Just Take The Tweed Quilt!

December 27, 2012

Each Christmas my family does a gift exchange. This, however, is not your normal gift exchange.

tweed quilt

The tweed quilt

Five years ago, we decided to make our own gifts. And, to top it off, the gift has to be applicable to anyone.

With this in mind, I perused the local thrift stores in search of tweed suits. I had decided to make a wool quilt from recycled suit jackets and needed to find enough wool in shades of grey, blue, and brown to make a good size quilt.

As I gathered, washed, cut, tore, and sewed the pieces of wool together into a uniquely warm and lovely quilt, I thought to myself, “Maybe I should keep this quilt for myself. I could make something else and no one would ever know.”

I said as much to Michael. He gently reminded me that giving it away would be more fulfilling than keeping it.

I was skeptical, but I quickly chirped, “Yeah, your right.”

Today, my family did our gift exchange. We do it pollyanna style where each gift can be stolen three times until whoever has it, gets to keep it. My wool tweed quilt had been opened and, after what felt like an appropriate amount of oohs and aahs to stroke my self-esteem, something unexpected happened to me.

The gift I had chosen, meticulously dried and flavored turkey jerky, was suddenly stolen! I was in an unexpected position. I realized with apprehension I had the choice to steal the gift I had made, the tweed blanket. And, even more tempting, it would be the third steal and I could keep it.

It would be mine!

I looked around the room. Everyone waited in hushed or, OK, not so hushed, anticipation.  There were hours and hours of love and inspiration poured into each gift and, as I looked around, my eyes kept landing on my quilt.

I felt the corners of my eyes crinkle in hesitation as I quietly considered.

I pictured myself curled peacefully on the couch wrapped in my warm, wool blanket. I envisioned guests arriving and complimenting my creativity and style. I pictured them wanting a wool, tweed quilt of their own. I also dreamed of handing it down to my children as a treasured family heirloom.

Strange how strong the voices become when you think you need or want something.

Then, it happened. I said the words, “I’ll take the… wooden candlesticks!”

As the word “candlesticks” came out of my mouth, peace overtook my body. Joy and pleasure washed over my face as I looked at the wonderfully created gift in my hands. Hand carved, wooden candlesticks!

I resisted my desire to take and was able to throughly enjoy the gift I was given.

Battling the desire to take

I feel the pull I described above every day. It says, take, keep, stash, stow away my things, my stuff, my treasures. “My precious” as Tolkien called it in “Lord of the Rings.”

Take. Keep. Take. More. Need. Take.

Today, I broke the power of take and instead, I gave and I received.

And, oddly enough, I didn’t care. I thought it would be hard. I thought I would look longingly at my quilt in someone else’s arms and want it for myself. But, it turned out to be the opposite.

As I intentionally decided to give, my momentary obsession with taking the tweed quilt was broken, and glorious pleasure filled my heart.

What joy is found there, the place of giving. What riches and pleasure.

Today a lesson was confirmed within my heart. It truly is better to give than to receive.


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  • Reply Donna Yates December 27, 2012 at 7:56 am

    What a wonderful story of giving Claudia.  The quilt looks beautiful!  HOpe you guys had a very Merry Christmas and are looking forward to a wonderfully new, fun, challenging, exciting New Year!  Can’t wait to see what’s in store for you all. 

    • Reply Claudia Good December 28, 2012 at 7:40 pm

      We did have a wonderful Christmas Donna! And thank you for the well wishes for a new year!
      We are truly excited to dive in. Lots of big plans, and we are ready to get started!

      Wishing you and your hubby clarity, vision, courage and excitement for this upcoming year! I have no doubt you have plans to knock it out of the park! 🙂

  • Reply Michael Wright December 27, 2012 at 10:37 am

    What awesome skills, Claudia, to sew like that – it’s a lost art I think.  A grand story of the greatness of giving.   Thanks for being so candid!

    • Reply Claudia Good December 28, 2012 at 7:35 pm

      Haha, well thanks Michael! I thoroughly enjoy sewing… it is therapeutic for me I think.

      My machine actually took a turn for the worse half way through (I had been helping it limp along till that point) and with one row left to go, it bit the dust!

      Thankfully my neighbor came to my rescue with a machine which totally put mine to shame. I had sewing machine envy! Thankfully I was able to finish in style with hers.  

      possibly more info than you wanted… but there ya have it… the rest of the story!

  • Reply Jenny Everett December 27, 2012 at 10:56 am

    I too wanted to “steal” my gift!  I kept reminding myself, leading up to the exchange, “This gift will find a good home.”  However, I don’t have any qualms with playing by the rules.  You put your heart and sould into it.  If the opportunity arises and felt comfortable with stealing it.  I would!  However,my attempted to wrangle in my gift didn’t succeed.  Happy and sad it was stolen by my mother in-law.  Now, when I go to my in-laws I will have a moment to be inspired by it.  When you live with a piece it fades into the background.  Now, I get to go visit it! 
    On the more important note, I got my mother in-laws gift!  It is a handmade bowl from Vermont with homemade popcorn balls to fill it and my husband recieved Michaels summer vacation memories DVD.
    Every day, I have to fight to have a good mindset.   Did I do it at the gift exchange?  I don’t know.   I try to be balanced.  I didn’t remember what you got Claudia and I was concerned.  I didn’t think of you when I was stealing.  There were 14 peoples feelings you could take into consideration! Complicated…

    • Reply Claudia Good December 28, 2012 at 7:30 pm

      It does get very complicated indeed! I got Ben’s lovely candlesticks remember!? 

      I think you do remain very balanced and I always appreciate it! 

      I am also excited to see your gift every time I go to mom and dad’s. I think it found a perfect spot with lots of light!

  • Reply Ann Musico December 27, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    My Giagia would be so proud of your sewing skills! (I didn’t inherit that particular gift)  She has made so many treasures – embroidery and other hand made things that I have and mean so much to me!  I have no doubt you will make more of those beautiful one of a kind quilts and one will be for Jude!!  Thank you for always being so honest and open – what a beautiful tradition you have with your family!

    • Reply Claudia Good December 28, 2012 at 7:28 pm

      I wish I could take lessons from her… particularly on quilting!! It is so neat that she was able to pass on so many memorable things to you!

      Hahaa it is funny that you mentioned a quilt for Jude. I did make one for him while I was pregnant, but then I couldn’t resist the urge to keep going and make it into a full size quilt. So, that is what happened! 🙂 Jude’s quilt became a queen size quilt. haha I’ll have to do another one for him that is a little bit more his size.

  • Reply CHAR Photography December 31, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    I just loved this post. Everything about you. You are a dear soul. 

    • Reply Claudia Good December 31, 2012 at 8:00 pm

      Why thank you Char! That means a lot my sis!

  • Reply Alex Barker January 6, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    So when I first read your title, I thought it read “Just take the Tweet Quilt.” I envisioned a quilt with silly tweets embroidered all over. 
    My wife is all about making stuff. This year she crocheted the kids Angry Birds hats. Noticed I said “the kids.” Yes I’m still jealous

    • Reply Claudia Good January 6, 2013 at 8:15 pm

      Hahaha I laughed out loud when I read your comment Alex! You are a funny guy! 

      I’m sure your wife and I could chat for hours about making things. I LOVE it too! 🙂 Did she make you a special hat of your very own with something else on it? …. like maybe superman!?

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