This month’s blog is a lesson learned from one client’s quilt journey, and how that will help me set customer expectations in the future. It’s the story of Catherine’s quilt conundrum (pictured).
‘She looks pleased with it,’ I imagine you’re thinking? She is, she loves the quilt. But when she took it home and showed it to her family a different story unfolded, which left her with a sobbing 7 year old and a disgruntled 16 year old!
The story started in November, when I visited Catherine to talk through her ideas for the quilt. She presented me with a bag full of fleecy items, among them a dressing gown, onesie, some baby blankets and baby clothes.
Catherine said ‘They’ve been hidden away for years, I’d love to have them made into a quilt that we (she, her two boys and husband) can snuggle under when we sit on the sofa. As we talked, the stories behind these special items were shared, and I got a feel for which held the most treasured memories for Catherine, and therefore should be most prominent in her quilt. Her excitement was infectious, and I couldn’t wait to start making her quilt.
It took me a couple of months to make, as I was juggling the quilt-making with Christmas orders. Finally, after nearly 30 hours of cutting, ironing, jigsaw-piecing and sewing, the quilt was ready. I was feeling excited (showing a new piece to a client is always exciting), nervous (would she like it?) and a little bit sad (I always find it difficult to let creations go to their new homes).
Catherine and her eldest son picked it up last week and took it home to unwrap. Many clients do, it’s such a personal thing to open, so I wasn’t surprised. I waited to hear from her for a couple of days, nothing. I sent her an email to make sure everything was okay, still nothing. I met her at an event yesterday and the first thing she said was ‘Let me give you a hug, I love the quilt.’ ‘Phew,’ I thought! ‘But Rachel,’ she continued…’the boys’ reaction was quite different. They were really upset that I’d let you cut up their baby blankets.’
This was not the reaction that either of us had foreseen, after all, neither of the blankets had seen the light of day for several years. But it just highlights the attachment that we, and our children, feel for significant pieces of clothing in our lives. And that children can be much more attached to things that they’ve not seen for years than we can ever imagine.
Catherine is hoping that her boys come to love the quilt as much as she does, and that new, happy, family memories will be formed when they snuggle under their quilt. So far, her 16 year old has been more accepting of the re-purposing of his childhood blanket, her 7 year old less so. Though he was caught snuggling under their new quilt a couple of days ago…
If you are thinking about getting me to create something special for you and your children, here are my top tips when planning your creation:
- Only give me clothes or items that you are truly happy for me to re-purpose
- Talk through with your children what you plan to have done
- Ask your children to give you some things that they would like to see in the creation
- Put the items to one side for a few days before you give them to me (just to check that no demons, or children, creep back and forbid you to cut the clothes up!)
- If you have any worries at all, don’t add them to this creation, because I want you to love your new item, not feel guilty for re-purposing
Happy planning, and please give me a shout at any stage if you need help or advice.