Saturday, April 24, 2010


Naming Quilts

Quilting is such a heritage with us…begun of necessity by grandparents generations ago; piecing remnants from sewing and fabric from worn clothing outgrown or worn through at knees or elbows. Sewn by hand, the quilts or comforters were hand quilted or knotted with yarn, often stuffed with a worn blanket and backed with feed sacks. Colors were what they were, whatever was on hand. Grandma Oe liked some red in hers – she had an eye for beauty. I’m thinking ancestors had little time for conjuring up quilt labels in those days. They did well to get the chores done and lay by blankets for cold weather.

By the time you’ve cut, pieced and quilted, you have developed a standing relationship with a quilt. For me, getting them pieced is the fun part (I have daughters and granddaughters enough to do all the quilting) and assigning a name is the icing on the cake. Sometimes the title relates to color or pattern; sometimes it speaks to the intended owner of the quilt. Always it is a matter of whimsy of the quilt maker. I’ve taken to Nines’ practice of putting names, places and dates on the quilt label as a way of building legacy. I hope on the label the title will appear as a peek into my mind (now there’s a scary thought) and the passage of time.

I could never match Grandma Oe’s penchant for unusual children’s names (having only four and a very traditional husband); but I try to employ her creative genes in quilt naming. To name a few: Tumble Weed, Fifth Child, Blueberry Lattice, Singing Stars and Dancing Waters, Teelside Ties, Shaggy Cowboys, Mulberry Harvest, Rainbows & Lollipops, White Picket Fences & All things Rosy; Peppermint Stars – a Cabin for Oe, Far Side of the Hill, Crumb Pudding, All Her Winsome Ways. There are 48 quilts on my list and I’m sure I’ve forgotten several. Yes, it is an addiction.

Should you have in your possession a precious quilt of known origin that has no label, take a moment to label it. A fine point permanent marker on a backside corner will do. If you write there what you know about the quilt – its maker and an approximate date – it’s history will be preserved when you pass it on.