Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Preserving Memories

All families have to go through it, at some time, when it happens to your own should pull together and help each other get through it the best you can. I am doing just that with the help of memory quilts.

On 1/18/14 my husband's brother (my BIL) died unexpectedly. He leaves behind 3 children (ages are 19, 17 & 14), an ex-wife of over 17 years of marriage, a mom, a brother, 3 sisters and of course all of the extended families. Needless to say news of his passing was a shock to all of us and we are all pulling together to help each other get through this difficult time. Being a quilter, for me this involves making 3 memory quilts out of my BIL's clothing for his children. I asked if they would like me to do this for them and they all said yes. I went with them to their dad's place so they could pick out the pieces of clothing of their dads that they wanted in their quilts so it would be unique and special for each one of them. Even though it was only 2 days since their dad's passing they were laughing, smiling, joking around with each other as they searched for the clothing that was special to them. They were choosing golf/ polo shirts because they were soft, they chose ties because he was a business man and had quit a lot of them in many colors. They chose dress shirts, and khakis because his was often in them and they even chose some blue jeans because they want to remember him as just hanging out with them. It was a nice day for them, where they were able to remember stories, and memories that were special and dear to them.

 I placed what each one selected into their own container as to not mix the clothing up.
 This one belongs to Kristin, she is the oldest at 19 and is in her first year of college. Her quilt will be based on the pattern "Fair & Square" which is located in Bonnie Hunter's book "Scraps & Shirttails II" I am adding some charcoal grey and light grey yardage to her quilt to pull the many colors and fabrics together.   

Next is Jessie's, she is 17 and will be graduating high school this year and is also the same age as my Rachel. Her quilt will be based on the pattern "Cactus Patch" which can be located in Bonnie Hunter's book "Scraps & Shirttails". Both Jessie's quilt and Kristin's quilts will have string blocks made from their dad's golf shirts and ties. Above you can see a test block I did for Jessie's quilt, since there is a lot of knit fabrics I needed to see if using a muslin foundation instead of a paper foundation would stabilize the fabrics better....and it did. Yes the muslin will be left in the quilt for durability. She wanted her extra yardage to be red, black and light grey (her favorite colors....Rachel's as well) to help tie all the fabrics together.

This one belongs to Tommy, he's 14 and his sister's pretty much picked over the clothing so he was not left with too much, a pair of jeans, a golf shirt, a few ties and a Dodge Viper t-shirt his dad had and loved. So for his quilt I suggested that we pull some more blue jeans, dress shirts and khakis and showed him a quilt in Bonnie Hunter's book "Scraps & Shirttails" called "Denim Rails". His eyes brightened up quickly. He loved the manly style of quilt that will have his dad's clothing in it. 

So for the past week and a half I have been busy deconstructing clothing.

Yesterday and today I worked on cutting into the light and dark jeans as well as the khakis to get them into 3 1/2" X 9 1/2" strips so I can turn them into 48 (9" finished) rail fence blocks. They will alternate in the quilt with 9 Patch blocks made up of dress shirts of blue & white with 1/2 of the centers being from ties and the other 1/2 being from the 1 striped golf shirt he chose. There will be no additional yardage used in making his quilt top. Everything he chose goes really well together already. All 3 quilts will be full sized, requested by the kids that they be large enough for extra snuggling when they want to be close to/ or when they are missing their dad. 
I have my work cut out for me, I am hoping to have these done in time for Jessie's graduation at the end of May. I will post my progress as it comes. 
Please pray for them and all of the family as they go forward without Tom.     

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