Memory Quilts

Memory quilts have different meanings for everyone. The quilt to the left is mine, made from a collection of T-shirts, mostly obtained from my travels. It was made as a sample for a t-shirt class and now resides in my car. In my work as a community health care aide I meet a lot of people who have quilted and who appreciate seeing quilts. I get the extra added bonus to chat with quilters who have produced quilts long ago and see some exquisite hand quilting and piecing. When I showed this quilt to a lady who works in counselling for step-families she was immediately drawn to the idea of it being a memory quilt to help those step-families stay connected. Clothing can hold lots of great memories and why not create something that brings happiness. Memory quilts can commemorate many different things.

Last year I was given several bags of baby clothes to make two baby quilts. Each quilt was a great way to remember those toddler years. There are so many milestones in those first few years that it can be pretty easy to create an heirloom quilt full of wonderful memories.

Joan recently quilted a t-shirt/clothing quilt for a customer who had never made a quilt before. She was elected to do this by her siblings. They each sent her a piece of clothing that held special meaning for them and she was to sew them into a quilt. This quilt will be presented to their mother for her 85th birthday. The pantograph used was “Happy Times,” fairly appropriate. :)

I have recently made two memory pillows for the family who is still grieving the loss of their son, nephew, brother. Sean’s mother has picked out specific t-shirts, pictures and sayings that were special to the person she is giving these pillows to. They are individualized to fit the relationship he had with each person.

This pillow front was made from two t-shirts and a favourite scarf, while the back is made using a shirt front, snaps and all. The word “perfect” is embroidered on his picture.

I left the pockets open so that they could be used to keep anything special inside. The snaps make it easy to remove the pillow for washing. I have two more pillows to make for this family.  Mrs K made a point of thanking me several times for helping them through this difficult time. I feel blessed to be able to help this family.

When I get finished with these other projects I will start work on the memory quilt from our Dad’s shirts.  Dad was a fan of Tilley clothes and all things made in Canada. I’ve saved the labels and buttons and they will be used to embellish as well as make key rings. I found this wonderful website call the Sum of Their Stories. I love the name. What we make with bits of clothing and buttons may only be a small part of a person but it will add to the “sum of their story.” It will create memories and give comfort when needed. It will bring smiles and feelings of joy. Below is a link to the website for making the key rings.

Happy memories and happy quilting…Valerie Raye


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