Sunday, June 10, 2012

Coming of Age

Early in my years as a quilter, I read a passage somewhere about the tradition of presenting a young man with a special quilt on his twenty first birthday. The gift was meant to represent the breaking of bonds with home and family as the son ventured into adulthood and life on his own. Like cutting the proverbial “apron strings,“ the custom (Amish, perhaps), symbolized his emancipation.

As a quilt making mom, the idea stuck with me and even though our boys had several quilts of their own while growing up, I still liked the thought of making something special to commemorate their coming of age.

Our son, William, turned 21 recently and I remained true to my intention, presenting him with this Jacob’s Ladder quilt for his birthday. I pieced it about ten years ago and had it machine quilted last summer by Cheri Gabrielsen, who also quilted the wedding quilt.

The name Jacob’s Ladder comes from the Bible, (Genesis 28: 11-22). The pattern is also known as Underground Railroad. Either reference, seeking the Promised Land or finding the path to freedom, is appropriate for a “Coming of Age” quilt, don't you think?

My Jacob's Ladder blocks are 12". I like a large block in a masculine quilt.

It’s a bonus when the quilt blocks form a secondary pattern where they intersect.

Fan quilting again. It's my favorite design and seems to work well on most of my quilts.

Happy birthday to a son who’s been independent since the day he was born. You’re handling the responsibilities of adulthood with maturity and grace. Dad and I couldn’t be more proud!


  1. That is a lovely quilt. I like the colors and I like the quilting.

  2. I love this post - and the concept itself.

    I especially like how you started with a far back photo and worked your way in to show the overall and then the details.

    Marvelous - congrats to your son and his parents!!

  3. it's a wonderful quilt and an interesting tradition. i agree with you; bigger blocks do create a more masculine feel . . .


  4. Wonderful quilt for a male of any age--I never heard of this tradition but agree it is a pleasant one. Love the fan quilting! Happy Birthday to your dear William.

  5. That is a great quilt for a young man. And it is a wonderful tradition.

  6. WOW what a fabulous quilt, Dianne..i LOVE it!! i hope William loves & treasures it too!!

  7. That is a beautiful quilt - I am sure he will treasure it always. You have a lovely blog as well.

  8. I found your blog through Kathy's SmallQuiltYalk group.
    Your quilt & post are wonderful in so many ways... The tradition; the coice of block really adds to the significance; the sparkling color work,; the craftsmanship; and really great photos ending with a photo of your son. A terrific post I'll remeber. Congrats to you and your family & best wishes for your son.