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Memory Quilts

I'm ashamed to say that a few years ago I was asked to make some memory quilts for 3 kids after the passing of their father. I was given 3 boxes of shirts, all kinds including woven and knits. I have held off on doing them simply because I couldn't figure out how to do them. I needed to make 3 quilts. The same, but different.

In the mean time I was asked to make a memory quilt with sari and Indian dress fabrics. Again a challenge and I just couldn't wrap my head around how to start these quilts.

Kristina at Handi Quilter to the rescue!!!! Kristina shared a video of a way to make scrappy quilts completely on her long arm.

Game Changer!

Light Bulb Moment!


I also wanted to make my Mum and Dad quilts for Christmas. Dad is in long term care and confined to a wheelchair. I didn't want anything too big for him. He has always been a bit of an artist and used to do some amazing stained glass pieces. I pulled out hand dyed scraps and went to town! The backing of the quilt was black fireside and instead of couching with yarn, I cut narrow strips of the backing fabric and couched them in place over the joins of the fabrics to look like the leading in stained glass.

I was pleased with Dad's quilt and decided that Mum needed one too. She has told me that she often falls asleep in her chair in the evenings, so I made one just large enough to drape over her. We had a good chuckle when I explained that I used the fabrics from a kit she had started years ago and gave to me to finish when Mum and Dad downsized....she informed me that I had originally given her the kit as something I had picked up many years before! So, now the quilt kit has done a full circle and more! I used a teal fleece as the backing and quilted feathers in some of the larger areas between the couched "leading".

After Mum and Dad's quilts, I had confidence to do the memory shirt quilts! Each of the 3 kids had a favourite colour. I cut up the shirts and divided them into 3 rough groupings. I decided to put these on my frame with my Pro-Stitcher Premium and rather than stitch around each fabric piece, I quilted an edge to edge across the fabrics before couching the matching "leading" in place.

I even stitched the binding in place on the longarm! I stitched a single layer of binding fabric (same as leading and backing) to the edge of the quilt. I folded the binding to the back side of the quilt and using my domestic sewing machine, stitched a narrow zig zag along the fold.

Things I learned

  1. larger pieces work well if quilted in place with an all over design

  2. knit fabrics should always be tucked under woven fabrics. I found I needed to "fix" a few areas of the knit fabrics that didn't catch completely under the "leading".

  3. cutting "leading" strips 3/8" wide is the perfect width.

  4. cutting the binding wider than I thought I needed (2-3") was a good idea. I could trim the extra off the back.

I mailed 2 boxes of quilts to my Mum mid December. One box held hers and Dad's Christmas quilts and the other box held 7 quilts I had quilted for her. Thankfully the box with their Christmas quilts arrived in plenty of time. The other box seems to have disappeared into the ether!!! I am sure it will show up eventually, but so very thankful Mum and Dad got their gifts!

The 3 memory quilts were delivered before Christmas and were well received.

I have one more to do and that will be January's project.

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