Monday, April 16, 2007

Wedding Traditions: Creating the Wedding Quilt

by Frances Burks

The wedding quilt has had a long, significant role in America. It even appears that the oldest surviving North American quilt is a wedding quilt. According to "The History of the Patchwork Quilt: Origins, Traditions and Symbols of a Textile Art" by Schnuppe von Gwinner, that oldest example, as far as we know, is Anna Tuels' wedding quilt, which was given to her by her mother in Maine on August 23, 1785.

In the 1800s, quiltings (now commonly known as quilting bees) were popular and were often held to mark special occasions, particularly engagements and weddings. Girls were expected to sew several quilt tops for their dowries; ultimately, quiltings were often equivalent to engagement announcements.

While we may not be so concerned with dowries these days, the making of a wedding quilt is still a valued tradition. Whether you want to make a wedding quilt yourself or have it made by The Frances Burks Decorative Arts Studios, here are some unique suggestions for creating a quilt that will be cherished for years to come:

Bring the quilting bee into the 21st century and host an online "bee" to create a wedding signature quilt. Simply have well wishers send their names and/or short messages to your e-mail address. Take all the names and messages you receive and transfer them to fabric, then use the "signed" fabric to create the wedding quilt. There are several products available for transferring images and inscriptions to fabric. You can even print images and words on fabric using a computer Inkjet printer. Many craft, fabric, and office-supply stores carry such products.

If you want to transfer photos and inscriptions to fabric to create a wedding quilt, consider using photos that will not only preserve wedding memories, but also enhance home decor. For example, use honeymoon photos of a beautiful sunset or ocean scene. Preserve the bridal bouquet by incorporating a close-up photo of it into the quilt design. As for inscriptions, consider incorporating the wedding vows, newlyweds' names, or a favorite poem into the quilt design.

Instead of having wedding guests sign a guest book, have them sign fabric squares that will later be sewn together to make a wedding quilt. For best results, have the guests sign with a permanent fabric marker. Additionally, make sure a quarter-inch space is left blank around all sides of the squares so that when the squares are sewn together, names and messages won't be lost in the quarter-inch seam. To determine the best method for this, practice the technique on a few fabric squares before the wedding day. Alternatively, have wedding-shower guests sign fabric squares and incorporate those into the wedding quilt.

Create a central-medallion quilt in which the center of the quilt is a monogram using the initials of the bride and groom. The medallion can then be surrounded by quilt borders that incorporate the wedding flower and/or wedding colors.

For a more casual look, consider a wedding quilt made with T-shirts commemorating the honeymoon spot or other places that are special to the newlyweds.

Essentially, there is no wrong way to design a wedding quilt. Whether you make the quilt yourself or have it made, the making of the wedding quilt is one tradition that will never be out of style.

From The American Chronicle

No comments: