50th anniversary - is this a stupid present?

My folk’s 50th is next month, and I’m still stumped.

My mom is crazy about quilting; she just loves it. I thought that if I found a really nice 50th wedding anniversary pattern for her, she’d enjoy making it. Does that sound really dumb?

Feel free to throw out ideas for my dad, too. He likes to sit in his old recliner and watch TV in the garage. Do they sell new recliners with customized ass grooves?

Maybe you could stop parking there for a week or so!

But it’s so much fun watching him try to find the closed-caption button while I’m revving the engine!

How much do you want to spend? I ask because my mom quilts, and I have made two quilts. The big cost is in the fabric. If you want to invest a bit of cash in the gift, I would think about getting your mother some really special fabric to go along with the pattern.

(BTW, it’s not a stupid present, it’s a lovely and personal idea)


I’ve tentatively budgeted $300 for each of them. I think good patterns run $100-150? Sure, I could buy some fabric too; I hadn’t thought of that.

That sounds like a great gift to me, though I would include the fabric in the gift for sure. It shows you put thought into something she would really enjoy and that right there is what makes a gift good.

A really fancy block of the month pattern will run you $80, but most are more like $10+. I’m a serious quilter, but I’ve never seen a 50th anniversary pattern; for that sort of thing, people are apt to make either memory quilts with lots of photos, or fancy patterns like a wedding ring quilt.

If you’re totally at a loss, you could get her a gift certificate, but something else would be nicer. Does her quilt shop have a wish list maybe? Some expensive accessories:

a full-spectrum lamp, such as an Ott-Lite
photo-transfer fabric, the necessary software and printer (I think you have to have an ink-jet)
some really luxurious fabric, like silk, velvet/velveteen, or lace
a Koala cabinet or table

Ooh, or a really neat thing would be if you paid for a quilter’s retreat; a weekend one would be about right for your budget. Some are at cabins or on cruises, and you have a lovely scenic time and quilt all weekend, often with a famous quilting teacher. (Some are even trips to China or France to tour textile factories and such!) I’ll look up some info for you if you like, but it would be best to call up her quilt store and ask if anything’s coming up.

Sorry, I should also say that getting her the pattern and fabric is a lovely idea; I’m just not sure you’ll be able to find one very easily. One probably exists somewhere, though; you can find anything if you look hard enough.

Is that just for one block, or for all of the blocks needed for the quilt? I’m not an afficianado; my participation in her quilting conversations consists of keeping my eyes wide open and saying “Oh” or “My goodness” or “How nice” as appropriate.

I’ll look into the latter.

Those are all good ideas. Thank you! My parents live in Ohio, but there is a shop she visited when they came here that she quite liked. I guess I’ll print out your post and head over there tomorrow.

Interesting. My brother, sister and I have had many discussions over the years about what to get as presents for our parents’ various wedding anniversaries. But it has never occured to us to buy separate presents for Mum and Dad. Is that the norm in the US?

No, but it is in my family. My parents have different tastes and likes and dislikes in everything except their love and tolerance for each other. Also, my eight siblings and I are all stubborn individualists who would have a hard time agreeing on anything. It’s not the norm, but it works for us.

That’s for all the blocks; that’s why it’s so expensive, they charge you, say, $8 per month for each separate pattern. That’s a really fancy one, though, that belongs to a designer; there are zillions of ordinary patchwork patterns that are traditional and only cost something if someone puts them in a book.

A wedding ring pattern is traditional, and there’s not much need to buy a pattern, unless you get one of the new “easy” techniques. Which you could do. A wedding ring quilt is quite difficult–the sort of thing you do when you’re really good. So if your mom is really good, she would want to do it the hard way!

this is probably too late, since it’s already past “tomorrow”, but would any kind of friendship or memory quilt be feasible? It is possible to transfer pictures to fabric, or maybe people would like to contribute squares or pieces they’ve made for your mom. The quilt shop people could help you figure out how.

Try finding a $0.50 cent piece in good condition from the year of their marriage. Have it done up in a nice mount and frame for them.

I think it’s lovely, Frank. I don’t quilt myself, but my future mother-in-law does, and I would love a nice sewing pattern!

My brothers and I went in together and sent my parents on an Alaskan cruise. They absolutely loved it and neither of them are big travellers. I think it was the contained aspect of the trip - everything you needed was right there but if you wanted to take side trips, you could.

Just to glom on to the quilting stuff. The pattern is just the paper instructions about what fabric is needed and how to cut it up and put it back together again. A kit is a, well, a kit that includes the pattern as well as some or all of the fabrics needed to make the quilt. It often includes the fabric for the top of the quilt and maybe the binding that goes around the edge; the backing fabric and batt (the goes inside) are usually not included.

Assuming you are still awake, whole-cloth quilts are often used for commemorating things. That just means that the front and back are both solid pieces of fabric (usually white) and the whole design is in the quilting (sewing) that holds it together. IF she hand-quilts (many people don’t) and you are artistic, you could draw something that represents them. Of course most of the work will still be on her to quilt it.

Hey, wake up! Better a generous gift certificate to a quilt store because she could be picky and have her own taste in equipment and materials. Or as suggested a quilt retreat is a very nice thing.

This is awesome. My parents’ 50th is next month, too, and I have been trying to figure out what to get them.