Saturday, June 14, 2008

Remember Me

I have my hobbies,
I love m
y hobbies,
but sometimes it gets in the way,
of not doing as much as I would like...

Memory, or album quilts have a long and wonderful history. They were first made in the eighteenth century when people spent a lot of time moving from place to place. In today's world, memory quilts can still serve a very useful purpose. While now they are most often made into a wall-hanging, they can be used to in a variety of ways. For example; as a gift for a baby shower, or to a couple to celebrate their anniversary... As with anything, this idea can be expanded on and changed to suit your purpose, take an example: Signature Quilts.

The term of signature describes a quilt that contains ''signatures''. The people tend to visualize a woman making and signing her block to be later sewn together into a friendship ''Signature'' quilt. Let me state that a signature block is often abbreviated as siggy. Unfinished square of 11,4cm (4,5'') in size. Here's a siggy block; my mother's contribution for my collection, hand-stitched, lovely and colorful, a theme of flower bouquet:

In other words, a quilt made up of blocks signed by many different individuals. These are common blocks to use in block swaps on the net, or in a guild. Each person signs his/her block with her data, name-date-city/country, and something (special) wish, and the blocks are then combined either on their own or with other pieced blocks, to form a special quilt. Usually made as a friendship project.

The friendship quilts bring to mind dear friends showing their care through a quilt. They also bring a touch of sadness as all too often the quilt was made for someone who was moving on to distant places, perhaps never to see those who signed it again. Annelies from the Netherlands is the headquarters for a worldwide database;) and organises the siggy exchange-mailing list. You can contact with her, if you're interested in.

Although I've left group because of my busy worklife, I'd like to show you here close-up with a signed blocks from several countries, which I exchanged in the past years. Maybe you're curious what happened them? They're still waiting to be sewn one by one together to form a Friendship Quilt as seen above in big batches, one day I hope...

A couple of weeks ago, Birgit asked me to make a siggy block as the Bavarian capital, Munich, is turning 850 TODAY!

-Birgit's siggy block for my collection

In the 8th century, Munich was a small monastic settlement known as ''bei den Munichen'' (by the monks). The founder of Munich was Duke Henry the Lion, who, in 1158, destroyed the Isar bridge on the old salt road, which lay somewhat to the north at the time. He then built a new bridge near Munichen. The City received market and minting rights in this context, which set the cornerstone for undreamt of growth into a city of over a million inhabitants. A Reich-Council meeting in Augsburg on June 14th, 1158 confirmed the Duke's action. Since then, this became the official birthday for Munich.

The motto of the birthday is ''Building Bridges'', and it aims to connect the founding of the city from a monastery with today's lively, colorful and yet tradition-oriented urban culture. Every year ''today'', Munich's birthday is celebrated in the best local fashion with vast quantities of beer and plenty of sausages. The festival features lots of music and street performances in colorful medieval costumes, taking place in the city centre between Marienplatz and Odeonsplatz, see the photo below.

Birgit's rules are simply: to use blue or blue-white fabric, write a birthday wish in the center of the block. In my siggy for her, I prefer to make an appliqué Turkish Evil Eye Bead (Turkish: Nazar Boncugu) in the center of my block, see below. Because...

It's believed that the Nazar Boncugu deflects the bad energy that is being directed towards a person onto itself, thus dispersing its powers. The Nazar Boncugu is blue in color and the age-old Anatolian belief, which holds the real shielding power and absorbs the negative energy.

This is not surprising since the people in many Mediterranean nations highly believe in the protective powers of the blue color. That is why, front doors of houses in these Mediterranean countries are painted blue to ward off evil spirits.

It's very typical in Turkish culture. You can find it all over Turkey.
There are very different sizes but the shape is usually round. Turkish women use it as a bracelet, earring or necklace -ohh me too:) So Turkish people like to attaching the evil eye pendant in front of his house or office, hanging it from the neck of his newborn child, or his farm animals and even on his newly acquired machinery. You even come cross it here on my journal, placed two of them, can you find?


  1. Nihal, first let me say that I love the concept of the siggy quilts. The squares you show us are quite meaningful as well as beautiful.

    How very interesting about Nazar Boncugu. Each different culture has so many unique perspectives.

  2. Wow, Nihal..I didn't know this existed. It's so cool. I wonder how come none of the quilters group blog about this. I've seen plenty of beautiful blogs on quilts, but no mention of this.

    Imagine, having a huge quilt with each patch handmade and signed personally by a person from another country. Now that is really cool!!!

    I didn't know you can sew too...maybe there's lots that I dont know about you, seems like a mysterious lady, but in a nice way.

    I'll swap with you anytime one day!!!

    Lots of hugs

  3. @ Kate: Hey it'd be really nice, Kate! I'm ever pretty ready to exchange one w/you. In my collection, I've no any siggy representing Malaysia, and my Friendship Quilt would not be complete without yours:) When you're ready then let me know, I'd send you the instruction chart via e-mail how to make it, OK?
    Regarding sewing, no, I cannot sew yet professionally. As you can imagine, I make it at hand. Very easy, and takes less than half-an-hr. If required to sew anything, then I knock my mom's door, as she's got a sew machine and very talented in every kinda sew work:)
    To turn my siggies into a friendship quilt, I'll again be lying down at doorstep of my mom:)
    Thanks a lot in advance for your kind interest on this matter, looking fwd to hear from you when you can. LoVe.