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Thread: Cultural differences in quilting

  1. #51
    reach for the stars 2's Avatar
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    I would google to get as much info before I start. There are certain colors which mean a lot to them for certain occasions.

  2. #52
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    I am Chinese. I can understand what you are saying and what you are trying to do. I have made several quilts for my very Asian thinking mother and sisters. There are so many things that can offend them or are considered bad luck. I also am thinking that you really don't want to do serious research either. Since you are "white American" you can get away with a lot more than people like me that are American raised. Most traditional American patterns will work. A few things to avoid:

    1)Asian fabrics because not only are the Characters don't make sense but they are mostly Japanese as well as the prints. My mother still have nightmares about the Japanese treatment of her and her village during their occupation. Plus I have seen many things people have done using Asian fabrics and half the time the fabric is sewn in upside down or sideways.

    2)No white or black. Traditionally white was associated with death but black has become the more modern way to mourn. Most of us would wear a band of black around our upper arm now. I haven't heard of blue being bad.

    3)Use very little yellow because it is the color of the Emperor. I think this is more out of respect. Now a days yellow is usually added to attract wealth.

    When I make something for my family I don't surprise them. I had to make sure they are okay with the Asian fabrics first. Bright colors is an excellant idea. Red for luck is very good. Chinese people, except for me, likes fancy. They don't like plain. Something to consider when you quilt it.

    I hope this helps. You know that what ever you make they will love because they are good people. Just make sure you tell them that you would like them to use it and not keep for display. Everytime I hear plastic my back go up. I think of the many of my parents' friends houses I been to where their furniture is covered with plastic.

  3. #53
    Super Member mom-6's Avatar
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    Sounds like a bright promary colors quilt would be the perfect thing to do!

  4. #54
    Member armywife's Avatar
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    How wonderful that you have friends in another country. We lived in Europe compliments of Uncle Sam and made many friends that we still keep in touch with.

    Just make a quilt from your heart and you can't go wrong. Perhaps a novelty fabric with baby animals or the Baby Einstein fabric?

  5. #55
    Super Member adrianlee's Avatar
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    Keep it American and bright colors or the pastels. I'd like to see what you come up with.

  6. #56
    Member deanna.r's Avatar
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    I'm sure your husband's friend and his wife would love a quilt, especially if you explained that it was a tradition in your culture. On the other hand, even many modern Chinese are still very superstitious and I believe that it would not be polite to give them something that represented bad luck or was offensive to them. White is the colour of death and would be particularly inappropriate for a baby. Do not even wrap the gift in white (or black which represents times of the unknown). Red is by far the luckiest colour. Blue-green is good for longevity and harmony.
    Animals-- as others have said, tigers would be good since this is the year of the tiger, also tigers are considered protective and would sybolise guarding the child's safety. Koi fish are also very lucky, especially red, orange, or yellow. Rabbits represent hope and turtles represent longevity. NO owls since they bring death. Bears (especially pandas) are strong male symbols and butterflies are more female. Dragons are very good animals and many Chinese parents will try to time the birth of their child so that it will be born in the year of the dragon. There are quite a few cute childrens' fabrics with dinosaurs in bright colours available now.
    Numbers-- eight is the luckiest number, four is good, and the number two doubles the meaning of a good symbol. Most odd numbers of things should be avoided.
    I hope this gives you some good ideas to start with.

  7. #57
    Super Member Rainy Day's Avatar
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    It is a gift that speaks of caring. Jan, you are making a family heirloom! No pressure there.

  8. #58
    Super Member Quilt Mom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabrinaquilts
    I am Chinese. I can understand what you are saying and what you are trying to do. I have made several quilts for my very Asian thinking mother and sisters. There are so many things that can offend them or are considered bad luck. I also am thinking that you really don't want to do serious research either. Since you are "white American" you can get away with a lot more than people like me that are American raised. Most traditional American patterns will work. A few things to avoid:

    1)Asian fabrics because not only are the Characters don't make sense but they are mostly Japanese as well as the prints. My mother still have nightmares about the Japanese treatment of her and her village during their occupation. Plus I have seen many things people have done using Asian fabrics and half the time the fabric is sewn in upside down or sideways.

    2)No white or black. Traditionally white was associated with death but black has become the more modern way to mourn. Most of us would wear a band of black around our upper arm now. I haven't heard of blue being bad.

    3)Use very little yellow because it is the color of the Emperor. I think this is more out of respect. Now a days yellow is usually added to attract wealth.

    When I make something for my family I don't surprise them. I had to make sure they are okay with the Asian fabrics first. Bright colors is an excellant idea. Red for luck is very good. Chinese people, except for me, likes fancy. They don't like plain. Something to consider when you quilt it.

    I hope this helps. You know that what ever you make they will love because they are good people. Just make sure you tell them that you would like them to use it and not keep for display. Everytime I hear plastic my back go up. I think of the many of my parents' friends houses I been to where their furniture is covered with plastic.
    Sabrinaquilts, thanks for sharing the information. (I know what you mean about plastic!)

  9. #59
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    make what quilt you want, but be careful of the colors. I think they would be very happy with what ever the pattern is. You are a very wonderful lady for doing this for them. Good luck and God bless. Penny

  10. #60
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    OK this is what I came up with. There is this cute fabric I found called Bazooples. It's very bright primary colors with lots of baby animals. It does have some black and yellow in it. I haven't ordered it yet. The co-ordinating fabrics are very bright colors also.

    Do you think this is okay even tho it has some black in it? I've been all over the fabric sites and this was my and DH's favorite.

    I hate to keep asking you all these questions but even after researching the various sites you have provided me with the most info. I need to order the fabric next week then I promise no more questions-I'm just going to do it.

    Thank you thank you thank you!! This is a community project now thanks to all of you!!

  11. #61
    Member deanna.r's Avatar
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    It sounds wonderful, absolutely inoffensive, and something that they wouldn't find where they live which would make it very special. If you love it, go with your feelings. You will enjoy making the quilt; and, because of that, will do a good job. Your good wishes for their baby will be felt from our side of the world to theirs.

  12. #62
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    and sending overseas, i mark everything gift adn the cost of the item very cheap so they won't have to pay duty on it.

  13. #63
    Super Member Quilt Mom's Avatar
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    Sounds like a cute fabric! Go for it. I am sure the quilt willl be loved.

  14. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by deanna.r
    I'm sure your husband's friend and his wife would love a quilt, especially if you explained that it was a tradition in your culture. On the other hand, even many modern Chinese are still very superstitious and I believe that it would not be polite to give them something that represented bad luck or was offensive to them. White is the colour of death and would be particularly inappropriate for a baby. Do not even wrap the gift in white (or black which represents times of the unknown). Red is by far the luckiest colour. Blue-green is good for longevity and harmony.
    Animals-- as others have said, tigers would be good since this is the year of the tiger, also tigers are considered protective and would sybolise guarding the child's safety. Koi fish are also very lucky, especially red, orange, or yellow. Rabbits represent hope and turtles represent longevity. NO owls since they bring death. Bears (especially pandas) are strong male symbols and butterflies are more female. Dragons are very good animals and many Chinese parents will try to time the birth of their child so that it will be born in the year of the dragon. There are quite a few cute childrens' fabrics with dinosaurs in bright colours available now.
    Numbers-- eight is the luckiest number, four is good, and the number two doubles the meaning of a good symbol. Most odd numbers of things should be avoided.
    I hope this gives you some good ideas to start with.
    Everything you say is a very good point. I will only add that tigers are not as good for girls. I think it has something to do with not a preferred temperament for females. I learned that when I was having my own children and my superstitious sisters were discussing the Chinese Zodiac. Girls born in the year of the Dragon is much preferred too and apparently there are golden years too that are suppose to be the best. My oldest son was born in the year of the golden tiger. My second son was born in the year of the golden dragon. My last two son was born in the year of the sheep and the dog. No word from my sisters whether they were golden years so that must mean no. However my youngest was born 6-6-06 which apparently is much sought after.

  15. #65
    Super Member janRN's Avatar
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    I finally finished the quilt for our friends. Actually, I did 4 of them before I decided on this one. I want to thank all of you again for all the help and suggestions and encouragement you gave me. This is not the pattern I wanted to use but it showcased the fabrics. After all the agonizing, I think the final work came down to "baby"--it's a baby quilt. Thank you again-hope you all like it.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  16. #66
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    That is beautiful!! I'm sure they will love it. :) It will be great to play "I spy" with as well. How fun!

  17. #67
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    I think it came out very nicely! I love the colors, soft, but with brights from the animals that blend very nicely! Great job, I know they will treasure it.

  18. #68
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    I LOVE IT!!! I know they will too!!! Great job Jan.....but why am I saying that ......you always do such a wonderful job!!!!!! :D

  19. #69
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    It is perfect! You quilted a heart which they will love.

  20. #70
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    I love it and know they will love it also.
    Wonderful job and thank you so much for showing us.

  21. #71
    Super Member C.Cal Quilt Girl's Avatar
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    Adorable !! :)

  22. #72
    Power Poster earthwalker's Avatar
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    Jan, what a wonderful quilt. Lovely bright colours and happy little animals are just perfect for a small person. Thank you for letting us see the finished gift, I am sure it is going to be treasured by the recipients.

  23. #73
    Super Member Tiffany's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janRN
    I hope I know how to ask this question correctly without offending anyone or starting a political discussion. I need to make a baby quilt for a couple from China.

    Background: my DH's company sent him to China 4-5 times per yr. He became very good friends with a young engineer and to this day they still are even tho DH is no longer employed. DH even went to his wedding.

    Problem: we just found out they are expecting their first (and due to China's one-child policy) prob only child. I want to make a baby quilt for them.

    Question: does anyone know what are typical "baby colors" or themes for babies in China? They are a very educated and well-to-do hard working couple so are very "modern". I don't know if some colors are taboo or offensive or shouldn't be used for babies.

    If anyone has any ideas or can help me out I'd really appreciate it. In my opinion, babies are babies are babies!! I just don't want to do the wrong thing.

    Thanks-Jan
    I haven't read all the replies but I can tell you that you do not want to use butterflies on this quilt. I worked for a couple from China and wanted to make them a quilt for their store. I was going to do it in butterflies but when I asked her about it, she told me that in China the butterfly represents sadness. :( I happen to love butterflies and was a bit surprised by this but she said it goes back to a story written several hundred years ago. I can't remember the story, just the fact that they find butterflies sad instead of beautiful and amazing.

    EDIT: Well, I can see now that I've bothered to look that you have already finished the quilt. It looks great and they should be very happy to receive such a thoughtful gift!

  24. #74
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    Very pretty. Now you can rest, the gift is finished. Good job.

  25. #75
    Super Member Quilt Mom's Avatar
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    Very nicely done! :thumbup:

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