Our Wedding Quilt

The wedding quilt has had a long, significant role, especially in America.  Such a quilt would be given to a newly married couple as a wedding present, or a bride to be would piece a special quilt top for her marriage bed.  In the 1800s, quilting bees were popular and were often held to mark special occasions, particularly engagements and weddings. Girls were expected to sew several quilt tops for their dowries; these quiltings were often equivalent to engagement announcements.

The ‘traditional’ wedding quilt pattern is a Double Wedding Ring, contructed from a series of interlocking circles.

Double Wedding Ring quilt, c. 1940

For part of my dowry, I’m making a wedding quilt which will hang at the altar during our soul wedding ceremony and afterwards, at the head of our marriage bed.  The design is based on my photograph ‘Cleaved’ which I’ve written about here.

The background and slate pieces are silk dupioni and the rose petals will be printed onto cotton.  My first step was to make a full-sized cartoon.  I put the image into Photoshop and produced an outline drawing which I printed onto acetate.

I borrowed an OHP from work and used some huge sheets of brown wrapping paper I scrounged from IKEA to project and draw my cartoon onto.

I had some screens made from some of the emails and hand written letters that Steve and I exchanged in the weeks after we had met and were living 200 miles apart  .  .  .   .   .   .

and these words written by Rainer Maria Rilke, which I had sent to Steve when he asked me for my favourite quote.

“Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky.”

I ordered my screens from Thermofax Screens.  They have an online custom screen ordering service, in which I email my text/image as an attachment.  Claire Higgott is an absolute gem and gives very helpful advice, often suggesting how I can order a slightly smaller screen to get the same result. The turnaround is super fast and they have a good selection of pre-made screens to choose from too.

Steve helped with the leading (vertical spacing between the lines of text), line breaks and how the lines will fit around the rose petals.

My first step was to screen print the quote onto the fabric.  I had three screens made, each with four lines of text.

I made guides from freezer paper with staggered cut outs so I could screen four lines of text at a time.

It really took a lot of planning and even so, I accidentally screened one line of text two inches lower than I should have.  But I managed to scrub the fabric paint off with a nail brush and Fairy liquid, thus averting disaster.  Whew!!

I’m very, very pleased with the result.

I chose a font called ‘ Dali’ that I found on dafont.com and used Argent Moiré Setacolor fabric paint.  I’ll probably use the screens of our love letters to make shadows and texture on the background fabric.


My next step will be placing the slate pieces and printing the rose petals.

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