Lovely thought or slightly icky - AIBU?

(122 Posts)
traininthedistance Sun 01-Dec-13 15:13:10

Sorry if too long! To set the scene, DD was born a few months ago. DH comes from a long family of extreme hoarders - nothing is too weird to keep; they have houses and houses full of their stuff and dead relatives' stuff. They are very well off - household incomes over 80k or more, but are also very very tight with money - DH's aunt's baby gift was two £1 soft toys from IKEA. (DD loves them more than any expensive item though, and I'm not at all precious about presents, this is just to give you an idea of the family background!)

DH's (step, much older) sister didn't give us a baby gift either - I thought it was strange in passing but she's buying a house so assumed money was a bit tight at the moment, no biggie, people don't have to buy us presents! Plus we live in a teeny tiny 2-bed modern flat with only one living room/kitchen and DD's room is minuscule, so we have literally nowhere to store anything and I'm happy to be very minimalist about stuff.

This week I found out from another relative that as a Christening gift to DD, DH's sister is making DD a patchwork quilt - out of their great-grandmother's old clothes. Great-grannie died about a decade ago and all her everyday clothes have been in DH's aunt's attic since then, so DD obviously never met her, and neither did I. Recently DH's aunt expressed a desire to get rid of the clothes but no-one wants to pack them off to the charity shop/landfill (but no-one else in the family wants them in their house to keep either). SIL apparently sees this quilt as a heritage family heirloom item that we are definitely not meant to get rid of.

AIBU to be a bit creeped out about the idea of this? I get that lots of people may say that this is a lovely idea and a nice thing to do; but I have already bought DD a lovely cotbed quilt and feel a bit odd and creeped out about a quilt made of a dead relative's clothes that I didn't even know.

I also think it's more related to the fact that SIL doesn't want to do the emotional work of getting rid of the clothes and is sort of offloading the sentimental responsibility of the clothes onto us if you see what I mean. I think it would be very different if we had expressed a desire to have it or had said we thought it would be lovely for DD, but she hasn't asked us....We really really don't have anywhere to put it to hang on to it.

(And last of all being very PFB I know but I had chosen the things for DD's room and it won't go....) It seems an awkward situation if SIL spends ages making this and we then have to say we don't really want it (though I could never say this - we'd just end up not saying anything, but then how do we deal with her expecting it to be used/kept as a family heirloom?) I really don't like the idea of the quilt at all for DD - sorry if I sound ungrateful!

What to do?

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 01-Dec-13 15:41:53

It used to be very traditional to use old clothes/fabrics to make patchwork quilts as a baby gift. And its something that a huge amount of work goes into.

I have a friend who makes them from items given by the customer usually as a first birthday present its her only job and she's now a higher rate tax payer. So it can't be that weird.

traininthedistance Sun 01-Dec-13 15:42:33

dove? *space

capsium Sun 01-Dec-13 15:43:04

Picnic blanket? Beach mat? Crimplene would be quite...ahem...hard wearing.

Thisisaghostlyeuphemism Sun 01-Dec-13 15:46:32

Why does it creep you out? Why icky?

I don't get it...

WorrySighWorrySigh Sun 01-Dec-13 15:47:13

You dont have to treat this as an heirloom. So far as you are concerned it is a patchwork quilt (a personal taste in themselves) made out of second-hand fabric.

How does your DH feel about it? If he likes the idea then he can find a place to store it. If he doesnt like the idea then he needs to speak to his family and explain that you are just not into family heirlooms and wont be hanging on to anything on the behest of someone else.

And to answer the question why not some of great-granny's jewellery? Because IME this is how wealthy families hang on to their wealth! I have noticed in my family how so-called heirlooms (tat) are handed out with much wobbly-lipped emotion but strangely the things of value are held onto.

dopeysheep Sun 01-Dec-13 15:47:59

Sounds grim. Dunno how you can.refuse it though wihout sounding ungrateful. What a lot of hassle to make it is it definitely going to happen?

capsium Sun 01-Dec-13 15:50:16

I'd wait for it to emerge.... Is the aunt well known for quilting? They can take an age to make.

missinglalaland Sun 01-Dec-13 15:50:33

Let's see what it looks like wink. It could be a masterpiece or a bit "loving hands at home." If it is lovely, give it a good wash at 60 and hang it out in the fresh air to dry and presto, you have a nice pushchair-quilt, etc. It doesn't need to be in the nursery. If it is a bit naff, just say thanks and put it in the back of the closet.

The fact that it is your dc's great, great grandmother's clothes is an interesting detail that the your dd might enjoy. It's unusual but not creepy. I have some quilts made in the 1940s by my great grandmother. My mom used to wrap us up in them as kids when were ill on the couch in front of the telly. She could remember some of the fabrics and whose clothes they had been. As a kid I really liked hearing about the family and who had worn what. Kids like to know they are embedded in a great big family, not just now but always. Going backwards and forwards.

eatriskier Sun 01-Dec-13 15:50:48

I totally get where you are coming from but what does oh think? One of the last things my paternal gm made was a quilt for my cousin (maternal side). When I had dd aunt promised to dig it out for me. Gm died whilst I was pregnant with dd and whilst I wasn't on the closest terms with gm I'd have loved something like that for dd to have. Turns out it had been passed around and trashed by my maternal family who didn't care too much for it sad

If your dh doesn't seem too sentimental then accept in good grace and hide for your dcs sake as they may like it when older. If your dh is sentimental over it you may have to live with it.

ivykaty44 Sun 01-Dec-13 15:51:26

accept it with grace when it arrives, make a fuss over it and then put it away in the loft if at this time you don't like it - but you never know as you haven't seen it yet you may like it. Keep and open mind and e kind about the work put in

Helpyourself Sun 01-Dec-13 15:53:29

Don't panic. Unless she's quilted before, I doubt if it'll ever appear! They're much more work than she'll have expected. Just don't let her fob you off with a half made quilt- that really would be a white elephant.

not my sort of thing at all!

MrsCampbellBlack Sun 01-Dec-13 15:59:26

If it were lovely liberty fabrics, I'd think nice. But crimplene - umm not thanks.

I did laugh at Squoosh!

HoHolepew Sun 01-Dec-13 16:02:09

I can see it being nice if it's lovely vintage material like velvets, tweeds etc.
Polyester slacks - not so much.
Stick it in a cupboard.

fluffyraggies Sun 01-Dec-13 16:20:40

Reading this out to DH and we are both sitting here with 'eww, no' faces on OP. YANBU to feel a little creeped out by this idea.

I agree with the posters saying that this quilt will probably take an age to arrive (so no immediate action required?) and that it may not materialise at all in the end.

If/when it does arrive you'll just have to put it away 'for future generations to enjoy'. OR ask her to store it for you because your DD seems to have an allergy to the filling, sadly smile

Nottalotta Sun 01-Dec-13 16:29:03

My nan crocheted the most god awful blanket for me. It was used as the ill blanket, which was to be used when poorly on the sofa. I'm strangely attached to it now.

People often get stuff from charity shops to use as patchwork - could have been made of someone elses dead relatives clothes!

Caitlin17 Sun 01-Dec-13 16:31:59

If it were made of lovely old velvet, silk, etc yes but old crimplene slacks ugh.

Problem is, if it were made of lovely vintage material I'd rather by a long way have a whole , single garment as the heirloom rather than it being cut up.

lljkk Sun 01-Dec-13 16:32:11

If it's ugly: It's a puke & wee throw that you put down for baby when she needs nappy free time. Protects your carpets. Bargain.

If it's nice: something to hang on the wall elsewhere or adorn her bed when nicer stuff is in the machine. Must her room really be colour-coordinated at all times? Most babies don't spend much time in own room, anyway. Keep it in the car as a warm throw. Small spare blankets are useful.

Honestly, you will find a genuine use & if it doesn't survive gentle washing, oh well.

*Remind me why I must never make patchwork quilts for the ungrateful.

soverylucky Sun 01-Dec-13 16:44:26

Sounds fab to me and could look very nice. Could make a comfy playmat or something to picnic on in the summer.

NatashaBee Sun 01-Dec-13 16:56:31

Smile, thank the giver profusely, admire it, then pass it on to the next baby in the family, because its a family heirloom that everyone should get to appreciate smile

AnnaRack Sun 01-Dec-13 16:59:10

Depends how well made it is. If she's skilled at patchwork and chooses the right fabrics it could be lovely. Tell her it needs to be machine washable and she might give up on the idea . On the other hand if it's poorly made, mixing synthetics and cotton (which will make it fall apart in the wash as the fabrics shrink st different rates) then you can simply chuck it away feigning deep sadness snd hope she doesnt make you another one

lljkk Sun 01-Dec-13 17:02:31

You could ask her for a nappy bag instead, basically use same fabrics to make a patchwork bag you can carry out & about for multiple purposes.

Something tells me that OP would object if the fabrics were used to make, say, a patchwork teddy (on grounds of colour mismatch with decor).

If machine made it should be machine washable.

Sunflower49 Sun 01-Dec-13 17:02:35

I think It's a cute idea. A new life is to make use of things from one that's passed.
It would be a cutER idea had you known this woman and thus wanted your DD to 'remember' her and know of her, though!

It may be that she wants rid of the clothes but feels better about giving them to you in some way than to somebody she doesn't know (charity) or such, plus you get use out of it (ignoring the fact that you may not want to)!
DP is a hoarder, and I know he feels much better about getting rid of things if they're going to be used by somebody else, even though the end result for us is the same.
Accept gratefully and if you don't want to use it for DD stuff it in a cupboard somewhere until family visit lol

Salmotrutta Sun 01-Dec-13 17:07:29

I didn't think anyone beyond the age of about 10 used the word "icky".

<runs>

ThanSheSaid Sun 01-Dec-13 17:08:24

I think its a lovely idea AND a little bit creepy too grin.

I think you have to accept it, gush over it and possibly get it out when the relatives visit. It's a pain to store if you have no room but I don't see how you can get out of this one, especially as it will take her hours to make.

What does your DH think? I would let him deal with his family.

I don't get the big fuss about baby presents, most babies have tonnes of stuff and it's not as though the baby cares.

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