I picked a pattern that played into my grandfather's love of fishing, the "Why Men Fish" chart by Sue Hillis. Worked on it for 3 weeks, got it professionally framed and it looks pretty good if do say so myself. The frame color complimented the fabric nicely. I wrapped it and waited for him to open it today.
He did, and pushed it under the table to open his next gift. Didn't say 'thank you', didn't comment on it. I was flabbergasted. Once all the gifts were opened and trash cleaned up, I pulled it out and had him show it to my dad (his son). Dad commented on how nice it was, and grandfather just pushed it under the table again without saying anything. Lather, rinse, repeat with two other relatives. Then I gave up.
Never again. Next time I'll get him a bottle of liquor and call it even. 5 minutes shopping and DONE. No stress, no fuss. It's not worth it.
The tiny silver lining is that my dad and stepmom did seem to like it, and appreciate the work that went into it. So there is a good chance they'll be the one to get a stitched gift next year. Maybe a bottle of wine or a map of Napa Valley, which plays in to /their/ interests. Anyone know where I can find a pattern of a map like that? :)