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Thread: Memory Quilts that You've Made

  1. #1
    Super Member Scrap Happy's Avatar
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    As quilters most of us end up making a memory quilt for someone in our travels. I thought this might be a nice thread for everyone to tell others about your memory quilts and the stories behind them. I was inspired to write this post after reading about a fellow quilter on this board who is making quilts for her family from her newly-deceased Dad's ties.

    About 5 years ago a friend lost her Dad. Her Dad was 95 and her Mom 93 and they had been together since they were 15!!! Her Mom was deeply depressed after her beloved husband passed away. My friend asked if I would be able to make a small memory quilt from her Dad's shirts for her Mom to help lift her Mom's spirits (it was about 60" x 70" if I remember correctly.) I was honored to. This was the first quilt anyone asked me to make for them and I wanted it to bring her joy somehow and help ease her grief.

    It was a quilt as you go quilt and I like how it turned out. I brought it to her Mom during a Christmas party and the whole family had flown in from all over the country - a big family. You would have thought I gave her the gift of gifts the way everyone treated me and was so excited for their Mom to receive this gift (she didn't know it was finished yet or that I'd be bringing it to the party.) Her Mom was teary eyed with happines. It touched my heart to watch the Mom, her children, and grandchildren all looking at the pieces of fabric and talking about his shirts and the beautiful memories the fabrics brought to them.

    I think of all the quilts I've made this one was appreciated most of all. It was pretty but not a raving beauty.

  2. #2
    Senior Member quiltingaz's Avatar
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    I have only made one memory quilt so far. It was for my parents 60th anniversary. My brother and I spent a lot of time putting photos of all their family on fabric. We were both new to this and botched a few pages but quickly got the hang of it. They were really surprised when they arrived at the reception and saw the quilt hanging there.
    I plan to make more for others.

  3. #3
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    I made two on commission several years ago. At the time I had some decorative painted pieces and wall hangings in a type of artist consignment/custom furniture shop. As it turned out there was a very short lived quilt shop that had been right next door. The quilt shop closed so the furniture shop took over the space. A woman stopped in looking for someone to make her a memory quilt out of her deceased mom's clothes. The owner of the shop gave her my name and number. It was a very different quilting experience for me and I swore I would never do another. The clothes were everything from lightweight cottons, to slippery knits to sweatshirts. I made one for her and one for her sister. The fabrics were rather nightmarish to work with but the lady was happy with the results. A few years later she contacted me because she had a friend who wanted one, I declined as I really did not enjoy the process of making the first two.

  4. #4
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    When I first got my sewing machine, in 2009, my young cousing got into an snowmobile accident and broke his back. He was a stunt rider, but at the time of the accident he wasn't doing stunts, just playing around. My family asked me if I would make a blanket to keep him warm during the months he would be on his back in bed. I gathered a bunch of pictures of him on his snowmobile doing jumps and stunts...and made them into applique blocks for his quilt. It was pretty much my first quilting project, and I had no idea what I was doing, but the local quilt shop gave me alot of great tips and showed me how to use a satin stitch and so forth. He treasures that quilt! And was just in awe when it was presented to him. That was the only memoriy quilt I made so far.

    the quilt block I made from the photo above
    Name:  Attachment-163619.jpe
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  5. #5
    Senior Member nycbgirl's Avatar
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    I made a memory quilt for my in laws 40th anniversary, they were very surprised. I am in the process of making a quilt for my friend whose husband died last year. I'm using his Hawiian shirts. I found a paper pieced shirt pattern that I am using and I hope it turns out well.

  6. #6
    Super Member MrsM's Avatar
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    I made one for a friends mother, who was going through some difficult times. Marg sent me photos which I printed and appliqued to the center of stars, (Lucky Stars pattern). I bordered them in pinks, mauves and blues. I left the outer border stars blank, so later photos could be added to it. The four corner stars held photos. Marg paid me for it. Her mother cried so when she got it.

  7. #7
    Super Member Maggiemay's Avatar
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    My dad died in 07 & I took his jeans & made rag quilts for my brother, sisters & myself. It took me forever to just open the box & another forever to start cutting into them, but when I got started on it I found it to be a very theraputic project. It was nice sewing with his jeans & thinking happy thoughts of him. I saved all of the pockets & put them on a purse for my mom so she takes him with her where she goes. (She is not a quilt person- her personal thermostat changed in menopause & she hasn't been cold since!)

  8. #8
    Super Member soccertxi's Avatar
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    Here is a quilt I quilted . My friend made it for a customer. She made 4 or 5 quilts from shirts for a family. Each quilt had the same fabric, but different patterns. I LOVE this one. I think it as the look of a Gee's Bend quilt. Truely a functional quilt, but I could see it being hung in a modern art gallery!

    This is a link for a t-shirt quilt. The lady also brought me 2 plaid shirts: one flannel and one VERY thin. I used those along with a 3rd plaid for the middle border. I interfaced the very thin fabric with a very light weight fusible interfacing. I love how this turned out. I had been wanting to use this shadow techinque and was allowed to do whatever I wanted. (the pictures are about in the middle of the page.
    http://www.quiltingboard.com/t-91292-1.htm

    I hope this gives you two more options.
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  9. #9
    Super Member Scrap Happy's Avatar
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    I enjoyed reading everyone's comments about their quilts. It's nice to know the recipients of these quilts were happy to get them. I loved seeing the pics and the sweet stories behind them. Thanks for sharing.

    Maggiemay, my Dad passed away in 07 too (next month will be 4 years and it doesn't seem that long.) I have some of his shirts that will become a quilt. :-D

    I am cutting the fabric for a denim quilt and have 2 pairs of his denim shorts that will be part of this quilt :-D

  10. #10
    Super Member ginnie6's Avatar
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    I made two this past year for the dd's of a friend whose son was killed in a wreck. They were made in part from some of his clothes. I got the sweetest card from the mom and she said the whole family just feels good every time they see those quilts. Both were the same pattern just a little different.
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v2...h_DSC_9623.jpg

  11. #11
    Super Member patchsamkim's Avatar
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    My husband died 6 years ago...I just last year was able to start making quilts from the clothes that I had saved...the first one made is for my youngest son...it uses a lot of my husband's jeans, some of his flannel shirts, and I had many photos transferred to fabric that I appliqued on to the denim. The center of the quilt is from the back of a jacket from where my husband worked. It is almost done being quilted.

    I hope that I can attach a picture sometime. I just got a digital camera for christmas, and am learning to use it, and still need to learn how to upload pictures to the computer. My oldest son still doesn't know if he wants a quilt, and if he does, what he wants, so the next quilt probably will be for myself, and then depending on how much material is left, will make quilts for his siblings.

    It was hard starting the quilt, but once I got started it was very healing.

  12. #12
    cosyquilter's Avatar
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    Check out http://www.quiltingboard.com/t-79013-1.htm for a quilt I made for my SIL. 40 family pictures printed on muslin; sashed, bordered and bound with flannel. It took months, probably did every seam at least twice, flannel does stretch, but DSIL loved it.

  13. #13
    Jim
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    Super Member Jim's Avatar
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    I have made well over 100 memory quilts...of course its part of my inhome business...my avatar i a quilt made from my Dad's shirts...he died in 2003 and I just was able to worked with them this year I gave it to one of my sisters...Tomorrow I getting clothing from a Dear dear friend of mine who past 4 weeks ago. She was a big part of my life and helped me grow into the person I am.I owe her alot. I worked with her before I had to retire and we belonged to the same church. She called me the son she never had. I am making a quilt for each of her two daughters in her memory and as a "Thank You" for what she meant to me.

  14. #14
    Super Member Scrap Happy's Avatar
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    ginnie6 - Wow! I like the pattern you chose. How beautiful it turned out. It must have been wonderful for you to give such a precious gift.

    Patchsamkim - I'm sorry about the loss of your husband. I know what you mean about starting the quilt. After my Dad passed it was hard to look at his clothes. I'm glad that making this quilt has been healing for you. I hope that you can attach the picture.

    Cosyquilter - Ooooooo!! How beautiful, what a treasure. I'm glad you shared the link with a picture - thanks.

    Jim - I know the quilt you made from your Dad's shirts is so special to you. Your sister will treasure this precious quilt. I am sorry about the loss of your friend. I hope that working on her quilt for her daughters brings you comfort. It will mean the world to them.

  15. #15
    Super Member Pam S's Avatar
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    Here is one I made for my friend whose son died in Afghanistan last year. It was an easy pattern but one of the hardest projects I've ever undertaken. I think I cried all the way through it.
    Oops, I can't figure out how to rotate the pic.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  16. #16
    Super Member Scrap Happy's Avatar
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    PamS - How sad. I understand what you mean about crying your way through it. But in the end you made a beautiful and special gift for your friend.

    I have a friend whose son deployed to Afghanistan right before Christmas. He's 25 and has been in the service since he was 18. I keep him and my friend in my prayers.

    I think if you right click your mouse you'll see rotate, select it and your pic will move sideways for you.

  17. #17
    Super Member Scrap Happy's Avatar
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    Pam - I should have said right click your mouse to do this.

  18. #18

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    I made a memory quilt for my cousin who was retiring from the Army. His wife had saved all his t-shirts from basic to all the places he served. It was truly the most rewarding thing I had done. He was surprised and still thanks me for it! God Bless our military and the U.S.A!

  19. #19
    Super Member Scrap Happy's Avatar
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    kraftinkween - I can certainly understand why you say this is the most rewarding thing you have ever done. What a wonderful way to show respect and appreciation to your cousin and what a beautiful surprise for him :-D I'm sure he appreciates the quilt and the love that went into it. Yes, God Bless our military, their families and the U.S.A.

    Do you have a picture?

  20. #20
    NannySandy's Avatar
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    My Dad died 5 yrs ago. My mother could not bear to part with his clothes. About 6 months ago, I asked Mama if she would like me to make her a quilt out of Daddy's clothes. I thought it would be a "comfort" for her to have this. She loved the idea. However, once I brought his clothes home with me, it took me several months to work through cutting up Daddy's clothes. It was a mental thing for me. I cried as I cut and asked Daddy to forgive me for cutting his clothes. I had to keep reminding myself that the end result will be a comfort to my Mom. Working on this quilt has also been a healing for me. I can hardly wait to get it finished for Mama.

  21. #21
    Super Member QuiltnCowgirl's Avatar
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    Memory quilts are what got me started learning how to quilt. My mother, who died in 2007, had saved fabric scraps from clothes she made for me & my 2 brothers when we were kids (we are now 52, 50 & 46). She always said she was going to make quilts for us. Well, she never got them made & when she died I inherited the boxes of fabric. I knew I wanted to make my quilt & both my brothers have since said that they would be honored to have theirs, from Mom, via me. So, Sept 09 I took my first quilt class, have made 5 quilts since then, and this spring plan to open up those boxes and get started on our memory quilts. I can't wait, because I will be sewing them using my moms Singer 403 that I also inherited. I know that she will be there right by my side as I make them.

  22. #22
    Super Member Pat P's Avatar
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    Made a a musical memory quilt for my daughter as she turned 40 this year. Her daughter and I, along with Danielle belong to a Sweet Adelines Chorus, All the ladies decorated a block and she now has memories of her time with this chorus. She is alo a music teacher, So notes were a part of the design.

  23. #23
    Super Member Scrap Happy's Avatar
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    NannySandy - What a precious gift to make for your Mom. I'm glad it is bringing you comfort to work on this quilt for her. I know what you mean about having a hard time cutting into your Dad's clothes for the quilt. I am cutting denim for a rag quilt and was soooooo happy to have 2 of my Dad's denim shorts to use. But when I went to cut them I hesitated, it felt wrong. Like you I reminded myself that this will be made into a quilt that will be used for many years :D I hope you share a picture of it when it's finished.

    QuiltnCowgirl - What a blessing that you get to sew your quilts on your Mom's sewing machine! I know your Mom will be smiling over you while you work on your quilts. It must mean a lot to you to make these quilts for your brothers and it's good to know they are looking forward to having these quilts and the meaning behind them. Maybe you could share pictures of them when they are done?

    I still have my Dad's shirts hanging in the sewing room closet. I will make a quilt from them.

    Pat P - Wow! What a cool quilt. I bet you daughter is thrilled to have it :-D It must have been a fun quilt to make. Do you have a picture you could share?

  24. #24
    Super Member Pat P's Avatar
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    Scrap Happy yes I wll post pictures of it just to show new quilters what to watch out for when doing directional quilts. Normally I would be too intimidated but since there are no quilt police here maybe it will help newcomers to quilting. Daughter was pleased== had enough scraps to make her and granddaughter two bowtuck purses.

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