Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Beginnings of Quilting, Part IV

Traditionally speaking, "album quilts" were parting quilts made for a minister's wife when the minister accepted another position in a different church, then moved. The ladies of the church would come together and make one block each, from her own material (stash!) and sign with her name. The block usually contained a Bible verse, as well.

Often, men's names can be found on antique album quilts, so not all of the blocks in a quilt were signed by the makers themselves. Men who wished to be remembered by the clergyman and his wife would persuade a female relative to do the work.

Today, album quilts are sometimes called "signature quilts". Although a part of our quilting heritage for a long time, album quilts are now not specifically designated as a parting quilt for a minister's wife, but are seen as a going away gift for someone or to simply leave as a legacy.

There are many variations of the traditional album blocks, but all hold one element in common: A place for a signature. As we step into the future with technology, however, album blocks take on new meaning. Scanned handprints, photo blocks, special graphics... all add to the enrichment of an album block.

One can only imagine the many smiles that an album quilt brought to a minister's wife, long after she had left her husband's flock. These quilts were held in high esteem and she considered herself blessed to have received one!

This article in its entirety is found on Quilting Passion.


  1. I have enjoyed the history of the hope chest of quilts and linens. I have missed the forum for we went on a trip and did not have access to a computer. There has not been much discussion on the forum since you also went on a trip. Please enter me in your drawing. I have been reading the forum since before it moved from About. I did start a Christmas Quilt a long time a go. I did not know to use 100 percent cotton in the background and the white was a blend and when I pressed it, it melted and I did not finish it.

  2. Thanks, Phyllis! I enjoy the research and writing very much! Sorry to hear about your "melted" experience. I did that once!


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