Saturday, March 12, 2011

Memory Quilt with Book

I have been hesitant about sharing this post only because we are a new blog and I know that most of our followers thus far are friends and have already seen photos of this quilt on facebook.  I have decided to post it because I have mentioned before that I have found my niche in memory quilts and I want to share how it all started.  My brother in law died a year in a half ago and a short time after he died my sister had the idea that I should make a quilt for my mother on law out of his clothes for her.  He had lived with us in Washington on and off for about 8 years and I had a huge collection of photos of him.  Because when he died he lived in Washington, all of his clothes now resided in bins in my garage I had the means to make one.  I'm not sure if I went through the photos first or the clothes, but somehow an idea came alive....

I was going to make a quilt out of clothes that I found him wearing in photos and make a book out of it to go along with the quilt. When I completed the quilt, I would take photos of each square and put it in the book alongside photos of him wearing the clothing incorporated into the quilt.  I made this book on Shutterfly.

The quilt pattern I used was from Heather Mulder Peterson called Square Dance.  I can't seem to find it right now to link it for you, but her pattern line is called Ankas Treasures and my first 3 quilts I made were from her line and I love her!!!

The Photo on the left was one that I found after the quilt was finished but was one of the first fabrics that I chose.  I knew that my mother in law loved this shirt so I really wanted to incorporate it into the quilt.  If you look closely at the finished quilt, I used it for the diamonds and the inside border.  This was the only fabric that I chose without having a photo first so I was so excited when a friend emailed this photo to me in the 11th hour.  When I say 11th hour I mean it, this photo was taped in and not included in the publishing of the book.  The photo on the right isn't really part of the quilt but I thought it was such a great picture of Nate, I had to include it. 

This is something that you can do as not only a memorial, but a ever lasting memory for your children to show how they grow so quickly!!! Remember to take lots of photos of your kids in your favorite clothes of theirs!!!! 

I am so grateful I had so many photos to choose from, it made this project so much easier to do.  It helped that he obviously had some favorites that he liked to wear...

Hmm.  If you look closely, you can see me on the top row third from the right.  This square pictured is made from Nate's hoodie that you see him wearing in this photo.

I was happy to find a picture of him golfing in this shirt, it was something he was great at and loved to do.  The other photo is of him and my niece Jasmine.

This is a piece of his board shorts.  The photos were taken of him on vacation in Mexico and Hawaii

Blue... This color will always remind me of him...  After a while this shirt had turned into a work shirt.  He did construction so it had some vulcom on it.  You can see it on the top right.  I thought it was a perfect addition to the quilt.  Don't stick to only the clean clothes, this shirt proves how much it was worn by the stains.

When you make a memory quilt, you can add any part of the clothing that you would like.  I wanted to add a corner of this blue sweatshirt because it shows more of the clothing...

Here were two squares that made an outfit.  His shirt and his shorts.  Remember, don't just stick with shirts , if there are specific pieces of clothing that are important, use them all!!!

I loved finding multiple photos of him wearing the same thing, it adds to the significance of it.  It means it was a favorite.  That is what you want to put in your quilts, the things that you saw them in the most.

Look at those golf pants, what a hoot.  Try too incorporate something that makes the person you are making it for unique to them.

If you look closely, you will see that this shirt isn't one that Nate is pictured wearing here.  In fact, he never wore this shirt.  I do however have many pictures of him wearing shirts this color blue.  He only had two but he wore them often.  Those shirts were taken quickly by two of his closest people who wanted to keep them.  In memory of him, at his funeral we had all of his friends wear this color tee shirt to the funeral.  I'm sure at first it was a shock for people to see his friends wearing simple tee shirts instead of getting dressed up.  As soon as they saw 4 rows of blue in the front they figured it out and it was quite touching.  This quilt wouldn't have been complete without a touch of what we now call 
"Nate Blue".

Here is the back cover of the book.  This was Nate as a kid waiting for his baby blanket to dry on the line.  How cute is that...

Here it is all completed.  Remember the photo of him with the stripes?  I used it for the diamonds and the inner border.  If you choose to make this quilt, I wouldn't recommend that you use a striped fabric for the diamonds because it is actually 4 small triangles sewn together.  I don't care how talented you are, trying to get those stripes to look perfect will give you a headache.  I backed this quilt with a black shannon cuddle.  I have heard some people complain about quilting with cuddle fabrics but I have made a few with it and haven't had a problem.  I actually find that it hides quite a few of your "mistakes".

I do make these for people if they want me to.  So feel free to email me if you are interested.  Remember though, sometimes I feel like a beginner too so you could probably make one yourself.  



  1. aww tears in my eyes as I'm reading this! I love that forever now when I see that blue hollister color I will always think "that's nates color"...what an amazing ministry this could be! I know my family would give anything to have those memories and photos of my brother and sister. I think people take more photos now so that makes it easier ;) Thanks for posting I have seen the quilt but I still love to look at the photos and remember...

  2. That is really neat... Wish we could have done that with Sue's clothes, but it's to late now.... A great idea tho, I love it!

  3. Ahhh man, Nate Blue is always in my mind when I see that color, too! Amazing work, and thanks for the tears and smiles...! =)

  4. Awesome quilt and book! I still have a box of my moms clothes that were susposed to be sewed into 10 small quilts for each of us far Marissa and Marita are the only ones who got a quilt..(my sister Missy sewed them each a small quilt)maybe someday we will still get it done..

  5. What a great idea...and a great story!

  6. What a lovely and touching memorial, and no I had never seen it so I'm glad you posted this!

  7. thank you for sharing. it is beautiful and so touching.