decorating her bedroom and wanted to choose a mat and frame to match. That was more than 10 years ago. I've decided that the next time I visit (she lives in a different state) I'm snatching it back and framing it for myself. It was the first piece I'd ever stitched on a non-white piece of linen.


Lynn said...

I'm not very good at finishing so if I'm going to spend the money on framing, it's going to be for someone special. I usually only stitch for family and very close friends. I would definitely do something for another stitcher because they can appreciate the time and effort that went into it.
I stitch a lot for myself. It's not that I have lots of framed works on the walls but thestitching helps keep my sanity. I have a drawer filled with finished stitches. Lately I've made an effort to get some of these framed after several people have encouraged me to display them.
I need to find something to stitch for each of my sons. Now that they're all adults they have requested that I do something for each of them. They've grown up seeing Mom with a needle in her hand and each of them wants a momento. I'm not very good at deciding what to stitch for someone.

Sally said...

I stitch mostly for myself but I do also like to stitch small gifts espeically for my stitchy friends as I know they will appreciate them. I have in the past stitched gifts for my Dad and my late MIL and they were always very well received. On the other hand I have stitched for my sister and her partner and have never seen any of the three pieces on the walls in her house and I doubt I ever will so I have vowed never to stitch for them again.

I like to stitch ornaments and smalls for people as I think these are easily displayed. I do often think stitch when thinking of a gift for someone. I have a few stitchy friends that I stitch gifts for when it's their birthdays and I like to try and find a design that suits them.

Carol said...

I stitch mostly for the joy of stitching. For the number of things I've stitched, I have surprisingly few things on display in my home--either they are waiting to be "finish/finished" or I've given them away.

You know me--I am an ornament lover and stitching them is when I am happiest. My Christmas tree is loaded with my ornaments each December and I've given many away.

I give my stitched pieces only to those who will truly feel the love that I put into them--either other stitchers or my mom. The few times I have given things to others I've been disappointed by their response so now I don't do it.

Fun question, Jenn!!

Anonymous said...

I used to stitch for gifts but not so much anymore. I found that I was stitching things that I thought someone would like and not neessarily the projects that I liked. Now I stitch for me and frame a few that I really like but most are in my famous "stack" in a closet. I was a full time RVer for 6 years, so wall space was at a premium. Now I have a doublewide in AZ for the winters and I have quite a few of my pieces hung around the house.
I have a blog that documents all my projects and I pick projects just because I want to stitch them. Come visit me at

Anna van Schurman said...

I've answered your questions on my <a href=">blog</a>.

Meari said...

Hi Jennifer,

I’ve been in my house for almost 3 years now and I don’t have anything stitched on my walls either. I have lots framed, just haven’t put them up yet. So, you’re not alone. Now, to answer your questions:

I’d say I stitch mostly for myself since my stitching time is so limited these days. I do exchanges when I have more time. I only stitch for family and friends if I know they appreciate it, like my sister.

Usually when I start a project, I do know how I’m going to finish it. I do a variety of finishes, none more than another.

Yes, I display my finishes. Even if the framed ones are just propped up against the wall, sitting on the floor. Lol

No, I don’t automatically think ‘stitch’ when it comes to determining a gift. Like I said earlier, I am very particular about who I stitch for.

Usually, I will stitch something for a family member if in the course of conversation they talk about an interest they have. For instance, my niece saw something in my stash that had flip flops on it and commented that she wanted it. So, for her next birthday I stitched it up for her. I know that my mom likes pink stuff, so I stitched her a geisha dressed in pink (we’re asian). My Dad likes cars, so one time I stitched a father’s day card with a car on it. Recently, I stitched a menagerie of animals after a friend commented that at one time he owned a hobby farm and had each one of the animals in the stitched chart… even had names for them! It has meaning for him. A few years ago, my siblings and I all moved into new homes so I stitched each of us a ‘commemorative’ home piece… same chart, just different colored houses to match the houses we lived in. Exchanges, well… the subject matter is determined by the coordinator.

I haven’t had a gift rejected (to my face, anyway). Lol

I like stitching for my sister. She knows and appreciates how much time and effort goes into each piece. She will joke: “That’s for me, right?” lol Even if it isn’t.

Sharon said...

Such great questions!! I'm probably straight down the middle - half of my stitching is for us and the other half is for gifts. Nearly everything I've stitched for "us" is hanging on our walls. I tend to stitch things with a certain place in mind for it to hang. I have a horrible fear of finishing a piece any way other than framing. I'm going to try to conquer that fear in 2011 - we'll see...there are just so many cute ways to finish designs. I feel like I'm missing out on a whole dimension of my stitching.
As for gifts, I choose things that I think the intended recipient would like...something that would have meaning to them. I bless my gifts as I pass them along and from that point on, if they like them - fine. If not, that's okay too. I try to just focus on the joy of stithing the piece. :)

Janaina said...

-I stitch a lot for charity projects, like LQ and such. Also, I stitch a lot for my mom and sis and friends.I rarely stitch for myself.There's always something on the way, be it a friend's bday or some other "emergency". Lol.

-99% of the times I stitch on pre-finished pieces, such as towels, tea towels, bibs or aprons with a stitching band on. I have a neat back so it's not a problem and saves me LOTS of time. It's "stitch & go".I also looove to sticth and then turn it into a pillow, specially for babies, tho my mom has 2 of my pillows over her bed for years (need to make a new one...mmm...)I also like to stitch pincushions for my stitching friends.

-as I said I've really few pieces at home, but yes, I do display them around here.=)

-1st thing I think, yes, is to stitch something, then I come to considerate if that's a good idea, if the person will enjoy it or no...Usually I dont stitch for guys, but that already happened twice.

-when choosing what to stitch for someone, I list make a mental list of that person's likes/deslikes. If I have zero clue, I always go for flowers. As I said, I stitch mostly for girls, nd flowers are usually something that pleases the majority of girls.At least the ones I know! Lol.

-well... many years ago I stitched a pillow for my then sis-in-law and mother-in-law. I was surprised that one day I went to their house to find out the dog was playing of having sex with the pillow I stitched for my SIL and they were having a hell of funny time. =/ No more xxx from me to them since then.

-someone I really enjoy stitching for is my mom. She is my biggest fan ever! She will use all pieces I give her, no matter what, and will tell everyone who made them.I love it! I hate when I give something to someone and that one says 'it's so pretty! I will never use it!". Duuuh?!

Janaina said...

-I rarely stitch for myself... I stitch a lot for charity projects such as LQ and family members, like mom and sis.

-99% of my pieces are towels, tea towels, aprons, bibs, with stitching areas. The're all pre-made and that saves me lots of time. Since the back side's really neat and knots-free, it's all good.It's "stitch & go". I also love to xxx squares to turn into pillows, specially for babies.

- As I said I don't have many pieces of my own, but the ones I've, yes, I do display around.

-Yes,stitching's the 1st thing that crosses my mind, but, I don't stitch to everyone.It'll depend on if the person enjoys handwork or not.

Janaina said...

-I make a mental list of the person's likes/deslikes. If all fail, I go for flowers for the girls. Hard to go wrong w/ flowers. Lol.

-Yes. Many years ago I stitched a pillow for my (then) sister-in-law. I was very upset when one day I watched her pincher playing "having sex" w/ the pillow. She thought that super funny...Specially 'cuz it was a female! =O No xxx from me to her since then.

-The person I really really enjoy stitching for is my mom. She's always thrilled on anything I make for her, and she'll use it, all the time she can, no matter what, telling everyone who made it. It's a blast... My sister got so upset with this, she even asked me to teach her how to xxx so mom could do the same with her pieces! LMAO.

Anonymous said...

Very good questions:
I stitch mostly for myself. I will sometimes join an exchange on the internet but I'm selective about that too. I know everyone's skill level is different and I'm afraid mine won't live up to someone else's expectations so I'm reluctant to stitch for others. And also, I've been "burned" a few times on exchanges. I do display my stitching at home and at work. If I do stitch for someone, I make sure I know that it will fit into their decor before I stitch it, but my mom and my MIL are really the only 2 that I'll stitch a gift for and neither of them have any display room in their homes anymore. I do stitch ornaments and framed piece sizes. Sometimes I frame them myself, sometimes I have them professionally framed. I won't stitch for most people and not because I have had my feelings hurt by anyone, but I know how much time goes into a work of art and if you're not a stitcher/quilter/artsy/crafty, most people just have no clue as to how much heart/soul goes into something handmade. I love stitching, I'll continue and I've told my DD that if she sells all of my stitching in a yard sale when I'm dead, I'm coming back to haunt her, LOL!!!!