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Thread: Cultural differences in quilting

  1. #1
    Super Member janRN's Avatar
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    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

  2. #2
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    google Chinese quilts
    there is a site 100 Good Wishes Quilts that is all about making quilts for babies

  3. #3
    Moderator kathy's Avatar
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    if I knew someone from another country and they made something special for me, I would want it to be representitive of their customs, etc. my 2 cents. :-P

  4. #4
    Power Poster dkabasketlady's Avatar
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    Please keep us posted on this in case others of us face the same dilemna! I can't wait to see the pics of the baby quilt when you get it done!

  5. #5

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    They're either going to fold up the quilt and put it away as a keepsake for the child or they're going to display it and tell their friends that it was made by the wife of an American friend as a special gift for the baby. Either way, I think you should make what YOU would consider the best baby quilt ever made.

    I hope they let the baby use it and promote international friendship by showing it to their families and friends. We need more of that in today's world.

  6. #6
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    What a wonderful thing to do. Keep us posted on what you decide.

  7. #7
    Super Member clem55's Avatar
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    I, too, would want to be sure not to use anything that might offend tradition.

  8. #8
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    Jan, you stated your question respectfully, courteously and perfectly. It is very important to respect the traditions of other countries. I feel you are being wise to know before you sew.
    Are you shipping it to China?
    If so, call your air freight carrier or the post office to ask what is and is not accepted into that country.
    As well, ask what the Customs duty rate is.
    Ask if you are able to pay the duty or if only the recipient can pay it.
    I didnít search long so there are more sites out there. These two have a gift giving section with important information on gift giving.
    Chinese Culture, Etiquette, Customs, Manners and Protocol
    http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/reso...y-profile.html
    This link includes a section for gift giving that has some important information in it.
    Chinese Customs, Manners and Etiquette
    http://factsanddetails.com/china.php...=4&subcatid=19
    The link also includes a section for gift giving that has some important information in it.
    As I thought about it more I did this search: baby gift customs in china. I got lots of hits and would encourage you to take a look.
    I feel you are being wise to know before you sew.
    Regards, Dorothy

  9. #9
    Super Member Luv Quilts and Cats's Avatar
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    I know that the color red is good luck to them and very special. Whatever you decide to do, I am sure they will treasure it! Post a picture when you are done.

  10. #10
    Google Goddess craftybear's Avatar
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    very nice of you, can't wait to see the finished quilt

  11. #11
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    I believe color might be your primary concern. Then quilt with oriental designs. Many books will give you these ideas. Books published by Dover Publishing Co is a good source. You might also look at the on line catalog for The Stencil Co (www.quiltingstencils.com) I did a number of oriental designs for their catalog.

  12. #12
    Senior Member carol45's Avatar
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    Jan,
    I made a baby quilt for a Chinese couple (she was my graduate student) and they have since returned to China. Her mother loved it so much that they asked me for the pattern and where I got the fabric so that her mother could make one. I'll be happy to send/post a photo of it--right now I can't because my computer has gone nuts. It is a pinwheel quilt on point that is made with graduated fabrics in red, orange, green and blue.
    Carol

  13. #13
    RST
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    I believe that white is associated with death, so avoid that. But colors are generally good. (My grandmother grew up in China, so going off things she said, which makes it all about 90 years old).

    Personally, I would not try to do an asian theme of fabrics -- just make a very American quilt. They will understand that this is a traditional American artform made as a special honor to welcome a baby.

    I recently made a baby quilt for a couple from India -- they obviously appreciated it, even though it's not part of their tradition, nor is it particularly practical in India (though they are currently in the Pacific NW with their baby, so can use it here.)



    RST

  14. #14
    Super Member DebraK's Avatar
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    "Personally, I would not try to do an asian theme of fabrics -- just make a very American quilt. They will understand that this is a traditional American artform made as a special honor to welcome a baby."

    I agree with this.

  15. #15
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    From readin thru those web sites I wouldn't use green or white. I know that in Asian cultures white is associated with death.

  16. #16
    Super Member JoanneS's Avatar
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    I BOUGHT a baby quilt when I was in China in 1988 at a large fair. All of the baby quilts had red backgrounds! I was told the one I bought had good luck symbols: dragons, spiders, pandas, fish, frogs and kitties. I suspect it was made for the tourist trade, NOT for Chinese people.

  17. #17
    Super Member sewcrafty's Avatar
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    We have members here from China. Try going to the User List above and look up users by location. I'm sure they wouldn't mind you contacting them and asking their opinion. :thumbup:

  18. #18
    Pam
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    I am sure that anything that you make for them will be treasured. Just think, someone in a foreign land, that they had never met cared enough about them to make a gift for their baby! I WOULD enclose a note with fabric care, encouraging them to use the quilt for the baby, not to save it.

  19. #19
    Super Member nursie76's Avatar
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    Jan, I have to chuckle, because I recently asked something very similar. I know as nurses we have the issue of being sensitive to our patients cultural practices stressed to us in training and it can definitely be an issue as different cultures have different health practices.

    I recently decided to participate in the Little Dresses for Africa program and the first thing I did was email the site to ask if certain animals that I might embroider on the dresses would be offensive in their culture.

    I think it is so generous of you to make this young couple a quilt for their little one. Is there a university near you that teaches Chinese language or culture classes? They would be a great resource for this type of info. My daughter took several semesters of Chinese when she was in college.

    I agree with those who said that they wouldn't stick with an Asian theme. I will bet too, that they will be proud of the quilt from their American friend.

  20. #20
    Super Member JanetM's Avatar
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    I think you are smart to be asking this question. Now that we have so many international world wide corporations, businesses are training their employees about these very cultural differences.
    I think it is very nice of you to want to give their new baby a quilt, and one that doesn't inadvertantly offend will be cherished and appreciated. :D

  21. #21
    Super Member Kitsie's Avatar
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    I think you should gift them with a quilt from "your" culture! Then they can show their other friends how North Americans do it.

  22. #22
    Super Member janRN's Avatar
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    You guys rock!! I was so afraid of offending someone with my question. All your answers are helpful. I have to spend more time on the website before I decide what to do.

    I made them a wallhanging for their wedding which they love. Other friends who have visited them say it's displayed on the wall in their living room and they tell everyone Tom's wife made that with her own hands. That makes me feel so good because I wasn't sure what to do then but you know men--DH told me he needed a wedding gift 3 days before he was leaving for China!! Wanted to shoot him.
    All turned out well.

    Thanks so much for all the GREAT advice-and if you think of anythng else, please let me know.

  23. #23
    Super Member GrammaNan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DebraK
    "Personally, I would not try to do an asian theme of fabrics -- just make a very American quilt. They will understand that this is a traditional American artform made as a special honor to welcome a baby."

    I agree with this.
    Ditto!

  24. #24
    Senior Member carol45's Avatar
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    Here's the baby quilt that I made for a former Chinese student--I sent a message about it earlier.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  25. #25
    Pam
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    Carol45, that is lovely. Any child, any where would love to have this.

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