The biggest gift we were given for our wedding was the gift of a handmade quilt that we used as a chuppah from my mom and her Quilty Ladies – from L to R – Nancy, Judy, Ann, Mom, Miyoko, and Susie. An untold number of stitches done with love over an untold number of hours combined to create a stunning heirloom gift that we are so very honored to have.
What is a chuppah, some of you might be asking? In our ceremony we explained: “In the Jewish tradition, marriages take place under a chuppah. A chuppah represents a home. Just as the chuppah is open on all four sides, so was the tent of Abraham open for hospitality. Thus, the chuppah represents hospitality to one’s guests – that’s all of you, our family, friends, and loved ones. This symbolic home lacks furnishings to remind us that a home is the family, not the belongings, within it.”
“For our chuppah, we had a quilt made for us using linens from all branches of our family trees. They were sewn together, symbolizing the unification of many into the one fabric of our lives together. The quilt was made by friends and family signifying the warmth and support of family and friends in building a life together. It is also an object of beauty and comfort, symbolizing the beauty and comfort that we bring into each other’s lives. ”
With help from my mom and Adam’s mom, I collected linens from all four of the branches of our family tree. My mom pieced them into a heart to sew to the back of the finished quilt. I had initially wanted them pieced into the blocks on the front of the quilt, but the Quilty Ladies were concerned that the older linens wouldn’t be strong enough (and they are the experts).
Ann, (namesake of my Queen Ann’s Lace Gloves) designed the quilt and coordinated the efforts of the Susie, Judy, and Miyoko in stitching the applique for the quilt. Ann stitched the center block adapted from a wreath in Deborah Kemball’s Beautiful Botanicals.
The letters are from Janice Vain’s Applique and Embroidery Fundamentals.
The borders were inspired by Sharon Pederson’s Rose of Sharon book.
Look at this stitching. Isn’t it phenomenal? I mean you can’t even see the stitches on the needle turn applique!
My mom did all of the quilting in the quilt. She did it all freehand on her longarm and borrowed floral motifs from the applique as well as her own feathers, leaves, and swirls.
Nancy doesn’t applique, so she put her phenomenal embroidery skills to work making the quilt label. That “Island Bouquet” text at the top of the label that looks so perfect? That’s embroidered! As is the bouquet and the little flowers around the edge. Labeling quilts is such an important way to honor their creators and ensure that their history is passed along with them, so having such a beautiful label feels quite apt.