Textiles and the Triplett Sisters

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Album, Signature or Friendship Quilt…Oh My!

We are continuing to work on our Huguenot Friendship Quilt as our block of the month. It is an amazing quilt that contains many signatures that are either cross-stitched or embroidered into the quilt. If you haven’t seen this quilt yet, please be sure to follow this link and join us in making your own version of the quilt. Last week when showing this quilt in a presentation, I was asked if it was a signature quilt, friendship or album quilt.

The term “inscribed quilts” is really the catchall category for a variety of quilts that have multiple names/signatures. (The joy of finding a quilt with the maker’s signature is surpassed by finding a quilt with multiple signatures.) The signatures can be inked or stitched with a signature (cursive) or printed. The names can be stamped, written by one person with good penmanship, signed by each individual or any combination. The fashion of creating these quilts seems to be started by the fad of doing autograph books.

There are also number of categories of inscribed quilts:
Album...a quilt containing squares of appliqued designs or images.
Autograph...collection of signatures of famous or historic people.
Church...a quilt containing the names of all the members of the church.
Family...only family members have signed the quilt.
Friendship...usually blocks made by different people and presented as a completed gift quilt to a friend.
Fundraising...purchase the right to have your signature on the quilt. (Or in Maine, pay to guess a song!)
Memorial...people sign usually with a memory or story about the person.
Reunion...signatures of a group of people that have gathered together again.
Special Occasion...given as a gift for someone’s service to an organization or to commemorate an event.
Wedding...signatures of everyone that attended the blessed event.

Sometimes inscribed quilts can fit more than one category. The answer to the category might not be obvious until specific research on each name has been completed. For example, the quilt might appear to be a family quilt, until research reveals the signatures occurred at a wedding. Signature quilts are a treasure for the slice of history and cultural references contained in the many people that loaned their name for that quilt.