Wink and Smile Handmade Quilt

Wink and a Smile Handmade Quilt from 2017 Piece and Plenty Quilt Guild. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Wink and a Smile Handmade Quilt from 2017 Piece and Plenty Quilt Guild. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Wink and A Smile Handmade Quilt

What do you think of when you hear the expression a “wink and a smile?”

I think of music but my assumption was tested at the 2017 Piece and Plenty Quilt Guild Show in Rolla, Missouri.

At this bi-annual event, I found a lovely handmade quilt called a “Wink and a Smile” and I pondered the name as I took a closer look at the handiwork in each of the custom quilt blocks.

The first blocks that caught my attention were the yellow ones.

Bright quilt block from Wink and a Smile Handmade Quilt, (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Bright quilt block from Wink and a Smile Handmade Quilt, (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Up close, the blocks in a Wink and a Smile handmade quilt each have their own story to tell. Besides the interaction between two cotton fabrics with yellow, detailed quilting adds a dimension to the overall design.

How quilters meld fabrics into their designs is an art all of its own. The intricacy of this handmade quilt is different than how one of my quilters included similar fabrics in a Lone Star Queen Handmade Quilt.

Now take a look at how the same machine quilting changes with the Wink and A Smile Handmade Quilt block color, this one a darker, purple tone.

Purple Wink and a Smile Handmade Quilt block. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Purple Wink and a Smile Handmade Quilt block. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

The story behind a Wink and a Smile Handmade Quilt is also a reminder that these fabric pieces are not thrown together in days, it can literally take years to get them completed.

Quick story behind Wink and a Smile Handmade Quilt. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Quick story behind Wink and a Smile Handmade Quilt. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

A quick peek at one more Wink and a Smile Handmade Quilt block, this one featuring pink cottons. Again look at how the same machine quilting looks different yet again.

One more quilt block, this one in pink for Wink and a Smile Quilt. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

One more quilt block, this one in pink for Wink and a Smile Quilt. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Do you suppose that’s how this charming handmade quilt got its name?

Charlotte

Dragon Dance Handmade Quilt Wall Hanging

What a charming way to celebrate a Chinese New Year! (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

What a charming way to celebrate a Chinese New Year! (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Dragon Dance Handmade Quilt Wall Hanging

Are your January days cold and dreary? Ours in mid-Missouri are so this time of year I try to bring in as much color into my house as I can. I still have poinsettias with their leaves turned red and pink; some of my moth orchids have re-bloomed and salvaged begonias are brightening up my kitchen.

It’s at this time of year that I also think about how to warm up my rooms with quilted wall hangings.At the bottom of my steps to my basement, I just hung a Four Seasons Lap Quilt Wall Hanging to brighten the landing and remind myself winter will soon be over. Luckily many small handmade quilts or lap quilts and throws like this one also include tabs on the back so they can easily be made into wall hangings. When not in use, the tabs sit flat on the back and don’t interfere with using the handmade quilt for naps.

One of my favorite places for home decor inspiration is local quilt shows such as the 2017 Piece and Plenty Quilt Guild in Rolla. One of the custom handmade quilts and quilted wall hangings that I would love to have on my wall this time of year is the Dragon Dance custom handmade quilt and wall hanging featured here.

Made by Laurie Miller, of Rolla, this lovely piece of fiber art won a first place for the best incorporation of the challenge fabric. In other words, the quilter was given a fabric they had to incorporate into their custom handmade quilt and Laurie was the best in show. Nice going, Laurie!

Take a closer look at the lovely, detailed dragon head. The eyes are amazingly detailed and I love how the fabrics compliment instead of compete with each other. With the variety of printed fabrics, this could easily have been a visual disaster but Laurie selected fabrics that hold their own:

The closeup shows the fabric details including the dragon eyes. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

The closeup shows the fabric details including the dragon eyes. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

When I first started my custom quilt business, my first quilter and I used to spend hours pouring over potential project fabrics to ensure that we had the right fabric combinations. Since then, I have seen dozens of beautifully- made custom handmade quilts that suffered from poor fabric selection. If the fabrics are wrong, it doesn’t matter how accomplished the quilter is, incompatible fabric colors will lead one’s eye.

Which is yet another accomplishment of this custom handmade quilt, even with all of the primary colors and strong tones, they seem to like each other.

And can you imagine this hanging on a wall in your house brightening up the corner?

Nice recognition of the lovely quilting work! (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Nice recognition of the lovely quilting work! (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Me, too!

Charlotte

Lollipop Garden Handmade Quilt Wall Hanging

This Lollipop Garden handmade quilt wall hanging was featured at a 2015 quilt show. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

This Lollipop Garden handmade quilt wall hanging was featured at a 2015 quilt show. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Lollipop Garden Handmade Quilt Wall Hanging

My garden has been flowerless for months. A blanket of snow now covers the hillside, adding an elegant dimension to the trees and flower beds but I miss color.

This is an excellent time to review some custom handmade quilts that are also quilt wall hangings. There is no quicker way to bring color and design into a room than to hang a handmade quilt.

This handmade quilt wall hanging has color, whimsy and three dimensions through the machine quilting. The fabric colors certainly catch one’s eye with the purples and chartreuse. It’s not until one gets closer that one sees the details of the machine quilting, which adds another layer of flowers to the overall quilt design.

Quilting adds a lovely dimension to Lollipop Garden Handmade Quilt Wall Hanging. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Quilting adds a lovely dimension to Lollipop Garden Handmade Quilt Wall Hanging. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

The lollipop garden flowers are also interesting. They remind me of a modern take on the yo-yo’s that where once popular handmade quilts.

The incorporation of the chartreuse fabrics is also interesting. A modern take on green, chartreuse used to be the exception to the rule. The popularity of chartreuse makes this Lime Green Double Wedding Ring Quilt a modern version of the traditional patchwork wedding quilt design.

This quilt wall hanging was featured at the Piece and Plenty Quilt Guild Show in 2015 in Rolla, Mo.

The Hoffman Challenge recognized the best handmade quilts wall hangings and how they incorporated fabrics. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

The Hoffman Challenge recognized the best handmade quilts wall hangings and how they incorporated fabrics. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

As many quilt shows do, this custom handmade garden quilt was entered in the Hoffman Challenge category, which recognized the best incorporation of fabrics into the quilt design.

I’m just happy to see a bright spot of color amidst the cold Missouri winter!

Charlotte

Basket Handmade Quilt

Can you spot all of the baskets in this handmade quilt by a master gardener friend?

Can you spot all of the baskets in this handmade quilt by a master gardener friend?

Basket Handmade Quilt

As I was dusting off some of my favorite baskets earlier today thinking of spring, I remembered this handmade basket quilt from the fall 2017 Piece and Plenty Quilt Guild quilt show in Rolla, Missouri. The handmade quilt had been made by a master gardener colleague of mine but what I recalled was that I had intended to count how many actual baskets were featured in the quilt.

Baskets are an important element in my life. Besides cat napping spots and storage areas for books, I keep baskets to carry plants around in my garden so I keep many baskets in various shapes and sizes around my house.

This lovely, award-winning quilt also seems to suggest baskets are good for a variety of chores, starting with collecting strawberries.

This strawberry seems to be growing in it's own basket!

This strawberry seems to be growing in it's own basket!

Each one of these quilt blocks feature lovely baskets such as the strawberry sitting in its very own colorful container. An applique red bird appears to be getting ready to fly off ned to a basket holding a pretty flower.

Look at how the machine quilting adds nice texture to the quilt background.

This red bird is keeping a lovely flower in a basket company.

This red bird is keeping a lovely flower in a basket company.

This side of the handmade basket quilt, with the award ribbons, feature smaller baskets.

Basket handmade quilt won a second place award at the quilt guild show last fall.

Basket handmade quilt won a second place award at the quilt guild show last fall.

Each handmade quilt has it's own story, one of my favorite parts of any quilt show. This quilt took a little extra time from start to finish, according to Marilyn's accounting but it sure was worth the effort!

One of the wonder features of any handmade quilt is the story behind its making.

One of the wonder features of any handmade quilt is the story behind its making.

In addition to the variety of baskets, I liked the fabric color combinations, the bright colors will help this quilt have a long life.

Charlotte

Perfectly Seasoned Thanksgiving Quilt

I know these squirrels, I've seen them in my garden, in particular in my Bartlett pear tree!

I know these squirrels, I've seen them in my garden, in particular in my Bartlett pear tree!

Perfectly Seasoned Thanksgiving Handmade Quilt

It was hard not to be drawn to this charming handmade quilt displayed at the 2017 Piece and Plenty Quilt Guild Show in Rolla, Missouri in October. The quilt colors are bright and captivating, as are the pilgrim-dressed squirrels at the top of this brand new quilt. The teeny tiny pumpkins the male squirrel is carrying are very impressive, too, imagine how small those fabric pieces were to cut out, the quilter must have been very patient and very careful!

From a distance, the overall quilting in the white space adds a nice dimension to the quilt.

From a distance, the overall quilting in the white space adds a nice dimension to the quilt.

Each of the quilt blocks in the center also have individual characters, from the owl and the pumpkin to more squirrels, acorns and wreaths.

If I were to start a collection of quilted wall hangings, this would be one I would want to make to represent Thanksgiving and have it hanging on a wall somewhere, maybe in an entrance or a den wall, where I could enjoy it every day.

That's one of the advantages of quilted wall hangings, they can quickly change the theme of a room and update home decor to a seasonal mood.

Glad to see the quilter saying this was a "fun" quilt to piece, that's as it should be.

Glad to see the quilter saying this was a "fun" quilt to piece, that's as it should be.

This next quilt block helps to show the detail of the machine quilting, which gives this handmade quilt so much texture.

It still surprises me how much quilting can change the final look of a quilt.

Cute orange pumpkin block sits in the middle of the detailed quilting in the white space.

Cute orange pumpkin block sits in the middle of the detailed quilting in the white space.

Here's wishing your home has a "perfectly seasoned" Thanksgiving, from ours, which is definitely more squirrelly!

Charlotte

The Word Quilt

This custom handmade quilt combined floral prints with patchwork blocks and special words.

This custom handmade quilt combined floral prints with patchwork blocks and special words.

The Word Quilt

Do you know the expression "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me?" 

I thought about that little saying when I first saw this custom handmade quilt on display at the Piece and Plenty Quilt Guild annual show in Rolla, Missouri. Not that I believe those words because words can hurt. Just think about all of the bullying we see around us today.

Words can also heal. And elevate. And affirm....such power from 26 letters in the alphabet!

As someone who learned to speak English as my fourth language, and struggled with it - still do some days - every word was a new discovery. So I could relate to the description that accompanied this handmade quilt by Kathi Crawford:

Love the story behind every custom handmade quilt almost as much as the quilt itself.

Love the story behind every custom handmade quilt almost as much as the quilt itself.

As I was perusing the blocks for the first word Kathi had featured, I smiled. Who would have thought this word was worth a block all by itself, but it "did."

Such a simple word "did" but it also reminded me of all of those unfinished project piles....

Such a simple word "did" but it also reminded me of all of those unfinished project piles....

Another very special word in this custom handmade quilt, and one that is precious when one truly finds one. I can remember my mother saying in life one is lucky to have a handful of people one can truly call "friend."

A word that means so much, and we have so few of them really in our lives, a "friend."

A word that means so much, and we have so few of them really in our lives, a "friend."

What other words would you include in your custom quilt?

Charlotte

Red and White Spring Handmade Quilt

Cynthia Felts made this design for what she called a red and white spring handmade quilt.

Cynthia Felts made this design for what she called a red and white spring handmade quilt.

Red and White Spring Handmade Quilt

When I think of spring garden   sampler colors, pastels usually come to mind - soft pink, baby blue, spring yellow, iris purples. In other words, red and white is not one of the usual spring color combinations. As I was going through the quilted wall hanging section of this quilt show, this Red and White Spring Handmade Quilt caught my attention for that reason, at first.

I also liked the different applique baskets around the border, each one of them a different fabric. Some baskets even have a handle gone askew, which is more like some of my typical flower baskets.

This is one of a number of handmade quilts that were featured at the 2015 Piece and Plenty Quilt Guild show in Rolla, Missouri. 

Here is the story about how this handmade quilt turned quilted wall hanging was designed from the quilt designer herself, Cynthia Felts:

This handmade quilt was also quilted on a home machine.

This handmade quilt was also quilted on a home machine.

In addition to the unique design and color combination, this charming quilt was also quilted on a home machine. Look at the lovely swirls in the background that give this quilt its rich design.

It may not be a traditional spring color but now red and white is one of my favorite spring colors!

Charlotte

Custom Printed Wedding Quilt Block

A customer's wedding invitation he needed printed onto our custom fabric blocks.

A customer's wedding invitation he needed printed onto our custom fabric blocks.

Custom Printed Wedding Quilt Block

This Bluebird Gardens customer was making a quilt as a wedding gift and needed this "Eternal Love" wedding invitation design printed on fabric.

We have tried a number of printable fabrics and this one is the best one we have found on the market, an especially-treated white muslin that peels off the paper backing so that it can be cut to size.

These custom fabric blocks are washable in cold water; dry on cool, just as our custom quilts should be washed.

The wedding invitation now printed on our custom fabric block.

The wedding invitation now printed on our custom fabric block.

Anything that can be printed can be scanned and placed on these muslin fabric blocks. Photos, original art, mementos such as tickets, invitations, cards - whatever is special that can be scanned can be printed.

We use these same photo fabric blocks when making our custom photo memory quilts, custom children's art quilts and quilts out of clothing with photos incorporated.

A close up of the design of this charming wedding invitation we printed on muslin fabric.

A close up of the design of this charming wedding invitation we printed on muslin fabric.

So pretty, and the printed colors look just as bright as the original design!

Charlotte

Custom Personalized Memory Throw

A friend made this custom personalized memory throw for a family member.yM

A friend made this custom personalized memory throw for a family member.yM

Custom Personalized Memory Throw

Just in time for Christmas planning, here's how to easily make a custom personalized memory throw.

This is a quilt one of my friends made for a family member. She had never sewn, or quilted before so you know this is going to be an easy project. So simple, she used marbled solid fabrics so family members could write on them with an indelible ink pen.

Did they write on the quilt blocks before or after it was put together? Afterwards!

We printed some of the photos on fabric and she cut them into the same size as the fabric blocks.

She added a solid frame around the blocks and an prairie point quilt edging. 

The custom personalized memory throw was finished with prairie point quilt edges.

The custom personalized memory throw was finished with prairie point quilt edges.

Turned out quite well, don't you think?

Charlotte

Custom Sleeping Cats Quilt in Pink Fabrics

Choosing fabrics for a custom sleeping cats quilt in pinks.

Choosing fabrics for a custom sleeping cats quilt in pinks.

Custom Sleeping Cats Quilt in Pink Fabrics

Making custom quilts are a lot of fun because we get to know our customers. In this custom sleeping cats quilt order,  the customer wanted a queen-size quilt in pink tones. Since pinks can range from cheek-soft to sunset deep pink, we start with a variety of pink fabrics so the customer can tell us which direction they want to go in with the fabric tones.

In addition, choosing fabrics is a treat since we can make all of them different or repeat fabrics and fabric color patterns. If in doubt about the colors, send us a paint chip card to make sure we are matching the colors you want.

In this custom order, the customer liked the five fabrics in pink and white tones so that is what we will be using.

Why pink? 

The customer has two rescue cats. From their descriptions, pink is their color!

Charlotte

In Memory Of

I catch myself sometimes when I hear someone describe Bluebird Gardens as a quilt-making company. Considering the projects we complete, I think of us more as repurposing memories, especially on this Memorial Day weekend when we should take time out to remember loved ones who are no longer with us.

We do make a wide range of custom quilts; some traditional, most unique to the customer. What makes our custom quilts and associated projects different is that often we are making a memory catcher for someone who has died. It may be a quilt out of clothing from a departed husband; a wife who died of cancer, or a quilt a wife with cancer is having us make for each of her children so they will remember her when she's gone.

The quilts out of departed children's clothing with pictures are the hardest. Looking at those young faces, I think about the souls those faces represent who have left us much too soon.

To some, Memorial Day weekend is about the beginning of summer. To us at Bluebird Gardens, Memorial Day weekend is a time to remember all of our customers and the memories we were honored to help them capture.

Charlotte

"I Spy" in Garden Quilt

Easter is a time of renewal, especially in a garden

Every day there is something new growing, or returning, to my limestone hillside garden. The spirit of renewal has been nicely captured in this "I Spy" Garden Quilt made by 7 members of Rolla, Missouri's Piece and Plenty Quilt Guild.

The guild, by the way, is planning a fall 2015 show where they feature the work of their very talented members.

Whether its animals, or flowers, this teamwork applique and patchwork quilt is fun to see.

What all do you "spy"?

Pretty applique blue larkspur. What else?

No garden is complete without a hummingbird or two!

Or one, or two, rabbits.

Happy Easter!

Charlotte

New Bluebird Gardens Quilt Care Guide

Over the years, we have shipped our quilts with a quilt care guide so they live a long fabric life in their new homes.

First it was a full page on the back of an invoice, then a folded brochure, neither one necessarily the easiest items to store for easy access.

For 2015, I am happy to introduce our new business-card size quilt care guide, easy to store with other business cards if you need to retrieve later. You can also now easily tuck the quilt care guide into a sewing basket or jewelry box as a special memento of the personalized gift.

For Bridgett, who ordered a custom dachshund quilt as her Christmas present but didn't get it until January, we added a gift card from her husband Jim so that when she opened the box, it looked like a present.

If you need more detailed information on quilt care, we also have a more extensive quilt care guide online. You are also always welcome to ask us.

Do you have any questions or issues with caring for your quilts?

Charlotte

 

 

Snowman "It's a Wonderful Life" Quilt

Inspired by the classic Christmas season movie "It's a Wonderful Life," this handmade Snowman 'It's a Wonderful Life" Quilt tells a different story.

Pieced by Laura Cook and machine quilted by Rose Hamer, both with Gone to Pieces Quilt Guild, St. Robert, Missouri, this is an artistic quilt rendition of Kathi Crawford's life "as told by my Mom." There's a little bit of everything in this quilt from applique and patchwork to embroidery and collages.

Now snowmen quilts I have seen are throwing snowballs, singing carols and, well, melting - not parachuting out of airplanes and riding motorcyles:

Yes, in this custom-made quilt the snowman - or should I saw snowwoman, is parachuting!

All in all, it is a pretty wonderful life, don't you think?

What To Do with Extra Quilt Panels

Sometimes when making a quilt from printed panels, you end up with an extra quilt block or two. In this case, we had two extra blocks, both too cute to pitch.

We used the extra blocks to make a matching pillow for a quilt destined to become a nursery wall hanging. It's a reversible pillow, with a cat on one side, a dog on the other.

To make sure the baby quilt lives a versatile life, we also added a 3-inch sleeve on the back so the baby quilt can easily be hung on a curtain rod. When not in use, the sleeve lays flat against the back and is almost invisible.

Nothing like being cute, and practical.

What would you do with an extra quilt block or two?

Charlotte

Custom Kids Drawing Quilt

This customer contacted me in the fall wanting to make a special gift for a wonderful someone moving to Seattle. After discussing several options, I suggested having kids draw their own quilt blocks we could scan and print on fabric.

After several months, I received a package of 5x7 inch cards, each with a special design.We settled on organic cotton with a tree pattern and a white solid cotton frame around each block. After outline quilting around each block with a small meandering pattern in between, the custom quilt was finished and ready to take it's wonderful good wishes to Washington State.

Handmade Quilts

When I first moved back to the US, everything was a "quilt" because it was the one word my siblings and I learned to use for bedding. Some of our customers use other words to refer to quilts so here's the definition of some of the most-used words. According to Webster's Dictionary, a handmade quilt is a "bed cover made of two layers of cloth filled with down, wool and stitched together in lines or patterns."

Comforters are a "quilted bed covering," although some have told me it's a medium to heavy quilt that has been hand-tied instead of finished with machine or hand quilting.

Bedspreads are "a cover spread over the blanket on a bed mainly for ornament," which can also be a quilt.

Whatever you call them, handmade quilts are usually first thought of something that covers a bed, and can be much more!

What Makes Handmade Quilts Special
From who made the quilt to what fabrics and patterns are used, handmade quilts reflect the era in which they are made. They can also include the passion and artistry of the quilter as well as mark special occasions such as births, weddings and deaths. In Hawaii, quilts are cherished family heirlooms and rarely seen in public. Hawaiian families have their own unique family quilt designs, similar to coats of arms, and hand down both quilt patterns and quilts through generations. These stunning quilts, often in only two primary colors like red and white,  beautifully reflect unique floral designs, and colors, of those tropical islands.

Applique Handmade Quilts
One of the most beautiful handmade quilts are applique quilts. Applique is the process of cutting different fabrics into shapes, then sewing them into a pattern with even stitches either on the outside or invisibly. Applique is one of the most popular quilt designs second only to patchwork, which are geometric, repetitive designs out of a variety of fabric combinations. Applique takes patience, a lot of practice and is often used in floral quilts and throws.

Not All Handmade Quilts Sized the Same
For years, handmade quilts did not have standard sizes. Quilters made their bedding to use up  all available fabric instead of trying to match a quilt to a bed size. That's why handmade vintage quilts don't fit today's standard beds. Even through vintage quilts may not cover modern bed sizes, they work well  as throws  over the back of sofas, at the foot of a bed and as a quilted wall hangings.

Handmade Quilts Can Be Finished Different Ways
After being quilted, handmade quilts are finished with binding to "seal" quilt layers around the edges. Handmade quilts may also be edged with more detailed edging such as scallops, sawtooth or other fabric pieces that make a complimentary pattern around the outside edge of the quilt. This additional edging may not be included in the original quilt size. Handmade quilts are finished by either and quilting or machine-stitched patterns to seal fabric layers together.

Reversible Handmade Quilts
Handmade quilts are not usually reversible but I make our reversible whenever I can. Adding a solid-colored fabric or putting a pattern on the back side of the quilt easily and quickly gives you a second home decor look and gives you extra space to preserve memories through clothing, photos and other mementos. I also recommend you look at the back side of the hand quilted quilt to see how even the stitching is. The more even and smaller the stitches, the more experienced the quilter!

Handmade Lap Quilts and Throws
Handmade lap quilts and throws are the same thing.
Standard throws and handmade lap quilts are 50x60-inch and can be smaller versions of larger handmade quilts, or unique designs all their own.

If your are starting to quilt, start with a throw size before tackling a larger bed size quilt. Throws and handmade lap quilts are also popular sizes for quilted wall hangings, lap wraps, car blankets and personalized gifts. Look for handmade throws and lap quilts with 3" flat sleeve on the back so they can easily be made into wall hangings. You can also add tabs or use quilt hangars to turn a quilt into a wall hanging.

Here's to Whatever You Call Quilts!

Patchwork Quilts

They are named for the way quilts are "patched" and pieced together into geometric designs. Changing a fabric color can complete change the design, which is part of the fascination of patchwork quilts. The first official unique North American patchwork quilt pattern was Log Cabin in 1872.

Great American Quilt Revival
Patchwork quilts once again become popular in 1970s during the Great American Quilt Revival. The basis of this movement centered on people beginning to take an interest and looking into their ancestors and family histories. The concept of a patchwork quilt design has recently morphed into other art forms.

The concept of a patchwork quilt design has recently morphed into other art forms.

Project Started to Honor Mom
The Appalachian Quilt Trails Project  includes more than 24 states where patchwork quilt patterns are painted on the side of old barns. It all started in 2001 when Donna Sue Groves of Ohio painted a quilt pattern on her barn to commemorate her mother who had passed on.

Earth Quilt
Norma Bradley designed the Earth Quilt, a garden in the shape of a patchwork design at University of North Carolina-Asheville.

Custom Personalized Wedding Quilts

Do You Take This Quilt.....
Over the years, handmade quilts have been a favorite personalized gift idea for weddings, wedding showers and anniversaries as well as gifts for parents. From smaller throw-size lap quilts to over-sized king size quilts, handmade quilts are practical and thoughtful wedding gifts.

Double Wedding Ring Quilts
The most popular wedding quilt gift is Double Wedding Ring Quilts. Green Williamsburg Double Wedding Ring Queen ($239) not including custom embroidery. These traditional patchwork quilts from the 1930s feature circles of smaller pieced-fabrics interlocking fabric rings. Considered one of the more difficult patchwork quilt patterns to make, Bluebird Gardens carries a range of double wedding ring quilts, from made in US to imported quilts, that can easily be personalized with embroidery for wedding gifts.

Try Same Pattern in Something Smaller
For the budget-conscious bride, consider our double wedding ring throw pillows, featuring one set of rings and still having a center space for embroidery. We can make double wedding ring pillows in custom wedding colors to celebrate the wedding decor.

Add Embroidery to Personalize Wedding Gift Quilts
Another way to make unique wedding gifts is to add embroidery and photos with a special dedication to make unique parent's gifts. You can simply add the couple's name and wedding date, or select favorite poems, sayings and photos that can then be added to the quilts to make them more personal.

Vintage Quilts

If you've found a box of quilts at an auction, chances are you have found a stash of vintage quilts. Vintage quilts are from at least 20 years old to less than 100 years old. Quilts older than 100 years old are considered antique. Quilts may last for several centuries depending on how they were made and how they have been preserved. Most vintage utilitarian quilts either fall apart from use or are re-purposed into quilt filling, pillows or other household items.

Kit or Not Kit
For many years, quilts made out of pre-made embroidery flower and animal kits were considered to be vintage. Since renewed interest in quilting in the 1970s, embroidery and patchwork quilt kits are once again popular and no longer a good indicator of a vintage quilt. Quilt blocks made decades ago and now finally finished are not considered vintage. A quilt is dated by the last work that is completed on it. I recommend if you have incompleted family quilts, go ahead and get them finished. That way you can appreciate the work of your quilting relative and have a wonderful family heirloom. When finishing quilts, add the quilter's name and, if known, date the quilt blocks were made.

Ways to Help Date a Quilt
If you are not sure how old a quilt is, check the back of the quilt and look at the quilting. Older quilts may have very detailed hand quilting with intricate quilting designs and very tiny stitches. Detailed, precise quilting is a sign of an experienced quilter who used their skills to make practical bedding and other items for their home.

Check Fabrics
Sometimes the types of fabric used in a quilt can help date it.
Quilts made out of feed sacks, for example, are from the 1930s and 1940s.
If quilt fabrics look brand new, the quilt may be made out of new reproduction fabrics.

Favorite Quilt Patterns
Sometimes the quilt pattern can help narrow down the period in which the quilt was made. Some quilt patterns were not easily available or distributed.

How to Make Sure You Are Getting a Vintage Quilt
The best way to make sure you are buying vintage quilts is to  buy them at estate sales  and  directly from quilters.