Signature or Memory Quilts

Quilts given by a group with Signature Blocks
History - Free Signature Blocks to Use - Images to See
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Five Free
Signature Blocks are
here to print and use.

Quilt history reports that Signature or Memory quilts were very popular with Victorian quilters in the mid-1800s. In the USA,  since the days of families moving West as pioneers, signature quilts have been given as gifts by families and groups of friends for a special occasion: a leave-taking, a birthday, an anniversary, a new baby, a retirement, or other special occasion.  There are blocks that are especially useful for signing with blank areas in the block. Permanent pens are used or sometimes embroidery for the signatures. Ironing freezer paper on the back of the fabric makes it easier to sign the fabric and keep it from shifting.

jhancock3.jpg (4432 bytes)Tips & Blocks for Making:

Dawn's pages suggest starting early.

Debby Kratovil shows a group of blocks useful for making signature quilts.

Sharon Curtis used a traced signature technique for a wedding signature quilt.

Cathie Sheehan's little baskets could be used for signatures.

jhancock3.jpg (4432 bytes)Here are some examples for viewing on the Web:

A collection of historical signature & presentation quilts at the Smithsonian Institute.

Jeanne Bender's autograph quilt has a different focus - a collection of celebrity signatures on her quilt.

Katy Blakslee, quilter Betty Reynold's mother, received this signature quilt (446 3" signatures!) for her 80th birthday. And, Betty's father, Ed Blakslee received an equally impressive quilt for this 80th as well which included topical fabrics and 400 signatures. Debbie Kratovil designed the blocks for Betty to use.

Sometimes quilts were made for fund raising and each person paid to have his or her name embroidered on the quilt. See this redwork version from 1916. Click on the small photo to see this larger version.

Here's a new idea - signers get to vote on the wedding gift quilt layout they like best before signing the blocks! The link is no longer good, but this group of friends put up a web page for viewing by the wedding guests to decide on the style of quilt block they'd all sign as part of the wedding gift - neat!

And how about a 4 MILLION signatures Millennium quilt for the Girl Scouts?!

Women of Steel shows an all metal signature quilt done in the style of a "string" (strip pieced) quilt - the tradition moves into new media.

Susan Druding

2000-2005 - copyright Susan C. Druding