Monday, March 31, 2014

Leaves of Memory

Earlier we were discussing memory quilts, and ways to handle them.

Clothing is such a personal item ---fabric that has been worn close to the heart.  Memories are so often attached to these every day items, yet it is not always easy to find a way to use fabrics ---Cutting into them can be hard too, when a lifetime of feelings are attached to that piece of clothing once worn by a loved one.

I remember a sweatshirt I received after my grandmother passed, and how it smelled like her perfume.  I could never bring myself to wash that sweat shirt for a long long time, because I didn’t want to “wash Grannie away.”

She smelled like Dove soap and Jergens lotion and this one perfume that I never did find out what it was ---hugging that shirt and burying my face in it brought Grannie back close to me many times.

If you WANT to make a simple memory quilt, here’s an idea from Ingrid, all the way from Germany!

She writes:

Hi, Bonnie,
Here comes my story für "quilting is therapy"
(Excuse my English, I am from Germany and my English at school is long long ago)
My father died in 2011 two months after his 90. birthday, suddenly and unexpected. I took home with me the shirt that he wore that day.
I cut it apart and ironed steam-a-seam on the pieces. Then I cut 90 different leave-shapes.(My father liked it when my sister and brother and I knew trees and plants with their names in our childhood).
I ironed these leaves onto the brown fabric, added batting and backing and sewed the shapes and quilted in the same time. I finished three days later and   I was "ready" with  saying goodbye.
The quilt is now hanging in our stairway.
Ingrid from Moers/Germany
I love how symbolic this simple quilt is.  One leaf for each precious year of her father’s life.  Such a beautiful tribute.  And it only took ONE FABRIC from ONE SHIRT plus the addition of a complimentary background.  It speaks volumes about a lifetime of love between a father and a daughter.  It is there in her stairwell every day as a reminder.
Thank you, Ingrid for sharing your quilt and your story with us!
It’s Monday morning!  The only thing on my calendar today besides getting the next round of book orders out is a check up and cleaning at the dentist at 1pm.
I sewed ONE MORE ROW on the width of the pieced backing last night…it was about 3” too narrow after I measured it against the quilt ---I’ve even prepped the binding!  Tonight – I’m loading it into the long arm!
Have a great Monday, everyone ---

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  1. That was a lovely way to work through grief and also create a lasting memory of her father. What a great idea.
    Thanks for posting this.

  2. What a wonderful way to remember a loved one. Simple but very meaningful.

  3. Ingrid, thank you so very much for sharing a warm loving memory with us. Isn't amazing how something we have with another can be translated into a quilt?

    Bonnie, OH HOW I KNOW that scent of a person you love lingers. My Mom wore Tweed colonge(hard to get a fresh bottle now). And if there is a whiff of a scent that can take me back home in my childhood, it is Tweed!

    Remember Bob Hopes closing line? 'Thanks for the memory!"

    HUGS to both Bonnie and Ingrid

  4. Hi, Bonnie, Ingrid's story brought tears to my eyes just reading it. I lost both my parents years ago long before I really started quilting so I have no fabric to remember them by. If only ...

  5. Thank you for sharing. Ppl are always asking me to make a memory wilt for them. What a wonderful idea!

    Can't wait for your new book to arrive in my mailbox!

  6. What a lovely idea. Thanks to Ingrid and Bonnie for sharing.

    I have my Dad's shirts saved. He died in 2008 but I cry each time I pull them out to cut. I think I will pull them out now and put them in a quilt I can wrap myself in.

    Ingrid and Bonnie, you gave me strength to do something I WANT to do.

  7. Thanks for sharing your story Ingrid. Memory quilts are a wonderful reminder and almost as wonderful for the quilter that is chosen to make one. I am currently making a memory quilt for a little boy that was born with a heart defect and using his clothes that he wore while in the hospital. With God' hand he is still here. I chose to do a scrappy type quilt using the Turning 20 as a guide. I did cut my pieces smaller - and used several different grays (momma's choice). I will try and post a picture when it is done - must be done by April 30 as delivery day is May 1.

  8. Lost my Dad in '07 and struggling with the same. I have a few shirts and a couple other items but it's hard to cut. I think I will try to make something to curl up with though, is better than a bag in the storeroom. I have a vest and scotch cap he wore in my closet and I hug them on the way by sometimes or bury my face in his cap...I wear it to sometimes. His cowboy hat is dirty and worn but hangs on my wall and his rope coiled lies on a shelf close by. Sure miss my cowboy Dad.

  9. Love this article! I recently did a memory quilt with my Dad's shirts whom I lost 1 year ago. Apparently a couple of his shirts he didn't wear for long so after taking them off hung them back up. As I steamed them I reminisced in the smell of my Dad. I can't bring myself to wash it either. This is a surprise gift for my sister. I hope she loves it as much as I do. P.S. I wanted to add a picture but couldn't figure it out.

  10. Hello Bonnie, I have made many a memory quilt for people who want that 'something' to remind them of their special someone. I have made quilts that enfold like the arms of those loved ones. Thank Ingrid for the way she is remembering her father. I made a bed jacket out of my dad's old sweaters he would alwasys wear. My girls each got a lap quilt from his clothing. Love Memory Quilts.......

  11. How very special! It is an unusual and beautiful remembrance.

    I used my dad's railroad-themed neckties to make "Railroad Ties" in his memory.

  12. Last week I was finally brave enough to "debone" 5 of my father's plaid shirts (he died March 2008). I'm going to combine them with some of my own to make a Smokey Mountains Star Quilt. Every time I see them I remember sharing outdoor chores with him. We both loved nature and spending time together in the original family home in the mountains. Boy, do I still miss him!

  13. What a wonderful memory quilt Ingrid made in honor of her father.

    I can't wait to see your finished quilt. Its going to be amazing, front and back! Have a great day Bonnie!

  14. What a beautiful way to remember a loved one. Ingrid did an amazing job.

  15. How very touching.
    Don't you like the way our quilting friends over seas apologize for speaking English poorly? I am always amazed at that since they have master our language so well and so many of us only speak one language. Nicely done Ingrid, so sorry for your loss.

  16. I think this is the best memory quilt I have ever seen.

  17. This is a lovely post. Hopefully a piece like this stays in the family with its cherished history. I know that if I see something like this at a flea market or thrift shop, I may think twice about it's origins.

  18. Anonymous10:02 PM EDT

    Greetings from mclWhat a treasured memory. So many ways to honor loved ones.

  19. Although I was not yet a quilter when my father passed away in 1996, I kept 5 of Daddy's white dress shirts because I had a Paula Vaughn book that showed how to make a quilted jacket using a man's shirt as the lining. My plan was to make a jacket for each of the women in our family. I made Mother's jacket first. Needless to say, she treasured it. When Mother passed away, my sister asked if she could have the jacket and I was happy that she wanted it. Daddy's other 4 shirts are still hanging in my closet. Hopefully I will get those other jackets done someday.


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