Quilting, Farming, Variety

Monday, November 8, 2010

Friendship Quilts

Karen (http://www.karensquilting.com/ ) posted pictures yesterday of her family gathering signatures for a quilt for her niece. It was very interesting and brought to mind the signature quilts I have. We always called them friendship quilts. I imagine they brought the friends together in a social situation and a great time was had by all.

This first quilt was probably made in the early 30's because it contains the maiden names of many of Mama's cousins, and she was married in 1932. Many of the fabrics have disintegrated and the names are no longer even visible. The backing is made from feed sacks.

Some names are still readable and were very well done, such as this one in a beautiful satin stitch. The entire quilt is in really bad shape but I don't want to part with it; someone else can do that later.

Another friendship quilt which came from Mama was this one with blocks pieced by women in the Extension Homemakers club she attended. I knew these women, most of whom have passed away. I'd date the quilt to be about 50 - 60 years old. The pattern is called "Hole in the Barn Door". Women in the group were given a cardboard template and then used their choice of fabrics to make the blocks. By this time most fabrics were purchased ones instead of sacks.

I know the woman who made this block; she is stilling living and is 100 years old. What beautiful handwork on her name.

The next picture is of a top I purchased at a flea market. When I realized it was the same pattern as the quilt I already had, I just had to have it for $20. It is badly stained and some fabrics are fairly thin, but the names are still intact. The solid pieces (white) vary greatly in color.

I especially like how so many of the women dated their blocks or put their hometown names on them. Isn't this one great; it gives an idea of how old the top is.

Now this is a group of blocks for my own friendship quilt which has been in the making since 1999. I gave each "friend" the white fabric so all blocks would be the same in that area, and asked her to include a little history, date, favorite Bible verse, etc. on the block with her name. For those who don't sew, I had extra blocks made up and let them write their names on the center, then I did the embroidery work. The biggest problem I've run into is this: not everyone makes the same 1/4" seam. lol So there will be some adjusting there when it's set together.

This green block was really the inspiration for choosing the pattern. (Please excuse the blurred picture; sometimes I get unsteady while taking them.) It was made by Mama, probably for an EH club quilt, and was never used but put back and forgotten. So when it fell into my hands I wanted to build a top around it. Of course the white sections are not like the rest of the blocks; will that matter? Otherwise it is well made and bright.

Another blurred block; this one was made by my mother-in-law in Jan., 2000. She included her date of birth and her favorite Bible verse, Psalm 46:1. She passed away in November, 2000.

Friendship quilts are to be treasured, not only for their historical value, but also as a reminder of our friends and the impacts they make on our lives. Too often I have to be reminded of this: Proverbs 18:24, "A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly; and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother".

Have a good day, my friends. Charlotte


  1. Interesting info on the friendship quilts - I still need to figure out how I will put all these blocks together - I am waiting until I find out how many blocks I have and then will need to sit down and look it over!

  2. These quilts are priceless, and surely do lead one down memory lane. It is kind of sad to think that many of the hands that held these blocks are gone, but their work lives on. But, that's the way it should be - our works should live on after we are gone.

  3. Did I ever complete a block for you????? I don't recall ever doing it.

  4. I love those quilts! I think we should take a picture of each person's block and Augustina Peach can put them in a digital album for us!

  5. Oh my gosh, these quilts are so precious, each signature testimony to a life lived. I hope there will be someone to care for them as you have, tatters and all. My journey into my grandmother's quilts has put me in a very sentimental state of mind with so much contemplation of past, present and future.

    I am making some progress on my grandmother's signature blocks. With the help of my dad, we have identified who each of the signatures are and have narrowed the date range 1934 - 1940. Now on to the 'for whom' question.

    Thank you for your help!