During the engagement period, the making of a quilt by the bride's friends gave official recognition to the betrothal. Whether they lived in the South, the North, Midwest, or West, quilters participated in a utilitarian activity that had become, by the mid-nineteenth century, a communal ritual and a fine art. First they would make certain design decisions together, such as the size and color scheme. Then each woman would make a square or "block" and sign it with her name in ink or embroidery, before all the finished blocks were sewn together to make the quilt top. A quilt backing was stretched out on a frame, covered with cotton batting, which was then covered with the quilt top. Decorative stitching through the three layers held them in place. Referred to as "engagement quilts" or "bride's quilts," they were intended to last a lifetime and to be handed down to one's descendants. (p. 209)I was struck by how similar this process was to the birth quilts I made for Dio and this new baby. It's fascinating to see how women's traditional practices become revived and reinvented--unknowingly, in my case.
birth quilt I linked to years ago...just because it's so beautiful.