A Signature Quilt for a New Beginning

signature quilt with it's recipients

The theme to the March/April 2019 issue of Love of Quilting is “new beginnings.” That could mean a new baby, graduation, retirement, or a wedding.

The Criss Cross Quilt

Take Criss Cross, a quilt by Abigail Dolinger. She knew we were interested in a signature quilt, which is a type of memory quilt popularized in the 1920s and 1930s. Typically constructed from Album quilt blocks, the patches are signed or stitched with names and sentiments.

Abigail jumped at the chance to make a signature quilt using Album quilt blocks because she found the perfect new beginning to pair it with.

Shirley and Albert Jenks were due to be married on September 8, 2018. The couple, who are in the 70s, are members of Abigail’s church. “I think it’s a great idea to use the white patches for signatures to celebrate a new beginning,” she wrote, when we first contacted her. “I’m sure I could ask folks at my church to sign for Shirley and Albert.”

The fabric collection, called Chloe from Maywood, features a print with a handwritten font, as well as geraniums, a cheerful flower that Shirley enjoys growing.

The fabric collection, called Chloe from Maywood, features a print with a handwritten font, as well as geraniums, a cheerful flower that Shirley enjoys growing.

 

Choosing the Fabric

The fabric line—Chloe from Maywood—turned out to be an ideal fit. The handwritten font fabric was perfect for an inner border of a signature quilt. Even better, “the line features geraniums, which Shirley enjoys growing. Perfect!”

A signature quilt like Criss Cross is a sweet way to commemorate the special day.

A signature quilt like Criss Cross is a sweet way to commemorate the special day.

Having everyone sign the Album quilt blocks at the wedding would be ideal, Abigail knew, because everyone would be present. Because it would involve setting up a signing station at the wedding, Abigail checked in with bride and groom to make sure that would be OK, rather than presenting the quilt as a surprise.

Shirley, who had long supported Abigail’s quilting endeavors, saw the fabrics and a picture of the blocks on the design wall, and was thrilled by the idea. “They were excited about friends who attend the wedding signing the quilt,” said Abigail. “As you can imagine, they really didn’t need household gifts. The signature quilt would be a great memory of their special day.”

Shirley and Albert Jenks were married on September 8, 2018. (Photos by Craig Lucas and Richard Pela, Shirley's grandsons-in-law.)

Shirley and Albert Jenks were married on September 8, 2018. (Photos by Craig Lucas and Richard Pela, Shirley’s grandsons-in-law.)

Planning the Quilt

Rather than have the completed quilt top for wedding guests to sign, Abigail chose provide the individual quilt blocks. “If someone made a mistake or messed up the signature space, I could remove that piece and add in another much more easily than if the quilt was entirely made,” she said. She would be able to complete the quilt top and present it Shirley and Albert when they returned from their honeymoon.

“I cut white fabric the size needed for the quilt blocks, and I pressed rectangles of freezer paper to the backs of each rectangle,” she said. “I drew a signature line well inside the seam allowance on the right side of each white rectangle with a water-soluble marker. Even so, folks scrawled into the seam allowance margin.”

Quilt blocks, pens, and a framed explanation waited just inside the reception hall. (Photos by Craig Lucas and Richard Pela, Shirley's grandsons-in-law.)

Quilt blocks, pens, and a framed explanation waited just inside the reception hall. (Photos by Craig Lucas and Richard Pela, Shirley’s grandsons-in-law.)

“I reserved one quilt block—the one in that would be in the upper left—for writing their names and the wedding date. All the other blocks were sent to the wedding.”

Signing the Blocks

A table was set up by the entrance to the reception hall, with two pens (Micron Pigma .05) provided to keep the line moving, and extras stashed under the table in case of malfunction.

Don't the colors of the blocks blend nicely with the colors in Shirley's bouquet? The little boy signing the block is Shirley's great-grandson! (Photos by Craig Lucas and Richard Pela, Shirley's grandsons-in-law.)

Don’t the colors of the blocks blend nicely with the colors in Shirley’s bouquet? The little boy signing the block is Shirley’s great-grandson! (Photos by Craig Lucas and Richard Pela, Shirley’s grandsons-in-law.)

“Most spaces were signed by wedding guests. I added a few sentiments and scripture references in the blank spaces.”

A signature quilt like this, bearing sweet sentiments and loving wishes from friends and family, will warm both body and heart.

Happy quilting, and best wishes to Shirley and Albert!

Vanessa

The pattern for this quilt appears in the March/April 2019 issue of Love of Quilting.

Explore more signature and memory quilts!

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