Friendship Quilt by Jean Brashear


One of the most beloved forms of traditional quilt is a friendship quilt, where names are embroidered on blocks, and I was privileged to play a small part in reuniting a lost quilt top with the daughter of the woman who pieced it.

A member of my quilting group found this top at our local secondhand shop (a Goodwill-type place) and bought it, bringing it to the group to quilt. While working on it, some of our group were wondering who the names were. Most of them are not involved in the internet, but since I know the power of a good search engine, I wrote down the names and spent time looking for them online. I learned a helpful strategy as I searched: look up the most unusual names first, as you’ll have fewer choices.

Friendship Quilt by Jean Brashear

I began to narrow in on names from the San Angelo area and finally turned up a woman who’d been profiled in an article for the Indian pictographs on her ranch. From that article, I found her phone number and gave it to the woman who’d bought the quilt. She made contact, and the woman was thrilled, as it was her mother who’d done the piecing. It had been a fundraiser for their little church, so when we were done, the lovely and generous quilter drove it to her and donated it to the church, where it hangs for the pleasure of church members and descendants of those named on the quilt (which was pieced in the early 1930s.)

That’s one of the things I most adore about quilting and quilters: the rich sense of history and the fascinating stories we are privileged to witness.

  1. My parents have a quilt like that given to them from a family member. It has named of family members and neighbors in the community from the 1930s. Pink and blue on white. A Dresden plate variation. Named on the petals.

    • Oh, how lovely, Denise! Dresden plate is one of my favorite patterns. What a treasure to have all those names there, with the memories! It’s such a great tradition. Thank you for sharing!

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