Andrew proposed to me just over two years ago while we were in NY visiting his family. It didn’t take long before we told the news of our engagement to his extended family. As soon as they discovered that a wedding was on its way, planning began. The planning being done on their behalf was one of tradition and excitement. It didn’t take long before I became aware of the tradition which brought on the planning: Wedding Quilts.
Andrew’s oldest brother was the first in his generation of the Randles clan to receive the blessing of this tradition. Ever since that marriage, all of Andrew’s siblings as well as any cousins in the family have been a part of this tradition. All of this has been kept alive and coordinated by Andrew’s Aunt Mary. She is one part brave soul to take on the coordination and direction of the undertaking and two parts brilliant quilter.
The tradition works like this. Once an engagement is announced, planning starts. Fabric is picked out (typically with Bride’s input). Extended family members are contacted regarding their potential participation in contributing to the quilt. Fabric is sent to the participants. Each contributor designs a quilt square and either quilts it his/herself or communicates his/her desired design to Aunt Mary. Once all squares are complete they are sent to Aunt Mary. And last, but absolutely not least, the quilt is lovingly put together.
Although the process is explained easily enough, the actual execution of this process takes a lot of planning, coordination, loads of quilting, and a bit of time. I am sure those who have sewn or quilted can start to imagine the time and energy required. Let me assure you, it is humbling to receive the product of all that time and energy.
But receive it we did.
Before I unveil the finished product, I have to share another part in this story.
I was blessed by my soon-to-be in-law side of the family with a bridal shower in upstate New York in March 2010. My grandmother and mother accompanied me to this shower. I was worried that my grandmother would have trouble enjoying herself amongst a group of people she had no relation to and had never met. But that was not the case. At my bridal shower it was quickly discovered that my grandmother and many other ladies at my bridal shower shared a passion: quilting. They hit it off! The day after my shower we were heading back home. But on the way out of town a detour was made. My mother, grandmother, (at the time future) mother-in-law, and myself stopped a quilting/fabric shop. We had a blast picking out fabric for my quilt! I was so thankful to have the expertise of my grandmother to know which fabrics would work well together. Once the fabrics (one main fabric and 3 coordinating fabrics) were selected, they were given to my Aunt Mary who began the coordination efforts.
A marriage and a wonderful year of changes passed. All throughout that year we were held in suspense of what our wedding quilt would look like. In March of 2011, a year after the fabric choice was made, we were making the move to Singapore. Up till this time Aunt Mary had kept us informed of any significant progress in the quilt. Relatively soon after moving to Singapore we were told that the quilt was finally complete. We were given the option of seeing our quilt through pictures. But we decided that we would rather see our quilt for the first time in person. This required that we would have to wait until traveling back to the States.
As you know, we just got back from visiting the States. And yes, we made a trip up to upstate New York while we were there.
Two weeks ago, on New Year’s Day 2012, we were at the annual Randles Family Get Together. While there, who should approach us with something in her hands but Aunt Mary!
It is a huge gorgeous quilt. The size is so big that even using this queen size bed for support and Andrew holding up one side of the quilt, we still couldn’t get the entire quilt in the picture. The picture certainly does NOT do it justice!
As I said before, it is really humbling to receive such a gift of love.
One of the neat things about this quilt is that, supposedly, our quilt had the most non-Randles side of the family participation than any other quilt. (Of course, having a large family with several creative siblings helped those number.)
Here are the quilt squares in left to right, top to bottom order. Each square has a unique quilting (stitching overlay) design that compliments the squares! If you click on any of the pictures it will bring you to a larger picture that you can zoom in on to see the stitching and gain a greater appreciation for the detail in the quilt!
And that is our quilt. I am still amazed at all the ingenuity, thought, time, and effort that went to each quilt block!
We decided that with the heat and humidity, lack of place to properly display the quilt, and the likelihood of moving again within a few years – it would be best to store the quilt in the States for now. I am glad I was able to take pictures before we came back to Singapore. I don’t tire of pouring over the quilt – our wedding quilt!
A huge and humbled thank you to all our friends and family, not just those that contributed to the quilt. Getting married and now living as a married couple, we feel so supported by so many. It is such a blessing to know we have so many that care for us and will continue to support us, even if from afar 🙂