Monday, July 30, 2007

100 Good Wishes Quilt

I sent a letter out to several friends and family when we first started the adoption process and received many fabric swatches and wishes back....but we are still short of our "100". If you are interested in participating...or swapping....send me a note and I will give you our address. I am requesting 8 X 8 100% cotton squares please.

This quilt has become very popular in the Chinese adoption community as a way to honor our daughter’s heritage and give them a sense of history so that they have a piece of themselves to pass on to their next generation. Most of our Chinese daughters come to us with no personal history at all, except for the culture of their homeland. The quilts are a wonderful keepsake and reminder of all the people that were waiting for her and wishing her well.

The last Empress of the Qing dynasty was a mere concubine, until she had the good luck to birth the Emperor’s only son. When forced to leave her baby alone for a while, she conceived a plan to protect him from the senior wives and obligate the other powerful Manchu families to back his claim to the throne.“From the head of each of the highest one hundred families in the Empire, she required a bolt of the finest silk. From the silks she commanded the palace tailors to cut one hundred small pieces and from these make a robe for her child. Thus he belonged, by symbol, to one hundred strong and noble families, and under their shelter the gods would fear to harm him." (Imperial Woman by Pearl S. Buck)

This legend has transformed into the Northern Chinese tradition to make a Bai Jia Bei, translated to “100 Good Wishes Quilt“, in which 100 friends and family members are invited to contribute a swatch of fabric along with a wish, hope, prayer or dream for your daughter. Then 100 patches are sewn together into a quilt that contains the luck, energy, and good wishes from everyone who contributed. A small piece of fabric is used in a memory book attached to the wish of each participant. The idea is that each patch on the quilt can be matched to it’s sender and their wish in the memory book.