Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Chinese Coins and Lanterns

Since June I've been working on an original design for a wedding quilt and tonight I finished the top!  The Bride is the daughter of close friends who were former neighbors.  The Groom was born in China, and the couple met in graduate school.

First I started saving tiny pieces 1.25 inches x 3.5 inches to make Chinese Coins.  It wasn't long before I had a gallon size bag full.  Using a technique recommended by Bonnie Hunter, I joined the pieces using old telephone book paper as a backing.  It really helped keep them from stretching all out of shape, and kept them squared up so nicely!

The five rows of Chinese Coins make the center medallion for the wedding quilt.  The coins signify prosperity of course, and the red sashing is because in China red is the color of celebration.

Then the quilt just sat in my work pile for a few months.  I was puzzled on what to do next.  There are a couple different blocks called Chinese Lantern so I picked one that finished at 12 inches.  I made up 8 blocks which used up all the big floral print samples that I had.  They had been part of a group of fabric samples gifted to me in, oh, about 1995.  Time to use those up!

Serendipity came along when I spotted a string of fabric flags at the Thrift Store.  There were six different colors and Chinese words:  Love, Peace, Happiness, Tranquility, Courage and Wisdom.  I knew they just had to become part of the design.  Trimming the edges made them 8x10 inches, a very usable size.

I was finding a fair amount of fabrics with Japanese prints, but none that really looked Chinese.  I was worried about just picking something 'Asian' and have it be all wrong.  Something like putting Shamrocks on an Italian quilt and saying, well, they're European and it's close.  I didn't want to get caught making that type of mistake!  Finally I found a nice floral print last week that would work. Hurray!  Sashing for the flags and lanterns!

Here's the final result:  Chinese Coins in the center.   Flags along the sides.  Lanterns top and bottom, staggered to add a little motion.  More coins in the border were cut 1.5 x 5 to echo the smaller coins in the center, and finally a red outer border. Final size is 87 x 92 and will fit a queen bed.

Ready for batting and backing.  Then the hard part...quilting a queen quilt on my sewing machine at my dining room table.  I'm usually in the mood to do that during the winter months, so this might take another rest until after the Holidays.  I'm just so happy to have the top finished!

Friday:  Linking up with Sarah  - Whoop Whoop!
and Amanda Jean for a Friday Finish.


  1. Wow, Jean. What a beautiful quilt top! You can see how much work you've put into it and I'm really impressed you're going to quilt this yourself. Love the lanterns, love the flags, love the coins, the red ... Love it all!

  2. What a lovely gift! That will be one very lucky couple! Very nice, original work. Can hardly wait to see it quilted. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I am so impressed. I love how it all ties in together with the red and how you staggered the lanterns.

  4. That's really a neat way to incorporate a nationality. Good job!

  5. I love how you pulls together a bunch of different blocks to represent them - great job!

  6. wow amazing! Again, wonderful how you combined different blocks to create a unique design.