Valerie’s Memorial Quilt

Four years after my mom passed away, I’ve finally finished the memorial quilt for my sister, Valerie. God bless her for being patient! This is the 5th of 6 memorial quilts.

Val's quilt2


IMG_3433-1The center squares are made from our mom’s clothes.  I quilted them with freehand leaves.







IMG_3428-1The denim blue outer heart border was quilted with squiggly lines. I love making these – it was a lesson in patience, for sure!







IMG_3445-1The butterflies were made with my dad’s favorite sweatshirt jacket, which he wore whenever he was working out in the garage. I put an extra layer of batting behind the butterflies so they’d puff out a bit more, then added black antennae and had the butterflies “carrying” the name by wrapping around the letters. How cute is that?!?! I wish I’d have used a thicker thread, but it looks cute as hell anyway.




IMG_3447-1“Charlie” was Valerie’s nickname, and only mom and dad called her that. I did the lettering in Word, printed it out, taped it together, then did the applique with Mistyfuse. Dang, Mistyfuse is incredible – I didn’t have to reverse the lettering or worry about the fabric fraying!


Valerie embroidered all of the labels on mom’s sewing machine that she inherited. The picture is from Val’s wedding – one of our favorite pictures, and it was embroidered onto dad’s t-shirts. She made 4 of these – and must have used miles of thread! Because it is on knit, the words are a bit hard to read, but that’s okay-we know what it says!

Valerie loves it, and I’m so glad she does. I now have one more memorial quilt to make – mine. But it will wait for a while. Those quilts take a lot out of me emotionally, and I have to do some happy quilts now. I will love having my own to cuddle up with….soon…..

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Another Memorial Quilt Finish

Now that I’ve got my sewing room in some kind of workable order, I decided to get my sister’s memorial quilt made. It’s the fifth of six quilts (the last still needs to be made for me), and, gawd love her, Valerie has been incredibly patient, seeing as how mom passed away in 2010. However, she understands that these quilts have been incredibly hard for me to make, and has refrained from asking me to get it done. Here’s the beginning of the quilt….


While I can’t show a full picture of the finished quilt yet, I can show some bits and pieces. I won’t post pics of the entire thing until she’s seen it first. I think she’ll like what I’ve added to that bottom blank area. And since she subscribes to our blog, I’ll post pics of the full quilt after it’s been shipped to her and she’s opened it. However, I can tell you about it!

The quilt is made from my mom’s clothes, along with pieces from a sweatshirt jacket that belonged to dad. Once again, I’m still kicking myself for not saving his clothes. Sis Lish donated the sweatshirt. I free-motion quilted leaves in the blocks with mom’s clothes:


 Succeeded in making some fairly straight (albeit not even!) squiggle lines in the blue border around the heart… IMG_3428

…and made butterflies with dad’s sweatshirt jacket.


I’ve got some leftover Swaroski crystals from Jefferson’s quilt, so I may use them on the butterfly antennae….if I can find them!

The border was done with half-circles and piano keys. Boy, SID around those circles was a bitch!


Valerie inherited mom’s sewing machine, and does a lot of embroidery on it, so I asked her if she would embroider the labels for the quilts. She used a picture of mom and dad taken at her wedding, had it digitized and added a poem I wrote. She did them on a couple of dad’s t-shirts she had. Everyone contributed to getting something of dad’s!!


Not a great pic, I know. The poem says:

When you’re sad or feeling blue and you are missing me,

wrap up in this cuddle quilt and I’ll be close, you see.

For I am with you always, every minute, every day.

I may be up in heaven now, but in your heart I’ll stay.

It’s going to be a cold, windy day today, so it’s a perfect day to watch movies and finish up the binding. Hopefully it will be shipped out this week!

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Memorial Quilts

I finally finished two memorial quilts – one each for my brother and sister (with one still left to make). I was able to deliver them last weekend when I was in Ohio for my niece’s graduation party. The first one was made for Lish.



Mom passed away in 2010 from cancer (cancer sucks). Dad died suddenly a few years before mom from a brain aneurysm. I’m still kicking myself for not thinking of keeping his clothes when he passed away. 

The squares in Lish’s quilt are made from mom’s clothes.  The flowers are from the one article of dad’s clothing that was available – a sweatshirt jacket that dad had left at Lish’s house several years ago, and she had (gratefully!) held on to. It broke my heart to take that jacket from her – she wore it all the time. But, after asking, she offered it up and I carefully took it apart to be able to use every single inch I could for the quilts, seeing as how I needed to make 4 of them! I quilted this quilt with hearts. Let me tell you, dad’s sweatshirt was a bitch to quilt. Incredibly thick.

The pattern is from Abbey Lane Quilts (the pattern name is Glad All Over), because as soon as I saw it, it reminded me of my niece, Carly, who still gets teary-eyed when she talks about her grandparents. I know she’ll love cuddling under it. If she can get it away from her mom, that is. I had some sizing issues while constructing the quilt – it came out smaller than the stated size – and I had to add an extra border to the top and bottom to make it the size I wanted (I used mom’s jeans for these rectangles). I had checked the website for any pattern corrections before I started (lesson learned long ago!), but didn’t see anything there. After I made it and found the size difference, I contacted the company. They responded very quickly, stating that, yes, there was a size discrepancy, and offered to send me out another pattern. What great customer service!

This is Bill’s quilt:

Bill's Quilt

His quilt is a simpler pattern, just squares with cornerstone sashing. No pattern necessary. I incorporated the sweatshirt into the center blocks of the quilt (the grey and grey/stripe blocks). I did simple, wavy lines for the quilting on this one. Perfect for a guy – not feminine at all. No flowers or hearts for my brother – lordy, he’d have never used it with frilly stuff on it LOL!

My youngest sister, Valerie (who lives in Texas), made the labels for me. Gawd love her, she got them done in under a week. She took our favorite picture of mom and dad, along with my poem, digitized them and embroidered them on one of dad’s t-shirts she had taken when dad passed (yay -another piece of clothing!). To make even it more special, she used mom’s sewing/embroidery machine, which she had inherited from her. Mom would be so proud with how they turned out! Each label took 6 hours to do. Whew! That machine got a workout with these 🙂


The poem reads:

When you’re sad and feeling blue

And you are missing me,

Wrap up in this cuddle quilt

And I’ll be close, you see.

For I am with you always,

Every minute of the day.

I may be up in heaven now,

But in your heart I’ll stay.

It took me two-and-a-half years to complete these. It wasn’t easy making them, I’ll admit. Pull out the squares. Stare at them awhile. Put them back. That went on for months. And months. I’ve still got one to go for Val, which I’m still looking for the “right” pattern to use. Mine can wait – I can make mine any time. Making these quilts is a true labor of love.

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Memorial Quilt Label

Finally created a label for Aunt Martha’s quilt.


I’ll change up the label for each family member and add the poem I wrote on each one. I am not putting her date of birth (everyone knows when she was born), or her date of her death (that’s just too damn depressing) on any of the labels. I created it with Bubble Jet Set (just love that stuff!) and some Kona “Natural” fabric. Hopefully I’ll get it on the quilt and add the binding today. Then only 5 more to go!

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First memorial quilt almost done!

I quilted Aunt Martha’s memorial quilt yesterday.

Front of quilt

(click for larger picture)

Aunt Martha is a hoot, and one of the wonkiest people I know. She’s funny, loves bright colors and anything different. So I decided to do some free-motion wonky flowers, and wavy lines in the sashing. It’s nice to be able do some practice quilting on these quilts. I find I don’t do free-motion quilting enough anymore. I tend to try to use rulers to make them look perfect. It was fun not having to do straight lines or perfect circles! The flowers are a bit skewed, but Aunt Martha will love it no matter what. I think I’ll do all these quilts with free-motion, giving myself the freedom to explore different patterns.

It looks quite pretty from the back:


(click for larger picture)

I’ve got many threads to snip, and a couple of errors to frog, but I’m happy with it. I did have a few areas where my tension was too tight (probably from moving a bit too fast) and the blue thread from the front shows on the back. But it will hopefully settle itself into the quilt on the first wash. And, frankly, I don’t care that it did. Aunt Martha will love it anyway!

I did free-hand leaves on the border, which I think turned out pretty darn well.

(click for larger picture)

(click for larger picture)

This was quite fun to do, and for once I relaxed and freed myself from the constant stress of quilting something perfectly. It was amazing how quickly it went, and how rewarding it was!

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I LOVE how that quilt turned out!  What a precious quilt – I think the blocks show your mom’s clothing wonderfully, and the quilting you did on it compliments it beautifully.  The quilt has both dignity and playfulness.  You did good, girl!

peggi small sig

Making progress on the memorial quilts….

Room pan

Wow. What a freakin’ mess. Took a B-12 vitamin and became Wonder Woman – fabric has been flying around this room! I’ve spent the last 4 hours ironing interfacing on to all the knit and silky fabrics from mom’s tops for the six memorial quilts I’m making. That woman wore a LOT of knit! See that pile in the right corner? That’s leftover shirts in the event I run out of squares from what I’m currently cutting. Although I don’t think that’ll be a problem. Shoot, I’ve got enough fabric just from mom’s jeans to make all six quilts! I’m starting to think mom just didn’t like to do laundry.

Anyways, had a “slap-my-forhead” moment today. I’ve been cutting the shirts into 5.5″ strips, and laying them on the interfacing. I didn’t want to waste a lot of interfacing on areas that couldn’t be cut into squares. This method was incredibly time consuming. About halfway through the shirts I realized, for gawdsake, that I could have been cutting the interfacing to 5.5″ and laying it on the shirts! What. An. Idiot. It is SO much easier to determine where to place the interfacing!! I whipped through those shirts toot-sweet. My Reliable Velocity iron was a workhorse through the entire thing. As long as I kept it filled with water, that thing never stopped steaming, and never once spit water onto the shirts. I love that iron!

This is now my “to be cut into squares pile”:


Not bad. Will probably take me a morning to do. Once I add them to this pile…


…I should have a good assortment to choose from. I’ll get the sashings cut after that, and hope to start on the quilts this weekend!


Memorial Quilts from clothes

Mom passed away 15 months ago. She was a vibrant, active 75 year old woman, who fought a courageous battle with lung cancer. She hadn’t smoked in over 35 years. I’m going to make quilts from her clothes.


She was well loved by all of her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren.


I’ve had all of her clothes in two containers and two huge trash bags, sitting in my sewing room ever since. I’ve been wanting to make quilts for my three siblings and mom’s two surviving sisters, whom the family lovingly calls “The Silver Sisters”.

Aunt Martha even cut off all her hair for mom - she still has it this way today. She loves it!

Aunt Martha even cut off all her hair for mom - she still has it this way today. She loves it!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pulled out those clothes, picked up scissors, and stood there. Just stood there looking at them. So many memories in those clothes. This scenario went on for months. Open box, pull out clothes, pick up scissors, stand and stare, put them back in the box. Over and over. I finally took the plunge last weekend and made that first cut. And kept cutting.


It’s so much easier, now that I can see those clothes as strips of fabric instead of something my mom wore here or she spilled paint on there. She was a wonderful, talented artist in so many ways. China painting, drawing, sewing, crafting. She taught me how to sew when I was six years old. I credit her with every crafty thing I know and do today.

I had planned on doing a different quilt design for each person. Peggi helped me look for and sort through dozens and dozens of designs. In the end, I decided that the design wasn’t what was important. The clothes were. So I’m doing six simple charm-square block quilts with sashings. The focus will be on the fabrics, not the design. My family isn’t going to care about the design. They’ll care about the clothes, as it should be.

I’ve spent two days cutting fabric into 5″ squares. Unbelievably, I’ve got enough squares to make all six quilts just from mom’s pants and jeans.


That woman was obviously a clothes horse! I am getting ready to start the shirts today. The majority of the shirts are knit, which will require iron-on interfacing before cutting them up, to stabilize them. And it’s going to take a LOT of interfacing. I bought 10 yards last week. We’ll see how long that lasts. Of course, now my room will be a mess for weeks.


My sister is coming up in April for work-related reasons, and she’s bringing Aunt Martha along so she can stay with us for a few weeks.


We love having her here. I’m hoping to have at least two of the quilts done so I can give each of them one while they’re here. I think they’d like that.