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Saturday, January 14, 2006

What is a 100 Good Wishes Quilt?
To welcome and celebrate a new life, there is a tradition in the northern part of China to make a Bai Jia Bei, or 100 Good Wishes Quilt. It is a custom to invite 100 people to contribute a single square patch of cloth. The 100 patches are sewn together into a quilt that contains the luck, energy, and good wishes from all the families and friends who contributed a piece of fabric. The quilt is then passed down from generation to generation.

I haven't been able to find very much information about this tradition, but more information is expressed in the book "Imperial Woman" by Pearl S. Buck. The book is about the final Empress of the Qing dynasty. At this point in the book, she is a concubine in the Imperial household, but has birthed the only male child of the Emperor. She has to leave her baby alone for a while and is thinking of ways to protect him, as well as obligate the other powerful Manchu families to back her son's claim to the throne. The book reads:

"She must offer the child as an adopted son, by symbol, to other powerful families in her clan. Yet what friends had she? She thought and she pondered and she devised this plan. 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."
Ideas for fabric:
ladybugs, pandas, chinese children, chinese patterns, hearts, any red colored fabric as red is good luck in China

Why are Ladybugs significant?
Ladybugs are a sign of good luck in the Chinese adoption community. It is said that if you see ladybugs that good things will happen soon! Because of this, many people like to include fabrics with ladybugs in their 100 Good Wishes Quilts.

So what do we do???
What is going to happen is that you are going to send us (or bring to a baby shower) 2 things: a patch of cloth and a hand-written wish. Most of the cloth will go towards making the quilt and one little piece will go into a scrapbook with the wish for our child. The specific details are below. This is really easy and simply put-I'd like for you to be as simple or as creative as you'd like!

FABRIC: One 8"x8" square of 100% cotton, washable fabric that could work for a girl. It can be new or "used and meaningful" fabric. See the fabric ideas listed above!!!

WISH: This is the fun part. Send us a decorated page or plain note (no bigger than 10 inches) with a good wish for our child and a scrap of your fabric (glued to the paper). Your wish can be simple or elaborate (for you creative and scrapbooking people). It can be something you write yourself or a favorite poem, lyric, quote, or anything else that strikes your fancy. You can even include a picture if you'd like. Please remember to sign your wish and include your relation to the child (if family), city and state. These written wishes will be placed in a 12 x 12 album so that your wishes will always be remembered.

If you prefer to mail your fabric and wish to us, please email us and I will give you our address.

Otherwise, you can bring it to one of my showers that I am sure I will have.