How Can Quilts Tell a Story?-Open Line Friday

Quilts can Speak

Good Morning, Quilters!

I believe that quilts that tell a story are more likely to be cherished by our family and friends and consequently, more likely to stand the test of time..(as in not become a painter’s drop cloth–read more HERE)

So how do we communicate The Story?

Let’s brainstorm ideas today!

We can leave messages in the machine quilting…(See Pat’s Quilt HERE) or Henry’s Quilt HERE

Labels can include more than just the quilter’s name, date and home town…

Quilts can Speak


The colors we choose,

The patterns we design,

The machine quilting motifs we stitch

all help Tell the Story…

What about YOU?

What techniques have YOU used in YOUR quilts to Sing YOUR song?

We’d LOVE to hear YOUR STORY!


PS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to re-blog, pin or share with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at  Thanks!

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(Click photo to link to special class prices–discount applied at checkout)

Doodle to Design, Craftsy, Lori Kennedy

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PPS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to reblog, pin or share with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at  Thanks!

16 thoughts on “How Can Quilts Tell a Story?-Open Line Friday

  1. How often I hear, “What you wrote on the label is my favorite part!” It brings enhanced meaning to the quilt for the recipient. It is an opportunity to briefly express the love behind the quilt; the love in each and every stitch, perhaps some humor or a personal message to the recipient or a footnote for posterity. And it’s a heckuva lot more cozy and enduring than a “tweet!” With our ability to print photos, images, borders and our sentiments on fabric, right in our own homes, using supplies and equipment we already have, the possibilities are endless!

  2. That is the cutest phone I have seen in years! A group of us attended the QuiltCon Quilt show in Savannah yesterday. I met and had a delightful ‘get-off-our-feet-sit-down-chat’ with a lady who came from Fresno just for the show. She teaches English paper piecing back home.
    Well…. there were several quilts which told a story. The show was modern quilting. Two that stood out to me were: #1. representation of the 49 human beings who lost their lives in the shooting in a nightclub in Orlando. #2. This one had a grid….rows of trapunto circles at various intervals.. representation of a message in Braille.

  3. all the quilts and work that go into them are fabulous BUT what about warmth? Doesn’t a quilt with all that quilting so much that it’s like a board – doesnt that take away from the warmth – our grandmothers quilts that we remember dont have that much quilting and we remember them to be very warm Eileen

    • Heavy quilting does not create stiff quilts. It is a function of the batting. I have several HEAVILY quilted quilts (washable wool batting) that are as soft as butter!

  4. I have always thought it is the personalization that makes a quilt special. I have done applique blocks to tell a life’s story in my MIL’s 90th BDay quilt, wall hangings that spell our grandkids names and feature their favorite activity, labels that contain a message of hope for chemo patients, love for a family member, or humor for a new parent. Now, thanks to you, I will be able to add specialized quilting motifs as well. Thank you Lori for all that you share. You are exceptionally talented.

  5. This is a great topic. My husband recently told me of a company that was highlighted on TV of 2 men who had hired a workshop of women to put together T-shirt quilts. Their success was based on the huge demand for them. Where I am not really interested in making T-shirt quilts – it does speak to your topic of the appreciation of quilts that are personalized and tell a story/keep a memory for those recipients!

  6. I’ve only been quilting for about 15 yrs – after learning how one summer visiting my grandmother’s as a teen. I now belong to a group of hand-quilters & they’ve mentored me so much! One topic we often discuss is the “Whys & Wherefores” of a quilt on the frame. Most of us machine piece & then whoever has a quilt ready to go onto the floor frame hosts the group while her quilt is worked. I have an embroidery machine, so I make a label for all the members’ quilts as they near finishing, so it can be sewn into the binding. The labels vary w/ information requested, but we always include the quilt name, date, name of the group & whoever worked on it. Just having a label helps to keep a quilt from being consigned to the “rag bag”, but the more info for posterity, the better. I enclose a note card with additional info to tell the rest of the story, if it can’t fit onto the label. I even made an embroidered, over-sized pillowcase for storage for my grandsons’ quilts. The length of time it takes to complete a quilt by hand has me contemplating doing more quilting on my machine & your FM quilting is to die for! So inspiring & your lessons are fantastic! Thank you, Lori!

  7. Hi Lori, I have a goofy story for you. I love all things British and on the day William and Kate got married I started a quilt in their honor. My family laughs about it but it is one I cherish. I pieced and watched them all day. What fun!! Sue
    PS. The story yesterday was so funny but when I went to comment the comments were closed. I loved it.

  8. I definitely agree. Quilts that tell a story are the most cherished. The first quilt I made was two years ago. It was a wedding present for my niece. The colors I used were the colors she used in her wedding. She calls herself a modern woman, so I went for a less traditional design. And oddly enough, the wedding invite had cats on it (because her groom loves them), so in each corner of the quilt I quilted in cats. They both loved it and I hope the added personal touches will keep it from becoming a drop cloth! I should add the second quilt I made was for my son when he graduated high school. That quilt was completely personalized by fabric. I spent almost a year gathering fabrics that spoke to different periods in his life. For example, he collected transformer toys as a youngster, so I added transformer fabric. The many, many fabrics were all over the place in color and in design, so I used a grounding color of gray, that also incorporated his current main passion, computer programming (it had lots of 1’s and 0’s). I anticipated that he’d leave the quilt at home when he headed off to college, but he proudly displays in on his bed for all to see in his dorm.

  9. While I put a label on every quilt, it usually just has the quilt name, the recipient’s name, my name (and the quilter’s, if I have it professionally quilted), and the date. I might draw a small picture – for my husband’s bear paws quilt, I added bear tracks to the label. But I also include a quilt documentation form with each quilt. This is where I can tell the story of the quilt. Sometimes it’s pretty straightforward, sometimes the quilt is more complicated and so is it’s story. At a minimum, the form contains my personal info, personal info for the recipient, the quilt’s name (and why if it is unusual), the pattern or inspiration, the fabrics – colors, manufacturers (if known), from my stash (if not known), why they chosen, how the top is made, how it’s quilted (and by whom), type of thread used, cleaning instructions (all my quilts get washed and air dried before I ship them), and lots of pictures. After it’s completed, I print out a copy to accompany the quilt (usually in a document protector) and retain the electronic copy in my files.

  10. Now having 10 gr grandkids and another coming this summer, I decided long ago – when our grandkids were coming along, to make their quilts a lot more personal and more fun. So, I design each with a new idea – the most recent being a quilt of sheep playing in the grass for a gr grandson whose daddy raised sheep; and a SSue & SSam with little piggies for our newest gr granddaughter.. Very cute when done. For labels, I put info containing birth or birthday, quilt maker, dates, etc. plus pictures of baby, mommy, daddy, etc. More work? well worth the effort. I hope these quilts will be handed down through the years as loved mementos of their lives. Quilting is my passion, second to my family. My hobby is my gardens. I began sewing when I was 5, making my doll a dress (by hand of course) and have been quilting for at least 30 years and am now over 80 with more new quilt ideas than time to make them all. I am learning so much from your machine quilting teaching and now have a quilting machine that I am having fun with. Thank you for sharing and caring. Martha

  11. Many years ago I started branching out from quilt patterns to change it enough to tell my story. I had a cute pattern that showed Japanese doll (no face but cute hair) and each block could be different with the kimono and obi in different fabrics. I love quilts like this but I decided to go a step farther and changed one girl’s hair from black to blond At the age of three my family moved to Japan as my father was stationed there when they stated sending families there again after WWII. My mother enrolled me in a Japanese dance class and she bought me a kimono and obi to go to class. I have a picture but the kimono is long gone. So the blond one represents me and I titled the quilt “Blond Japanese”. Ever since then I usually use a pattern as a jumping off point. These quilts have become my favorite as they truly tell my story.

  12. For my lables I have started to FMQ writing in the border corner. For baby quilts I will FMQ write “Welcome ……” with baby’s name, birth date. Another corner I write my information “Made with love by…” On a quilt I made my mom as she approached her 87th birthday, I included her age and also used Lor’s owl motifs as my mom likes owls.

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