Gallery of Party Quilts



Berta Goldgaber

This Missouri quilt artist's webpage is a glorious riot of color and design, celebrating a multiplicity of Jewish events.  Below is a party quilt she made for a Bat Mitzvah. (Guests signed the light hexagons. The center is an open Torah with the name of the girl's parsha, Vaygash). See more of Berta's vivid work at Her email address is

A Family Reunion on Fabric

 In advance of a family reunion, Elaine Martin of North Platte, Nebraska  made a small quilt from on-point blocks. She alternated plain white blocks with bowtie blocks, made from madras plaids, to reflect the rural origins of her  family.  

 "In the center plain square,  I printed the names/dates for  the ancestral couple from whom the reunion attendees all generate," she explains. In the next circle of white blocks, she printed their 10 children's names and dates.   In the third round, she listed members of  the current generation .

At the reunion, family signed the blocks next to the area Elaine had printed their names. "The guests had a lot of fun finding their ancestry lines," Elaine says. "It was a great conversation piece for adults and  kids alike."   The finished  quilt, she adds, "makes a wonderful table cover in my home as well as a fun  remembrance of that reunion."  Elaine’s email address is

The Leaves Are Coming!


Sue Feinberg of Altadena, California  ALMOST finished this quilt featuring a  Tree of Life, in time for her daughter Rachel’s bat mitzvah .

 The quilt was batted, backed, quilted and hung on the wall of her living room during  the party. (Along the top of the quilt is the date of the event. Rachel, a modest adolescent, refused to allow her mother to put her name there.)

What was left  unfinished? That tree.  As in the picture, it was  mostly bare---just a  few leaves, with photographs of immediate family members on the branches.

Seventy-five more leaves, cut out and backed with paper-backed fusible web, were set in a basket,  on a low chest in front of the quilt.  There were also pens, and a sign with instructions.

Sue held the party after her daughter's bat mitzvah in her back yard. Getting from the front door to the back yard required walking through the  house.  The Mexican food was fabulous, so most of the adults stayed in the back, chowing down. In the front yard, there was a rented karaoke machine, so that's where the teenagers gathered.

In the meantime, the quilt  and the basket sat in the living room, lonely as clouds.  There were two routes to the back yard, the kitchen and the living room, and most people apparently chose the kitchen route

I cared deeply about this quilt, not only because Sue is my dear friend,  but because I had spent much of the previous week machine-quilting it for her!   So when, halfway through the party, I peered into the living room and saw that very few leaves had been signed , I knew I had to spring into action.

Like an overgrown Red Riding Hood, I seized the basket of leaf appliqués, and the pens,  and then  went from table to table, asking people to sign the leaves, and explaining why.

But one thing still went wrong. A couple of people couldn’t tell the difference between the fabric, and the paper backing. So they signed the paper side. Sue later traced their signatures onto the fabric side.   

Epilogue: This quilt sat in Sue’s closet for a year, because she was too busy to sew on the leaves. Now it’s in MY closet, because her family went to London for a year. I’m going to finish it any day now, I promise

The second picture shows a detail from the borders.  Sue is an incredibly talented artist who specializes in lively scrapbook-style crazy quilting, using lots of  fun novelty fabrics, rubber stamps and photo transfers. Here, they reflect  Rachel's   passions (friends, roller coasters, artichokes, Audrey Hepburn, singing, etc.) Contact Sue at

Something She Whipped Up

Art quilter Jeri Riggs whipped up a great signature quilt/banner for her son’s bar mitzvah. See it on my  other site, at Scroll down to Jeri’s name.

The Most! 

If  the Guinness Book ever starts a record for 'Most Signatures on a Party Quilt,'   I'm betting  that Marlene Glickman of Clearwater, Florida, would win hands down.   In 2003, this intrepid quilter, along with a team of helpers, completed a quilt called  'Bridging St. Petersburgs,'  which is  6 feet high, 17 feet long, and was signed by more than 1,000 people,  many at a municipal New Year's Eve party.

St. Petersburg, Florida  is one of many  U.S. cities which host a  New Year's Eve 'First Night' arts celebration. The 2003  celebration was particularly important---  heir city, founded by Russian immigrants,  was celebrating its 100th birthday, while the Russian city which had the name first was celebrating its 300th . 

Marlene  wanted to make a community quilt  that would serve as a sort of 'Happy Birthday' card to its sister city.   She  started  by making a  huge central pictorial panel---about 11 feet long by 6 feet high---of the two cities connected by a  bridge.  Quilting friends Virginia Robinson, Pat Lamb, Carla Schulz, Jan Boyer,  Linda Dawson, and quilters from the Suncoast Quilt Guild, and the Tampa Bay Surface Design Guild   helped with the monumental tasks of making computer transfers of buildings from both cities, machine embroidery, bead work, and finishing work.   Longarm machine quilter Cathy Kessler did all the quilting.  Marlene also made two plain side panels,  each 3' wide by 6' high. 

Next, Marlene cut over a thousand 3” squares from  a variety of gold, yellow and orange fabrics,  including cottons, synthetics, silks and lame's. “I wanted it to be glittery, like sunshine.”

She tested gel pens until she found some colorful ones that were permanent after ironing and washing.  She was ready.

Marlene's team was assigned to a downtown  tent . The quilt with its side panels was hung behind them.  Pens and piles of fabric squares  were set on a table in front. The celebrants started to pour in.  “People wrote messages like, 'Happy Birthday!' and 'We love you, Russia.!'  Some people just signed their names. Others spent 15 minutes making a work of art!”

As each square was completed, it was pinned to a side panel.   Everything went well--- until, speaking of pouring,  a torrential rain began. Attendance dropped, so they  collected “only” about 300 signatures that night.    

Undaunted,  Marlene brought the operation to the Perkins Middle School of Art in St. Petersburg,  a few days later. By the end of the day, she had collected 700 more signatures from students and teachers.  

Leaving all the squares edges raw,  she sewed one end of each square down to the panel, with a straight stitch, set in overlapping rows. “They hang over each other like  Post-It© notes,” Marlene explains. The squares  covered  both sides of the  rotating side panels. 

The quilt was displayed in a museum for several months, then shipped to Russia. But it may not be finished yet.  Marlene enclosed more fabric squares and more gel pens---along with an invitation for the Russians to continue  adding their names and good wishes to this astounding, trans-oceanic party quilt.  

The second picture shows one of Marlene’s  smaller  quilts. This  2 1/2 by 3 1/2 foot piece done as a retirement/thank you gift for a woman who started  'First Night International' (city-wide New Years' Eve celebrations) . The extra wide borders are composed of layered, hand-dyed silk squares. Several hundred conferees signed those squares as they arrived, and the quilt was presented the next day.  Contact Marlene at


When Less is More



  The  first sports-theme applique signature quilt that Amy Fitzpatrick made, on the left, is complex and wonderful. She brought it to her son Adam's Bar Mitzvah, and instructed her guests to sign the quilt and add messages.

  Years later, Amy made another quilt with a similar composition for a client's Bat Mitzvah. The family adored it. In fact, they loved it so much that they refused to let people sign it. So they asked her to make another one for signing.

They needed if fast. So look what Amy made. That larger-than-life name, floating in that big sea of light purple, Melissa's favorite color.

Amy's second composition did the job. The family set it out on an easel with permanent pens, and people happily signed it, not feeling like they were doodling on Mona Lisa. This is a fine - and fast (er) - party quilt! THe lucky family wound up witha  showpiece quilt AND a signed keepsake.     Contact Amy at


 Consider the Back

Quilter Raymond Houston attends the Episcopalian-Anglican Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis, where the Dean and his wife were retiring.   Raymond decided to surprise them with a quilt signed by congregants.  Raymond specializes in sophisticated tessellated designs, and he made a fantastic one in honor of the Dean. (See it on Raymond's site, at     

"Several weeks before the retirement service," Raymond recalls," I took the quilt (machine-quilted, but unbound) to a meeting I knew the Dean would not be attending, to begin gathering  signatures.  When I opened the quilt, the peoples' eyes popped, and their jaws dropped.  They refused to sign it. "

Fortunately, the back of the quilt was plain white. The mutinous congregants elected to sign THAT.  The back became almost as striking as the front, because many messages followed the angled quilting lines from the front. (The back is at

  Raymond's email address is , and you can get to more images of his work from his home page, at Raymond also teaches a  fantastic class on designing tessellations ( I took it and loved it), at


 A Rainbow of Hope


Sign-it-at-the party quilts are not only for joyful occasions. They can also be a healing experience for difficult times.

Fran Goldberg, of Skokie, Illinois, a quilt teacher and professional quilter,  made one such signature quilt, called 'Many Lives, Many Journeys.'  An overview is above, left.

"My client's sister-in-law was dying of cancer," Fran recalls. In her honor, her family decided to fund a  family room in the Cancer Wellness Center in Northbrook,  Illinois. "The room would be mostly used by children of cancer patients, to help them understand what is happening in their lives. They wanted a special quilt for the wall."

Fran used a rainbow of fabrics,  she says, "Because a rainbow means hope, and a promise of something better." 

Fran brought the white squares of fabric to the dedication of the room.   "People wrote their messages of encouragement. The woman was not able to attend, but she did get to read them," Fran recalls. One is in the picture at right.

Fran pieced and finished the quilt later. And today, that quilt lives on---as a memorial to a courageous  person, rich with heartfelt  inspiration for everyone who uses the room.    

Contact Fran at


For a new baby (and a big sister)

One of the great things about party quilts is that they can serve as a party activity during the celebration, as well as an heirloom afterwards. Kristin LaFlamme of Leimen, Germany (near Heidelberg) sent me this neat picture of a baby shower project.  "I provided squares of white-on-white fabrics, taped to cardboard for stability. I also brought an assortment of fabric paints, stamps, brushes, markers and fabrics with fusible web already adhered. I limited the color palette, so that all the squares would coordinate."

Another great thing about party quilts is that you never know what will happen - and you may wind up with even more than you expected. "The baby's big sister wanted in on the action. So I helped her make a few squares and them sewed them into a pillow for her. The mom loved the finished quilt and pillow. The project was such a success that one of the party guests asked me to make up a party quilt kit for her son's first grade class." Kristin's email address is

A Library of Love

Miriam Sokoloff (right), and Judith Solomont (left), under the 'Library of Love' quilt.


  In  the  Spring of 2003, Ms. Sharon Steiff, a  a much-loved English teacher, at the Maimonides school in Brookline, MA, was diagnosed with leukemia. By that summer, her doctors determined that she  needed a bone marrow transplant. Her community sprung into action with a bone marrow screening drive--- an ambitious and expensive endeavor, undertaken with the assistance of the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Registry (

  About two weeks before the screening drive,  quilters Miriam K. Sokoloff and Judith Solomont decided to undertake a signature quilt, to help defray the costs of the screening. Their goal was to provide Sharon with a signature quilt that would bring her messages of comfort and hope during the weeks of hospitalization required for a transplant.

  With little time to prepare, and some help from quilting friends online,   Miriam and Judith found a spectacular library print fabric featuring endless rows of books, plus several complementary almost-solid batiks. They cut the batiks into hundreds of 4” squares, and the bookshelves into sashing and border strips.

  “In a moment of madness,” Miriam reports, “I drew pencil lines on an old, king size sheet .” They pinned all the blocks and the borders to the sheet, following the lines.

  Next, Miriam and Judith took several plain manila file folders. They glued a 4” square of sandpaper inside each folder, and cut 3 ½” windows into the folder covers, so that, when the folder was shut, the window would fall over the sandpaper square. For signing, the 4” blocks were to be placed directly on the sandpaper. The sandpaper and closed folder would hold the square steady, while the window kept the writing inside the seam allowances. They tied permanent pens---on long pieces of fishing line---to each folder.

  At the screening, Miriam and Judith  set up a table with a sign asking for donations, two sewing machines, and an ironing board.  Several high school students helped. As each person who had completed the screening arrived at the table, one of the helpers unpinned a square, inserted it in a manila folder, and handed it over.

  “People signed and watched, while we stitched and pressed,” Miriam recalls. “As we finished sewing each 9-patch, we re-pinned it to the sheet, so the quilt really took shape throughout the day.”

  They ended up with twenty-five  9-patch blocks, signed by more than 225 people!   Within ten  days, they had backed, batted, tied and bound the quilt. The project  raised  more than $3,000 for the Gift of Life foundation. “The quilt is lovely, and the good wishes are very moving,” says Miriam. Miriam can be reached at


Starry Birthday


Barbara Pozek, of Kimberling City, Missouri made an Ohio Star quilt, with blue stars on a yellow background, in honor of her father-in-law's 80th birthday. Guests signed the center squares of the stars.  "Nothing intricate, because I was pressed for time to get it completed for his birthday."   This is a lap size quilt, "perfect for napping in his easy chair, or on the couch." Machine pieced and quilted, 2000.   Barbara can be reached at Her extraordinary art quilts and dolls are at .


Exquisite Embroidery


Proving that party quilts can be exquisite, we have Lori Weiss. She is not only one of my favorite people in the world, but her design sense and use of machine embroidery is unsurpassed. One of  her bar mitzvah signature quilts appears in the January 2004 issue of Quilters Newsletter Magazine  Here’s another jawdropper.  The figures and the name are all machine embroidered.

And if that’s not amazing enough, Lori made a quilted Ketubah – a traditional Jewish marriage contract – which was signed at the wedding. You can see it on my Judaiquilt. site, at Scroll down to her name. Lori can be contacted  at

Lori brings her bar and bat mitzvah quilts to the parties fully assembled, and tacks them on cut-to-size posterboard, on a sturdy custom-made easel.


 Portrait of a Bride,  a Groom, and a Cake

Pamela Quebbeman of  Brookfield, Wisconsin pieced and appliquéd this wedding quilt based on a design by Mary Lou Weideman. It was quilted by  Janice L. Walsh of Brookfield, WI  The 69” x 81” quilt served a chuppah (wedding canopy) for Pamela’s daughter’s wedding in 2002.   

The blocks that line the sides (pinwheels, baskets, etc.) were brought to several wedding showers, and signed by family and friends. The bride and groom didn’t know what the center would look like until the wedding. 

Quebbeman adapted Weideman’s design by substituting her daughter’s  wedding colors (tangerine and fuchsia). And she made the cake an actual portrait of the couple’s cake (orange cake with raspberry trim!)  Contact Pamela at

(For more about quilted chuppot, see my other site, at  


Marine Comfort Quilts

   Annabelle Hammer, of Sterling, Virginia, told me about a national quilting project called Marine Comfort Quilts. “ The mission of the group is to make quilts for the families of US soldiers killed in Iraq.  The website has a Gallery section where you can see the quilts, at  

  "Members from all over the country make and send in  twelve-and-a-half-inch blocks signed with messages of love, support, and condolence." Annabelle explained. "The organizers put these into kits, consisting of 30 such blocks, along with backing fabric.  The kits are sent in batches to members around the country. These members provide the batting and sew together the quilts.  The quilts are then hand-tied with embroidery floss .  The member who has put together the quilts then send them back to one of the organizers, who then sends the quilts to the soldiers' family with a letter and card of condolence from MCQ.  Yes, it does take 2-3 months for this process to take place, at the very least.  The group is at least one year behind in making some quilts.

 "Here’s the party part:  1)  Members have get-togethers to make and sign squares at the beginning of the process.  Either they get together with others in the MCQ group who live nearby, or with their friends or families if no other members are near.  2)  Members also have get-togethers at the final stage also when they sew up and hand-tie the quilts.  I've found that it's fun to work with other ladies on this project because most of the time we are working on our own.

 "Thanks for reading my long note about MCQ.  It has been a unique quilting experience for me to be involved in it.  I have met a lot of terrific ladies online and finally, in person, through this group."   

  Annabelle's email address is


Fabric Sand, Real Coconut

This spectacular and original  wedding quilt features an actual photo transfer of the couple!   Cheri Guariglia of Parkland Florida, made it for her daughter's wedding in Spring of 2004. She explains, "The bride and groom  got engaged in Key West and married in Key Largo on the beach. I thought it only appropriate to make a  beach- themed quilt, where the guests could sign their best wishes along the border on the machine appliqued shells.

  " I used hand -dyed fabric for the background sunset and water. I photo transferred their engagement picture on a separate fabric which I appliqued.  I hand -appliqued the palm tree and sewed coconut shell buttons on for the coconuts. I also sewed on some actual small shells on the beach. Hope you enjoy!"

I did enjoy it, Cheri, and thank you! Cheri's email address is


In Memory of Sherri Young Dunbar


               Sherri Dunbar’s wedding quilt: Back with signed butterflies.                                  Front, with the UNSIGNED  butterflies.

    In the Spring of 1993, I posted an inquiry on the QuiltArt list asking if anyone had made quilts that were signed at a party. I heard back from many  wonderful quilters, including Sherri Young Dunbar.

   She told me about a project she'd done for her daughter's wedding in 1998, and sent me some photos.  The quilt was extraordinary, but still in process.   I told her it that if she did complete it, it might be photographed for a magazine article. She wrote back, "That will give me some motivation to get it finished." In the meantime, she described it extensively for me.

  In September of 2003,  I sent her my draft description of her quilt from the information she'd sent, and asked for her permission to use the quilt and her quotations  in my book proposal. She wrote back that she would be pleased to have the quilt in my book. She edited and approved the following text: 

 Sherri Dunbar, of Wyncote, Pennsylvania, made this quilt for her daughter's wedding. To the wedding reception, she brought lightweight white silk,with freezer paper fused to the back. She had drawn butterfly shapes all over the silk . At the party, she had each guest sign an uncut butterfly with a fabric marker. After the party, while the fabric was still on the freezer paper, she painted each butterfly with Setacolor (tm)  paints---"just pastel washes of color."

  "OK, that was almost five years ago, and I still haven't finished it," Sherri told me last spring. "But," she vowed, "It  will be done for their 5th anniversary!"

  Her original plan was to hand appliqué the signed butterflies to the front of the quilt. "But the signatures looked too tacky and some people had run their signatures over the butterflies boundaries. So I fused these to the back of the quilt, and hand-stitched the leftover unsigned butterflies on the front."

  Sherri's daughter was born in Korea, and she married a man of Irish  heritage, so the quilt top features an Irish linen tea cloth from  Sherri's mother-in-law's collection. The quilting design is the ancient Asian yin-yang symbol, with Rose of Sharon blossoms (Korean  national flower). The couple's honeymoon destination -- Colorado --is signified by the Columbine flowers in the corners. The large motifs are hand quilted,and the stippling is done by machine, with silk thread.

  Both sides of Sherri's wedding quilt look similar---but on the back , the butterflies are signed and fused, and on the front, they are plain and appliquéd by hand. The quilt has no title, other than "The Wedding Quilt". It is 32 1/2" x 32 1/2"

I wrote her back one more question the same day:

 "Sherri---is it finished? I'd love to add that information!"

And she wrote me back,

"Oh, yes, it's all finished. I'm giving it to Traci and Scott on their 5th!! anniversary next month.

Sherri died suddenly  on February, 11, 2004.  Her art and nature quilts live on as a memorial to an extraordinarily gifted artist, and a wonderful person. They can be seen, for now, at the website maintained by her husband Ron, at

Thanks to Ron Dunbar for permitting me to share this story. 


More to come! Especially if you email me!

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