Signature Quilt – Design Details

By Diane Berry, with a little help from her Friends!

Nothing about the design is accidental. In Diane’s words, “As a quilter, I recalled the history and significance of a signature quilt, friendship or autograph quilt and decided to make that my personal contribution… a permanent reminder of the efforts of all those who worked in fund raising events or contributed financially to meet our goal.


“Ian McAskill’s logo design for our church intrigued me and I wanted to use it as a focal point. Finding a quilt block that would complement the oval shape of the logo, as well as accommodatean embroidered signature proved to be quite a challenge. In Christian mythology, the number three has to do with the Holy Trinity, and it, as well as its multiples, are considered mystical. The fan shape with nine sections seemed appropriate. I borrowed my colour scheme from the Amish who reflect a gaiety of spirit in their quilts, with the use of dark solids and bold, rich, glowing colours. Their lives represent a deep commitment to Christian living and practice. Their relationship to God and His Word is direct. Gradually by trial and error, my design took shape, materials were gathered, washed, ironed, cut and hand pieced into blocks. Each name embroidered on the fans averaged at least an hour. The list of names grew and the overall arrangement of the fan blocks had to be altered several times.”

“The search for quilting designs for the negative blocks (space between the fans) began. I wanted them to reflect the interests and character of our beautiful old church.”

The many images quilted into the space between the fans are identified, with their sacred significance, below this image.  The quilt remains an inspiring testimony to the power of community and the meaningful expressions of faith through visual arts and crafts. 

Detail showing Birds in the grape vine and sky in negative block and coloured signatures

Embroidered Symbols in the Negative Blocks

The Links of Friendship design, acts as a corner stone or foundation for the quilt base and represents our congregational strengths.

The Nativity Scene – reminds us of our Sunday School’s Christmas pageant and the commitment of our teachers throughout the church school year. It is the birth of Christ which we celebrate December 25th.

Grape Vines – symbolize a long, fruitful life and new growth. In Christian mythology the flowing vine was a vivid metaphor of God and his people. (see the pulpit posts at Sydenham Street United Church). Grapes were crushed for communion wine.

Hosanna – represents Palm Sunday – shout of praises to the Lord. The Palm Leaf was used as a symbol of victory or triumph. The block name is taken from the story of the last journey of Jesus into Jerusalem, when the children’ by the roadside saluted him with palms and cries of “Hosanna”.

Bells, weddings – special events in the church or the call to worship.

Sydenham Street Angel – “our guardian angel”.

The Chorister – represents our wonderful choir and music under the direction of Dr. F.R.C. Clarke.

The Star, – the star of Bethlehem, showing the shepherds and wise men the way to Jesus’ manger. It was used in early Christian Mosaics.

Cross and Hearts – the Love of God.

Children of the World – joining hands, represents our ongoing outreach programmes of the Church, with the unity, sharing and hopes of mankind.

Dove of Peace – represents the Holy Spirit.

Birds in the grape vine and sky – in Christianity the bird is a symbol of the coming of the Holy Ghost, signifying the return of life in the springtime, as well as the resurrection.

Alpha and Omega – the end of Jesus’ life on earth and the beginning of the Church. His followers met to sing, pray and learn to love one another as Jesus had taught.

Lily Flowers – our symbol of Easter, “Christ is Risen”, the circle representing life with no end.

The Candle – the light and hope of God‘s children.

Mission and Service Logo – Vertical ‘flourishes in rainbow colours: symbolize hope. The rainbow that appears after storms is caused by light shining through raindrops, but is was chosen as God’s promise that he would be close to us always and God being with us, we can come through stormy times. The splashes of water represent the Holy Spirit, Gods light and warmth giving direction to the life of the church. The Foundation is the baptismal font, manger or communion table.

The Future Symbol.

Oak Leaves – the symbol of longevity, the oak tree is strong and endures for centuries.  

Holly – represents Jesus Crown of thorns, the torture and abuse inflicted upon Jesus in the course of the trial which preceded his crucifixion. The berries are the droplets of blood.

Butterflies – symbolize the resurrection of Christ; by extension the resurrection of all men. The meaning comes from the emergence of the butterfly from the chrysalis, its apparent tomb.

The Canadian Flag – Our proud heritage. The two pigeons on the front lawn are a reminder for Jim Berry and Rob McKay of the many garbage bags of pigeon dirt they shoveled from the bell tower, and for Eric Carstens and Charles Buckingham who helped remove the bags.

Updated 2021 02 12