Friendship Quilts

Date: Wed, 13 Jul 1994 10:27:17
From: Mary
Subject: Friendship quilt

I have decided (!) to create a memory/friendship/album quilt for my parents' 40th anniversary next year. I plan to request input from a variety of family and friends, some of whom I don't really know. To facilitate, I plan to send an explanatory letter/instruction sheet along with a 6" (well, 7" so I have some seam allowance) block of muslin backed with freezer paper. I would like to call on the *collected knowledge, wisdom, and experience* of this group to be sure I don't make some horrible mistake. I will briefly summarize the instructions I will include; please oh please if anyone has any comments or sees any problems let me know! I will, of course, summarize for the list.

Oh, first one question: Is it true that you can type on freezer-paper-backed muslin? If so, how permanent is it?

Ok, here are my instructions (altho I elaborate a little more):

1) use waterproof permanent pens, fabric paint; even a laundry pen. Please do not use a ball-point pen
2) be sure to include your name
3) include any other thing you want, including embroidery, writing, cross stitch, (typing?), paint; anything soft (no buttons, sequins, etc.); include a drawing, a saying, a memory, a special date: ANYTHING!
4) remember that this is a permanent, lasting memory quilt for them, so think in terms of creating something to last forever (i.e. don't be too flip!)

So, have I covered the appropriate bases? I assume that most of these folks don't own Pygma pens (imagine!), so I mentioned laundry pens; are there other, more common things folks can use? I don't want to be too verbose (and, as you can tell, I tend to be!); I don't want to put anyone off, but I also don't want a whole quilt full of six inch squares with a signature in the middle that say "Congratulations!" Oh, I plan to alternate the six inch muslin blocks with, probably, six inch nine patch blocks; I really need to get the signed blocks back, to find out how many I have to work with, before I can finalize the layout.

Feel free to all answer at once! I want to get these in the mail soon, 'cause I am SO EXCITED about this!!!!!!!!


Date: Wed, 13 Jul 1994 11:11:38 PDT
From: Karen
Subject: Re: Friendship quilt

Another thought - remember to tell them not to write in the seam allowances (or mark the usable area for them). This was the biggest problem I had with a similar project - people kept writing/painting/drawing into the seams and I ended up losing parts of things when putting blocks together.


Date: Thu, 14 Jul 1994 10:16:12
From: Marina
Subject: Re: friendship quilt

I have a question--if you back the muslin with freezer paper, how do you expect them to applique or do any other type of needlework to it? It might be better to include a piece of freezer paper and tell them how to press it on if they want to use it.

Also, I would include some scrap pieces of the muslin so they can practice writing, "laundry pens" might bleed and create unattractive writing. Tell them to use the scraps for practice and to make sure the pen they are using is a good one for fabric.

You might also consider embroidering over their writing if the pen they use is not permanent or too light.

The quilt will be a treasure even if every single block isn't, go for it! :-)


Date: Thu, 28 Jul 1994 09:58:25
From: Mary
Subject: Summary: Album Quilt

I asked for help a couple weeks ago in getting started with my parents' 40th anniversary quilt. I promised to summarize for the list; here it is. It is *very*long*, because I got so many helpful responses. The only caveat is that, since I've only just sent out all the packets, I don't really know what's gonna work and what isn't. As they come back in, if there's anything y'all should know, I'll post again. In no particular order:

1. Mark a margin; to get 6 inch finished squares, I machine basted a 5 1/2 inch margin (pencil or other markings must be removed).
2. Iron on freezer paper for people to write on; mention that if they sew, x-stitch, whatever, just to remove the paper. Mention NOT to write on the paper side, but the fabric side.
3. Allow for off-centeredness: I cut 7 1/2 in squares.
4. Send two squares (in case of error). This was *expensive* and *doubled my time*. I don't know if it was necessary, since I haven't gotten any back yet.
5. To send markers or not? Several suggested sending markers with the packet; I did not, because I wanted people to be creative, not just sign their names with one marker. Holdouts (and there will be some) may get a marker from me to get their blocks in gear.
6. Packet: Two squares in a ziplok bag, SASE return envelope, cover letter, instructions. (Two stamps required to send out; one for return.)
7. Utensils: Regular Crayola Crayons, when heat-set, do work, with some fading with the first washing. I also suggested *fabric* paint or *fabric* pens, cross-stitch, embroidery. Pens? Oooh, boy, what a variety of opinions on Sharpies! I heard from two people who had a quilt *ruined* by a Sharpie that bled, but I heard from many people who swear by them. I am inclined to conclude that Sharpie's quality is not consistent, but that overall they work fine. HOWEVER, they do "seep" when you write with them, especially when they are new. A half hour or so with the top off make them easier to use. The key is to use a practice fabric to see how fast you need to move the pen. I found the "fine" tip way too fat: the "ultrafine" was still not as fine as I would like.
8. Signature: several people mentioned that I should request each block be signed in addition to any other work done on it; I also heard (and believe!) that folks will sign the BACK, unless you specifiy that they sign the front.
9. Keepsake: Suggest people include a note to the couple, and compile a memory book to go with the quilt; ask them to specify what they used on the block (so you know if it's ok); I'm keeping a written record of the making of the quilt (who I asked, whose addresses I couldn't find, all the close calls of mom and dad almost finding out about it, etc.)
10. Other: folks suggested sun printing (QNM did an article about it not long ago) and photo transfers, both as potentially center medallions.
11. The best piece of advice I got: "Do not underestimate how your carefully crafted instructions will get misinterpreted!" Again, it's too early in the process to know the particulars, but this prepared me better for what I'm bound to get back!

I just finished sending out about 60 to out-of-towners; another 20 or so intowners in the next week or two. Then the waiting....and reminding.... and waiting.....and worrying.....and reminding begin. I hope to start putting the top together as early as December or early January. I had planned to have it quilted on a quilting machine (not my fav part, either), but I suspect that's not gonna work out, so I need lots of time to somehow quilt this baby myself!

Thanks, as always, for all your help!

 World Wide Quilting Page * FAQ's Page